Global scale carbon removal and sequestration method

By Geoffrey peel. 

 Introduction:

The views expressed in this proposal are those of the author alone.

The following are my thoughts and method of removing gigatons of CO2 from the South Pacific Ocean. Reducing not only the acidity of the ocean but also reducing atmospheric CO2.

Your opinion on this proposal is important, please leave a comment or a like.

THE FIX .

                                          A vast free floating kelp forest eco-system.

kelp buoy rotated with paint

Abstract: The photo above: The kelp buoy on the left has been sectioned to show minerals in the lower chamber.

floating kelp Proposed: Free-floating, open ocean kelp forests.        A vast CO2 gas conversion and CO2 sequestration sponge.97_Floating kelp   Photo by Kim Westerskov

The South Pacific Ocean Desert.

The area of the South Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and South America is at present ocean desert. In fact, it is the world’s largest ocean desert at around 37 million square km. It is far from any landmass and a lack of dust and minerals means there is very little life to be found. Growing a free floating kelp forest ecosystem in this area would transform it from a desert into a teeming mass of life as well as providing Carbon sequestration on a truly massive scale. I suggest that every kelp plant grown in this forest could be free-floating and attached to its own simple bamboo buoy, ( The Peel Technique ).

Growing the free floating kelp forest in this desert would remove giga-tons of CO2 and reduce the acidity of the water.

How would the approach work?. Vast forests of both bamboo and kelp will be required.  Land based bamboo plantations would be used to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, produce oxygen and restore degraded lands. The bamboo plantations would also supply the kelp buoy production factories with the bamboo that they require. The bamboo buoys would be used to assist young kelp plants to float in deep ocean waters. The buoys would also carry the minerals that the growing kelp plants require to survive.bamboo

truck loaded with bamboo

Photo above: A truck loaded with bamboo suitable for kelp buoy manufacturing.

How would the kelp buoy’s be constructed?kelp buoy rotated with paint

The photo above: The kelp buoy on the left has been sectioned to show minerals in the lower chamber.

Plantations of non-invasive clumping bamboo would be grown into large poles. To fabricate a single kelp buoy, cut a long pole into short sections, so each short section has two chambers. The top chamber becomes a float and the lower chamber is filled with minerals for the growing plants. Roughen up the surface of the bottom section to allow the kelp plant to grip the bamboo. Drill a 30 mm hole into both sides of the lower chamber and pump in the minerals and leave them to set. Leave the holes open to allow seawater to flow in and flow out. 

How would the kelp growing process work?.  I suggest that once prepared the bamboo buoys would be shipped by bulk carriers from all over the globe. At selected points off the Otago coast of New Zealand, the freighters would rendezvous with tender vessels and the juvenile kelp, transferred onto the freighters. cargo vessel

Automated machines unloading the freighters would attach the juvenile kelp and then discharge the kelp buoys into the ocean.   The bamboo buoys and young kelp would then be carried east by the currents toward South America.

ocean currents  On their long sea voyage, the kelp plants would grow and gather up into large kelp paddies or long ribbons depending on the currents and the wind. I suggest that as they travel small trace element amounts of minerals would leach from each of the kelp buoys, the leaching minerals would be shared with other kelp plants and phytoplankton. I consider this a better approach than wholesale ocean fertilization as there would only be enough minerals to supply the kelp plants with the necessities of life and also to encourage the growth of phytoplankton in a controllable manner. The minerals always being close to the plants. The encouragement of phytoplankton growth, would support an entire ecosystem from zooplankton up to whales. This phytoplankton growth would be concentrated around the growing kelp. The kelp giving shelter and shade.        

kelp paddyNutrients from bird, fish and whale waste plus decaying organic matter would also feed the growing ecosystem. Once a kelp plant and it’s bamboo buoy sink to the ocean floor, marine snow from the teeming mass of life far above would eventually cover the kelp and bamboo, locking up the carbon that they were made from. This would effectively remove the carbon from the carbon cycle. As more kelp and bamboo sink, more carbon would be locked away, this would allow more carbon from the atmosphere to be absorbed by the ocean and so the process would be repeated over and over.

Standard ocean fertilization.

Standard ocean fertilization as conducted in scientific tests so far is the intentional adding of soluble iron or fertilizers into or onto the ocean’s surface water. This does encourage plankton growth in the form of algae blooms, these blooms can grow to enormous sizes and be seen from space. Unfortunately little of the carbon from these algae blooms may reach the ocean floor as the phytoplankton are eaten by zooplankton before they can descend to the depths of the ocean. Fish, in turn, eat the zooplankton and much of the carbon ends up as fish poo. This means that some or a lot of the carbon may re-enter the atmosphere or stay in the surface waters. Using the system that I am describing means most of the carbon will or should reach the ocean floor as there is little chance of zooplankton eating a sinking kelp plant and a waterlogged bamboo buoy as they descend into the abyss. 

