WE STARTED KELP BLUE TO HELP REPAIR THE PLANET.
KELP HAS THE POTENTIAL TO DRAW DOWN MORE CO2 THAN TERRESTRIAL FORESTS
As custodians of the planet we have a responsibility towards its preservation and protection. But excess human-made atmospheric CO, 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 Giant Kelp Forests, we can both restore the natural ocean wilderness, while capturing excess CO2 from the atmosphere.
How does kelp STORE AND permanently sequester C02?
Giant Kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) is one of the fastest growing organisms on the planet and with optimal conditions can grow up to 60 cm (2 ft) in a day and reach lengths of up to 45 meters (150ft). Kelp is a type of brown seaweed and like land-based plants, uses the process of photosynthesis to grow. In this process, kelp absorbs sunlight, CO2, and nutrients to store in its tissues like its blades, stipes, and fronds. The amount of carbon stored in the kelp’s biomass is expressed as Net Primary Productivity (NPP).
As Kelp grows, it 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.
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”.
Any part of the kelp that breaks off and in size is larger than a pinhead is called Particulate Organic Carbon (POC). This could be the fronds that the kelp continuously sheds.
These fronds have gas bladders called pneumatocysts and gives them the ability to drift- sometimes thousands of kilometers. Eventually the kelp’s gas-filled bladders burst, and the kelp detritus sinks to deeper waters or gets buried in ocean sediments. One study concluded that natural seaweed ecosystems already sequester approximately 173 million metric ton of carbon annually. This study also estimates that 43% of the kelp forests’ carbon will be exported from the ecosystem in these two forms, DOC and POC and that approximately 9-11% of the Net Primary Productivity of kelp forests will be stored permanently in the ocean’s deeper layers and sediments.
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.
Not only can giant kelp forests sequester significant amounts of carbon into marine sediments and the deep ocean, Giant Kelp is also known to be an ecosystem engineer – meaning that, as a keystone species, they can play a critical role in their environment, and they provide important ecosystem function and habitat for biodiversity. 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. Kelp also provide benefits as it reduces local acidity of the surrounding waters, raises oxygen levels, and improves water conditions.
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 also aims to quantify the ecosystem services of giant kelp, the avoided emissions of kelp based products as well as the quantification of the positive benefits of kelp based products used for agriculture.
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 beneficial:
- 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.
Our solution is sustainable:
- 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
Our solution is practical:
- 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