Two British architects at University College, London, are among those behind the Future Venice project.
Rachel Armstrong, from UCL's Bartlett School of Architecture, explained the "protocell" technology.
She said: "This technology is based on the chemistry of oil and water and has the special property of transforming carbon dioxide into a limestone-like substance."
The globules would form "solid pearls" of artificial limestone that could protect buildings from future damage, she argued.
If they could direct the oil to form carbonate deposits at their bases, this would distribute the load and slow or stop the sinking, he said.
The architects argue it could be an alternative to the current plan to install a series of steel floodgates to control tidal movements in the lagoon surrounding Venice.
Since being built the city, famous for its canals, has suffered from rising damp and the threat of being swamped by the sea. Scientists fear that rising sea levels caused by global warming will exacerbate the problem in coming decades.
However, Armstrong cautioned that the technology was only at the laboratory stage and would not be ready for three to five years.
The Future Venice project is being launched at a meeting in London on Friday.