What is Carbon Sequestration?

What is Carbon Sequestration?

Climate change is threatening the entire planet, and is being driven by increasing amounts of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere. There are a wide range of activities that people take part in every day that release carbon dioxide, with one of the biggest examples being the extraction and the use of fossil fuels. This includes the gas that we use to power our cars, trains, planes and boats.

The rate at which we release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere far exceeds the rate at which natural systems like oceans and forests capture CO2, so it’s important to talk about ways to address this issue. 

One viable option is to invest in carbon sequestration systems and technologies. The science behind carbon sequestration could help broadly address climate change, and by working in collaboration with nature, it’s possible to preserve the planet for future generations—protecting plants, animals and people from harm. 

What is carbon sequestration and why is it important?

CO2 is a heat-trapping gas meaning it prevents solar radiation from escaping the atmosphere, which in turn causes warming. While CO2’s heat-trapping ability is lower than other greenhouse gasses, it is responsible for 82% of greenhouse gasses in the air.

The entire goal of carbon sequestration is to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it to slow the process of climate change. There are several different types of carbon sequestration, including geological carbon sequestration and biological carbon sequestration.

The process is important for a lot of reasons including: 

  • Reducing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere.

  • When less carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, it is possible to reduce the impact of greenhouse gases on the rest of the planet.

  • Reducing or removing greenhouse gasses from the planet makes it possible to slow or stop the rate at which the planet is warming.

Ultimately, the goal of carbon absorption is to reduce the impacts of climate change so we can help plants, animals and future generations of people.

How does carbon sequestration work?

It’s one thing to capture carbon to prevent it from impacting the atmosphere and the rest of the planet, but, once that carbon is captured, it is important to decide what to do with it. That way, it is possible to stop that carbon from impacting the rest of the planet. There are several different ways we can store carbon after we capture it.

Biological sequestration

One of the simplest, most inexpensive and most straightforward ways to sequester carbon is to use plants to help us through biological sequestration. 

Planting more trees (and preserving the forests that are already there) helps absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere because plants use carbon dioxide as a critical ingredient of photosynthesis. They then take that carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen. If we can plant more forests, restore damaged grasslands and take care of our wetlands, we can use natural processes to capture carbon.

However, too much carbon dioxide can have an adverse effect on plants, meaning that this form of carbon sequestration alone might not be enough. That’s why it’s essential to approach the issue of carbon emissions from multiple angles. 

Geological sequestration

Another method that we can use to capture and store carbon is called geological sequestration. For example, if we use coal plants to generate power, we also generate a tremendous amount of carbon dioxide. It is possible to take the carbon dioxide that comes from that coal plant, compress it into a fluid and pump it into deposits of natural gas and oil. These are specific areas throughout our planet that can contain carbon dioxide for over 10,000 years. They can withstand incredibly high pressure from compressed gas, including carbon dioxide. 

The downside is that we do not have enough oil fields and gas areas to provide us with storage space. As a result, this is an option that has to be considered alongside some of the other options on this list.

Ocean sequestration

Ocean sequestration is the process where phytoplankton, the microscopic plants that form plankton, use photosynthesis to convert CO2 into the sugars they need, similar to how plants on the surface do. Sea creatures then eat this phytoplankton and eventually die, taking that carbon with them to the bottom of the ocean.

The downside is that ocean sequestration could contribute to ocean acidification. When the carbon dioxide in the ocean reacts with carbonate molecules, the water’s acidity increases. As we have already seen with atmospheric carbon dioxide, it can reduce the pH of the ocean, threatening the plants and animals that live in the ocean and the water supply that we depend on. 

So while this method is a natural carbon sink, relying on the ocean alone could negatively impact the environment, as it cannot remove carbon dioxide equal to the amount produced.

Technological sequestration

Instead of simply looking for ways to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, it’s beneficial to look at how we can use carbon dioxide as a resource. For example, it may be possible to take the carbon and use it to build different types of structures allowing us to convert it into a resource that we can use.

