Yahoo News has a great Associated Press story about offbeat new technologies to reduce CO2 in the environment. Some of them are inspired by Richard Branson’s $25 million prize.
I found the Planktos project to be one of the most interesting ones. They are about to dump 50 tons of iron dust into the ocean, which should cause a giant plankton bloom that will consume large amounts of CO2. It’s basically like fertilizing the ocean. Supposedly, every one ton of iron dust will suck down 100,000 tons of carbon into the ocean, where it will stay.
George, Planktos’ CEO, said his company consulted with governments around the world and is only following previous scientific research. He said his firm will be dropping the iron in open international seas so he needs no permits. Most important, he said, is that it’s such a small amount of iron compared to the ocean volume that it poses no threat.
He said it’s unfair to lump his plan in with geoengineering, saying his company is just trying to restore the ocean to “a more ecologically normal and balanced state.”
“We’re a green solution,” George said.
Planktos officials say that for every ton of iron used, 100,000 tons of carbon will be pulled into the ocean. Eventually, if this first large-scale test works, George hopes to remove 3 billion tons of carbon from the Earth’s atmosphere, half of what’s needed. Some scientists say that’s overstated.
Planktos’ efforts are financed by companies and individuals who buy carbon credits to offset their use of fossil fuels.