Decarbonization Avenue : C2V - CO2 to Value

In fact

Carbon capture at oceans using algae

Oceans cover about 70% earth.

And ocean has been playing a critical role in almost every aspect of the ecosystem - from temperature control to weather management and to yes, CO2 balance in the atmosphere.

The oceans absorb 2-3 billion tons of CO2 every year - 6-8% of the total annual anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

Given its vastness and its biodiversity, could the oceans sequester more? 

One of the avenues for a much larger CO2 sequestration from oceans would be the enhanced growth of microalgae. These biota consume about 1.8 Kg of oxygen for every 1 Kg of their biomass, and these grow very fast. Given that there are well over 30,000 strains of microalgae, you can find microalgae suited for every conceivable part of the earth or ocean (they even grow in the Arctic ice). 

This has not been unthought of? Through efforts called ocean fertilization, since 1980 scientists have tried to stimulate the growth of microalgae and macroalgae in oceans by fertiilzing it wil iron, but the results have been mixed ( ). Similarly, there have been concerned raised recently that the rush to grow large masses of kelp in oceans (Sinking seaweed could sequester a lot of carbon, but researchers are still grappling with basic questions about reliability, scalability and risks - )


But the given the potential the ocean holds to sequester (and perhaps also utilize) algae on scale, should more research be undertaken in this domain? It appears to be a nice way to take help from nature to solve a real big problem.

Relevant for

  • Business visionary / thought leader
  • Marine transport engineer
  • Climate sciences professional
  • Ecologist
  • Marine & ocean sciences professional
  • Bioinformatics & genetic sciences professional
  • Biotech professional
  • Microbiologist
  • Botanist
  • Marine biology professional
  • Journalist
  • International finance professional
  • International policy making professional

Innovation sector

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental sciences
  • Policy-making
  • Water

Other In fact


  • University researcher