Development Gaps and Needs

Addressing Knowledge Gaps

Siting analyses are needed to identify optimal nutrient, light, and wave conditions for growth; as well as potential conflicts with other marine industries (such as the NOAA Coastal Aquaculture Siting and Sustainability toolkit) (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation) A suite of tools and methodologies to estimate productivity, carbon capture, export, and sequestration, including direct and remote sensing approaches needs to be built (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Measure the Scale and Impacts of CDR via Macroalgae Sinking, Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations). For sinking pathways, the challenges of following the carbon from source (farm) to deposition (seafloor) in energetically active environments (horizontal and vertical currents, turbulent areas, etc.) We do not understand enough about the net CDR benefit from a life cycle perspective (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials, Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations, Develop CDR Monitoring and Verification Protocols) Challenges exist verifying additional CO2 uptake from the atmosphere to the ocean in a dynamic background as a result of macroalgae cultivation and sequestration CDR pathways (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials, Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations) Inclusion of various macroalgal CDR into integrated assessment models to simulate and predict complex, global responses to macroalgal CDR. Examples include changes in CO2 fluxes in other ecosystems via teleconnections (connections in Earth processes and non-continuous geographic regions, which are often caused by processes not immediately apparent from first principles), and to estimate permanence via the various macroalgal CDR pathways (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation) Increased knowledge base regarding the physiology (including heat tolerance) and genomics of a broader array of potential cultivars – beyond the ten most common - to understand their growth and carbon sequestration potential is needed (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials) Better understanding of how large-scale macroalgae cultivation affects the partitioning of carbon between particulate and dissolved phases, and its implications for CDR (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials)
Siting analyses are needed to identify optimal nutrient, light, and wave conditions for growth; as well as potential conflicts with other marine industries (such as the NOAA Coastal Aquaculture Siting and Sustainability toolkit) (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation) A suite of tools and methodologies to estimate productivity, carbon capture, export, and sequestration, including direct and remote sensing approaches needs to be built (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Measure the Scale and Impacts of CDR via Macroalgae Sinking, Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations). For sinking pathways, the challenges of following the carbon from source (farm) to deposition (seafloor) in energetically active environments (horizontal and vertical currents, turbulent areas, etc.) We do not understand enough about the net CDR benefit from a life cycle perspective (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials, Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations, Develop CDR Monitoring and Verification Protocols) Challenges exist verifying additional CO2 uptake from the atmosphere to the ocean in a dynamic background as a result of macroalgae cultivation and sequestration CDR pathways (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials, Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations) Inclusion of various macroalgal CDR into integrated assessment models to simulate and predict complex, global responses to macroalgal CDR. Examples include changes in CO2 fluxes in other ecosystems via teleconnections (connections in Earth processes and non-continuous geographic regions, which are often caused by processes not immediately apparent from first principles), and to estimate permanence via the various macroalgal CDR pathways (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation) Increased knowledge base regarding the physiology (including heat tolerance) and genomics of a broader array of potential cultivars – beyond the ten most common - to understand their growth and carbon sequestration potential is needed (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials) Better understanding of how large-scale macroalgae cultivation affects the partitioning of carbon between particulate and dissolved phases, and its implications for CDR (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials)
