Engineering challenges of ocean liming

P. Renforth*, B. G. Jenkins, T. Kruger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


The relationship between the level of atmospheric CO2 (carbon dioxide) and the impacts of climate change is uncertain, but a safe concentration may be surpassed this century. Therefore, it is necessary to develop technologies that can accelerate CO2 removal from the atmosphere. This paper explores the engineering challenges of a technology that manipulates the carbonate system in seawater by the addition of calcium oxide powder (CaO; lime), resulting in a net sequestration of atmospheric CO2 into the ocean (ocean liming; OL). Every tonne of CO2 sequestered requires between 1.4 and 1.7tof limestone to be crushed, calcined, and distributed. Approximately 1tof CO2 would be created from this activity, of which 80% is a high purity gas (pCO298%) amenable to geological storage. It is estimated that the thermal and electrical energy requirements for OL would be 0.6-5.6and 0.1-1.2GJtCO2-1 captured respectively. A preliminary economic assessment suggests that OL could cost approximately US$72-159t-1 of CO2. The additional CO2 burden of OL makes it a poor alternative to point source mitigation. However, it may provide a means to mitigate some diffuse emissions and reduce atmospheric concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-452
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013


  • Carbon dioxide removal
  • Geoengineering
  • Lime
  • Ocean acidification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Pollution
  • General Energy
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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