Environmental Science

Scrubbing a Dirty Atmosphere?

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Science  13 Apr 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5515, pp. 173
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5515.173b

Of the various indirect schemes that have been considered for removing CO2 from the atmosphere, one that has been discussed widely involves seeding parts of the oceans with iron to promote primary production; a second involves promoting terrestrial plant growth. In some situations, scrubbers can be installed, but it is difficult to control emissions from cars and homes. Elliott et al. examine whether it might instead be possible to scrub CO2 directly from the atmosphere with a chemical extractor. Winds usually are westerly in the Northern Hemisphere, where most CO2 emissions originate, so it might be feasible to remove CO2 by passing air through a reactor containing calcium hydroxide or other bases. The authors evaluate the fluxes, kinetics, and size of reactors needed to consume current anthropogenic emissions. — BH

Geophys. Res. Lett.28, 1235 (2001).

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