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Why NH3 is not a candidate reagent for ambient CO2 fixation: a response to “Alternative solution to global warming arising from CO2 emissions - partial neutralization of tropospheric H2CO3 with NH3”

Why NH3 is not a candidate reagent for ambient CO2 fixation: a response to “Alternative solution to global warming arising from CO2 emissions - partial neutralization of tropospheric H2CO3 with NH3”
Why NH3 is not a candidate reagent for ambient CO2 fixation: a response to “Alternative solution to global warming arising from CO2 emissions - partial neutralization of tropospheric H2CO3 with NH3”
It has been proposed that application of urea, or ammonium sulfate (plus lime) to nonagricultural land to evolve ammonia may provide a “solution” to increasing CO2 concentrations by neutralizing atmospheric carbonic acid to ammonium bicarbonate at ambient concentrations and subsequent storage in the surface ocean (Apak [2007]: Environmental Progress 26, 355–359). We identify a series of major flaws in this hypothesis, which indicate that the approach is unfeasible and would not succeed if attempted at any scale: (i) The phenomenal energy cost associated with breaking the NN bond and evolving H2 for NH3 production (and associated fossil fuel CO2 emissions under the current energy generation market); (ii) the radiative forcing associated with substantially increasing the concentration of ammonia in the atmosphere, and (iii) a number of unwanted indirect effects, including eutrophication, enhanced N2O emissions, and the inhibition of the oxidation of strong greenhouse gases such as methane in the atmosphere. We strongly urge future efforts to be directed away from this approach and suggest that engagement with the climate, earth-system, and biogeochemistry communities is essential when putting forward ideas for potential geoengineering approaches to mitigate global climate change.
ammonia, ambient co2 fixation, geo engineering
0278-4491
412-417
Johnson, Martin
4f367e84-7adf-4d70-a6a9-afc78017ad12
Vaughan, Naomi E.
baeea626-1a75-4a7b-b675-3f124e306de1
Goodwin, Philip
87dbb154-5c39-473a-8121-c794487ee1fd
Goldblatt, Colin
6e4491ba-4224-4265-b08f-5f1b48c9e221
Roudesli, Sonia
ce51978a-f2c6-44ff-8e52-3d8cd1f6f0f6
Lenton, Timothy M.
245a93ab-92e4-4719-a8b7-7ef66d65d048
Johnson, Martin
4f367e84-7adf-4d70-a6a9-afc78017ad12
Vaughan, Naomi E.
baeea626-1a75-4a7b-b675-3f124e306de1
Goodwin, Philip
87dbb154-5c39-473a-8121-c794487ee1fd
Goldblatt, Colin
6e4491ba-4224-4265-b08f-5f1b48c9e221
Roudesli, Sonia
ce51978a-f2c6-44ff-8e52-3d8cd1f6f0f6
Lenton, Timothy M.
245a93ab-92e4-4719-a8b7-7ef66d65d048

Johnson, Martin, Vaughan, Naomi E., Goodwin, Philip, Goldblatt, Colin, Roudesli, Sonia and Lenton, Timothy M. (2008) Why NH3 is not a candidate reagent for ambient CO2 fixation: a response to “Alternative solution to global warming arising from CO2 emissions - partial neutralization of tropospheric H2CO3 with NH3”. Environmental Progress, 27 (3), 412-417. (doi:10.1002/ep.10298).

Record type: Article

Abstract

It has been proposed that application of urea, or ammonium sulfate (plus lime) to nonagricultural land to evolve ammonia may provide a “solution” to increasing CO2 concentrations by neutralizing atmospheric carbonic acid to ammonium bicarbonate at ambient concentrations and subsequent storage in the surface ocean (Apak [2007]: Environmental Progress 26, 355–359). We identify a series of major flaws in this hypothesis, which indicate that the approach is unfeasible and would not succeed if attempted at any scale: (i) The phenomenal energy cost associated with breaking the NN bond and evolving H2 for NH3 production (and associated fossil fuel CO2 emissions under the current energy generation market); (ii) the radiative forcing associated with substantially increasing the concentration of ammonia in the atmosphere, and (iii) a number of unwanted indirect effects, including eutrophication, enhanced N2O emissions, and the inhibition of the oxidation of strong greenhouse gases such as methane in the atmosphere. We strongly urge future efforts to be directed away from this approach and suggest that engagement with the climate, earth-system, and biogeochemistry communities is essential when putting forward ideas for potential geoengineering approaches to mitigate global climate change.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 17 July 2008
Published date: October 2008
Keywords: ammonia, ambient co2 fixation, geo engineering
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 350516
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/350516
ISSN: 0278-4491
PURE UUID: fc3ef03e-9234-4a22-8685-e732e8f40a68

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Date deposited: 26 Mar 2013 10:25
Last modified: 16 Jul 2019 21:39

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