Ocean current transport and storage could be safer and more economic and scalable than storage of carbon products on or beneath the land. The attached diagram shows a route to move algae grown in the tropics to polar seas using deep ocean currents.
The large ocean currents are the circulation system of our planet, akin to the veins and arteries of blood circulation of a body. Fossil emissions are like cholesterol in the arteries of the world ocean, potentially causing disruption of the entire system. The immediate global climate challenge is to remove more carbon from the air and sea than we add, in order to restore climate stability and insure against massive sudden change.
The stable ocean currents can be used as transport and storage systems for algae, beginning at small scale to test safety and efficacy, possibly using bags containing fresh water, and building upon scientific knowledge of ocean current size and behavior [url]https://www.whoi.edu/main/topic/ocean-circulation[/url].
Growing algae in large bags in the Pacific Ocean at the equator can be a way to utilize the global ocean currents for energy, nutrient and space to contribute to climate stabilization. By sinking produced contained algae blooms to the ocean floor using tidal pumping or other methods, and applying heat and pressure, the algae can be concentrated and converted to useful commodities including oil and bioplastics. Products such as oil can then be transported in bags made of bioplastic on the deep ocean subsurface currents, if these bags can be proven to be safe and effective.
There are many problems which could prevent this idea from working. It is entirely new and innovative, a research concept rather than an active proposal. The scale of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, as the core of the stable planetary ocean circulation system combined with the other main oceans, gives potential for this method to be a major effective contribution to carbon removal, utilization and storage. Using the existing energy systems of planetary currents to mine carbon could be important to maintain the health and stability of the global ocean circulation system.
The current California methane leak [url]http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-12-24/unstoppable-california-gas-leak-now-being-called-worst-catastrophe-bp-spill[/url] illustrates the risks of geostorage, especially where other mining occurs nearby.
The whole range of storage possibilities should be explored, to find the products from algae that can best substitute for existing methods, addressing carbon capture, storage and utilization. Sequestering carbon into the ocean in stable and valuable form could mobilize the investment resources needed to scale and sustain action to deliver the Paris Leaders Agreement on Negative Emission Technology.
This Planet Accord is implied in Paris Agreement [url]http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09r01.pdf[/url] Article 5 1. “Parties should take action to conserve and enhance, as appropriate, sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases…” The ocean is easily the largest carbon sink for the planet, dwarfing the scale of land based alternatives. Industrial systems could build carbon sinks in the ocean using algae manufacture and storage.
Planetary transformation should be to different methods of consumption that can sustain and increase human wealth and happiness. In terms of the climate crisis, thinking on emission reduction needs to evolve into a new paradigm for a transformed ethic of human existence on our planet. The strain on world resources will only be managed through focus on technological transformation.
How I visualise a transformed world is one where the massive unused resources and energy of the world ocean become available through new simple large scale technology, and as a result the grossly inefficient traditional rural systems that perpetuate poverty and impact the environment can be replaced by new modern urban lifestyles in which people have a light ecological footprint but still have abundant energy and resources.
A shift to a high technology urban lifestyle, with materials mainly built from carbon, can create universal abundance for high human populations while also enhancing global biodiversity. Failing to explore such a path leaves open the risk of catastrophe.
Current affluent lifestyles are not sustainable and replicable in the manner of the First World. It is actually possible physically on our planet to shift the world economy to a system of abundance rather than scarcity, but this needs a paradigm shift in terms of both technology and culture.
My view is that it is entirely physically possible to achieve sustained global abundance through an algae based economy. This is not an irresponsible fantasy but a practical reform agenda. Putting our eggs in the basket of sacrificing wealth by reducing energy and resource use is actually the really irresponsible attitude, since it is a recipe for failure and conflict, whereas discussion of a technological path to universal abundance is a basis for successful stable global peace and justice. The environmentalist ideology is a genuine barrier to progress when it stymies technological solutions.
We need to shift from a linear waste mentality to a culture of cyclic reuse. Such a shift could sustain vastly higher productivity and happiness than we now have.
My point here is counter-intuitive from a traditional linear view. We naturally assume that the most wealthy cause the most damage. But that ignores the role of education as a product of wealth in enabling biodiversity protection by improving understanding and accountability. Among the real causes of biodiversity loss, one of the biggest factors is poverty, for example in the use of firewood for cooking and in activities of subsistence farmers to clear land.
I propose as a core reform to develop efficient industrial processes to grow algae on immense commercial scale at sea. The results of that would be immediate direct protection of marine biodiversity by increasing the nutrient available at the base of the food chain, and also by stabilising the carbon cycle, enabling rapid removal of the excess carbon our linear methods have added to the air and water.
We need an unbending focus on the big picture, which is the question of how we can mine twenty billion tonnes of carbon from the air and sea each year.
Summarised from http://www.booktalk.org/post152003.html#p152003