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Tim Flannery Says Giant Kelp Farms To Save The World!


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#1 Eclipse Now

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Posted 14 December 2016 - 07:23 PM

Tim Flannery talks about using 9% of the world's oceans to farm kelp to sequester 40 Gigatons of carbon emissions annually, or roughly 2ppm CO2 per year. goo.gl/n6iFdG

Seaweed farming is already an established industry in many countries, but this project would be expanding it by 20,000 times.
https://en.wikipedia...Seaweed_farming

Edited by Eclipse Now, 07 January 2017 - 04:17 PM.


#2 Eclipse Now

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 04:17 PM

Hi all,

I've edited this thread to simplify the issues, and investigate the following questions:-
 

* SYNGAS FROM SEAWEED TO BACKUP ALL RENEWABLES WORLDWIDE! A ton of CO2 concentrated into biomass is about a ton of wood. 40 Gigatons would 40 cubic kilometres of woody waste to dispose of each year. We already know how to biochar any dried biomass waste. 40 cubic kilometres into a biochar unit could produce maybe 20 cubic km of biochar and 20 cubic km of synthetic gas to replace petroleum and natural gas? Wow that's a lot. That's vastly more than the 'cubic mile of oil' we use a year (or 1.6 cubic km). That kind of syngas is ... truly unimaginable. An energy baron's dream. Surely that makes backing up renewables possible. Solar & wind during the day, seaweed syngas at night. Done!
 
* CURRENTLY we farm nearly 2.5 million tons of seaweed. http://www.un.org/de.../Chapter_14.pdf
 
* COWS: Seaweed can be fed to cows, just to supplement their diet a little, which has been shown to reduce their methane burps close to zero  https://goo.gl/J27gw0
 
* SEQUESTERING LONG TERM: We could use just a fraction of the 20 cubic km as biochar for soil remediation (which it does great, but tends to break down in a half life cycle of about 80 years). OK, so once we've thoroughly rehabilitated ALL our farmland soils with biochar, and maybe some pasturelands as well (35% of the non-ice surface of the earth), what do we do with the rest to sequester it? Use industrial presses to crush it into bricks, maybe with a biomimicry agent to cement it, and then start rebuilding those coal-topped mountains with it? We've got to get rid of 20 cubic km's a year! Crush it into bricks and drop in the deep ocean? How does biochar interact with sea microorganisms: would it be better to powder it into the ocean to stimulate other systems?

Edited by Eclipse Now, 07 January 2017 - 04:17 PM.


#3 CraigD

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 07:05 PM

I read and meant to reply to this when it first appeared, but was distracted by the usually chaos of end-of-year professional life. :(

My initial question about Flannery’s plan to vastly expand seaweed farms – the linked article give his proposal as an area of 9% of the world’s oceans – is about where to put them?

Except for a few species, seaweed thrives only in shallow coastal water. A looking up of the area of the Earth’s oceans and the length its coasts shows that, is every coast was used, the average width would be about 10 km (3.6 x 1012 m2 / 3.2 x 108 m =~ 10112 m). This includes many coastlines, such as the Arctic and Antarctic, that are too cold for seaweed. I’ve only personal, anecdotal data, but I’ve never seen much seaweed in water much deeper than 30 m, or further offshore than a few km.

Has anyone actually mapped these proposed huge seaweed farms?

#4 Eclipse Now

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 07:42 PM

I read and meant to reply to this when it first appeared, but was distracted by the usually chaos of end-of-year professional life. :(

My initial question about Flannery’s plan to vastly expand seaweed farms – the linked article give his proposal as an area of 9% of the world’s oceans – is about where to put them?

Except for a few species, seaweed thrives only in shallow coastal water. A looking up of the area of the Earth’s oceans and the length its coasts shows that, is every coast was used, the average width would be about 10 km (3.6 x 1012 m2 / 3.2 x 108 m =~ 10112 m). This includes many coastlines, such as the Arctic and Antarctic, that are too cold for seaweed. I’ve only personal, anecdotal data, but I’ve never seen much seaweed in water much deeper than 30 m, or further offshore than a few km.

Has anyone actually mapped these proposed huge seaweed farms?

Thanks Craig, that was my initial concern as well!



