Fresh funding to test carbon storage in the Atlantic
UK-headquartered firm Seafields has been awarded £250,000 by Innovate UK to test carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies in the Atlantic Ocean.
Seafields looks to remove carbon from the atmosphere by cultivating and harvesting seaweed, and will use the grant to “test key technology that will help fix the climate, restore the oceans and alleviate humanity's dependency on oil," the company said.
By storing large quantities of the seaweed at over 4000 metres below sea level in the Atlantic Ocean, the company will look to trap physical atmospheric carbon away for thousands of years with minimal impacts to existing ecosystems.
The grant will go directly into upwelling pipe trials that will take place this year in the UK from possible sites in Northumberland or Devon. These trials will test the pipes that will distribute nutrients to their aquafarms to provide long-term carbon sequestration in the “ocean deserts” where there is very little ecological activity.
John Auckland, chief executive of Seafields, said: “This funding will be transformative for our business, by giving us the green light on critical trials such as testing our upwelling pipes that will help accelerate us further forward to achieve a gigatonne scale of carbon dioxide removals.
“Our ultimate vision is to build a farm that is 0.02% of the planet's surface, the size of Portugal, in the south Atlantic sub-tropical gyre, by 2032. As it’s a grant from Innovate UK, these trials need to be completed in the UK. Luckily, we have some of the best facilities in the UK to complete a trial like this, where we need an abundance of seawater close to some infrastructure we will purpose-build on land.”
In 2024, Seafields aims to have built its first “catch and grow” farms that will look to alleviate the invasive Sargassum species of seaweed that is currently impacting communities in the Caribbean. The firm plans to reduce the amount of Sargassum from beaching, through catching the seaweed further out to sea to provide industrial feedstock and carbon credits, whilst creating job opportunities for local communities.
Last month, the first international CCS project in the EU began operations, piping carbon dioxide from a factory in Antwerp into the Danish North Sea.