Eclipse

Giant kelp farms to save the world!

32 posts in this topic

Like I said, if governments are seriously looking at carbon capture and storage, planting trees is the most economic way they could do it. It's not going to remove all the carbon in the environment, it's just one way of contributing. A very cheap way. One acorn grows an oak in 200 years that removes 4 tons of carbon. And has a cash value at the end of it.

You don't have to plant over farmland, you just plant on empty land and hedgerows.

The scale is the problem here. To REALLY sequester our annual CO2 emissions would require the ENTIRE Sahara and ENTIRE Australian outback. The cost of desalinating enough water to even drip irrigate this area is enormous... and this is coming from me, a fan of the idea that has it on his blog!

https://eclipsenow.wordpress.com/green-deserts/

OK, so vat-grown meat is a thing.
But what if the feedstock is unsustainable? Could we use processed kelp as a feedstock for all our meat and chicken and turkey needs, so that we would never have to kill real live animals for protein again? Anyone know any biochemists that might work in this field?
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HI Eclipse, great links.

I agree about the scale. However, just because you can't do it all, doesn't mean you should not bother.

For instance, it's often said that you need XXX number of wind turbines, to replace fossil carbon. That's true, but it's not a reason for not using SOME wind turbines.

 

I'm reacting to what I think is a loony idea, of sequestering CO2 underground.

I think any money spent in that direction would be better spent on long-lived trees, that's all. You would fix more carbon for your money, and create a growing asset, not a liability.

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Posted (edited)

To grow Kelp in the deep ocean, you would need some kind of anchorage for it. That would have to be some floating device that supported some kind of submerged plastic netting. That would have to be extremely robust to survive a storm.

Then there's the problem of nutrients, I doubt if you could get much of a yield without some kind of upwelling.

I think it's a non-starter, on cost grounds. The infrastructure costs would be enormous, and the returns tiny.

My own suggestion for capturing carbon using the oceans would be to pump up nutrients from the sea floor to the surface.

You would then get huge plankton blooms, where once there was ocean desert. This would provide a huge increase in fish stocks, which could finance the operation, and the plankton would be producing hard shells, which would sink to the ocean floor, locking carbon in the carbonates for many thousands of years.

 

This happens naturally, wherever there is a natural upwelling. We would just be replicating that in areas of ocean desert.

Great point! If it's more energy efficient to just pump the nutrients up from the ocean floor, maybe giant solar or nuclear powered oil platforms could do this out in the deep and get the world's CO2 down that way! But which would be more economical: the traditional iron-ore fertilisation, or the deep pump?

HI Eclipse, great links.

I agree about the scale. However, just because you can't do it all, doesn't mean you should not bother.

For instance, it's often said that you need XXX number of wind turbines, to replace fossil carbon. That's true, but it's not a reason for not using SOME wind turbines.

 

I'm reacting to what I think is a loony idea, of sequestering CO2 underground.

I think any money spent in that direction would be better spent on long-lived trees, that's all. You would fix more carbon for your money, and create a growing asset, not a liability.

I think we're on the same page then. I love all tree farms, especially the longer term vision required for hardwood tree farms. Some of the before and after photos are truly inspiring.

The potential of more traditional kelp farming from the nutrient rich areas of the ocean is amazing.

 

The world’s oceans are 361.9 million km2.
2% of them are nutrient rich enough to grow kelp in.
That’s 7.2 million km2 of potential kelp farms.
But the area to feed the world only requires 180,000 km2.
So we have about 40 times the nutrient rich area to farm kelp than we need to feed the world.
Not only that, I'm currently investigating whether kelp farming could also act as a biomass feedstock for the vat-grown meats that are starting to come down in price and will soon be competitive with normal meat from animals.http://www.nextbigfuture.com/2017/02/lab-grown-meat-prices-have-dropped.html

Kelp could also be biocharred to help improve soil quality, which would reduce the water and nutrients required to grow our crops.

The bottom line? Could kelp be the silver bullet that will fertilise all our cereal crop agricultural needs and replace all our grazing needs? Could kelp give us all the seafood and wheat and rice and lamb and chicken and beef and turkey that the world could ever want, while also returning all the grazing land back to nature? (Which is a third of the non-ice surface of the earth back!) Could kelp be the silver bullet to feed the world exactly what we're enjoying now, only scaled up to 10 or 12 or 20 billion?

