Slaked lime to stop acidification in the Mediterranean

Poured out by ships, would help reduce CO2 in atmosphere

04 February, 18:01

    (ANSAmed) - MILAN, FEBRUARY 4 - Initial results of a research project show that spreading slaked lime in the Mediterranean, taking advantage of the wake of ships crossing the Mediterranean basin, could stop acidification of the water by removing from the atmosphere some 115 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, the equivalent of one-fourth of the emissions produced in Italy.

    The project, 'Desarc-Maresanus', is being conducted by Milan Polytechnic University and the Euro-Mediterranean Centre on Climate Change (CMCC) with the support of the Amundi company and the collaboration of the startup CO2APPS.

    "Many research groups have studied the spreading of alkalising substances in water, but we are the first to have worked out a detailed simulation modelling, focused on the Mediterranean, to verify technical and economic feasibility," said Stefano Caserini, professor of climate change mitigation at Milan Polytechnic University.

    The mathematical model examined the thousands of container ships and bulk carriers that cross the Mediterranean each year, for a total of about nine million navigation hours. By taking advantage of the ships' wakes, a total of 90 million tonnes of slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) could be spread, which would go to stop acidity in the water by mimicking the natural process that takes place when rain washes away rocks, putting bicarbonates in the sea.

    The raising of the pH would allow the sea to absorb more CO2 from the atmosphere, removing 115 million tonnes per year, with a net cost of 60 to 90 euros per tonne of CO2, which in the future could become competitive.

    "We still have to evaluate how to carry out the dispersion of the slaked lime so that it doesn't disturb the marine ecosystem," Caserini said.

    "But the results of this first year of research are reassuring. They tell us that the alkalisation of the sea could work, even if on its own it won't be sufficient to face the climate crisis," he said.(ANSAmed).

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