Guest: Raffael Jovine | Founder | Brilliant Planet
Category: 🌳 Carbon Capture | Algae
Podcast’s Essential Bites:
[39:44] RJ: "What Brilliant Planet does is we grow algae really cheaply the way they grow in nature. Half the planet is driven by algae in the ocean, algal photosynthesis and it is what moves most of the carbon on the planet. [...] There are more than 50 times the nutrients that we use every year on land available in the ocean at any one point in time. And [we] bring that rich ocean water together with local algae in [...] empty coastal deserts and grow more biology, grow more algae, grow more biomass. [...] The idea was, if we can grow a lot of algae, they will absorb a lot of CO2 [...]. And then we can harvest those algae, dry them with sunlight, just the way it is in the desert, and bury them to remove that carbon from the atmosphere."
[42:08] RJ: "Per square meter per year [algae] can sequester 30 times as much CO2 than a forest does."
[42:44] RJ: "In nature these algal blooms happen very episodically, usually in the springtime, and usually in the autumn. [...] The real invention is that we got to sort of perpetuate that phenomenon in our ponds all year round."
[47:32] RJ: "From a net impact point of view, actually growing the algae specifically for the purpose of carbon sequestration and then not processing it, just solar drying it in such a way that it does mummify, and it does go into the ground long term, is the most net carbon negative technology we could make. [...] It's something we physically have in hand. So it's a very high quality carbon credit and it's very certifiable in that sense."
[48:52] RJ: "The business model is to grow algae as affordably as possible on as big a scale as possible. [...] We've developed the technology from a growth point of view. Now we are spending a lot of effort on the engineering scale up to really, truly industrial scale. We've identified about half a million square kilometers of really ideal coastal desert land in places like South Africa, Namibia, southern Angola, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, huge areas in the Mediterranean, Western sort of Morocco, places like the Red Sea, Arabian Sea, the Gulf, Australia [...]. And we want to make that technology accessible to all those local governments and local environments, so that they can then implement this technology on a large scale."
[53:29] RJ: "The first 1,000 hectare farm that we're planning on building is designed to sequester at least 100,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. [...] To really have a big impact, we need to go global. [...] The half a million square kilometers [...] that we've identified in terms of that ideal coastal land [...] can sequester about two gigatons of carbon [...] per year."