Edited by Eclipse
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Great point! If it's more energy efficient to just pump the nutrients up from the ocean floor, maybe giant solar or nuclear powered oil platforms could do this out in the deep and get the world's CO2 down that way! But which would be more economical: the traditional iron-ore fertilisation, or the deep pump?

I think we're on the same page then. I love all tree farms, especially the longer term vision required for hardwood tree farms. Some of the before and after photos are truly inspiring.

The potential of more traditional kelp farming from the nutrient rich areas of the ocean is amazing.

 

The world’s oceans are 361.9 million km2.
2% of them are nutrient rich enough to grow kelp in.
That’s 7.2 million km2 of potential kelp farms.
But the area to feed the world only requires 180,000 km2.
So we have about 40 times the nutrient rich area to farm kelp than we need to feed the world.
Not only that, I'm currently investigating whether kelp farming could also act as a biomass feedstock for the vat-grown meats that are starting to come down in price and will soon be competitive with normal meat from animals.http://www.nextbigfuture.com/2017/02/lab-grown-meat-prices-have-dropped.html

Kelp could also be biocharred to help improve soil quality, which would reduce the water and nutrients required to grow our crops.

The bottom line? Could kelp be the silver bullet that will fertilise all our cereal crop agricultural needs and replace all our grazing needs? Could kelp give us all the seafood and wheat and rice and lamb and chicken and beef and turkey that the world could ever want, while also returning all the grazing land back to nature? (Which is a third of the non-ice surface of the earth back!) Could kelp be the silver bullet to feed the world exactly what we're enjoying now, only scaled up to 10 or 12 or 20 billion?

 

 

If artificial upwellings could be made in ocean areas that are other wise nutrient poor would this cause algae blooms to absorb more CO2? Could air pumped to the ocean bottom be used to create these upwellings much like air is used to circulate water in aquariums and even in lakes but on a much larger scale?

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Great point! If it's more energy efficient to just pump the nutrients up from the ocean floor, maybe giant solar or nuclear powered oil platforms could do this out in the deep and get the world's CO2 down that way! But which would be more economical: the traditional iron-ore fertilisation, or the deep pump?

Probably the pump. You have to extract the iron ore from the Earth, crush it, and transport it to ships, and then sail it to the target.

And Iron ore has a market price which you are losing out on.

With a pump, you only need to overcome the friction in the pipe. A tiny amount of energy. And you could use wave motion to power the pump.

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Posted (edited)

I just watched a repeat of "Wild China" on the BBC.

It was the episode about the coast, and I'd forgotten that it contained an item about a gigantic kelp farm. There were floating supports as far as the eye can see, dangling ropes with kelp growing off them.

 

It's a traditional industry that's been going on for a long time.

Saccharina cultivation in China

Saccharina japonica (formerly Laminaria japonica) is the most important economic seaweed in China. Mariculture on artificial floating rafts started in 1952, apparently using plants from populations introduced accidentally from Japan), and production increased steadily until 1980 when the production of 200,000 dry tons (about 1,500,000 wet tons) were achieved. In the late 1980s, the cultivation area and total yield declined due to the development of shellfish culture as farmers preferred cultivating shellfish to kelp. Currently, the yield of kelp from about 200,000 acres of farms is about 250,000 dry tons from about 2,000,000 wet tons, worth about 2 billion Yuan (Dr Zi-Min Hu, pers. comm.).

Sac_japonica_bay_small.jpg

 

So it's not such a new idea. It's been going on all of my life. The economics are obviously not overwhelmingly good, or it would be taken up on a bigger scale around the world.

 

http://www.seaweed.ie/aquaculture/kelp_china.php

 

In the same episode of "Wild China" they showed the Chinese fishing for jellyfish. They are catching them in large numbers, and are eaten as a common food all over China. With the increase in plankton due to pollution and over-fishing of predators, jellyfish are booming in numbers and they are catching increasing numbers.

Another possible industry based on plankton blooms.

Edited by mistermack
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Other ideas to stop global warming:

 

- figure out how to desalinate water on a massive scale. Then use the water to irrigate deserts to grow forests.

 

- figure out how to get a volcano, of the right size and characteristics, to erupt enough to cool the climate, but not too much

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