Seafields, a UK-based ocean regeneration company, will partner with MacroCarbon, a spin-off of the German Alfred Wegener Institute and biomaterials developer Carbonwave, to co-develop and speed up the intellectual property needed to farm the seaweed near shore.
Spain-based MacroCarbon will invest €600,000 ($639,579) from a €2 million ($2.13 million) fund from SPRIN-D Carbon to Value Challenge Stage II to deepen their understanding of domesticating wild Sargassum, a type of brown seaweed. This will allow Seafields to create stationary aquafarms in the Caribbean in order to provide a stable supply of Sargassum and build the local infrastructure necessary to process the seaweed into products and sink the rest for long-term CO2 storage 4000 m deep under the ocean in the Atlantic abyssal plain.
Sargassum, which floats in the open ocean and can double in size every 10 to 14 days, removes large quantities of CO2 from the air as it grows. This makes it uniquely positioned as both a CO2 removal method and a biological alternative for many sectors that rely on fossil fuels.
Seafields bales and stores large quantities of Sargassum at over 4000 meters below sea level with the aim to trap a gigaton of CO2 annually for thousands of years. Focusing on fixed aquafarms in the Caribbean would play an important role in reaching this ambitious goal, said John Auckland, Seafields’ Co-Founder and CEO.
“The money and partnership will go directly to increasing our understanding of how to domesticate Sargassum as well as the intellectual property needed to develop our first ‘catch and grow’ farms,” Auckland said, adding that focusing on fixed aquafarms would also help communities impacted by the invasive Sargassum by providing employment opportunities.
Seafields also plans to start selling CO2 credits to further fund their goals of removing one gigaton of carbon.