Substantial financial resources have been allocated for marine carbon dioxide removal via the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Sensing Exports of Anthropogenic Carbon through Ocean Observation (SEA-CO2) program.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced on October 26th $36 million for 11 projects across 8 states that will accelerate the development of marine carbon dioxide removal (mCDR) capture and storage technologies. The projects will support novel efforts to identify cost-effective and energy-efficient carbon removal solutions and measure, report, and validate marine carbon removal.
“Reaching President Biden’s ambitious decarbonization goals and avoiding the worst impacts of climate change will require a wide range of innovative climate solutions, from common-sense approaches like improving energy efficiency to novel applications like utilizing the ocean’s natural carbon removal abilities to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from the atmosphere,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.
The Sensing Exports of Anthropogenic Carbon through Ocean Observation (SEA-CO2) program was launched in 2023 with a focus on advancing capabilities in scalable Measurement, Reporting and Validation (MRV) technologies. The advancement of marine carbon sensor technologies, chemical oceanographic sensing, modeling, and data characterization are needed to ensure the successful removal of emissions via the ocean.
If carbon markets are to provide the climate benefits they are created for, they need to robustly allocate the investments that will deliver the actual removal of historic emissions and actual prevention of greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere in the first place. They also need to provide correctly valued quantity and quality of carbon removals if they are to be trusted and thus used in the net zero economy.
Some of the 11 teams that were announced to receive funding to create new and appropriately scaled sensors and models that will quantify the effectiveness of mCDR techniques are:
- University of Colorado – it will develop a system of optical underwater sensors utilizing broad-band lasers to sense and measure dissolved carbon compounds. (Award amount: $5,904,233)
- GE Research – it will develop a fiber optic sensor cable that would span multiple kilometers of ocean volume and measure chemical ocean carbon parameters over large areas when towed from marine vessels. (Award amount: $4,274,658)
- Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution – it will develop a natural thorium decay sensor that would attach to gliders, autonomous vehicles, and profiling floats to quantify the flux rates of particulate organic carbon to the deep ocean for marine carbon dioxide removal. (Award amount: $4,802,245)
- [C]Worthy – the company will develop a community framework for model building and data assimilation that would provide the structure and processes necessary to incorporate observations, manage model complexity, and meet the needs for accurate carbon accounting for mCDR. (Award amount: $3,884,825)
- atdepth MRV – it will develop an ocean modeling system that utilizes graphical processing units, dramatically improving simulation modeling speed compared with traditional approaches that use central processing units. (Award amount: $2,524,964)
- Bigelow Laboratory for Oceanic Sciences – it will develop a biogeochemical computer model that improves estimates of how the vast population of ocean zooplankton—tiny marine animals—move and lock away carbon in the deep ocean. (Award amount: $2,279,867)
You can find more information about the rest of the projects here.