Carbon Climate Change Environment News Round-up

Seafields wins Innovate UK funding to enable large-scale carbon removal offshore aquafarming

UK blue carbon aquaculture business awarded six figure project funding for UK ocean engineering trials

Seafields, the UK-headquartered company that aims to remove billions of tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere by cultivating and harvesting seaweed in the Atlantic Ocean, has won a significant grant worth a quarter of a million pounds through Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. The blue carbon business 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 hopes to overcome the extreme challenges of the sea developing open ocean aquafarming of Sargassum seaweed, chosen due to its unique ability to sequester and remove large amounts of carbon and as a potential alternative to fossil fuel.

Seafields’ approach of tracking, harvesting, baling and storing Sargassum which they will grow in aqua-farms in the South Atlantic Ocean Gyre, radically tackles the challenge of climate change. By baling and storing large quantities of the seaweed at over 4000 metres below sea level in the deep abyssal plain of the Atlantic Ocean, the company will 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 safe and natural carbon sequestration in the ‘ocean deserts’ where there is very little ecological activity.

Seafields Co-Founder and CEO, John Auckland said: “We are delighted to have won and been awarded this grant from Innovate UK. The 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.”

Not only does Seafields’ approach ambitiously remove a lot of carbon from the atmosphere, but it also will take the reliance away from fossil fuels and provide seaweed derived raw materials and feedstock to companies to make commercially viable products for the transport, plastic and cosmetics industries.

“In 2024, we aim to have built our first ‘catch and grow’ farms that will help alleviate the invasive Sargassum that is currently impacting communities in the Caribbean We plan to reduce the amount of Sargassum from beaching, through catching the seaweed further out to sea before it reaches land through barriers and then it turn into industrial feedstock and carbon credits, whilst providing job creation and employment opportunities to local communities.”