Posts Tagged 'mitigation'

Increasing seawater alkalinity using fly ash to restore the pH and the effect of temperature on seawater flue gas desulfurization

Wet type flue gas desulfurization (FGD) using lime or limestone is popular because of its operational simplicity and the availability of lime and limestone. Seawater FGD (SWFGD) utilizes the alkalinity of seawater, and its efficiency varies depending on the seawater alkalinity. This study examined the effects of temperature, gas/water ratio, and total alkalinity of the absorbing solution on the removal efficiency of SO2 from flue gas by seawater. In addition, this study showed the possibility of increasing the total alkalinity of seawater using fly ash from coal power plants. The experimental results showed a 8% increase in removal efficiency, while temperature decreased by 10 °C from 25 °C under the conditions of a gas/water ratio of 100 and a resultant pH of 3. The increase in removal efficiency with increasing alkalinity was measured as 0.27%/ppm of bicarbonate alkalinity. This study showed that fly ash has the ability to increase the total alkalinity of seawater. The pH restoration experiment was conducted using fly ash and limestone. The conceptual design processes of SWFGD using NaOH, fly ash, and limestone for a 400 MW coal power plant were developed, and the material balance was calculated using ASPEN Plus software.

Continue reading ‘Increasing seawater alkalinity using fly ash to restore the pH and the effect of temperature on seawater flue gas desulfurization’

The potential environmental response to increasing ocean alkalinity for negative emissions

The negative emissions technology, artificial ocean alkalinization (AOA), aims to store atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in the ocean by increasing total alkalinity (TA). Calcium carbonate saturation state (ΩCaCO3) and pH would also increase meaning that AOA could alleviate sensitive regions and ecosystems from ocean acidification. However, AOA could raise pH and ΩCaCO3 well above modern-day levels, and very little is known about the environmental and biological impact of this. After treating a red calcifying algae (Corallina spp.) to elevated TA seawater, carbonate production increased by 60% over a control. This has implication for carbon cycling in the past, but also constrains the environmental impact and efficiency of AOA. Carbonate production could reduce the efficiency of CO2 removal. Increasing TA, however, did not significantly influence Corallina spp. primary productivity, respiration, or photophysiology. These results show that AOA may not be intrinsically detrimental for Corallina spp. and that AOA has the potential to lessen the impacts of ocean acidification. However, the experiment tested a single species within a controlled environment to constrain a specific unknown, the rate change of calcification, and additional work is required to understand the impact of AOA on other organisms, whole ecosystems, and the global carbon cycle.

Continue reading ‘The potential environmental response to increasing ocean alkalinity for negative emissions’

The ability of macroalgae to mitigate the negative effects of ocean acidification on four species of North Atlantic bivalve (updated)

Coastal ecosystems can experience acidification via upwelling, eutrophication, riverine discharge, and climate change. While the resulting increases in pCO2 can have deleterious effects on calcifying animals, this change in carbonate chemistry may benefit some marine autotrophs. Here, we report on experiments performed with North Atlantic populations of hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria), eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica), bay scallops (Argopecten irradians), and blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) grown with and without North Atlantic populations of the green macroalgae, Ulva. In six of seven experiments, exposure to elevated pCO2 levels ( ∼ 1700µatm) resulted in depressed shell- and/or tissue-based growth rates of bivalves compared to control conditions, whereas rates were significantly higher in the presence of Ulva in all experiments. In many cases, the co-exposure to elevated pCO2 levels and Ulva had an antagonistic effect on bivalve growth rates whereby the presence of Ulva under elevated pCO2 levels significantly improved their performance compared to the acidification-only treatment. Saturation states for calcium carbonate (Ω) were significantly higher in the presence of Ulva under both ambient and elevated CO2 delivery rates, and growth rates of bivalves were significantly correlated with Ω in six of seven experiments. Collectively, the results suggest that photosynthesis and/or nitrate assimilation by Ulva increased alkalinity, fostering a carbonate chemistry regime more suitable for optimal growth of calcifying bivalves. This suggests that large natural and/or aquacultured collections of macroalgae in acidified environments could serve as a refuge for calcifying animals that may otherwise be negatively impacted by elevated pCO2 levels and depressed Ω.

Continue reading ‘The ability of macroalgae to mitigate the negative effects of ocean acidification on four species of North Atlantic bivalve (updated)’

Bio-buffering to combat ocean acidification?

Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration is rising faster than ever before, due to continuous surge in burning fossil fuel. According to the ‘State of the Climate in 2017’ report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the American Meteorological Society, the global growth rate of atmospheric CO2 concentration was approximately 0.6 ± 0.1 ppm/year in the 1960s [3]. However, in the last decade, the growth rate has jumped to 2.3 ppm/year. The estimated atmospheric CO2 concentration is expected to reach 800–1000 ppm by the end of this century [6]. Oceans absorb nearly 30% of the global CO2 emissions [8], resulting in decrease in ocean pH, known as ocean acidification (OA). While atmospheric CO2 is the major contributor to OA globally, other anthropogenic activities influence OA on a local level. These include acid rain from vehicle emissions and industry in urban areas, inflow of organic carbon to the oceans in the form of sewage, and nutrient loading into the oceans from agricultural runoff; all of which contribute to OA [7].

