Opinion: Microalgae – The Planet’s Greatest Savior That Still Remains Unexplored

Opinion: Microalgae - The Planet's Greatest Savior That Still Remains Unexplored - Carbon Herald

By Natalia Golovkina, Director of Innovation Multiplier

The purpose of this opinion is to introduce readers to an alternative point of view on existing DAC technologies and a reminder of the importance of natural processes for CO2 sequestration and climate restoration and, of course, to search for supporters and partners (criticism and discussion are welcome).


The presence of gases in the atmosphere is regulated by physical, chemical and biological processes created by nature several billion years ago. The interaction of the ocean with the atmosphere and land creates a closed cycle of metabolism between these ecosystems. Unfortunately, industrial processes influence this interaction with increasing force, and addressing the problem of climate change poses serious challenges to humanity.

Disadvantages and new opportunities of DAC technologies

The main disadvantage of DAC technologies is that in order to extract CO2 on a large scale from any substance that has accumulated carbon, it is necessary to move this substance through industrial extraction devices (we do not consider industrial processes for extracting CO2 from flue gases). 

For gigaton scales and in the short term, these are unfeasible conditions. For example, 1 cubic meter of air contains about 1 gram of CO2 (overestimated for ease of calculation). To absorb 1 ton of CO2, 1 million cubic meters of air must be moved. I hope everyone understands what energy costs are needed for this when extracting CO2 in large volumes. It resembles a tornado and there are some consequences like other atmospheric anomalies and noise.


Currently, the ocean, which has an incomparably greater potential than the land surface, has the greatest impact on curbing climate change. This is the source of life for people on the planet, which still remains unexplored. Along with the ocean, the planet’s greatest savior is microalgae, which is the base of the food chain for marine life and a major CO2 sequestrator and O2 producer. It also has many other positive effects on the marine ecosystem.

Relevant: Microalgae Found To Remove Thousands Of Tons Of Carbon

A question with implications

If the influence of the ocean and microalgae on the planet’s climate is so great and undeniable, then why until now not a single state, a single financial organization, or a single climate association has created motivation in society to use this unique tandem of the ocean and microalgae.

End justifies the means?

Perhaps the lack of awareness of decision makers or the microscopic size of microalgae underestimates their importance, although microalgae cultivation technologies go back hundreds of years.

Unfortunately, solutions already exist for the destruction of these small defenders and, in place of them, the marine ecosystem is destroyed using invasive technologies for fertilizing the ocean with various chemical or organic substances. Microalgae blooms are eliminated using ultrasound or chemical inhibitors. Probably those who create such solutions think that the ocean is a laboratory where no other life exists and the main principle is that the end justifies the means?

Relevant: Ocean Visions Releases Microalgae Digital Road Map, Hosts Its Biennial Summit In April

Microalgae are the source of life and the beginning of the food chain for many marine life; they produce oxygen and bind CO2, and their rapid growth (blooming) is due only to a high content of organic elements and CO2 in the water, which are usually a product of human activity.

Blood and sea water

Sea water is a unique chemical solution with a protective mechanism (carbonate buffer system), which has about 25 main parameters; when at least one of them changes, the rest also change, but at different rates. Human blood, like sea water, has the same carbonate buffer system that balances the CO2 content in the blood, and if the pH value approaches pH7, then the person dies. Draw your own conclusions…

300 billion dollars to solve the problem

It is clear that reducing industrial CO2 emissions into the atmosphere will not stop climate change, and to eliminate the consequences it is necessary to extract CO2 from the atmospheric air, oceans and land using DAC technologies. There are many natural mechanisms for removing CO2 without the use of any chemical or mechanical processes.

We estimate that the cost of sequestering 40 Gt of CO2 per year will require investments in natural technologies of only $200-300 billion over 20 years.

Solution for analyzing environmental projects

I think one of the problems lies in the fact that companies that receive or have received funding to implement their ideas and projects cannot change the content of their technology so as not to disrupt the intended use of the funds, even if they know that this work leads to a dead end.

What can we do?

To make decisions about funding climate restoration projects (and possibly other projects), a tool must be created that allows experts in the field to consider the problem from different angles (prosecution and defense), then their scientifically based opinions are submitted for public debate (jury) and only then they should make a decision to the authorized body (Judges). 

All this already exists, but without one main element that establishes the truth – competitiveness in the process of reviewing projects with the mandatory presence of the parties (lawyer and prosecutor) with justified defense of the project and with justified criticism of the project (you can also use AI from competing manufacturers).

Financing errors

Unfortunately, today’s practice of project financing is a one-way street and does not have opportunities for dialogue or public advocacy for each project. The result is fancy presentations and declarations about removing gigatons of CO2, wasted money and, at best, a functioning layout with limited productivity. There are undoubtedly technologies with the ability (at scale) to remove gigatons of CO2, but this equipment will take hundreds of years to produce.

For example, you need to remove 1Gt of CO2 and you have a device that removes 1000 tons of CO2 per year, it turns out that you need to produce 1,000,000 devices. They would take 100 years to produce at a rate of 27 per day.


When financing projects, an important factor in feasibility is constructive criticism and reciprocal argumentation (discussion of the parties), the degree of influence on nature and the technological possibility of scaling the equipment.

About AI

Currently, a promising phenomenon in human life is artificial intelligence, which will make life easier in various fields of activity. Much hope is placed on AI in climate restoration solutions. AI can solve many complex problems, including eliminating the consequences of climate change, but it seems to me that this will be a struggle between AI programmers and programs. In this case, you and I should have one very important opportunity.

Freedom of Choice

Every person should have the right, provided for by law, to turn off AI and use only their natural abilities. This foundation of a democratic society will eliminate a large number of future problems.

In the next article, we will tell you about natural technologies for removing CO2 from sea water and air using only sunlight and discuss the positive effects of these technologies on biodiversity and the ecosystem.

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