Carbon dioxide sequestration through ocean alkalinity enhancement

Started: Oct 2018
Supervisor: Mashayek, A; Cheeseman, C.R.

Description of Research

Rapid accumulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide is the primary driver for warming trends that pose a number of risks to human populations. Apart from natural processes, there are three proposed solutions for tackling the associated risks. These are (1) reducing anthropogenic carbon dioxide, (2) reducing the vulnerability of human populations to climate change and (3) the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reliably sequestering it.

Oceanic primary production accounts for 50% of global productivity and in this process carbon dioxide is pumped into the deep ocean. The lack of iron is shown to be a factor limiting primary production within phytoplankton communities. This project aims to investigate the possibility of using iron fertilisation, to enhance local primary production thereby accelerating carbon dioxide storage into the deep ocean in the form of calcium carbonate shells. This project will also aim to explore the possibility of harvesting these calcareous shells before they sink to the deep ocean, as calcium carbonate is a key construction material. 


Nick holds a BSc in Oceanography from the University of Southampton and an MSc in Geoscience from University College London.

Nick ReynardPhD Candidate - Fluid Mechanics 
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering 
Imperial College London SW7 2AZ