Siting analyses are needed to identify optimal nutrient, light, and wave conditions for growth; as well as potential conflicts with other marine industries (such as the NOAA Coastal Aquaculture Siting and Sustainability toolkit) (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation) A suite of tools and methodologies to estimate productivity, carbon capture, export, and sequestration, including direct and remote sensing approaches needs to be built (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Measure the Scale and Impacts of CDR via Macroalgae Sinking, Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations). For sinking pathways, the challenges of following the carbon from source (farm) to deposition (seafloor) in energetically active environments (horizontal and vertical currents, turbulent areas, etc.) We do not understand enough about the net CDR benefit from a life cycle perspective (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials, Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations, Develop CDR Monitoring and Verification Protocols) Challenges exist verifying additional CO2 uptake from the atmosphere to the ocean in a dynamic background as a result of macroalgae cultivation and sequestration CDR pathways (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials, Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations) Inclusion of various macroalgal CDR into integrated assessment models to simulate and predict complex, global responses to macroalgal CDR. Examples include changes in CO2 fluxes in other ecosystems via teleconnections (connections in Earth processes and non-continuous geographic regions, which are often caused by processes not immediately apparent from first principles), and to estimate permanence via the various macroalgal CDR pathways (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation) Increased knowledge base regarding the physiology (including heat tolerance) and genomics of a broader array of potential cultivars – beyond the ten most common - to understand their growth and carbon sequestration potential is needed (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials) Better understanding of how large-scale macroalgae cultivation affects the partitioning of carbon between particulate and dissolved phases, and its implications for CDR (Develop New Modeling Tools to Support Design and Evaluation, Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials)
  • Proof-of-concept field experiments have not been conducted in open ocean conditions to test growth rates, sequestration potential, and environmental impacts of macroalgal CDR pathways (3b)
  • Siting analyses are needed to identify optimal nutrient, light, and wave conditions for growth; as well as potential conflicts with other marine industries (such as the NOAA Coastal Aquaculture Siting and Sustainability toolkit) (3a)
  • A suite of tools and methodologies to estimate productivity, carbon capture, export, and sequestration, including direct and remote sensing approaches{{1}} needs to be built (3a, 3c, 3d). 
    • For sinking pathways, the challenges of following the carbon from source (farm) to deposition (seafloor) in energetically active environments (horizontal and vertical currents, turbulent areas, etc.) 
  • We do not understand enough about the net CDR benefit from a life cycle perspective (3a, 3b, 3d, 3e)
  • Challenges exist verifying additional CO2 uptake from the atmosphere to the ocean in a dynamic background as a result of macroalgae cultivation and sequestration CDR pathways (3a, 3b, 3d)
  • Inclusion of various macroalgal CDR into integrated assessment models to simulate and predict complex, global responses to macroalgal CDR. Examples include changes in CO2 fluxes in other ecosystems via teleconnections (connections in Earth processes and non-continuous geographic regions, which are often caused by processes not immediately apparent from first principles), and to estimate permanence via the various macroalgal CDR pathways (3a)
  • Increased knowledge base regarding the physiology (including heat tolerance) and genomics of a broader array of potential cultivars – beyond the ten most common - to understand their growth and carbon sequestration potential is needed (3a, 3b) 
  • Better understanding of how large-scale macroalgae cultivation affects the partitioning of carbon between particulate and dissolved phases, and its implications for CDR (3a, 3b)
