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New electrochemical technology could de-acidify the oceans – and even remove carbon dioxide in the process

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Conversation or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: New electrochemical technology offers a promising solution to de-acidify the oceans and remove carbon dioxide, aiming to counteract the rapid acidification caused by global warming 
• This method, involving bipolar membrane electrodialysis (BMED), removes seawater acidity without adding external substances, relying on seawater, electricity, and specialized membranes

🔭 The context: The oceans, absorbing the majority of CO2 emissions, have seen an increase in acidity, impacting marine life and ecosystems
• Current methods to counter this, like adding alkali minerals to the oceans, are unfeasible on the necessary scale 
• The BMED technology, developed in collaboration with researchers at the Palo Alto Research Center and X Development, shows significant promise if economically viable and environmentally safe large-scale implementation can be achieved

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Ocean acidification threatens millions of marine species and vital ecosystems such as coral reefs
 • Rebalancing ocean pH through ocean alkalinity enhancement (OAE) not only addresses this but also aids in reducing excess atmospheric CO2, directly tackling two major environmental crises simultaneously

⏭️ What's next: While the BMED technology has been successfully tested on a small scale, its scalability and integration into existing facilities, like desalination plants, are crucial 
• Economic incentives and the alarming rate of climate change events have reignited interest in such technologies 
• However, challenges remain in developing cost-effective, durable membranes and assessing the ecological impact of altering seawater alkalinity on a large scale

📈 One stat: Ocean acidification has increased by 30% due to CO2 absorption

Click for more news covering the latest on carbon


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