Proposed:  South Pacific marine park.                                                                                                         I propose that the entire South Pacific Ocean, urgently becomes a marine park. Establishing this marine park would signal a turning point in saving our planet and ensure that biodiversity in this area has some chance of surviving. Once fully functioning, this ecosystem would become a vast tool to slow down the rates of climate change, ocean acidity and rising sea levels. Due to the devastating circumstances that we are facing and the very small window in time that is available I strongly suggest that the South Pacific Marine Park be set up. Once temperatures are too high it will be too late.proposed 2nd marine park   A signed global treaty would be needed to give complete protection to this area. I suggest that this protected area be to the high tide mark of all shore lines within or any shorelines that are bordering the park and that a co-operative of all the countries within or bordering the Park control the operations Ongoing employment, associated with the marine park, would compensate for not being able to exploit the natural environment. This would be such things as, Aquaculture. Tourism. Management. Scientific monitoring. Logistics. Supplies. Shipping. Maintenance. Accommodation. The growing of bamboo and juvenile kelp.                       ( Photo’s: Modern bio-fuel plants ). Biofuelethanol plant

The harvesting of kelp. The production of bio fuel’s, kelp extract, fertilizers and fish food. Inspectors, rangers. Pest management. Re-establishing ecosystems etc. I suggest that the countries of the South Pacific Marine Park continue to have the same territorial waters but would need to commit to the marine parks rules of operation.    

Harvesting kelp.  Fragile ecosystem’s exist in the waters of Chile and Peru so I imagine that constant removal of the kelp would be needed in some area’s. Plastic polluted kelp and kelp drifting into sensitive areas would need to be harvested. Once separated from the plastic’s the kelp could be used for bio-fuels, fertiliser, food for fish and abalone farms etc. It isn’t hard to imagine these industries becoming the largest employers in Peru and Chile in the very near future. These harvesting ships, processing plants and the aquaculture facilities would replace jobs from the defunct fishing industry and would be more stable and sustainable employment in the long-term. Continuous Scientific monitoring of the ecosystem, seabed and the atmosphere would be needed and ongoing. 

The scale of the operation and PH / water acidity.

I suggest that the scale of the operation and the locking away of the carbon would equate to having many more Amazon rain forests to help in our battle to save our planet.  Restoring the PH of the ocean water would greatly benefit all marine life, specially crustaceans and corals. I also suggest that this would be particularly beneficial to the Coral reefs and islands in the south Pacific and the great barrier reef as restored surface water would travel back from the kelp growing region with the Humboldt (Peru), equatorial and then the east Australian currents before travelling across the Tasman sea to the west coast of New Zealand.

To save our oceans is to save ourselves.

 Our oceans are a living breathing world that have in the past supplied us with 70% of our oxygen. Warming water, ocean acidity, fishing and pollution, they are all taking their toll. Surly the warming of the oceans waters, the increasing acidity, the plastic pollution and the removal of 80 million tonnes of fish annually from the oceans is the worst type of geo-engineering that is imaginable.      If these things are not restored very shortly it will spell the end of most life in our ocean’s.                                   

Benefits of the South Pacific Marine Park and growing the floating kelp forest ecosystem.

  1. The removal of bulk CO2 from the atmosphere and the oceans. This will help to reduce the green house effect and acidification of the oceans.
  2. The addition of more oxygen being absorbed into the ocean’s surface water and into the atmosphere.
  3. Floating kelp can not be attacked by sea urchins so the plants should grow fast and be healthy.
  4. Marine life and sea-bird numbers will increase. 
  5. Kelp growing on the surface would give a layer of shading to the water, reducing water temperatures. This would help oxygen to be absorbed into the water and would also help with the mixing of different ocean level layers.
  6. Reducing surface water temperatures also helps with coral, kelp and plankton growth.
  7. Cooling atmospheric and surface water temperatures reduces storms and ice melt. This would reduce rising sea levels.
  8. Stopping rising sea levels, stops the flooding of low-level land. Pacific Islands, Shanghai, London, New York, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, Osaka, the list is very long.  
  9. All countries of the world would greatly benefit from the South Pacific Marine Park.
  10. The employment of large numbers of people involved in the marine park, both directly and indirectly. 
  11. Working together will lighten the burden of climate change.
  12. Summary: (In a nut shell), If we work together, create the South Pacific Marine Park along with reforestation/ bamboo and sensible aquaculture, we have a slim chance of saving ourselves and the worlds oceans. All good reasons.
  13. ( It will also be necessary in the foreseeable future that the Southern Ocean and the Arctic Circle be converted into kelp growing regions.) Along with the South Pacific Ocean these additional areas will also need to become marine parks.

