Feasible sequestration

Carbon sequestration in the ocean could become far more feasible with a system being developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The Continuous Jet/Hydrate Reactor being developed at the labs could potentially take carbon dioxide from power plants flue gases and produce a solid-like composite hydrate material that could then be dropped into the ocean, releasing the CO2 at some depth.

The reactor itself consists of an outer tube and a concentrically located inner capillary tube. Water droplets are sprayed though the capillary tube into liquid CO2 that is continuously pumped into the reactor via the outer tube. Since the capillary tube is shorter than the outer tube, a zone is created where the liquid CO2 and water vigorously mix, producing the CO2 hydrate.

The composite product, which is denser than seawater, is then released into the ocean, dissolving as it sinks.

The researchers say that continuous production of these sinking gas hydrates at intermediate ocean depths provides a means of sequestration without the significant costs of deep injection.

The technology, which has already been successfully demonstrated in MontereyBay, is being funded the US Department of Energy’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research.