New Method Charts CO2 Removal from Ocean Microalgal Blooms

CO₂ Removal Brilliant Planet

Brilliant Planet, which has operated a pilot project in Southern Morocco since 2018, intends to modularly increase its CO₂ removal capacity, reaching 1 million tons per year by 2030.

EcoEngineers, a clean energy consulting, auditing, and advisory firm, has developed a precise crediting methodology to quantify and verify CO₂ removals (CDR) for Brilliant Planet, a leader in high-integrity, permanent carbon removal. This methodology provides a strong framework for developing greenhouse gas (GHG) removal projects using Brilliant Planet’s specialized system, which cultivates and sequesters carbon from marine microalgal blooms.

The essence of this methodology lies in transforming marine microalgae into a vehicle to remove atmospheric carbon dioxide. Brilliant Planet’s novel approach employs the microalgal capacity to efficiently generate biomass to capture atmospheric carbon that is subsequently sequestered.

In recognition of its Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) automation and control philosophy for its coastal, microalgal cultivation system, Brilliant Planet received the Robotics & Automation Award 2023 for “Innovation in Sustainability.”

Per the methodology, carbon credits will be generated for each metric ton of CO₂ removed from the atmosphere by controlled algal blooms in land-based ponds, which are dried and subsequently sequestered in permanent, purpose-built landfills. All credits issued will be net of any identified project emissions and must meet durability requirements for more than 1,000 years of storage.

“Brilliant Planet’s approach to CDR has the potential to be a notable tool in the fight against climate change,” said David LaGreca, EcoEngineers’ director of voluntary carbon markets. “There is a lack of standardization in measuring the impact of CDR projects. For that reason, we crafted the methodology in accordance with ISO 14064-2:2019.”

“The methodology brings us one step closer to third-party verification of our process, which is good news for climate change,” said Dr. Raffael Jovine, co-founder and chief scientist at Brilliant Planet. “With our technology, we can store biomass in a sustainable and cost-effective manner, while minimizing environmental impacts, fugitive gas leaks, and the remineralization of CO₂. This new method incorporates measures to anticipate future environmental changes, ensuring its long-term effectiveness.”

GHG benefits are credited exclusively for the CO₂ content sequestered within the algal biomass. At the time of harvest, the rapidly growing microalgal cells are meticulously separated from seawater, promptly processed, and dried to prevent any potential bacterial remineralization, predation, or ecosystem recycling.

The resulting extra-dry (>92% dry) and hypersaline (>40% salt) salt-biomass composite is then consolidated and buried in a shallow landfill located on or near the project site. The landfill is designed to prevent groundwater intrusion, and is lined and capped with a geomembrane, creating a permanent biomass-storage structure. The site is continuously monitored to ensure a minimum stability period of 1,000 years with no resulting decomposition.

“This methodology is highly adaptable, focused initially on describing requirements for projects in coastal desert regions,” added LaGreca. “Notably, it draws inspiration from existing industry methodologies and unregistered pilot CDR approaches to create a comprehensive framework.”

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