AIR COMPANY is leading the industry when it comes to the technological sequestration of carbon. Using our AIRMADE™ technology, we can turn captured CO2 into sustainable aviation fuel, ethanol, methanol and other consumer products. Through technological carbon sequestration, we can turn pollutants into fuel and make the planet a greener place.

These are just a few of the broad categories of CO2 sequestration. Many of these forms of carbon sequestration have subcategories as well. This is an active area of research and exploration, so it’s possible other carbon sequestration research methods will develop in the near future.

What are the top benefits of carbon sequestration?

While helping the planet and its lifeforms is a prime benefit of carbon sequestration, there are several other significant benefits.

1. Generate more power

One of the biggest benefits of carbon absorption is that it could be used to generate more power. Using this method, carbon dioxide is pressurized into a supercritical fluid so that it’s possible to transfer heat more readily, using the energy to compress steam and generate power for turbines. In addition, it is possible to use stored carbon dioxide to extract geothermal heat. Using this method, we can produce renewable geothermal energy that will not harm the environment.

2. Turn CO2 into fuel

It is also possible to turn carbon dioxide into fuel. Right now, the process is very complicated and expensive, but it is an active area of research. In the future, it might be possible to use carbon dioxide to power cars, trains, planes and boats. This could help the world and its dependence on fossil fuels.

AIR COMPANY is driving the revolution towards CO2-based fuels with our sustainable aviation fuel, which is made using an entirely carbon-based feedstock. By capturing CO2 and turning it into fuel, we can convert one of the world’s largest pollutants into an invaluable resource.

3. Make better concrete

Captured carbon dioxide can also be used to strengthen concrete. Right now, infrastructure is a major concern, as buildings and roads all over the world fall apart over time. It is possible to enrich concrete with carbon dioxide, which can help it stand up to routine wear and tear so that organizations do not necessarily have to spend as much money on construction, maintenance or repairs.

4. Improve manufacturing operations

It might also be possible to use carbon dioxide to improve manufacturing operations. It can be used to make plastic polyurethanes and chemicals that can be turned into soft foam similar to the foam that is used regularly in mattresses. This can also create jobs, which is always helpful in a challenging economy.

5. Save the planet

The biggest benefit of CO2 sequestration is that it can help us move toward a decarbonized future. Carbon dioxide is one of the most common greenhouse gasses, and countries are not doing enough to scale back on CO2 emissions. By focusing on carbon sequestration, it is possible to help remove greenhouse gasses from the planet, stem the tide of climate change and protect the planet for generations to come.

The importance of carbon sequestration

The planet is continuing to warm up and a lot of this comes from the release of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is produced as a side effect of many kinds of human activities on the planet, including the burning of fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide traps heat from the atmosphere, contributing to a warming planet.

If we can find ways to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, we can remove greenhouse gasses and slow down the warming process. There are plenty of ways we can do that, and one of the best options is to shop for clean products and encourage the world’s largest industries to switch to sustainable energy and fuel sources.

Ways to support the environment

As carbon sequestration research continues to take place, we will begin to learn more about how we can use this process to protect the planet and save the environment. In the meantime, it is important for industries to focus on what they can do to preserve the environment as well. There are plenty of ways to support the environment through carbon sequestration, and there are plenty of brands that are working to eliminate CO2 production as well. For example, AIR COMPANY takes this excess CO2 and, using sustainable energy sources such as solar and wind power, transforms the CO2 into sustainable alcohols and fuels at scale for consumer and industrial products.

Finding sustainable products is no longer a treasure hunt. Including sustainable applications for industries, AIR COMPANY has used its AIRMADE™ Technology to create products such as AIR Eau de Parfum, AIR Spray Hand Sanitizer and AIR Vodka.

AIR COMPANY’s mission is to decarbonize the planet through sustainable innovation. This means helping the planet’s natural processes, like ocean sequestration, remove and utilize the CO2 in the atmosphere, turning a pollutant into a resource to minimize the environmental impacts that climate change might have on people, animals, plants, and the future of our planet.

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