Ocean acidification not only lowers the pH of ocean water, but also decreases dissolved carbonate ion (CO32−) concentration and alters the saturation states of calcium carbonate minerals. Calcifying organisms, such as corals, mollusks, and shellfishes, which use CO32− ions along with calcium ions to produce their calcium carbonate skeletons and shells, are negatively impacted by decreased CO32− levels. In addition, OA causes changes in habitat quality and nutrient cycling, which have numerous effects on food web interactions. Overall, complex changes occur in populations, communities, and the entire ecosystem; the scope of which is yet to be fully understood.

Continue reading ‘Bio-buffering to combat ocean acidification?’

Ocean solutions to address climate change and its effects on marine ecosystems

The Paris Agreement target of limiting global surface warming to 1.5–2C compared to pre-industrial levels by 2100 will still heavily impact the ocean. While ambitious mitigation and adaptation are both needed, the ocean provides major opportunities for action to reduce climate change globally and its impacts on vital ecosystems and ecosystem services. A comprehensive and systematic assessment of 13 global- and local-scale, ocean-based measures was performed to help steer the development and implementation of technologies and actions toward a sustainable outcome. We show that (1) all measures have tradeoffs and multiple criteria must be used for a comprehensive assessment of their potential, (2) greatest benefit is derived by combining global and local solutions, some of which could be implemented or scaled-up immediately, (3) some measures are too uncertain to be recommended yet, (4) political consistency must be achieved through effective cross-scale governance mechanisms, (5) scientific effort must focus on effectiveness, co-benefits, disbenefits, and costs of poorly tested as well as new and emerging measures.

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Impact of environmental hypercapnia on fertilization success rate and the early embryonic development of the clam Limecola balthica (Bivalvia, Tellinidae) from the southern Baltic Sea – a potential CO2 leakage case study


• Fertilization success of Limecola balthica drops along decreasing pH gradient.
• Low pH causes delays of early embryonic development of the Baltic clam.
L. balthica embryos develop aberrations of early cleavages in CO2-rich environment.
• CO2 leakage from CCS site may affect population’s size by impeding its reproduction.


Carbon capture and storage technology was developed as a tool to mitigate the increased emissions of carbon dioxide by capture, transportation, injection and storage of CO2 into subterranean reservoirs. There is, however, a risk of future CO2 leakage from sub-seabed storage sites to the sea-floor sediments and overlying water, causing a pH decrease. The aim of this study was to assess effects of CO2-induced seawater acidification on fertilization success and early embryonic development of the sediment-burrowing bivalve Limecola balthica L. from the Baltic Sea. Laboratory experiments using a CO2 enrichment system involved three different pH variants (pH 7.7 as control, pH 7.0 and pH 6.3, both representing environmental hypercapnia). The results showed significant fertilization success reduction under pH 7.0 and 6.3 and development delays at 4 and 9 h post gamete encounter. Several morphological aberrations (cell breakage, cytoplasm leakages, blastomere deformations) in the early embryos at different cleavage stages were observed.

Continue reading ‘Impact of environmental hypercapnia on fertilization success rate and the early embryonic development of the clam Limecola balthica (Bivalvia, Tellinidae) from the southern Baltic Sea – a potential CO2 leakage case study’

A strategy for the conservation of biodiversity on mid-ocean ridges from deep-sea mining

Mineral exploitation has spread from land to shallow coastal waters and is now planned for the offshore, deep seabed. Large seafloor areas are being approved for exploration for seafloor mineral deposits, creating an urgent need for regional environmental management plans. Networks of areas where mining and mining impacts are prohibited are key elements of these plans. We adapt marine reserve design principles to the distinctive biophysical environment of mid-ocean ridges, offer a framework for design and evaluation of these networks to support conservation of benthic ecosystems on mid-ocean ridges, and introduce projected climate-induced changes in the deep sea to the evaluation of reserve design. We enumerate a suite of metrics to measure network performance against conservation targets and network design criteria promulgated by the Convention on Biological Diversity. We apply these metrics to network scenarios on the northern and equatorial Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where contractors are exploring for seafloor massive sulfide (SMS) deposits. A latitudinally distributed network of areas performs well at (i) capturing ecologically important areas and 30 to 50% of the spreading ridge areas, (ii) replicating representative areas, (iii) maintaining along-ridge population connectivity, and (iv) protecting areas potentially less affected by climate-related changes. Critically, the network design is adaptive, allowing for refinement based on new knowledge and the location of mining sites, provided that design principles and conservation targets are maintained. This framework can be applied along the global mid-ocean ridge system as a precautionary measure to protect biodiversity and ecosystem function from impacts of SMS mining.

Continue reading ‘A strategy for the conservation of biodiversity on mid-ocean ridges from deep-sea mining’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book