The Global Methane Removal Program
The Global Methane Removal Program (founded by Peter Fiekowsky) wants to prevent further climate deprivation through rapid methane release from the arctic. The technology used in this programme is called ‘iron salt aerosol’ (ISA). These are particles in the atmosphere that help in the natural process of methane removal through chlorine atoms (from sea salt). Methane is a greenhouse gas like CO2, but it is 80 times stronger! Furthermore, it currently causes about 1/3rd of the global greenhouse effect.
What does this mean for the seafarer community? Well, most probably ships are using iron-containing additives in their fuel (for example ferrocene), to improve engine performance. The burning of iron-containing fuel above the ocean generates these ISA particles that generate chlorine atoms, which remove methane. Thus, this ISA effect is possibly already happening on a large scale in shipping plumes, but nobody has ever measured the effect. Therefore, this experiment emerged. By proving the effect in a shipping plume, the shipping industry can use it to reduce their greenhouse gas footprint, and the technique can be scaled up to remove more methane and protect the climate. How to prove the effect in ships? By using drones and stationary gas sensors, taking air samples from the plume of the ship.
So where does Oceans1 come in?
The mission of the experiment:
To demonstrate the presence of chlorine atoms, by measuring the concentration of several hydrocarbon gasses across the shipping plume.
Criteria for success:
- That gasses in a shipping plume are measured or indirectly estimated.
- That the amounts measured significantly indicate that chlorine atoms are generated by the shipping plume.
- That chlorine atoms are actually an indicator of removing methane – shown by the plume having less methane than the background level of 1.9 ppm.
Conduct of experiment:
Situate a sensor in a position to measure a plume produced by an engine using a Fe additive in its fuel. The position must be chosen in such a way that the gasses in this plume have been able to interact with the saline atmosphere for a range of periods and in a range of conditions (season, sunlight, temperature, pH, humidity, wind, rain). The most probable course of action is using a drone equipped with sensors positioned downwind of an Oceans1 participant’s plume at sufficient distance to provide a timeframe for gasses to interact.
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