Siting analyses are needed to identify optimal nutrient, light, and wave conditions for growth; as well as potential conflicts with other marine industries (such as the NOAA Coastal Aquaculture Siting and Sustainability toolkit) (3a) A suite of tools and methodologies to estimate productivity, carbon capture, export, and sequestration, including direct and remote sensing approaches needs to be built (3a, 3c, 3d). For sinking pathways, the challenges of following the carbon from source (farm) to deposition (seafloor) in energetically active environments (horizontal and vertical currents, turbulent areas, etc.) We do not understand enough about the net CDR benefit from a life cycle perspective (3a, 3b, 3d, 3e) Challenges exist verifying additional CO2 uptake from the atmosphere to the ocean in a dynamic background as a result of macroalgae cultivation and sequestration CDR pathways (3a, 3b, 3d) Inclusion of various macroalgal CDR into integrated assessment models to simulate and predict complex, global responses to macroalgal CDR. Examples include changes in CO2 fluxes in other ecosystems via teleconnections (connections in Earth processes and non-continuous geographic regions, which are often caused by processes not immediately apparent from first principles), and to estimate permanence via the various macroalgal CDR pathways (3a) Increased knowledge base regarding the physiology (including heat tolerance) and genomics of a broader array of potential cultivars – beyond the ten most common - to understand their growth and carbon sequestration potential is needed (3a, 3b) Better understanding of how large-scale macroalgae cultivation affects the partitioning of carbon between particulate and dissolved phases, and its implications for CDR (3a, 3b)
  • Proof-of-concept field experiments have not been conducted in open ocean conditions to test growth rates, sequestration potential, and environmental impacts of macroalgal CDR pathways (3b)
  • Siting analyses are needed to identify optimal nutrient, light, and wave conditions for growth; as well as potential conflicts with other marine industries (such as the NOAA Coastal Aquaculture Siting and Sustainability toolkit) (3a)
  • A suite of tools and methodologies to estimate productivity, carbon capture, export, and sequestration, including direct and remote sensing approaches needs to be built (3a, 3c, 3d). 
    • For sinking pathways, the challenges of following the carbon from source (farm) to deposition (seafloor) in energetically active environments (horizontal and vertical currents, turbulent areas, etc.) 
  • We do not understand enough about the net CDR benefit from a life cycle perspective (3a, 3b, 3d, 3e)
  • Challenges exist verifying additional CO2 uptake from the atmosphere to the ocean in a dynamic background as a result of macroalgae cultivation and sequestration CDR pathways (3a, 3b, 3d)
  • Inclusion of various macroalgal CDR into integrated assessment models to simulate and predict complex, global responses to macroalgal CDR. Examples include changes in CO2 fluxes in other ecosystems via teleconnections (connections in Earth processes and non-continuous geographic regions, which are often caused by processes not immediately apparent from first principles), and to estimate permanence via the various macroalgal CDR pathways (3a)
  • Increased knowledge base regarding the physiology (including heat tolerance) and genomics of a broader array of potential cultivars – beyond the ten most common - to understand their growth and carbon sequestration potential is needed (3a, 3b) 
  • Better understanding of how large-scale macroalgae cultivation affects the partitioning of carbon between particulate and dissolved phases, and its implications for CDR (3a, 3b)
Siting analyses are needed to identify optimal nutrient, light, and wave conditions for growth; as well as potential conflicts with other marine industries (such as the NOAA Coastal Aquaculture Siting and Sustainability toolkit) (3a) A suite of tools and methodologies to estimate productivity, carbon capture, export, and sequestration, including direct and remote sensing approaches needs to be built (3a, 3c, 3d). For sinking pathways, the challenges of following the carbon from source (farm) to deposition (seafloor) in energetically active environments (horizontal and vertical currents, turbulent areas, etc.) We do not understand enough about the net CDR benefit from a life cycle perspective (3a, 3b, 3d, 3e) Challenges exist verifying additional CO2 uptake from the atmosphere to the ocean in a dynamic background as a result of macroalgae cultivation and sequestration CDR pathways (3a, 3b, 3d) Inclusion of various macroalgal CDR into integrated assessment models to simulate and predict complex, global responses to macroalgal CDR. Examples include changes in CO2 fluxes in other ecosystems via teleconnections (connections in Earth processes and non-continuous geographic regions, which are often caused by processes not immediately apparent from first principles), and to estimate permanence via the various macroalgal CDR pathways (3a) Increased knowledge base regarding the physiology (including heat tolerance) and genomics of a broader array of potential cultivars – beyond the ten most common - to understand their growth and carbon sequestration potential is needed (3a, 3b) Better understanding of how large-scale macroalgae cultivation affects the partitioning of carbon between particulate and dissolved phases, and its implications for CDR (3a, 3b)

