Irish journalist here! How about this catchy headline: “Indian Ocean Holds Key to India’s Green Future with Massive CO2 Storage Potential

"IIT Madras Researchers Unveil Potential for Carbon Storage in Indian Ocean, Paving the Way for India's Decarbonization Efforts"

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras have made a groundbreaking discovery regarding the potential of the Indian Ocean as a site for storing large quantities of carbon dioxide permanently. Their proposal suggests storing CO2 in liquid pools or solid hydrates at specific depths, with the belief that this method would not harm marine ecosystems. This innovative strategy could play a crucial role in helping India decarbonize its industrial hubs and reach its ambitious net-zero target by 2070.

Unlocking the Research Insights of the Indian Ocean’s CO2 Storage Potential
Many experts in the field of oceanography have highlighted the Indian Ocean as one of the least explored oceans globally. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) involves capturing CO2 emissions from industrial sources or the atmosphere and storing them deep underground or in oceanic reservoirs. The Indian Institute of Technology Madras is currently delving into the carbon sequestration capacity of the Indian Ocean basin.

Here are the key findings from their research:
CO2 Storage Capacity
The researchers have estimated that the Bay of Bengal, located in the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean, could potentially sequester several hundred gigatons of anthropogenic CO2 in ocean and marine sediments. This amount is equivalent to the total greenhouse gas emissions produced by India over multiple years.

CO2 Storage Forms
The study indicates that stored CO2 can exist in two primary forms: Gas Hydrates and Liquid Pools and Solid Hydrates. Gas hydrates can form at depths deeper than 500 meters, creating an environmentally friendly ice-like substance capable of sequestering approximately 150-170 cubic meters of CO2 per cubic meter of gas hydrate under oceanic conditions. At depths exceeding 2800 meters, CO2 can be permanently stored as liquid pools and solid hydrates. Once converted into gas hydrate, CO2 is effectively trapped within the subsea sediments due to gravitational and hydrate permeability barriers.

Professor Jitendra Sangwai, from the Department of Chemical Engineering at IIT Madras, who is spearheading the research, highlighted the significance of the study. He emphasized that methane hydrates have existed in the ocean for millions of years without adverse effects on the environment. Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, which has motivated researchers to explore oceanic storage solutions for CO2.

IIT Madras’ research offers valuable insights into optimizing CO2 storage strategies by considering factors such as clay concentration, additive properties, and local ocean floor characteristics. This pioneering work holds great promise for India’s fight against climate change. By harnessing the CO2 storage potential of the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal, India can make significant progress towards its decarbonization objectives and pave the way for a sustainable future.

A similar study conducted at the National University of Singapore also highlighted the potential for commercial-scale CO2 storage using hydrates. This technology could enable countries like Singapore to sequester over 2 million tons of CO2 annually to meet emission reduction targets.

Ensuring the Safety of the Marine Ecosystem
Although utilizing the ocean for CO2 storage presents an attractive solution, direct storage at shallow depths could pose risks to marine life. It is crucial to store CO2 permanently at specific depths or within subsea sediments to prevent ecological damage to the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal, and surrounding coastal areas. Mr. Yogendra Kumar Mishra, a research scholar at IIT Madras, emphasized the importance of exploring permanent storage options at greater depths to minimize harm to marine ecosystems.

Oceanic Carbon Capture Bolstering India’s Pledge to Net Zero
India is actively seeking long-term and large-scale CO2 sequestration technologies to decarbonize key industries such as power, steel, and transport. Oceanic CO2 capture holds immense potential in transitioning towards carbon neutrality. European countries have already adopted similar approaches, storing CO2 in the North Sea to mitigate climate change impacts. By investing in research and development of CCS initiatives, India aims to reduce its carbon footprint and contribute to global climate action.

In conclusion, the research conducted by IIT Madras offers a promising avenue for combating climate change by tapping into the vast CO2 storage potential of the Indian Ocean. This innovative approach could play a significant role in India’s efforts to achieve its climate goals and create a more sustainable future.

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons is the founder of Forestry & Carbon. Matt has over 25 years as a forestry consultant and is invoilved in numerous carbon credit offset projects.

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