From: California Institute of Technology
Published July 17, 2017 05:39 PM

Key to Speeding Up Carbon Sequestration Discovered

Scientists at Caltech and USC have discovered a way to speed up the slow part of the chemical reaction that ultimately helps the earth to safely lock away, or sequester, carbon dioxide into the ocean. Simply adding a common enzyme to the mix, the researchers have found, can make that rate-limiting part of the process go 500 times faster. 

A paper about the work appears online the week of July 17 ahead of publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"While the new paper is about a basic chemical mechanism, the implication is that we might better mimic the natural process that stores carbon dioxide in the ocean," says lead author Adam Subhas, a Caltech graduate student and Resnick Sustainability Fellow.

The research is a collaboration between the labs of Jess Adkins from Caltech and Will Berelson of USC. The team used isotopic labeling and two methods for measuring isotope ratios in solutions and solids to study calcite—a form of calcium carbonate—dissolving in seawater and measure how fast it occurs at a molecular level.

Read more at California Institute of Technology

Image: Scanning electron microscope image of calcite. (Credit: Adam Subhas / Caltech)

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