DESARC – MARESANUS DEcreasing Seawater Acidification Removing Carbon

DESARC-MARESANUS addresses two environmental problems of great importance: the increase in atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) and the consequent acidification of the oceans.
Global warming resulting from increased levels of atmospheric CO2 from anthropogenic activities such as the combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation is already causing impacts on human society and ecosystems, as recognized by the Special report ‘Global Warming of 1.5 ºC’ published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In parallel to the impacts caused directly and indirectly by the global warming, the absorption and diffusion of CO2 accumulated in the atmosphere by the ocean is increasing seawater acidity, already posing high risks for marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs.
To limit global warming “well below 2 ° C”, as agreed under the Paris Agreement, a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is crucial but no longer sufficient, since it becomes necessary, to start removing CO2 from the atmosphere, in quantities the more significant, the more emissions reduction is postponed.
The “DESARC-MARESANUS” project aims at studying and assessing a process for removing CO2 from the atmosphere and simultaneously counteract ocean acidification. This process, already analysed at Politecnico di Milano, with the first preliminary results published in the journal “Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change” , is based on biomass gasification to produce lime which is spread in the oceans in order to decrease their acidity, also generating decarbonized energy by-products such as hydrogen. The research activity of DESARC-MARESANUS project aims to study more in detail the technical and economic feasibility of the process, and the benefits for the marine sector, with a focus on the Mediterranean.
The research involves collaboration between Politecnico di Milano and the Foundation Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC) and has received the support of Amundi. CO2APPS is also collaborating at the research, as a technical partner.

24 months from 02/01/2019 to 31/12/2020
Funded by
  • Amundi SGR S.P.A.

Coordinating organization
  • CMCC - Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici

CMCC Project manager

General aims

General objectives
Promote the scientific research in the field of carbon dioxide removal techniques and combating ocean acidification

CMCC role
Contribute to the assessment of carbon dioxide removal techniques through the development of coupled physical-biogeochemical models to assess climate related impacts at the regional scale.

– Implementation of a coupled physical-biogeochemical marine model for the Mediterranean Sea with a horizontal resolution of 1/16°
– Produce a reference scenario for the Mediterranean based on the RCP4.5 climate evolution
– Simulate ocean liming disposal from commercial ships, in quantities such as to achieve the neutrality of the emissions of each route .
– Identification of areas that are particularly efficient in the removal of carbon dioxide or in contra-acting ocean acidification vs. area of inefficiency or excess alkalinisation in order to support future implementations of this carbon dioxide removal strategy.

Expected results
Analysis of the scenarios to evaluate the effectiveness of ocean liming interventions and estimate the impacts on the biogeochemical cycles of the Mediterranean Sea.


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