Deep Green

CO2 Sequestration through Kelp Cultivation

Single frame structure - side view

Naturally inspired frame structures enable CO2 sequestration and ocean de-acidification, creating sustainable, cleansing aquaculture environments.

In the struggle to combat climate change we must take advantage of every available technology to assist in correcting the conditions needed to sustain life on earth, especially utilizing the natural technologies that earth provides.

Kelp forests’ potential to mitigate the effects of ocean acidification and hypoxia are a long overlooked positive outlier within the natural sea ecosystem. They grow quickly, sequester CO2 at a rate 20 times greater than land based forests, remove nitrogen from their environment and only require a firm footing, light, and nutrient rich water to grow. There are many places in the world where these conditions exist naturally, but these areas are generally too close to land (and therefore populated and expensive) to utilize on a massive scale.

I propose the development of frame structures that extend the conditions necessary for kelp forest development into otherwise unsuitable areas of the ocean. These frame structures utilize the successive branching forms found so often in nature to support the kelp in light filled areas, while efficiently delivering nutrient rich water from lower in the water column and creating an enclosed, protected environment in which a complex and symbiotic ecosystem can flourish.

The frame structures would be made of translucent carbon polymer, a recycled byproduct of discarded plastic found in the sea and can be arranged in several different formations, depending on their intended environment. The basic four part petal structure is best suited for shallow environments while a vertical, spiral orientation could more effectively utilize vertical space. 

Four petal structure - top view

Kelp forests can remove more than 20 times the amount of CO2 from the atmosphere than land forests. They can grow at an incredible rate, up to 2 feet per day, and absorb nitrogen from their environment, an essential component in the creation of ocean dead zones.

The frame structures would be built of a transparent carbon polymer, a recycled product of discarded plastic found in the sea. 
This material is strong and its transparent quality would allow light to pass through the structure, allowing young kelp to grow and develop protected by the scaffolding before growing outside of the framework.