As custodians of the planet we have a responsibility towards its preservation and protection. But excess human-made atmospheric CO2, the acidification of the oceans and the resulting destruction of marine ecosystems are just some of the areas where urgent action is needed to reverse the damage we have done.
At Kelp Blue, we’re optimists and know action is possible. By planting large scale Kelp Forests we can both restore the natural ocean wilderness, and capture carbon and throw away the key, keeping it locked away forever.
How does kelp permanently sequester C02?
Kelp is one of the fastest growing organisms on the planet and can grow up to 60 cm in a day and reach lengths of up to 40 meters. To fuel this rapid growth, kelp performs photosynthesis. Through this process, carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and converted and stored (“sequestered”) into various parts of the organism (the stipe, the fronds, the bladders, the holdfast etc).
Kelp continuously releases organic material, some of which is minuscule and dissolves in water, called Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC), and some larger material not able to dissolve in water. Any part of the kelp that breaks off and in size is larger than a pinhead is called Particulate Organic Carbon (POC).
DOC released by the kelp is immediately consumed by microbes or is transported out to sea where it sinks to the bottom of the ocean floor. Because the bottom of the ocean is unlikely to be disturbed and has very little human contact, the risk of the carbon being released is effectively zero, it can therefore be considered “permanently sequestered”
Still more carbon finds itself locked away in the bottom of the ocean when parts of the kelp become detached. These fragments, or POC, travel out to sea – sometimes thousands of kilometers. Eventually the kelp’s gas-filled bladders burst, and the kelp detritus sinks to the ocean floor where it remains. As with POC, this carbon is sequestered in the deep sea and is unlikely ever to be unlocked.
How does carbon sequestration by kelp forests compare to other forms of deliberate carbon sequestration?
Common methods of deliberate carbon sequestration include :
- Terrestrial sequestration: e.g. establishing new forests, wetlands or grasslands
- Long term effectiveness is debatable due to the high chance of the carbon being freed again through fires, de-forestation and forest degradation.
- Requires land which could otherwise be used for agriculture, housing, industry or infrastructure
- Geological sequestration which involves capturing the CO2 from from fossil fuel plant emissions and piping it into deep subterranean formations of porous rock.
- Amounts of carbon able to be sequestered in this way are still very small
- Ocean sequestration focused on cultivating seaweeds, seagrass meadows, tidal marshes, and mangroves.
- High risk of carbon being re-released into the air through human activity or other forms of disturbance.
Because we grow kelp forests in deep water, we reduce the risks associated with shallow water and coastline cultivation.
We’ve teamed up with The Kelp Forest Foundation to ensure the science and proof is there to support the carbon sequestration and biodiversity claims. The Kelp Forest Foundation aims to develop the framework for issuing verified Blue Carbon Credits for cultivated giant kelp forests.
Kelp is an ecosystem engineer. An ecosystem engineer is any organism that creates and maintains a habitat and as such, has an enormous impact on biodiversity. Kelp forests provide habitats for innumerable marine organisms. Many fish species use kelp forests as nurseries for their young, while seabirds and marine mammals like sea lions and grey whales use kelp forests to shelter from predators and storms.
Our Solution is:
– Kelp captures and helps sequester CO2, reversing ocean acidification
– Kelp forests attract and protect marine life
– We will create jobs in coastal communities, producing beneficial products and profit for our investors.
– Kelp naturally grows at sea and is self-sufficient
– No pesticides or fertilisers are needed and no non-biodegradable waste is produced
– It has no adverse effect on the environment and requires no land which could otherwise be used for agriculture, housing, industry or infrastructure
– When done at scale, Kelp can be easily grown and harvested multiple times per year at minimal cost
– Namibia offers ideal growing conditions
– Once planted, Kelp will keep producing and growing for many years