Congratulations to Dr. Eyal Wurgaft, senior faculty member in the Department of Natural and Life Sciences, whose research proposal on reducing carbon dioxide emissions by means of enhanced limestone dissolution has been awarded Ministry of Energy funding.
The increase in concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide and resulting global climate changes are one of the most significant problems today. Recognizing the threat inherent in climate change, the Israeli government recently pledged to take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2, by 85 percent by the year 2050. This ambitious and vital objective necessitates the support of the scientific community, industry, and decision makers. As the electricity production industry is responsible for nearly half of the CO2 emissions in Israel, there is no doubt that in order to meet the government objective, it will be necessary to reduce emissions in this sector significantly.
In his study, Dr. Wurgaft proposes a method of reducing CO2 emissions from power stations by means of enhanced dissolution of limestone in seawater. Emission gases from power stations pass through seawater and limestone before they are released into the atmosphere. When CO2 dissolves in seawater, it causes an increase in acidity, which dissolves the limestone. When the limestone dissolves, the water’s acidity decreases, which causes the dissolved CO2 to become a bicarbonate ion, which is not capable of returning directly into the atmosphere when the water is returned to the sea. Since rock formations abundant in limestone are located near power stations in Israel, implementation of this method will undoubtedly be significantly cheaper than in countries where it is necessary to transport the limestone over long distances. In addition, power stations in Israel are located on its coastline near desalination plants, so seawater is both plentiful and available. implementation of the method in Israel therefore has high potential for significantly reducing CO2 emissions at low cost, thus positioning Israel as a world pioneer in trapping CO2 using this method.
The goal of Dr. Wurgaft’s research is to carry out an initial feasibility study for implementing the method in conditions that are relevant to Israel. The study will include lab experiments using limestone typical of the area, and water from the Mediterranean. The research will focus on evaluating the potential for significant reduction of emissions, and also on defining optimal conditions for successful implementation.