We are thrilled to announce that it has been selected as one of the Milestone Winners for Elon Musk’s XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition!
The project aims to re-establish red seaweed forests and provide farmers with simple, highly efficient, typhoon resilient offshore Seaweed mariculture.
Julia Carpenter, Regional Executive, Transport Major Projects, says, “The oceans have been fixing and sinking carbon for billions of years – they rely on natural upwelling to provide macronutrients to seaweed, eco-systems and oceanic life. Global warming has disrupted normal climate patterns and reduced natural upwelling.
“Marine permaculture can restore ocean circulation, regenerate kelp forests, fish habitat and fix gigatons of CO2 per year. It can offer food security to over a billion people relying on the ocean for food.”
Using a small-scale 12m diameter prototype developed last year, the system was successful in growing red seaweed and survived a Category 5 Typhoon in December 2021. WSP was brought in to verify the design of the smaller system and have worked with the Climate Foundation on developing the next phase of the project, scaling it up in size by a factor of 10 in 2022, and then by another factor of 10 by 2023, to reach a farm system that is 1 hectare in size.
Right now, the team is looking at scaling up the marine permaculture arrays in the Philippines. The ultimate goal is to develop large-scale, autonomous seaweed cultivation to aid in help regenerate seaweed ecosystem services offshore that have already been lost and to also help track this regenerative intervention as a blue carbon sink.
Tackling the biggest threat facing humanity
The XPRIZE for Carbon Removal competition is aimed at tackling the biggest threat facing humanity – fighting climate change and rebalancing Earth’s carbon cycle. Funded by Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation, this competition is offering $100M USD in overall prize money, the largest incentive prize in history.
As a Milestone Winner, our project is one of 15 projects that have been recognised as the most promising carbon removal concepts that will help Earth restore its carbon balance. Each of the 15 winning teams will receive US$1M in support.
The competition runs for four years and invites innovators and teams from around the world to create and demonstrate solutions that can pull carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere or oceans and sequester it durably and sustainably. To win the grand prize, teams must: demonstrate a working solution at a scale of at least 1,000 tonnes removed per year; model their costs at a scale of 1 million tonnes per year; and show a pathway to achieving a scale of 10 gigatonnes per year before 2050.
Having won this Milestone XPRIZE for Carbon Removal, the Climate Foundation and the other winners will scale their projects. Additional grand prizes are to be awarded in 2025, with $50 million paid to a single Grand Prize Winner and $30 million to be distributed among 2-3 additional winners.
Professional Services Support
Thomas Cooper, Director Bridges Maritime and Structures, says, “No corner of the globe is immune from the devastating consequences of climate change. As the infinite cost of climate change approaches irreversible highs, we’re proud to be working alongside the Climate Foundation to see our shared vision of developing sustainable economic solutions to urgent environmental issues become a reality.”
To date, WSP’s multidisciplinary team, which includes Transport, Major Projects, Maritime, Resources and specialists from our Bridge team, has provided the following services under an in-kind agreement:
- Finite Element Analysis (FEA) of the HDPE frame to understand member sizing and behaviour
- Review the control system specification and advise on long lead procurement items – including traction and Control Systems.
- High level design review of the overall offshore seaweed marine permaculture platform
- Project management
- Identification and introductions to other specialists, e.g., mooring & financial sustainability modelling
- Introductions to clients with off-shore infrastructure with an interest in net-zero and asset decommissioning
- Communication and marketing
For more information, please contact Julia Carpenter.