This is CDR is an ongoing series of online events to explore the range of carbon dioxide removal solutions that are currently being developed. This week, we welcome Dr. Catherine Jadot and Dr. David Koweek of Ocean Visions, a research consortium that links universities, NGOs, and other institutions with a stake in ocean-based CDR.
According to Dr. Jadot, Ocean Visions is focusing on three main classes of ocean-based CDR tech: microalgae cultivation, alkalinity enhancement, and electrochemical. The first involves growing vast microalgae farms in the ocean and sequestering CO2 in the resulting biomass. The second aims to accelerate a natural process where rain reacts with rock dust to capture CO2 and eventually deposit it on the ocean floor; you can learn more about potential rock-dust-based CDR solutions here. A closely related third idea involves electrochemically separating ocean water into acidic and basic solutions, then returning the basic solution to the ocean to increase its alkalinity and thereby its capacity to store CO2.
Beyond researching these nascent technologies, Ocean Visions also works on communication–trying to make ocean-based CDR broadly understood to unlock additional investment and public support. Dr. Koweek points out that the vast majority of carbon in our ecosystem is stored not in the atmosphere, but as organic carbon in the oceans–and that 71 percent of the planet’s surface area is ocean. A third, subtler point in favor of ocean CDR: CO2 stored in the ocean is never going to catch on fire, unlike CO2 stored via land-based solutions like planting trees. So in looking for CDR solutions, the ocean isn’t a bad place to start. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Episode 4 of This is CDR above, and be sure to visit Ocean Visions’ handsomely designed website, which has a ton of interesting information about their work. Thanks again to Drs. Jadot and Koweek for joining us!