The continued increase in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere has already led to changes in the climate as well as the acidification of the oceans. This increased acidity of the oceans is analogous to an acid “spill” at idle speed. And just like we clean up after oil spills, we also need to clean up this acid spill.
The approach of EEC Professor Matthew Eisaman and a team of researchers called SEA MATE, which stands for Safe Elevation of Alkalinity for the Mitigation of Acidification Through Electrochemistry, uses carbonless electricity and electrochemistry to pump effectively this excess acid out of the ocean. then sells the acid for useful purposes. This removal of the acid restores the chemistry of the ocean so that the ions remaining in the ocean react with atmospheric carbon dioxide, safely blocking it for 10,000 to 200,000 years as oceanic bicarbonate. Thus, the net effect of SEA MATE is the reversal of ocean acidification as well as the net removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
It is very likely that the first deployments will be in partnership with existing marine industries such as seawater desalination, aquaculture, shipping and offshore wind. For example, the implementation of the SEA MATE process on desalination plant effluents would add value to desalination plants by reducing their environmental impact, while reducing ocean acidification and reducing the concentration of dioxide. atmospheric carbon.
For SEA MATE to have a significant impact on a global scale, it must be inexpensive and have no negative impact on the environment. SEA MATE aims to achieve this by simplifying the process to its bare minimum and focusing on restoring, not modifying, the chemistry of the oceans. Research and testing over the next year is designed to verify SEA MATE’s electrochemical performance, safety to marine life, and cost. If all goes well, marketing will likely begin in about a year.
SEA MATE is led by Professor Eisaman of Stony Brook University, and the Stony Brook Group is responsible for technology development and testing. His colleague, Dr. Brendan Carter of the University of Washington and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is leading the modeling effort. PhD from the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University. student Nathan Hirtle is a research assistant on the project helping with experiments to quantify the seawater chemistry of the process. The team is also in the process of recruiting a postdoctoral fellow at Stony Brook and another at the University of Washington. In addition, the team has contracted with a wide range of organizations to assist on topics such as techno-economic analysis, life cycle analysis and integration with existing maritime industries, among others. .
This project is made possible thanks to the vision and support of the Grantham Foundation for Environmental Protection. Importantly, through a partnership between the Grantham Foundation and Ocean Visions, Inc., SEA MATE has been associated with a team of world-class technical advisors who provide critical feedback and truly empower the team to energize their research process and development.
Professor Eisaman’s background is in physics and he is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS). Part of the project will take place using the facilities and students of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS). As mentioned, Professor Eisaman is hiring a postdoctoral fellow who ideally has engineering and oceanography background. Professor Eisaman’s personality and research interests have always been very interdisciplinary, as has the SEA MATE project itself. Stony Brook has certainly adapted to this approach.
Professor Eisaman has been working on research related to this subject for the past ten years. He believes that we are now at the point where technological maturity and societal need make it possible to deploy processes like SEA MATE. This is indeed excellent environmental news.
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