Friday, August 04, 2017

How to Stop Climate Change with Biogas from Sea Kelp Cultivation

How farming giant seaweed can feed fish and fix the climate

Seaweeds can grow very fast – at rates more than 30 times those of land-based plants.

Because they de-acidify seawater, making it easier for anything with a shell to grow, they are also the key to shellfish production. And by drawing CO₂ out of the ocean waters (thereby allowing the oceans to absorb more CO₂ from the atmosphere) they help fight climate change.

The stupendous potential of seaweed farming as a tool to combat climate change was outlined in 2012 by the University of the South Pacific’s Dr Antoine De Ramon N’Yeurt and his team.

Their analysis reveals that if 9% of the ocean were to be covered in seaweed farms, the farmed seaweed could produce 12 gigatonnes per year of biodigested methane which could be burned as a substitute for natural gas.

The seaweed growth involved would capture 19 gigatonnes of CO₂. A further 34 gigatonnes per year of CO₂ could be taken from the atmosphere if the methane is burned to generate electricity and the CO₂ generated captured and stored.

This, they say:

…could produce sufficient biomethane to replace all of today’s needs in fossil-fuel energy, while removing 53 billion tonnes of CO₂ per year from the atmosphere… This amount of biomass could also increase sustainable fish production to potentially provide 200 kilograms per year, per person, for 10 billion people. Additional benefits are reduction in ocean acidification and increased ocean primary productivity and biodiversity.

Nine per cent of the world’s oceans is not a small area. It is equivalent to about four and a half times the area of Australia.

But even at smaller scales, kelp farming has the potential to substantially lower atmospheric CO₂, and this realisation has had an energising impact on the research and commercial development of sustainable aquaculture.

But kelp farming is not solely about reducing CO₂. In fact, it is being driven, from a commercial perspective, by sustainable production of high-quality protein.How farming giant seaweed can feed fish and fix the climate via How farming giant seaweed can feed fish and fix the climate - Reddit: Futurology

Now, I am taking a bit of licence here by including this summary because the author is using the term biomethane as being synonymous with biogas (as most people do in India - the commentator is an Indian Academic), however if, rather than using this energy as electricity it was used to provide CNG (compressed natural gas) also called liquefied renewable natural gas (RNG) it would be even more effective in reducing climate change.

The above is a Reddit comment which summarises the following article:

Bren Smith, an ex-industrial trawler man, operates a farm in Long Island Sound, near New Haven, Connecticut.

Fish are not the focus of his new enterprise, but rather kelp and high-value shellfish. The seaweed and mussels grow on floating ropes, from which hang baskets filled with scallops and oysters. via

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100 Practical Ways to Reverse Climate Change - National Geographic
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