Class of 2024Saratoga, California
AboutProject: "Evaluating Carbon Sequestration Techniques to Mitigate Climate Change"
- "How can enzymatic activity be utilized to optimize ocean carbon sequestration while minimizing economic and ecological damages, and which specific biochemical pathways should be targeted for enhancement?" with mentor Jo (Aug. 14, 2023)
How can enzymatic activity be utilized to optimize ocean carbon sequestration while minimizing economic and ecological damages, and which specific biochemical pathways should be targeted for enhancement?
Started Jan. 9, 2023
Abstract or project description
The increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration due to increased carbon emissions increases global temperatures and has devastating ecological impacts. A goal set by the COP Paris Agreement was to limit global warming by 2 degrees celsius and to accomplish this it is necessary to decrease the carbon levels in the atmosphere. Carbon sequestration is a method of absorbing the carbon already present in the atmosphere by carbon sinks, like the ocean. Our oceans absorb a fourth of all CO2 in the atmosphere, and so there are many studies that are working towards making this a more efficient system long term without negatively impacting the chemical workings of the ocean. There are many proposed techniques for ocean sequestration that have unknown risks that can impact the ocean’s systems, and this project seeks to quantify the risks and benefits of enhancing carbon sequestration through bioengineered solutions. Instead of adding chemicals to the ocean which can pose various unknown risks, the focus will be on utilizing the already present chemicals in the ocean to make carbon sequestration more efficient by increasing beneficial enzymatic activity. Other scientists have proposed manipulating bacteria to increase the production of carbonic anhydrase, an enzyme that catalyzes the reaction between magnesium and carbon to increase carbon sequestration. After identifying the most beneficial solution for increasing carbon sequestration, this project will explore not only the ecological impacts, but also will explore the likelihood of implementing these techniques into the oceans.