Environmental Solutions via Buoyant Flake Fertilization

An opportunity exists to combine three sustainable or waste materials, and to deploy the resulting product in such a way that it: increases sustainable fish stocks; reduces surface ocean acidity; sequesters carbon; and cools the globe profitably, effectively, quickly, and by means closely matching how Nature has done this safely for millennia.

Sustainable Development can come from solutions that replace fossil fuel consumption with sustainable resources, or from solutions that address environmental threats. Some solutions do both. One such prospective solution combines natural and waste materials to form ultra-slow release, buoyant flakes that provide the essential nutrients necessary to make the nutrient deficient half of ocean surface waters productive. In food production terms, this is nearly the equivalent of having another Earth, such is the productivity of nutrient-rich waters. At the same time, the flakes deliver four other key benefits: the dark blue of the less-productive high seas is replaced with the milky-green hue of productive seas, thereby cooling the world by reflecting more solar energy back into space; chemicals released by the additional microscopic phytoplankton contribute to marine cloud brightening, thereby also increasing global albedo (reflectiveness) fairly
evenly and hence reducing diverse regional effects; the additional photosynthetic phytoplankton offset ocean acidification by converting the carbon dioxide dissolved in the ocean surface waters (carbonic acid) into neutral biomass and oxygen; and part of this biomass sequesters carbon in the cold ocean depths and sediments when it sinks, leaving the surface waters able to take up more atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Read the full brief below and share your comments:

3 thoughts on “Environmental Solutions via Buoyant Flake Fertilization

  1. timxthomson

    I don’t have sufficient information to make a judgement. I would be concerned about unintended consequences. After all, the GMO industry promised (and still does) massive benefits, and still refuses to recognise the unintended negative impacts of the products! I would be interested to know more.

    1. Bru Pearce

      My understanding is that it is a concept at the moment, but it makes enormous sense and surely is worthy of detailed investigation. Very limited trials at first and then grow them as we see the results. In the same way that different soil types require different treatments so too will different regions of the ocean. I suspect this is a set of skills that we are going to need to acquire.

  2. Bru Pearce

    Quite simply the best hope that humanity has of stabilising our planetary environment. We have known for years that we need to replace and manage nutrients on land and it’s quite obvious that we need to do the same with the oceans. Fertilisation by floating flakes would appear to offer a benign and enormously flexible delivery tool. With the theoretical ability to sequester 10 or more gigatons of carbon per year, this proposal is highly deserving of a massive research and development programme. Not a silver bullet but in conjunction with an all renewable energy global infrastructure, ocean fertilisation by buoyant flakes offers the prospect of eventually reducing atmospheric CO2 concentrations back to close to preindustrial levels. The added benefits of increased albedo holds out the prospect of containing Arctic warming in the short term while at the same time restoring ocean biomass and creating vast sustainable fisheries. The final win of this win win win proposition would be the stimulation of methane munching microbes.


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