Mounting research suggests that the simple achievement of zero fossil CO2 emissions won’t be sufficient to reach the ambitious climate targets agreed at the COP21 in Paris. In fact, several published studies show that only negative emissions technologies (NETs), i.e. actually removing CO2 from the atmosphere on a large scale by the second half of this century, will allow to keep the temperature increase below 2°C. Scientists are studying different techniques for removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Despite their significant mitigation potential, all of the known NETs have limiting factors, such as cost and energy requirements (i.e. for direct air capture), logistics of spreading materials over large areas (i.e. for enhanced weather technologies), and potential competition for land and freshwater (i.e. for afforestation and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage). Thus, there is a high need to find new solutions to reduce the CO2 content of the atmosphere. Furthermore, about 40% of the CO2 released into the atmosphere by humans each year is absorbed by the oceans. This is helping to slow down the rate of global warming, unfortunately at the cost of an increase in their acidity, posing a serious threat to marine life.
In the first part of this talk, we will discribe research that has been concluded and is undergoing at the Politecnico di Milano in Italy, focusing on the analysis of a novel technology for submarine carbon storage in glass-ceramic capsules (Caserini et al., 2017, Evaluation of a new technology for carbon dioxide submarine storage in glass capsules. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 60, 140–155). In the second part, we will present an innovative process that allows the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere, combining industrial technologies already available with ocean alkalinisation and CO2 storage, and its application to the shipping industry, a sector that as a country would be ranked 6th in terms of CO2 emissions.