Solid Carbon is a negative emissions technology (NET) that will remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and provide permanent sequestration in the world’s largest reservoirs for CO2 sequestration — ocean basalt. This proposal establishes the first system off Canada’s west coast where basalt is ubiquitous and real-time ocean environmental monitoring exists, operated by Ocean Networks Canada (ONC). ONC operates world-leading ocean observatories with a vision to enhance life on Earth by providing knowledge and leadership that delivers solutions for science, society, and industry. The proposed Solid Carbon solution brings six separate, yet proven, technologies into a single system to deliver this NET. As with ONC's other developments, this system will be designed, built, and operated through the collaboration of experts and community partners, including Indigenous organizations. This will ensure that the long-term delivery of systems to the global market can be met by a diverse and inclusive expert workforce.
Ocean Networks Canadawebsite: https://www.oceannetworks.ca/
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Despite decades of advanced warning from science, growth of the carbon-based economy has not been reversed. Further, it is now well recognized that climate scenarios for Earth to stay within the limits set by the Paris Agreement must include negative emission technologies (NETs) on a large scale. In the past there has been concern that these technologies would be viewed as a replacement for actions to directly stop greenhouse gas emissions, but that view has changed. Solid Carbon meets all social and ecological concerns that would come with other NETs, such as recently proposed massive tree planting efforts, as Solid Carbon requires no land, offers permanent storage, and requires no transportation. In addition, its substantial cost is not a license to continue to burn fossil fuels. Indeed, the global build-out will be expensive enough to stimulate cessation of the malpractice of fossil fuel burning and turn, instead, to emissions avoidance. And deploying Solid Carbon is easier than emissions reductions from more challenging sectors, such as agriculture and some elements of transportation (e.g., air). A successful and timely road to affect the change needed for these technologies to become commonplace is with physical and measurable proof that it works. And because the solution proposed here is a combination of well proven technologies and know-how, bringing them together as a single system will rapidly catalyze market penetration in the new carbon economy. As the carbon market grows, Solid Carbon will attract investors because of its long-term and stable return on investment.
Lowering CO2 is essential to our stable future and represents one of today’s greatest challenges. Industry is now moving to renewables and energy efficiencies, but these are not enough. We need to permanently remove CO2 from air. Geologic storage provides the vital option to mitigate climate change as demonstrated by a recent and successful land-based experiment in Iceland, where CO2 was injected into basalt — volcanic rock, which occurs mainly in the ocean — and rapidly and permanently converted to stable rock. We build on this success by pulling CO2 from air and injecting it into basalt beneath the seafloor to transform into a harmless solid. Our location has capacity for 100x annual US emissions. Replicating this technology globally by mid-century sets a path towards pre-1960’s CO2 levels, thus providing a vital large-scale solution that could allow today's children, and future generations, to inhabit the Earth. Because this project is conducted in Indigenous peoples’ waters, it is fitting that the solution aligns with Indigenous belief that actions taken today must benefit the next seven generations. We will bring young adults into its design, build, and testing so that, as the global need for this technology grows, ownership of the solution resides with today’s youth, most impacted by climate change. The five-year work plan allows us to build the necessary infrastructure for the first system to showcase this NET. Success is a global market pull and CO2 reductions to safe levels for human life to flourish in a rich biodiverse world.