Water Sector News

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Sep 14, 2022

UD Prof. Wei-Jun Cai proposes adding alkaline materials to sewage discharge

With anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions continuing to pummel the environment, increasing atmospheric CO2 and contributing to global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that simply reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions will not be enough to avoid a global warming catastrophe. Novel solutions are needed to help safely, permanently, and cost-effectively sequester atmospheric CO2.

Wei-Jun Cai, the Mary A.S. Lighthipe Chair of Earth, Ocean, and Environment in the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, recently published an article in “The Innovation”, a scientific journal, suggesting a new approach to treating sewage. The paper, which is an idea at this point and not peer-reviewed research, calls for an Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement (OAE) approach, in which alkaline materials could be applied to the sewage discharged from wastewater treatment plants to help sequester CO2 and stop it from reaching the atmosphere.

OAE involves adding materials with high alkalinity to increase the speed of removing CO2 from the atmosphere and decrease ocean acidification. 

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