Aquaculture in the South Pacific Marine Park. musselsPhoto above by Darryl Torckler.

I suggest that a massive effort to fast track land and ocean based aquaculture be encouraged and supported though out the marine park and that aquaculture be permitted as far as 12 nautical miles from any coast. I also suggest that no fish meal from wild fisheries be used in these aquaculture industries. A two stage system will be needed. The primary growing feed to supply the aquaculture industry and the secondary stage raising marine life as food for the human population and to replenish the depleted wild fish stocks. Infrastructure, research, development and Education will need major funding from the international community.  

Intensive care treatment. Our planet is gravely ill. It needs urgent and on going intensive care treatment. At least 500 years of intense treatment, rehabilitation, finance and commitment will be required just to stabilise it. To make a start on this treatment I suggest that fossil fuel taxes be collected directly from the company’s that extract these fossil fuels, this could provide funding in the short-term. I suggest that if the South Pacific Marine Park were to be established, 30% – 40% of the kelp could be harvested. The production of kelp products could go along way to covering the costs of running the marine park, maybe the kelp products could cover all of the costs?.

To whom it may concern,  I am gifting my kelp buoy design and my idea’s to the people of the South Pacific and the world. Please feel free to use them as time is short. 

Please forward this link on to others.  https://southpacificmarinepark.com/

Contact: Geoffrey Peel    g.peel(at)xtra.co.nz

https://www.facebook.com/groups/696407157470483/


A better system than 100% re-forestation.

By Geoffrey peel.

Re-forestation, if planting rain forests for example sounds good at face value as it is restoring the environment but unfortunately it would probably not lock away enough carbon to turn around the climate, also the carbon from these forests can easily re-enter the atmosphere. By Growing bamboo on degraded land and harvest only 1/10 of this bamboo per year, a large number of kelp buoy’s and subsequently a large number of kelp plants can be grown. A single bamboo pole can make a minimum of four kelp buoys, so a single bamboo pole, can grow a minimum of four kelp plants, include the bamboo buoy into the equation and the number is five. What this means is that every year and year after year you can grow and lock up carbon four to five times the volume, that could be achieved by growing forests or bamboo on land alone. This is why I feel that this is a better system than 100% reforestation, once a land based forest is planted you have no further option’s for locking away any more carbon. The system that I am describing can run indefinitely, unlike 100% re-forestation.

Another potential benefit of using the system that I am describing, could be an important product made by mixing dry shredded kelp with waste bamboo fibers from the kelp buoy factory’s. This combined kelp and bamboo product could be used to bind and fertilize sands and degraded soils and it could aid in reclaiming land from desertification.

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A new report by INBAR, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.      https://www.inbar.int/

INBAR has long promoted the benefits of bamboo as a tool for land restoration. With its long root systems, ability to grow on degraded soils and steep slopes, and extremely fast growth, bamboo can revegetate even the most degraded soils within a short period. For these reasons, an increasing number of countries have begun to identify and explicitly include bamboo as a high priority species for use in landscape restoration.


Related Article

Seaweed could be scrubbing way more carbon from the atmosphere than we expected

By Sarah Bedolfe

Climate Change

Seaweed, like this toothed wrack, could be an unexpected ally in the climate change fight.

Photo Credit: Oceana / Juan Cuetos

If you’ve ever eaten sushi, you know that seaweed goes great with rice and fish. But recent research suggests that seaweed is more than just a culinary partner — it could be an overlooked ally in the fight against climate change. By dying and drifting down to the deep sea, seaweeds like kelp may sequester more carbon than all other marine plants combined.

That’s a big deal, because saltwater plants like mangroves and seagrasses are well-known dynamos when it comes to storing carbon. Per acre, these “blue carbon” ecosystems can take up 20 times more CO2 from the atmosphere than land-based forests. The secret to their carbon-storing success lies not in the plants, but in the rich muck they grow in. As marine plants grow and die, their leaves, roots, stems and branches wind up buried in underwater sediments. These low-oxygen sediments can store carbon for decades or longer.

Seaweeds, on the other hand, were long ignored as a carbon sink. These algae grow on rocky surfaces where their fronds can’t be buried in soil or sediment. Some species even have air bladders that make them less likely to sink. Seaweed cells are soft and easy to digest, so they are more likely to be eaten by animals or broken down by bacteria. Digestion or decomposition releases seaweeds’ stored carbon back into the air or water, where it reacts with oxygen to become CO2.

