A Blue Carbon Technology
Ocean Nourishment is a form of biomimicry and biological sequestration, analogous to biosphere carbon stock management through afforestation, but in the ocean domain where such activity is considered as 'Blue Carbon'. The aim of Ocean Nourishment is to increase the amount of carbon involved in the naturally occurring organic carbon cycle, through the enhancement of phytoplankton stocks in nitrogen deficient regions of the world's oceans.
The patented Ocean Nourishment technology is a process of delivering controlled amounts of missing macronutrients to the open ocean in order to enhance biological productivity and hence sequester carbon and grow food. It is an enhancement of the natural biological cycling of carbon between the atmosphere and the oceans. This natural process is referred to as the 'biological pump'. Ocean Nourishment Corporation have two published and cleared patents for quantifying the carbon sequestration.
The nutrient stimulates further growth of standing stocks of phytoplankton through photosynthesis. Phytoplankton form the base of the marine food chain and their increased growth both absorbs CO2
from the atmosphere and stimulates the marine food web leading to increased ocean productivity. The result is biomimicry of the natural upwelling of nutrients from deep ocean waters
The phytoplankton lifecycle is short (approximately 5 days). They decompose and either sink directly into the deep ocean or remineralise releasing nutrients that support further phytoplankton growth. This cycling of nutrients will repeat until the deep ocean contains almost all of the carbon originally taken up by the initial phytoplankton growth. The carbon that reaches the deep ocean will remain there for the order of 1,000 years, this being the approximate turnover time for the waters of the deep ocean. A small fraction of the carbon will be taken up in forming the sedimentary structure at the bottom of the ocean, but most will return to the ocean surface after a 1,000 year storage period. Significantly, when it returns to the surface it will still be accompanied by the macronutrients, allowing the process to continue again.
The Benefits of Blue Carbon Farming
Firstly, the removal of CO2
from the atmosphere and also from the surface ocean.
One Ocean Nourishment site will remove approximately 5-8 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere for each year of operation, equivalent to offsetting annual emissions from a typical 1000 MW coal-fired power station or the short-term sequestration from one million hectares of new growth forest. In addition, removing carbon from the surface ocean will assist in reversing the process of ocean acidification.
Secondly, stimulation of the base of the food chain, resulting in increased marine productivity.
For every tonne of nitrogen infused into the ocean, 1.1 tonnes of fish (wet weight) may be produced.
The Ocean Nourishment process is suitable to areas of the ocean deficient in nitrogen. This applies to approximately 70% of the ocean (as shown in blue in the figure below).
The process is only applicable to deep ocean sites and is not suitable for shallow bays or coastal waters. Other factors that influence site selection include the distance to the continental shelf, seabed bathymetry, upper ocean temperatures, ocean circulation, dissolved oxygen concentration, location of marine protected areas, chlorophyll content and abundance of fish larvae.
Please contact our team if you are interested in site specific feasibility studies for Ocean Nourishment operations in your region. Email firstname.lastname@example.org