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Ocean Visions’ Experts to Advise/Evaluate Innovation Tackling Ocean Acidification

Atlanta, Georgia, April 28, 2021: Ocean Visions today announced an advisory relationship with The College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Stony Brook University to pilot and evaluate a new approach aimed at mitigating ocean acidification and enhancing ocean carbon sequestration. The project, Safe Elevation of Alkalinity for the Mitigation of Acidification Through Electrochemistry (SEA MATE), will use electrochemistry to remove acids from the ocean.

During the 2021 phase of the pilot, SEA MATE will prototype an acid removal technique to combat ocean acidification. An additional anticipated benefit of the SEA MATE process is the capture of atmospheric carbon dioxide and its safe long-term sequestration in the ocean as bicarbonate. Ocean Visions has assembled an Expert Team to provide scientific review and guidance on the design of experiments, data analysis, hypothesis testing, and safe operating thresholds. The team will ultimately produce an independent evaluation of the overall potential of the approach, including environmental costs and benefits.

The effort is supported through a partnership between the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust (GET) and Ocean Visions to identify and test technology-based solutions to climate impacts in the ocean. The partnership is founded on shared missions to slow, and ultimately reverse, the planet’s climate crisis.

“Excess carbon dioxide in our air and the ocean is causing dramatic disruptions to our planet; cleaning up this pollution is critical to restore our ocean,” says Brad Ack, executive director & chief innovation officer for Ocean Visions. “SEA MATE is a promising approach to address one of the most critical impacts of this carbon pollution – ocean acidification – while also tackling the direct cause of too much carbon dioxide in the air and water.”

“We clean up after oil spills, we should also clean up the ‘acid spill’ caused by carbon dioxide emissions,” says Dr. Matthew Eisaman, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Stony Brook University, and SEA MATE project lead.

Together with Dr. Brendan Carter, a principal investigator and research scientist with the University of Washington, Eisaman will share SEA MATE plans and findings with the Ocean Visions’ Expert Team, which will provide external, third-party review and guidance directed at increasing the probabilities of safe, successful outcomes and subsequent deployment. Specifically, the Ocean Visions’ Expert Team will:

  • Review SEA MATE’s research and development plan and provide feedback and advice on ways to optimize the design and implementation of the research and development plan to maximize overall performance, efficacy, and data integrity.
  • Review potential environmental risks and benefits and upstream and downstream impacts of the electrodialytic process and advise on how to minimize any potential negative impacts and maximize positive impacts.
  • Provide review and advice on design of monitoring systems and protocols to measure overall performance, and, in particular, carbon sequestration and environmental impacts of the electrochemical process developed by SEA MATE.
  • Review results of the laboratory testing, field tests, and model results as they become available.
  • Provide publicly available intermediate and final evaluation reports of the SEA MATE process. These reports will review the overall effort, the validity of the findings, any areas of disagreement and suggested next steps with respect to the research and development plan.

Ocean Visions’ Expert Team members include Dr. Ellen Briggs, Dr. David Ho, Dr. Kristy Kroeker, and Dr. William Tarpeh. Dr. David Koweek, Ocean Visions Science Director, is overseeing the effort.

Short biographies for team members are:

Dr. Ellen Briggs is a recently appointed Assistant Professor in the Ocean & Resources Engineering Department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa with research interests focusing on chemical sensor development and advancing chemical sensing technologies for oceanographic research. She received her BS degree in Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2011. She then joined Scripps Institution of Oceanography as a PhD student in 2012. She received a MS in Earth Science in 2014 and completed her PhD in Oceanography in 2017 under Dr. Todd Martz where she developed a sensor for autonomous, in situ monitoring of the seawater carbon dioxide system measuring pH and Total Alkalinity. In her new position at UH, Ellen is continuing to refine the dual pH and Total Alkalinity sensor technology and test its capabilities for scientific research within the field of Ocean Acidification and coral reef metabolism under two recently awarded NSF grants.

Dr. David Ho is a Professor of Oceanography in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and an Adjunct Senior Research Scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. He is a geochemist whose research focuses on air-sea gas exchange in coastal and open oceans environments, the carbon cycle in mangrove and coral reef ecosystems, and the use of tracers to study transport processes in aquatic systems. Over his career, he has authored over 60 peer-reviewed publications and conducted research in all five oceans and in all seven continents on Earth.

Dr. Kristy Kroeker is an Associate Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz and a core faculty member in the Coastal Science and Policy Graduate Program at UC Santa Cruz. Her research examines the ecological effects of climate change, ocean acidification, and deoxygenation on marine communities and ecosystems, with a focus on the coastal communities spanning the West Coast of the United States and Alaska. In addition, her research addresses how actions at a local-scale can offset the effects of global change on marine ecosystems to protect both nature and people. Kroeker is a Packard Fellow in Science and Engineering, a Sloan Fellow in Ocean Sciences, and a UC Climate Action Champion. In addition, she sits on the Scientific Advisory Team of the California Ocean Protection Council as well as the advisory committee for the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Center, the leading intergovernmental body facilitating international collaboration and capacity building for ocean acidification research worldwide.

Dr. William Tarpeh is an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Stanford University. The Tarpeh Lab develops and evaluates selective separations in “waste” waters at several synergistic scales: molecular mechanisms of chemical transport and transformation; novel unit processes that increase resource efficiency; and systems-level assessments that identify optimization opportunities. Will completed his B.S. in chemical engineering at Stanford, his M.S. and Ph.D. in environmental engineering at UC Berkeley, and postdoctoral training at the University of Michigan in environmental engineering. Will has recently been honored as an Environmental Science & TechnologyEarly Career Scientist, Forbes’ “30 Under 30” 2019 Science List, Gulf Research Program Early Career Fellow, and Chemical and Engineering News Talented 12.

Dr. David Koweek is the Science Director of Ocean Visions, Inc., where he is responsible for the accuracy and integrity of the science underpinning Ocean Visions activities. David is trained as an oceanographer and marine scientist. He has led and participated in field expeditions all across the world, including on the Great Barrier Reef, the Ross Sea, the California coast, the Sargasso Sea, and natural carbon dioxide vents off Italy. An expert in evaluating the geophysical potential of various ocean solutions, David is a frequent participant in research conferences and expert-level panels, including recent panels for the Energy Futures Initiative, the Foundation for Climate Restoration, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. His scholarly works have been published in top-tier journals, including Nature. Prior to his role with Ocean Visions, David was a postdoctoral research scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science. He holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University and a B.S. from Brown University.