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Offshore wind farms could help capture carbon from air and store it long-term – using energy that would otherwise go to waste
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Offshore wind farms could help capture carbon from air and store it long-term – using energy that would otherwise go to waste

Map of coasts showing lease areas offshore


Off the Massachusetts and New York coasts, developers are preparing to build the United States’ First federally-approved Utility-scale offshore wind farm – 74 turbines in all that could power 470,000 homes. There are more than a dozen offshore wind projects. Waiting for approvalAlong the Eastern Seaboard.

By 2030, the Biden administration’s goal is to have 30 gigawatts of offshore wind powerIt is enough to power over 10 million homes.

Replacing fossil fuel-based power with renewable energy like wind power It is vital to halt the worst effects of climate change. But that is not the end. isn’t happening fast enoughStop global warming We have seen so much carbon dioxide from human activities that it has become a global warming problem. The air will also need to be removed of carbon dioxideLock it away for good.

Offshore wind farms are uniquely positioned to do both – and save money.

Map of coasts showing lease areas offshore

The Mid-Atlantic states are home to the majority of renewable energy lease areas. Massachusetts is close to them. In February 2022 wind farms are expected to be built on 480,000 acres in the New York Bight.

As a Marine geophysicistI have been exploring the potential of Technology that captures carbon dioxide can be paired with wind turbinesdirectly from the air and stores it under the sea in natural reservoirs. These technologies can be combined to create a new generation of technology. Reduce energy costsCarbon capture and reduction of the need to build onshore pipelines. This will reduce environmental impacts.

Capturing CO2 from the Air

Many research groups and tech startups are available. testing direct air capture devicesIt can pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The technology worksHowever, Early projectsThese are energy-intensive and expensive.

The systems used Filters or liquid solutions that capture CO2They can be blown with air. Once the filters are full, heat and electricity are required to release carbon dioxide from the filter and restart the capture process.

In order to achieve net negative emission, the energy source must be free of carbon.

The world’s largest active direct air capture plantToday, this is possible by using both waste heat and renewable power. The Iceland plant then pumps its carbon dioxide into the basalt rock beneath, where it reacts with the basalt to calcify it. Converting to solid minerals.

Offshore wind turbines could also be used in a similar manner.

If offshore wind turbines were to be built with direct air capture systems, they would provide an immediate source for clean energy. They could also pipe carbon dioxide directly below the seafloor, reducing the need to build large pipelines.

Two men stand beneath a large structure with fans
Climeworks, a Swiss firm, has 15 air capture plants that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

These systems are being studied by researchers at the moment. Under marine conditions. Direct air capture is just beginning to be used on land. The technology would likely need to be modified for the harsh environment of the ocean. Planning should begin now to ensure that wind power projects can take advantage of carbon storage sites.

Continue reading:
These machines scrub greenhouse gases from the air – an inventor of direct air capture technology shows how it works

Using excess wind power when it isn’t needed

Wind energy is a natural intermittent source of energy. The demand for energy can also vary. Production is when the wind can produce more energy than is required. Be curtailedAll electricity that could have been used is lost.

This is your untapped powerInstead, could be used to Lock it away and remove carbon from the atmosphere.

For example: New York State’s goalBy 2035, 9 gigawatts offshore wind power will be available. These 9 gigawatts are expected to produce 27.5 terawatt hours of electricity annually.

Based on the historical wind curtailment rates in America, an 825 megawatt-hours annual surplus of electrical energy could be expected as offshore winds farms expand to meet this goal. Assuming direct air capture’s efficiency continues to improve and reaches commercial targets, this surplus energy could be used to capture and store upwards of 0.5 million tons of CO2 per year.

That’s if the system only used surplus energy that would have gone to waste. It would have a greater carbon capture and storage capacity if it used more wind power.

A map showing undersea storage options in the vicinity of offshore wind farm lease areas.

Many Mid-Atlantic locations being leased to offshore wind farms also offer the possibility of carbon storage below the seafloor. The capacity is measured as millions of metric tonnes of CO2 per square mile. The United States produces approximately 4.5 billion metric tonnes of CO2 annually from energy.
U.S. Department of Energy and Battelle

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCCC) has predicted that 100 to 1000 gigatonsTo keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit), the atmosphere must be removed of carbon dioxide over the next century.

Researchers estimate that Formations geological sub-seafloorsNearby offshore wind developments on the U.S East Coast are the potential to store more than 500 gigatons of carbon dioxide. Basalt rocks can be found Most likely to existThere are a number of buried basins in this area, which provide additional storage capacity and allow CO2 to react with basalt and solidify over the time. However, geotechnical surveys still have not tested these deposits.

Planning both simultaneously saves time as well as money

Direct air capture is a method of building wind farms that can generate renewable power and surplus power for carbon capture. This could optimize this huge investment for climate benefits.

Planning must begin well in advance of construction. It is possible to launch the marine geophysical survey, environmental monitoring requirements, and approve processes for both wind power storage and wind power together. Save time and avoid conflictsImprove environmental stewardship

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