OCEAN-BASED 

CARBON DIOXIDE REMOVAL

ROAD MAPS TO ACCELERATE DEVELOPMENT AND TESTING OF

OCEAN-BASED CDR APPROACHES

UPDATE: January 2021
Ocean Visions will convene expert review panels to review the findings from our October 2020 workshops and subsequent public comment period in November/December 2020. These experts will help identify any remaining information gaps, critical obstacles, development needs, and near-term opportunities for progress not previously identified in the workshops and open comment period. These panels will be open for public viewing, submission of comments, and/or submission of questions. If you are interested in attending, you can register for the panel(s) below. 

BACKGROUND

Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is becoming increasingly understood as an imperative for slowing dangerous climate change.  The world needs to extract and permanently sequester 100s to 1000s of gigatons of carbon dioxide over the coming decades to avoid the worst effects of climate disruption, and perhaps reverse some of the damage already inflicted. The scale of the efforts needed comes with significant technological, political, economic and social challenges.
 
To date, most of the thinking and development of CDR approaches and technologies have been terrestrially focused. However, the Ocean holds enormous potential for CDR solutions at the needed scale given their sheer size and their biological productivity.  
Yet, ocean-based CDR remains poorly understood and under-invested.  There are an emerging number of scientific efforts to evaluate different ocean-based CDR pathways, their technical feasibility, costs and environmental implications, and there are a growing number of early stage inventors and practitioners who are pushing the technical envelopes of ocean-based CDR technologies. But there is no supportive policy framework for field testing and commercial scaling; awareness of the potential contributions of ocean-based CDR is nascent; social and political license for ocean-based approaches is uncertain; and philanthropic and private sector engagement remains small.

To address and overcome some of the roadblocks to accelerating development of ocean-based CDR, Ocean Visions will convene relevant experts and interested parties in development of road maps to identify the needed steps to accelerate development and testing of the most viable ocean-based CDR approaches.

OBJECTIVES

Ocean Visions is facilitating an open process to engage actors across diverse disciplines and sectors towards collaborative development of detailed, “living” road maps to advance promising ocean-based carbon dioxide removal (CDR) approaches.  
 
These road maps are intended to identify critical paths forward to accelerate development and testing of various ocean-based CDR approaches. Road maps will identify the current state of technology readiness, the scale potential for CDR, key uncertainties, obstacles, opportunities, and priorities from a range of perspectives and disciplines, including natural sciences, engineering, policy, governance, economics, social equity and others. The road maps will be grounded in an evidence-based, precautionary approach towards implementation.  
 
These roadmaps will likely be presented in a variety of formats to increase utility and uptake. The road maps are intended to marshal existing knowledge and expertise to catalyze increased action and deployment of the needed intellectual, physical, institutional and financial resources to ultimately determine the contribution these pathways may play to ameliorating the climate crisis through large-scale CDR. Determining the most effective ways to operationalize the road maps will be part of this first year’s work. 

FOCUS

Given the current state of research and development, efforts will focus on three ocean-based CDR approaches that have emerged as frontrunners based on apparent technological feasibility and potential for scalability. These approaches include: (1) ocean alkalinity enhancement, (2) macroalgal cultivation and sequestration, and (3) electrochemical methods of carbon capture from seawater. As work progresses, we may include other approaches as well.    
 
The roadmaps are intended to be living documents that are continually updated and refined as advances in science, technology, governance, and policy emerge. The exact form(s) of these roadmaps will be determined in the initial phase of the project in consultation with experts and potential end-users.   
 
The road mapping process itself will be designed to engage experts and practitioners worldwide and to allow for iteration and improvement and tailoring to specific geographies, sectors, and scales. The process will also be built to allow for broad participation, self-selection into subgroups, and to facilitate a global crowd-sourcing approach to iterating and building out the roadmaps. A key deliverable will be initial design of an ongoing structure that supports and accelerates collaboration and action around ocean-based CDR.   
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The leading knowledge hub on Ocean-based Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR)
The Ocean Visions Founders
Ocean Visions, Inc.  - 225 Baker Street, Atlanta, GA 30313, USA  - Founded in 2019