Lab grown algae could reduce world temperatures

Lab grown algae could reduce world temperatures
Algae in the water

Lab-grown algae could cut greenhouse gas emissions, slowing global warming. Growing algae would be a less destructive approach to cutting greenhouse gas emissions, than Europe’s foolish policy of subsidizing the burning of wood pellets. Burning wood pellets produces more greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels, yet it is promoted by Europe’s renewable energy mandates, which promote using biomass in the name of fighting climate change.

An environmental news source argues that lab-grown algae could be a solution to climate change:

The oceans play a crucial role in tempering the effects of climate change by serving as a critical carbon sink, absorbing vast amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2). Algae is an invaluable contributor to this process as its responsible for one-fifth of the global carbon cycle. These photosynthetic plant-like organisms are up to 50 times more efficient at trapping CO2 than terrestrial flora per unit area and grow exceptionally fast under the right conditions….A key player in this market is Brilliant Planet, a UK-based climate technology company that aims to harness the power of marine algae to remove emissions by the gigaton…Brilliant Planet replicates the natural algal coastal blooms that sustain marine ecosystems –– albeit on land…the company has devised a method to exponentially cultivate the organisms, commencing in a laboratory beaker and culminating in 12,000-square-meter pools of locally sourced seawater…the process emulates natural algae bloom, with a single test tube of algae proliferating to occupy 16 of these extensive pools—equivalent to 77 Olympic-sized swimming pools—in just 30 days.

The first step to emulating and enhancing this natural process is to grow an algal “starter” batch under highly controlled environmental conditions in the lab. In Brilliant Planet’s case, this means growing the monoculture in its seven-acre pilot site in Akhfennir, Morocco, a tranquil coastal desert town. After its incubation in the lab, the algae is transitioned to a semi-enclosed greenhouse, where it can grow exponentially while adapting to the local environment. The organisms are then transferred to expansive outdoor ponds, where nearly 90% of the total growth takes place. With the help of wind power, Brilliant Planet pumps nutrient-rich seawater into these open-air ponds, nurturing the microalgae until they reach harvest readiness.

Back to the lab. Advanced filtration technology enables Brilliant Planet to harvest a concentrated seaweed ‘slurry,’ while the filtered seawater is safely reintegrated into the ocean after undergoing de-acidification. Finally, the algae biomass is solar-dried and permanently buried underground, a process that securely locks away the carbon for millennia. Thanks to its high salt content and other properties that counteract degradation, the carbon-loaded material maintains exceptional stability over time.

The entire process is powered by seawater and sunlight, enabling Brilliant Plant to capitalize on a highly efficient, nature-driven system with minimal input year-round….“Algae are the unsung heroes of carbon removal,” Taylor explains. “Algae are inherently more efficient carbon removal machines than terrestrial plants as they don’t need to waste biological resources on building a supporting infrastructure of trunks, roots and branches –– their entire surface area is dedicated to photosynthesis.”…

Brilliant Planet says that its facilities capture 30 times more carbon per year than an equivalent area of forest, all without encroaching on arable land (the company has pinpointed approximately 500,000 square kilometers of space around the globe where it can host its algae pools). And by allowing photosynthesis to do the hard work of carbon removal, Brilliant Planet says its energy and overhead costs are kept to a minimum. Compared to other carbon dioxide removal (CDR) strategies on the market like Direct Air Capture, Taylor says his company can sequester CO2 for around one-tenth of the price.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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