Engineering Challenges and Needs

Current observational technologies (sensors, ROVs, AUVs, etc.) and modeling tools are not widespread or easily available to support field trials with the necessary spatial and temporal frequency of monitoring and sampling (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations) Technologies to accelerate macroalgal sinking are not well explored or understood (Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials, Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations) Wave-powered devices (both for electrical power and upwelling) are in their infancy (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations) Upwelling systems must be designed and tested to access deeper water nutrients and keep them in the euphotic zone where they can support macroalgal growth (as opposed to immediately sinking out of the euphotic zone) Harvesting and processing technologies that minimize environmental impact and energy use are needed (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations) More efficient means of drying the harvested crop (for non-sinking pathways) Technologies to scale shore-based hatcheries to produce more juvenile kelp ready for outplanting are needed (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations)
Current observational technologies (sensors, ROVs, AUVs, etc.) and modeling tools are not widespread or easily available to support field trials with the necessary spatial and temporal frequency of monitoring and sampling (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations) Technologies to accelerate macroalgal sinking are not well explored or understood (Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials, Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations) Wave-powered devices (both for electrical power and upwelling) are in their infancy (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations) Upwelling systems must be designed and tested to access deeper water nutrients and keep them in the euphotic zone where they can support macroalgal growth (as opposed to immediately sinking out of the euphotic zone) Harvesting and processing technologies that minimize environmental impact and energy use are needed (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations) More efficient means of drying the harvested crop (for non-sinking pathways) Technologies to scale shore-based hatcheries to produce more juvenile kelp ready for outplanting are needed (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations)
Current observational technologies (sensors, ROVs, AUVs, etc.) and modeling tools are not widespread or easily available to support field trials with the necessary spatial and temporal frequency of monitoring and sampling (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations) Technologies to accelerate macroalgal sinking are not well explored or understood (Accelerate Design and Permitting of Controlled Field Trials, Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations) Wave-powered devices (both for electrical power and upwelling) are in their infancy (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations) Upwelling systems must be designed and tested to access deeper water nutrients and keep them in the euphotic zone where they can support macroalgal growth (as opposed to immediately sinking out of the euphotic zone) Harvesting and processing technologies that minimize environmental impact and energy use are needed (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations) More efficient means of drying the harvested crop (for non-sinking pathways) Technologies to scale shore-based hatcheries to produce more juvenile kelp ready for outplanting are needed (Develop New In-Water Tools for Autonomous CDR Operations)
  • Advances are needed in offshore mooring design, as well as viable, durable, and cost-effective farming systems for offshore cultivation technology{{1}}  (3d)
  • Current observational technologies (sensors, ROVs, AUVs, etc.) and modeling tools are not widespread or easily available to support field trials with the necessary spatial and temporal frequency of monitoring and sampling (3d)
  • Technologies to accelerate macroalgal sinking are not well explored or understood (3b, 3d)
  • Wave-powered devices (both for electrical power and upwelling) are in their infancy (3d)
    • Upwelling systems must be designed and tested to access deeper water nutrients and keep them in the euphotic zone where they can support macroalgal growth (as opposed to immediately sinking out of the euphotic zone)
  • Harvesting and processing technologies that minimize environmental impact and energy use are needed (3d)
    • More efficient means of drying the harvested crop (for non-sinking pathways)
  • Technologies to scale shore-based hatcheries to produce more juvenile kelp ready for outplanting are needed (3d)
Current observational technologies (sensors, ROVs, AUVs, etc.) and modeling tools are not widespread or easily available to support field trials with the necessary spatial and temporal frequency of monitoring and sampling (3d) Technologies to accelerate macroalgal sinking are not well explored or understood (3b, 3d) Wave-powered devices (both for electrical power and upwelling) are in their infancy (3d) Upwelling systems must be designed and tested to access deeper water nutrients and keep them in the euphotic zone where they can support macroalgal growth (as opposed to immediately sinking out of the euphotic zone) Harvesting and processing technologies that minimize environmental impact and energy use are needed (3d) More efficient means of drying the harvested crop (for non-sinking pathways) Technologies to scale shore-based hatcheries to produce more juvenile kelp ready for outplanting are needed (3d)
  • Advances are needed in offshore mooring design, as well as viable, durable, and cost-effective farming systems for offshore cultivation technology  (3d)
  • Current observational technologies (sensors, ROVs, AUVs, etc.) and modeling tools are not widespread or easily available to support field trials with the necessary spatial and temporal frequency of monitoring and sampling (3d)
  • Technologies to accelerate macroalgal sinking are not well explored or understood (3b, 3d)
  • Wave-powered devices (both for electrical power and upwelling) are in their infancy (3d)
    • Upwelling systems must be designed and tested to access deeper water nutrients and keep them in the euphotic zone where they can support macroalgal growth (as opposed to immediately sinking out of the euphotic zone)
  • Harvesting and processing technologies that minimize environmental impact and energy use are needed (3d)
    • More efficient means of drying the harvested crop (for non-sinking pathways)
  • Technologies to scale shore-based hatcheries to produce more juvenile kelp ready for outplanting are needed (3d)
Current observational technologies (sensors, ROVs, AUVs, etc.) and modeling tools are not widespread or easily available to support field trials with the necessary spatial and temporal frequency of monitoring and sampling (3d) Technologies to accelerate macroalgal sinking are not well explored or understood (3b, 3d) Wave-powered devices (both for electrical power and upwelling) are in their infancy (3d) Upwelling systems must be designed and tested to access deeper water nutrients and keep them in the euphotic zone where they can support macroalgal growth (as opposed to immediately sinking out of the euphotic zone) Harvesting and processing technologies that minimize environmental impact and energy use are needed (3d) More efficient means of drying the harvested crop (for non-sinking pathways) Technologies to scale shore-based hatcheries to produce more juvenile kelp ready for outplanting are needed (3d)

