Governmental stimuli of seaweed pellet production for burning

Recently, the government of the United Kingdom has committed to significantly reduce the country's CO2 emissions. This will in in part be achieved by converting coal burning energy plants to plants burning bio-pellets. If these bio-pellets are generated with forest biomass, and if this concept would be extended to all coal-burning energy plants in the world, all forests would rapidly be depleted. Kelp, however, has the potential of growing 30 times faster than trees and might provide a solution to this problem.
If there were incentives to scale up seaweed farming for pellet production, then that might have dramatic impact on not only the release of CO2, but also on the oceans, as large seaweed farms have many positive effects in restoring ecosystems. Currently, the UK uses about 8% of its EU fishing subsidies on a shift towards more sustainable fishing, which amounts to € 19.3 M between 2014 and 2020. If a fraction of that money (or anything similar post-Brexit) and governmental rules in general would be used to encourage fishers to convert their activities to seaweed farming, this would most likely have knock-on effects also for the other fishers, which are likely to see their catches increase due to the positive benefits of the seaweed farming on the fish stocks.
This idea is naturally not restricted to the UK, but could be extended to most coastal countries, especially in temperate and subtropic parts of the world, where kelp forests grow the fastest.
It is also worth noting that when the process of generating pellets for biofuel is efficient and cheap, it might even be possible to pump raw kelp material into emptied oil fields, thus generating a permanent carbon sink. But this is a downstream possibility which would not create the feed-back loop looked after in this project.

 

Actor(s)

Government

 

Trigger (intervention)

 

Criticality

 

Feedback Dynamics

 

Timescale and scaleability

 

Resistance

 

Author

Jakob Theorell

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License