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Opinion: Offshore windfarms could capture carbon dioxide in the air to combat climate change

Opinion: Offshore windfarms could capture carbon dioxide in the air to combat climate change

Opinion: Offshore wind farms could help capture carbon dioxide from the air to fight climate change

Off the Massachusetts and New York coasts, developers are preparing to build the nation’s First federally approved Utility-scale offshore wind farms—74 turbines in all that could power 470,000 homes. More than a dozen additional offshore wind projects are also available. Waiting for approval along the Eastern Seaboard.

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

Replacing fossil fuel-based energy by clean energy like wind power It is vital to halt the worst effects of climate change. But that is just the beginning. isn’t happening fast enough to stop global warming. We have seen so much carbon dioxide from human activities that it has become a global warming problem. Also, carbon dioxide will have to be removed from the atmosphere and lock it away permanently.

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

The majority of renewable energy lease areas along the Atlantic Coast are located near the mid-Atlantic States and Massachusetts. In February 2022 wind farms are expected to be built on 480,000 acres in the New York Bight. BOEM


As a Marine geophysicistI have been exploring the potential of Combining wind turbines and technology that captures carbon dioxide directly from the air and stores it in natural reservoirs under the ocean. These technologies can be combined. Reduce your energy costs of carbon capture and minimize the need for onshore pipelines, reducing impacts on the environment.

Capturing CO2 from the Air

There are many tech startups and research groups. testing direct air capture devices that can pull carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere. The technology worksHowever, Early projects so far are expensive and energy intensive.

The systems used Filters or liquid solutions that capture CO2 from air blown across them. Once the filters are full, heat and electricity are required to release the carbon dioxide.

To achieve net negative emissions, the energy source must not be carbon-free.

The world’s largest active direct air capture plant operating today does this by using waste heat and renewable energy. The Icelandic plant then pumps the carbon dioxide it has captured into the basalt rock underneath. This is where the CO2 reacts and calcifies. Turning to solid minerals.

Similar results could be achieved with offshore wind turbines.

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 sea floor, reducing the need to build large pipelines.

Climeworks is a Swiss company that has 15 direct air capture plant to remove carbon dioxide.


These systems are being studied by researchers at the moment. Under marine conditions. Direct air capture is still in its infancy and technology will need to adapt to the harsh ocean environment. It is important to plan now in order to make sure that wind power projects are able to take advantage 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 intermittent by nature. The demand for energy is also variable. Production is defined as the amount of power that the wind can produce. Be curtailed and electricity that could be used is lost.

That is power you don’t use could instead be used to Remove carbon from the air and lock it away.

For example, New York state’s goal is to have 9 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2035. These 9 gigawatts are expected to produce 27.5 terawatt hours of electricity per year.

Based on the historical wind curtailment rates in America, an 825 megawatt-hours annual surplus of electrical energy could be expected as offshore wind farms grow 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 upward of 0.5 million tons of CO2 a year.

See Also

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.

Many mid-Atlantic locations being leased to offshore wind farms also offer the possibility of carbon storage under the seafloor. The capacity is measured in millions upon millions of metric tons CO2 per square kilometer. The U.S. produces approximately 4.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from energy each year.

U.S. Department of Energy and Battelle

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCCC) has predicted that 100 gigatons up to 1,000 gigatons of carbon dioxide will have to be removed from the atmosphere over the century to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) compared with preindustrial levels.

Researchers estimate that Geological formations sub-seafloor adjacent to the offshore wind developments planned on the U.S. East Coast have the capacity to store more than 500 gigatons CO2. Basalt rocks are Most likely to exist in a string of buried basins across this area too, adding even more storage capacity and enabling CO2 to react with the basalt and solidify over time, though geotechnical surveys have not yet tested these deposits

Planning both at the same time saves time and 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. The marine geophysical surveys, environmental monitoring and approval processes for wind power and storage can be launched. Save time and avoid conflicts and improve environmental stewardship.

David Goldberg is a Lamont Research professor. His interests include the integration and cross-disciplinary approaches to developing climate solutions. 

This commentary was originally published by The Conversation—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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