Climate Change and Carbon Dioxide Removal
Why are you working on Ocean Based Carbon Dioxide Removal?
We need a plethora of different solutions all working in parallel towards the shared goal of planetary CDR. For us, it’s not about competing with other technologies. If we try and fail, but other people succeed…. Then we all win.
If we all fail or not enough of us succeed, then we will all fail. That is the simple reality.
We need to remove around 10 gigatonnes every single year to remain below 2 degrees of warming, and there are terrifyingly few methods that have a chance of working.
We believe ocean based Carbon Dioxide Removal is without doubt one of the most scaleable pathways available to us.
Our reasons are pretty simple. Whilst we obsess about the predominantly two dimensional terrestrial environment in which we live, it is the three dimensional oceans that cover 70% of the planet’s surface and drive all the essential natural global cycles.
Plunging to depths of thousands of metres, there is space galore. Ocean based activities do not place additional burdens on overstretched terrestrial land. Space is at a premium on land and with rising sea levels, this will worsen.
The oceans have already been buffering and mitigating against increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. They have been absorbing it and masking the scale of the problem since the industrial revolution1.
They have also offered us a solution: the deep ocean is incredibly isolated from the surface ocean, which means its carbon cycle works in a different way2. Carbon that heads down to the deepest darkest depths of our oceans doesn’t come back up any time soon. It’s locked away for thousands of years, at least. Ultimately, it could become part of fossil deposits. The irony should not be lost on us. The deep oceans have been the true heroes of carbon dioxide removal since before humans, mammals and even land plants evolved: they are home to tens of trillions of tonnes of carbon, which dwarfs that of the terrestrial world.
That is why we believe that ocean based Carbon Dioxide Removal is one of the best available: we are increasing a natural, geological process that has been taking place for hundreds of millions of years. The difference is, we are using 21st century technologies (satellite monitoring, robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning) to improve the efficiency of the process so we can quickly, safely and sustainably remove the carbon dioxide that is damaging our surface environment.
Seaweed Generation utilises seaweed. And only seaweed. Nothing else. We do not add anything to the deep ocean that doesn’t already sink there naturally, we increase the amount. We take lots and lots of unwanted, problematic seaweed (see our section on Sargassum) which has grown using the sun’s rays and nutrients scavenged from the environment, and we sink them.
Whilst we would love to claim that Seaweed Generation has come up with an ingenious, innovative and unique solution for Carbon Dioxide Removal, we can’t. We are simply imitating the natural world. Ocean based Carbon Dioxide Removal isn’t new. It is driven by the sun and is entirely natural and it is very scaleable. Because of this, it is simply the best opportunity for Carbon Dioxide Removal out there. In our opinion.
Global ocean storage of anthropogenic carbon (Biogeosciences) ↩
Review of Chemical Oceanography (Third Edition) (Oceanography) ↩