Stage 3: Proof of Concept
Increasing concentrations of CO2 in the air and oceans are changing the chemistry of our ecosystems and causing warming/ acidification of oceans. We are dependent on our oceans which cover 70% of Earth’s surface and contain 97% of our water. Meanwhile fresh water supplies are declining. We need to restore these sustems and grow more biomass (Fish, shellfish—all the biodiversity) in our oceans to reduce pressure on land with a growing global population. Biodiverse systems are resilient.
The goal is to remove CO2 from surface waters where the ocean absorbs it from the air (26% since the industrial age). If scaled, this will lower concentrations in air. Macroalgae (seaweed) is approximately 30% carbon. There are two pathways. 1. If we farm it, we are accelerating the removal of CO2 in surface waters as we harvest the additional biomass, and/or 2. If we remove excess algae, resulting from excess nutrient pollution running off land, (that will soon beach), we are helping impacted Caribbean economies, as tourists don’t want seaweed on the beach.
Farming of seaweed can not scale with aquaculture gear in the water. It will entangke marine species; it’s expensive; and it’s at risk in storms. Instead we copy Nature and use a floating alga that does not require equipment. We locate the plants by remote sensing. We understand the currents through oceanography (10 years analysis), and we can predict travel through particle tracking. The last task is to determine where we will store the carbon: in building products, in soils, at the bottom of the ocean. Our chemists are working on this this year.