But a study published in Nature Geoscience found that our assumptions about seaweed could be wrong. The study estimated that about 11 percent of total seaweed production may be sequestered, most of it after it sinks down into the deep sea.

That might not sound like a lot. But seaweeds are incredibly efficient when it comes to sucking carbon up and using it to grow. Kelp, for example, can shoot up by as much as two feet each day.

“It’s a small percent, but it’s a small percent of a very large number,” said Carlos Duarte, a biologist at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and one of the study’s authors. The total production by seaweeds is so large that even if just a small fraction is sequestered, it’s “enough to be globally relevant.”

All in all, super-powered seaweeds could sequester around 173 million metric tons (190 million tons) of carbon each year, about as much as the annual emissions of the state of New York. These numbers are just estimates right now. Duarte and his colleagues plan to conduct field research to get hard data on the sequestration potential of sinking seaweed.

Sonja Smith, a marine biologist who studies how nutrients move through ocean ecosystems, was surprised to learn that the carbon in seaweed could be getting stored in the deep sea.  “We assumed it mostly cycles back,” she said. “So if a lot of deep sea carbon originates from kelp, that would be amazing.”

Because kelp forests and other seaweed habitats sequester carbon, Duarte said, they should be considered for “blue carbon” efforts that aim to protect and restore carbon-rich marine ecosystems.  Alarmingly, between one quarter and one half of coastal plant habitats have been lost over the last 50 years, and rising temperatures are already shifting the boundaries of kelp forests.

“These findings add one more dimension to the need to protect kelps and seaweed ecosystems,” Duarte said. “When we lose kelp we don’t only lose habitat that is a significant for many species, but we also lose an important carbon sink.”


9 thoughts on “Global scale carbon removal and sequestration method

  1. I just stumbled upon this idea after looking into the carbon capturing ability of kelp. Just found out about greenwave.org and believe kelp and 3D ocean farming to hold many solutions to our large problems. I would love to hear of any progress with this large idea of yours, Geoffrey. Thanks for your large scale thinking. Will it never wash ashore because of the circular current? What about under large wind events? John

    Like

    1. Hi John,
      To answer your question about progress, very little so far.
      The South Pacific Ocean is obviously dying before our eyes and it will die if we let it. The question is, do we let it die or do we save it?.
      The days of collecting shell fish, commercial fishing, customary fishing rights, recreational fishing and the aquaculture industry are nearly over, because ocean acidification and warming temperatures don’t care about them.
      They are in their twilight years and will be gone in the blink of an eye, simply dissolved into the warm acidic waters.
      I do believe that there is a small chance to turn this around by making the South Pacific Ocean into a Marine Park and by growing a vast free floating kelp forest ecosystem. This would hopefully reduce the acidity of the water enough to save it.
      I can not say what will or will not wash ashore because I don’t know, most of the kelp and buoys should stay in the gyre.
      Learn as you go would be my advice and harvest kelp from problem area’s.
      We need long term united and stable commitment and not short term greed to save the South Pacific Ocean.
      The question is: are human beings capable of doing this?.

      Regards,
      Geoffrey.

      Like

  2. Please help me convince Cornwall Marine Bodies of the benefits of kelp growing in large quantities, they are concerned about it destroying other eco-systems but I think your pros outweigh any loss plus which I believe the kelp was extensive here at one point so it would just be restoring eco-systems in my mind. I am keen to (this week) float some bamboo to pick up spores over the next 4 weeks to then develop kelp in river estuaries before placing around other kelp beds, attach to mussel beds and identify other areas to grow it, plus floating forests would be a solution, just need a more science based person to propose/argue for it.

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    1. Hi Kate,
      Good on you. Start small and ramp it up. It will be too late to do anything once 90% of marine life has died, now that’s destroying other ecosystems. Please let me know if your spores take. If not there is information on techniques for growing kelp from spores on the net.

      Like

  3. In Oregon we would like to promote offshore wind. Area could also be used to grow kelp and even abalone. Kelp fed to cows reduces methane. Dulse is a great protein source for humans and grows really fast. So sequester to the bottom of the ocean, eat it, feed it to cattle.. all reduce carbon. And of course Wind energy reduces CO2 from gas and oil.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. I think that is the ocean foundation and Brian Von Herzen. They have a good method of growing kelp on floating bamboo arrays or rafts anchored to the sea bed. The kelp plants are attached to the raft and nutrients pumped up from the deep using wave powered pumps. Personally I feel that as good as this approach is for sheltered areas, it has many limitations, such as suitable locations and very high maintenance requirements. I feel the limitations rule it out for meaning full global scale co2 removal. On the other hand the rafts would be very useful as habitat for many near shore marine spices.

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