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View Diary: Sea Urchin offers path to Cheap Carbon Sequestration (118 comments)

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  •  Doesn't looks like it solves all that much (7+ / 0-)

    Where do you get the calcium? According to Wiki, the most common sources are calcite, dolomite, & gypsum. The first two are carbonates, so the extraction would create as much CO2 as you could possibly sequester. Gypsum (calcium sulfate) would serve--scrap drywall, as suggested, might be a good source--but what do you do with the sulfur?

    Using cement/concrete rubble (which starts out releasing CO2 into the atmosphere) would provide no net sequestration but might offer a way to make those common building materials carbon-neutral.

    Fiscal Bluff successfully called--now let's see 'em bet the limit on the Debt Limit so we can clean 'em out!

    by Uncle Cosmo on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 09:35:05 PM PST

    •  There's nowhere near enough scrap (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nullspace, jrooth

      drywall to run more than a few small projects.

      I'm not saying we shouldn't do that.  For example, we use natural gas to cook lime.  The left over carbon could be partly sequestered using scrap materials.

      That's worth pursuing, but it doesn't allow us to keep coal fired power plants burning without paying the price.

      "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

      by JesseCW on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:44:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right on: Scale is the issue (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        profh, jrooth, JesseCW

        I that a lot of people are not quite picturing the scale of our problem.

        I did a little looking and a little cocktail napkin math and came up with this:

        From Skeptical Science (which in turn uses government data), you need about  2.13 gigatonnes of carbon removed for every ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  That is a lot. a lot a lot.  How much? Well that is 2130 megatonnes.  2130000 kilotonnes.

        Gypsm can provide a calcium per molecule, which translates into one carbon capture per calcium.  How much calcium is here?

        Well, gypsum is 136 grams/mole.  Calcium is about 40. that would make gypsum  a little under 1/3 calcium by weight.  There were, according to the USGS, 147,000 x1000 tonnes of gypsum mined last year world wide.  That is 147,000 kilotonnes.  or 147 megatonnes.  That is about 49 megatonnes of calcium.  Also a lot... but not as much of a lot as a lot a lot!

        Not afraid to have the work corrected, but ff I have not been too sloppy here, diverting the entire annual global supply of gypsum to this (ignoring all the energy to actually do it) would result in about an .02 ppm drop in atmospheric carbon per year.  

        Oh yeah, that would also be if we ceased all new carbon emissions.  entirely.  At that rate, we would stabilize the atmosphere at natural levels (arbitrarily 350 ppm) by the year 3750 or so.

        The sheer size of the atmosphere (and of the problem) never ceases to amaze me! And it ought inform our excitement and strategies too.  It is not that this is not a good idea or that we should not throw everything we have at carbon, but there are no silver bullets so far, that is for sure, and this is not one either.

        Most people say that what some people say is pretty stupid.

        by nullspace on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 12:02:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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