#5 Eclipse Now

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 03:25 PM

 

The seaweed ecology wiki only mentions sunlight and a shallow enough anchorage point to grow seaweed. Nutrients may not be the limiting factor I thought.
https://en.wikipedia...Seaweed#Ecology

Tim Flannery again:-

“The most exciting, if least well understood, of all the biological options involve the marine environment. Seaweed grows very fast, meaning that seaweed farms could be used to absorb CO2 very efficiently, and on a very large scale. The seaweed could be harvested and processed to generate methane for electricity production or to replace natural gas, and the remaining nutrients recycled. One analysis shows that if seaweed farms covered 9% of the ocean they could produce enough biomethane to replace all of today’s needs in fossil fuel energy, while removing 53 gigatonnes of CO2 (about the same as all current human emissions) per year from the atmosphere. It could also increase sustainable fish production to provide 200kg per year, per person, for 10 billion people. Additional benefits include reduction in ocean acidification and increased ocean primary productivity and biodiversity. Many of the technologies required to achieve this are already in widespread use, if at a comparatively minuscule scale.”
https://www.theguard...er-tim-flannery

If big oil get wind of this, then let them at it!
1. 200kg of seafood per person! That’s over half a kilo per day!
2. Some of our NPK nutrients – normally flushed out to sea via the toilet – recaptured for land farming.
3. And biogas energy backup for a renewable world that the politicians and pundits seem so intent on!
4. Maybe some biochar left over to help retain that NPK and moisture in our farmlands.



#6 Eclipse Now

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 05:32 PM

Hi all,
I found the answer. Let me summarise!
 
Seaweed farms could revolutionise the world. 2% of the world's oceans are nutrient rich enough for these farms. Nutrients come from coastal erosion or oceanic upwelling. Sometimes there is nutrient pollution which causes algal blooms and dead zones. Seaweed farming can help mop up excess nutrients and restore ocean health. A new vertical column method of farming the oceans grows both kelp and shellfish and oysters and even encourages fisheries to grow in an ocean ecosystem based approach. Watch this 15 minute TED talk about seaweed feeding the world, and even bringing some of that seaweed back up onto our farmlands to help our farmers.
Many seaweeds are a rich source of vegetarian super-food in their own right, and help form a whole variety of seaweed ice-creams, salads, sauces, and other food ingredients. Kelp farms also stimulate ocean ecosystems, and there are a variety of oysters and shellfish and even wild fish that will grow in amongst the kelp farms. We could feed the world from a small fraction of the 2% of the world's oceans that have their own nutrients. Not that we would be limited to only seaweed and seafood! Think of all the seaweed fertiliser this industry could grow.We could grow so much seaweed that we bring some onto land, get the salt out, and use it as fertiliser. Seaweed could bring our soils back to life. There is even a special seaweed that cows love and eliminates their methane burps! Methane burps are bad news, and cattle lose 15% of their growth to these energy losing burps. But a special seaweed cuts their burps by 99%, solving cattle's infamous methane climate emissions, *and* helping the cows grow faster!
Now here's where it gets really bizarre, and potentially planet-saving. Some peer-reviewed work has been done imagining extending kelp farming out into the nutrient-poor open ocean. They start farming the nutrient rich waters. Then a previous season's kelp is biodigested to collect methane gas out the top, leaving the digested kelp nutrients behind. They then recycle those nutrients out in nutrient poor waters. They use slow drip feed hoses and 'tea-bags' that slowly fertilise the kelp, extending the kelp farms out into what was nutrient poor water. This means that nutrients are not a limit to where we can grow kelp!
What if we really went crazy and farmed about 9% of the world's oceans this way?
It would give:-
* a world of 10 billion people half a kilogram of seafood per person per day!
* all the biofuels and biogas we could need to backup a renewable grid (and this is coming from someone who is usually pro-nuclear because of the intermittency and unreliability of renewables!)
* remove ocean acidity 
* restore our atmosphere to 350ppm by 2085
In other words, seaweed is a silver bullet to feed the world, save the oceans, and save us from climate change, all in this free PDF. "Negative carbon via Ocean Afforestation". Just register, and download it for free.

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#7 Eclipse Now

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 12:53 AM

OK, so vat-grown meat is a thing.

 
But what if the feedstock is unsustainable? Could we use processed kelp as a feedstock for all our meat and chicken and turkey needs, so that we would never have to kill real live animals for protein again? Anyone know any biochemists that might work in this field?