UK-based carbon removal startup Seafields has announced details about a recently completed trial of sinking seaweed biomass for the purposes of carbon capture and storage (CCS), described as the world’s first test of its kind, Inside Ecology reported Monday.
The trial was conducted to assess the impact of sinking seaweed biomass on the environment, marking an important step towards an environmental impact study.
In the test, Seafields examined four different types of biomass, including unprocessed Sargassum, green algae (Ulva), kelp, and terrestrial biomass.
The primary objective was to determine if the bales could effectively sequester carbon for extended periods, thereby contributing to a reduction in atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations.
John Auckland, CEO of Seafields, emphasized the importance of the project, highlighting the need to prove that the packages have a minimal impact on deep-sea life and degrade slowly.
“The hope is that the effect is minimal and that we can do this on a much larger scale one day at specially selected sites,” the executive said.
Collaborating with US-based Running Tide and Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Seafields deployed the seaweed bales during an expedition to long-term ecological research (LTER) observatory Hausgarten on the institute’s research icebreaker RV Polarstern at a depth of 3,483 meters (approx. 11,427 feet).
Antonia Thielecke, Seafields’ Science Advisor, emphasized the importance of the Fram Strait location offshore Greenland, a deep-sea area well-studied by AWI scientists.
To study the processes around the four biomass bales on the deep-sea floor, Seafields plans to deploy a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) during next year’s expedition to the Fram Strait.
The ROV will capture videos and images of the bales and the surrounding area, enabling monitoring of progress and sample collection for further analysis.
Seafields intends to return to the site next year to conduct extensive surveys and laboratory studies of sub-samples, analyzing carbon content and biomass bale integrity.