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it wasn't all bad

New carbon capture technology can turn carbon into baking soda

Scientists have discovered a more efficient way to capture carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the ocean. A new study details a method of direct carbon capture that takes the atmospheric CO2 and transforms it into baking soda, which could then safely be stored in seawater.

The challenge of carbon capture is the cost, BBC writes. The gas is diluted in the atmosphere, requiring more energy to capture and release. The new research used a hybrid of previous capture methods, creating a system that is three times more efficient. "This simple ability to capture CO2 at a high quantity, in a small volume of material, is a unique aspect of our work," said the lead author of the study Arup SenGupta. "This material can be produced at very high capacity very rapidly."

The ocean acts as an "infinite sink" for CO2, according to the experts, and adding baking soda does not cause ecological damage, per New Scientist. SenGupta explained, "Higher alkalinity also means more biological activity; that means more CO2 sequestration." Stuart Haszeldine from the University of Edinburgh called the new method "very powerful," adding that the ocean "has an immense capacity for accessible CO2 storage lasting hundreds to thousands of years."

However, experts warn that the carbon capture industry must be expanded significantly to be effective in reversing climate change. "The only way this will ever happen at the scale it needs to happen is if it's made a licensing condition of continuing to sell fossil fuels," said Myles Allen from the University of Oxford. "As soon as it is, it will happen on a scale that's currently unimaginable."