A new technology allows scientists to remove toxins from seawater by burning it with torch technology.
The new technology, called “flame combustion,” uses an electric current to spark a spark that ignites the oxygen gas inside the seawater.
The gas escapes and then turns into a fuel called a catalyst, which is used to turn the oxygen into more usable energy.
The catalyst also releases carbon dioxide, methane, and other toxic compounds.
Scientists are studying how the technology can be used to replace coal-fired power plants and other industrial processes in the oceans, which are currently used for more than 70 percent of all U.S. energy.
“It’s really just a way of extracting a lot of energy from the water,” said Dan Deutsch, a professor at the University of Southern California.
“The problem is that when we use fossil fuels, we’ve got this tremendous amount of CO2, so the atmosphere has to hold that for a long time to release it.
So if you burn a lot more oxygen, you’ll release more CO2.
And that’s what happens with the flame combustion technology.”
Deutsch and his team have shown that the flame burning technology can reduce atmospheric CO2 by about 80 percent, or a quarter of the amount emitted by burning coal.
“So, we can essentially reduce the total amount of greenhouse gases released by burning fossil fuels by about 20 percent,” Deutsch said.
“We could actually cut the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by fossil fuels from roughly one-third of what it is today to about one-sixth,” he said.
“That would be a big difference.
And it would be really significant.”
Scientists are currently testing the technology to replace a coal-burning plant that produces around 3 million tons of CO 2 per year.
The plant’s emissions are about 20 times more than what is emitted by a conventional power plant.
Scientists are now working on a new version of the technology that can remove carbon dioxide from seawaters that are less than one meter (3 feet) deep.
That is the size of a pencil eraser.
They hope to use this new technology to clean up large amounts of polluted seawater around the world, including in some of the world’s most biodiverse areas.
The research is being supported by the National Science Foundation, the James S. McDonnell Foundation, The John Templeton Foundation, and the James A. Lovelock Foundation.
The story was first published by NBC News and NBC News Digital.