Feeds

Ocean seeding a dead duck as carbon solution

Plankton won’t save the world

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Seeding the ocean with iron to encourage plankton blooms works – kind of – but as a carbon sequestration approach, it’s hugely expensive, inefficient and probably ineffective, according to a Sydney University researcher.

The geo-engineering idea hit the headlines earlier this year when American Russ George dumped 200,000 pounds (more than 90,000 kg) of iron sulphate in the northern Pacific Ocean to spark a plankton bloom. The plankton consume carbon and, when they die, carry it to the bottom of the ocean, thereby sequestering the carbon for up to 100 years.

The problem is not in the theory, says Sydney University postgraduate researcher Daniel Harrison, here. It’s about efficiency. Harrison’s work, to be published in the International Journal of Global Warming, provides a sobering assessment of the cost of “plankton sequestration”.

He suggests that the mean price of using iron to drive plankton growth is $AU400 per tonne of carbon dioxide sequestered for 100 years or more. In Australia, a carbon permit currently trades at $AU23 per tonne.

Harris came to this conclusion by analysing the outcomes of published experiments. He told the Sydney Morning Herald the problem is that “the perfect conditions you would need are so rare that it would be a very limited contribution to the problem.”

Fertilising a square kilometre of the Southern Ocean would, he said, sequester only about 10 kg of carbon – far less than the fuel consumed by the boat on an out-and-back journey. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.