Direct Experiments on the
Ocean Disposal of Fossil Fuel CO2

Peter G. Brewer, Gernot Friederich and Edward T. Peltzer
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
P.O. Box 628, Moss Landing, CA 95039-0628 USA

Franklin M. Orr, Jr.
School of Earth Sciences, Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305 USA

Science (1999) 284: 943-945.

Received: 29 December 1998.
Accepted: 6 April 1999.
Published: 7 May 1999.


Field experiments were conducted to test ideas for fossil fuel carbon dioxide ocean disposal as a solid hydrate at depths ranging from 349 to 3627 meters and from 8° to 1.6°C. Hydrate formed instantly from the gas phase at 349 meters, but then decomposed rapidly in ambient seawater. At 3627 meters, the seawater-carbon dioxide interface rose rapidly due to massive hydrate formation, forcing spill over of the liquid CO2 from the container. A strong barrier between the liquid carbon dioxide and interaction with the sediments was observed. A pool of liquid carbon dioxide on the sea floor would expand in volume more than 4 times, forming hydrate, which will dissolve.

Images and QuickTime® movies of the overflow events are posted along with other supplementary material at:


Supported by a grant to MBARI from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. We thank the MBARI engineers, ROV pilots, and ship's crews, for their skilled support.

This page was last updated on 19 November 1999.