Building a Global Workforce

Version published: 
  • Training, skills development, and technology transfers are needed globally to expand available workforce for macroalgal cultivation and sequestration (3f, 3g, 3h) 
  • Stable, increased research and development funding to build capacity in this sector, such as has been seen with the ARPA-E MARINER program in the US (3g)

Building a Seaweed Carbon Market

Version published: 
  • Certification standards for macroalgal carbon sequestration are needed to support developing markets for macroalgae CO2 sequestration (3e) 
  • Scalable business models and markets to support demand for the multitude of potential products that can be derived from macroalgae (nutritional supplements, high value food items, additives, biochar, bioenergy, etc.) are needed to support this industry (3f, 3g, 3h) 

Public Awareness and Support Are Low

Version published: 

Many of the obstacles and needs around building and maintaining public support are not specific to macroalgal cultivation and sequestration, but there are a few points of interest specific to macroalgal cultivation pathways (Growing & Maintaining Public Support):

  • Industrial-scale farms could have a negative public connotation (e.g. corn fields/monoculture in the ocean)
  • If genetically modified macroalgae were to be used to increase cultivation yields and sequestration potential, especially in the context of industrial-scale macroalgae farms, that might be perceived negatively by the public given public views on genetically modified organisms 
  • Public perceptions of sinking macroalgal may differ from perceptions about conversion of cultivated macroalgae into high value bio products

Many of the obstacles and needs around building and maintaining public support are not specific to macroalgal cultivation and sequestration, but there are a few points of interest specific to macroalgal cultivation pathways (Growing & Maintaining Public Support):

  • Industrial-scale farms could have a negative public connotation (e.g. corn fields/monoculture in the ocean)
  • If genetically modified macroalgae were to be used to increase cultivation yields and sequestration potential, especially in the context of industrial-scale macroalgae farms, that might be perceived negatively by the public given public views on genetically modified organisms 
  • Public perceptions of sinking macroalgal may differ from perceptions about conversion of cultivated macroalgae into high value bio products

Many of the obstacles and needs around building and maintaining public support are not specific to macroalgal cultivation and sequestration, but there are a few points of interest specific to macroalgal cultivation pathways (Growing & Maintaining Public Support):

  • Industrial-scale farms could have a negative public connotation (e.g. corn fields/monoculture in the ocean)
  • If genetically modified macroalgae were to be used to increase cultivation yields and sequestration potential, especially in the context of industrial-scale macroalgae farms, that might be perceived negatively by the public given public views on genetically modified organisms 
  • Public perceptions of sinking macroalgal may differ from perceptions about conversion of cultivated macroalgae into high value bio products

Many of the obstacles and needs around building and maintaining public support are not specific to macroalgal cultivation and sequestration, but there are a few points of interest specific to macroalgal cultivation pathways (3h):

  • Industrial-scale farms could have a negative public connotation (e.g. corn fields/monoculture in the ocean)
  • If genetically modified macroalgae were to be used to increase cultivation yields and sequestration potential, especially in the context of industrial-scale macroalgae farms, that might be perceived negatively by the public given public views on genetically modified organisms 
  • Public perceptions of sinking macroalgal may differ from perceptions about conversion of cultivated macroalgae into high value bio products
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