Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that is quite abundant in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases allow the sun's radiation to pass through them but block the radiation from leaving the Earth. This heats up the planet and contributes to global warming. Carbon Sequestration is a way to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere. It allows the earth's radiation to escape the planet and stop it from heating up.
In simple terms, Carbon Sequestration is achieved by capturing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and storing it. There has been an increased interest recently in Carbon Sequestration as one of the solutions to combat global warming.
Types of Carbon Sequestration
There are three types of Carbon Sequestration biological, geological, and technological Carbon Sequestration or storing.
Biological Carbon Sequestration -
More than half of the carbon emissions are stored in soil and oceans. By taking advantage of this, it is possible to store carbon naturally for a very long time, thousands of years in some cases.
Plants and trees store carbon in the soil as organic compounds, and they are called Soil Organic compounds (SOC). However, aggressive agricultural practices can quickly deplete these carbon deposits.
Following appropriate agricultural practices makes it possible to store carbon again in the soil. Inorganic soil can store carbon for over seven thousand years. Forests and grasslands store large quantities of carbon. Grasslands are more reliable as they are less impacted by droughts than forests.
Geological Carbon Sequestration -
Just like biological Carbon Sequestration, geological Carbon Sequestration is a natural process where rocks can store carbon. Carbon emissions from large manufacturing units are captured and injected into rocks. This process is called Carbon Sequestration.
A thorough site selection is done to identify ideal geological formations for carbon storage. Access to the site, geological features, and capacity to hold carbon are some criteria for selecting the right site. The most expensive part of geological Carbon Sequestration is extracting carbon dioxide gas from the pollutant.
Carbon Sequestration Through Innovative Methods
Scientists are exploring ways of removing carbon emissions from the atmosphere beyond the traditional Carbon Sequestration methods. One example is using carbon in the atmosphere as a raw material to create products. There are efforts being made to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into new compounds.
Some products that use atmospheric carbon dioxide as raw material are graphene and carbon fibre. Graphene has found its use as a durable smartphone screen. Carbon fibre is used extensively due to its lightweight and significantly higher strength.
Carbon Sequestration falls under a group of scientific efforts to save our planet. Global warming is a real threat. We see its impact every day, from melting glaciers to irregular weather patterns.
Carbon Sequestration or carbon-storing provides a viable solution to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide. This storage effort in coordination with reducing carbon emissions globally can help us decelerate global warming.
FAQs on Carbon Sequestration
Q1: Why is Carbon Sequestration important?
A: Carbon Sequestration is important as it makes our planet cooler. It reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, thus helping solve global warming.
Q2: What happens to the carbon stored through geological Carbon Sequestration?
A: The carbon stored through geological Carbon Sequestration, i.e., in rocks, can turn into fossil fuels over a period of time.
Q3: When did we start Carbon Sequestration?
A: The idea of Carbon Sequestration was first proposed in 1977 in the USA.
Q4: What are some dangers of Carbon Sequestration?
A: Increased Carbon Sequestration can make ocean water acidic, making it difficult for marine life to survive. Aggressive biological Carbon Sequestration can deplete the soil of its natural nutrients.