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Oceanic Solutions – Introduction & Offshore Wind

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John Benson's picture
Senior Consultant, Microgrid Labs

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Microgrid Labs, Inc. Advisor: 2014 to Present Developed product plans, conceptual and preliminary designs for projects, performed industry surveys and developed...

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  • Jul 26, 2022

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This subject is the ultimate elephant in the room – 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by oceans, and this percentage is growing pretty rapidly. This series is on solutions that use the oceans, and this post is an introduction to this series, and a brief summary of recent posts on offshore wind.

Rain forests may be known as the planet's lungs, but it's when standing before the seas, with their crashing waves and ceaselessly cycling tides, that we feel the earth breathe. The ocean, say scientists, is the source of all life on earth. It is also, say philosophers, the embodiment of life's greatest terror: the unknown and uncontrollable.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jul 26, 2022

Such an important area of focus. You also mention in the intro the 'breathing' of the oceans similar to the rain forests, and indeed there are likely some geoengineering opportunities out there related to seaweed that may be able to be carbon negative. 

John Benson's picture
John Benson on Jul 26, 2022

Hi Matt, thanks for the comment.

How about seaweed (kelp) forests.

See the earlier post described and linked below, section 3.1.2.

Wet NET: “Have a Plan B, and maybe even a Plan C. Because unexpected changes are most difficult to handle when we don't have a backup

― Germany Kent, American Print and Broadcast Journalist

Having looked at the subject of climate change quite a bit, there are many ways we can fix this problem, IF we work on it diligently. However humans have a habit of doing really dumb things, like not fixing a big problem we created, one that has already screwed up our climate big time, and is likely to create even worse problems in the future.

Thus, my argument for all of the Plan Bs and Plan Cs we can find.

Most of my readers know that NET stands for Negative Emissions Technology. The title NET are carbon dioxide negative emissions technologies that involve the oceans.


Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jul 26, 2022

Sounds great to me! Thanks for the additional guidance

Julian Silk's picture
Julian Silk on Jul 27, 2022

It really would be nice if there were a detailed CO2 analysis of kelp growing in one case in ocean aquaculture.  The study

suggests that the use of kelp would be conditioned by a number of factors, and there are many modeling studies, but not one with "Here's our site, here's our method for estimating CO2 absorption, and here's what we found."

Julian Silk's picture
Julian Silk on Jul 27, 2022

Please also note that the study reported in

seems a lab test, and not data from an actual ocean site, before and after.

John Benson's picture
John Benson on Jul 27, 2022

Thanks for the information, Julian. I will look at these in a bit.

Without reading these, I would guess that the best way to estimate the CO2 absorption of any plant would be to use a realistic lab test (one that closely simulates the plant's natural environment but in a closed system that can accurately measure inputs and outputs), and then extend this to the monitoring the amount of biomass produced in the natural environment. 


John Benson's picture
John Benson on Jul 27, 2022

Hi Julian:

I skimmed through the articles. Both are very good, Furthermore, they pointed out a major step I missed in my earlier simple analysis. 

All of the inputs and outputs need to be simulated in a whole environmental system model such that other dynamics can be studied. Although very complex, this work is important in accurately understanding how simple climate changes (like changing mineral-transport and acidification in this case) propagate through the system.

A primary reason for unpredictable future effects of climate change is that it is extraordinarily difficult to model the whole climate, even with the most powerful computing arrays that we currently have. The good news is that these tools keep getting more powerful and adding new capabilities (like Neuromorphic Computing - see the paper linked below).


John Benson's picture
Thank John for the Post!
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