When we talk about carbon capture and storage, often abbreviated as CCS, many probably think of technological innovations. Technology that captures CO2 emissions, for example from a factory pipe, and keeps the gas stored until it can be pumped down into geological formations, several thousand meters below the seabed. But we also have natural capture and storage processes, from large forests and deep bogs on land to millimeter-sized redfish in the sea and undulating eelgrass and kelp forests along the coast.
Eelgrass beds and kelp forests are part of the collective term "blue forest". It includes various coastal ecosystems, all of which perform vital ecosystem services. Like forests on land, blue forests absorb carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. The blue forests store large amounts of carbon in the living biomass, but this carbon is released again if the forest is destroyed. In addition, carbon from blue forest is stored long-term in sediments on the seabed every year.
However, the blue forests are in decline. Globally, 40 to 60 percent of kelp forests have been reduced in recent decades, and at least a quarter of the mangrove forest area has been lost since 1980 – to name a few. This means that the blue forests' ability to capture and store carbon is also under pressure.
This is how NIVA can contribute
Using blue forests to capture and store carbon is part of what we call nature-based solutions. These are solutions that will become increasingly important to solve the many and complex challenges facing the world community.
At NIVA, we have a good overview of the distribution and condition of the various ecosystems, in fresh water as well as along the coast, thanks to long-term and continuous environmental monitoring. We combine this overview with our extensive expertise in nature-based solutions to develop several new solutions. An important aspect of this work is to ensure that the nature-based solutions are both robust and sustainable.
Why does NIVA focus on carbon capture and storage?
The background for all efforts at NIVA is the desire to develop a knowledge base to solve environmental challenges. This desire has not diminished during the last years, as we see that nature can make important contributions - for example in carbon capture and storage.
Get in touch if you want to hear more about our efforts in this field.