Technology

Intro to Ocean Upwelling Pumps

A scalable ocean-based carbon removal technology 

Our ocean-based carbon removal technology, Ocean Upwelling Pumps (also known as Artificial Upwelling Pumps), uses ocean wave energy to grow phytoplankton. These tiny microscopic plants that drift on the ocean’s surface, which, like trees, absorb carbon dioxide, but much faster, and are the base of the ocean food chain. When phytoplankton die, they sink into the deep ocean, where the carbon is stored for centuries. Our method for using carbon sequestration technology is known as Artificial Upwelling, which is the engineered transport of deep ocean water to the sunlit surface to stimulate the primary production of phytoplankton (ocean photosynthesis). The National Academy of Sciences cited our company and methodology as a scalable ocean-based climate solution. We are the “First Mover” in Ocean Upwelling for carbon sequestration technology (since 2005).

About Ocean Nutrients 

We live on a blue planet where 71% of the surface is the ocean, and 65% of the Earth’s surface is ocean desert (void of life): areas depleted of nutrients. A blue ocean is a dead ocean. A green ocean is a living ocean. Deep ocean water (as seen in the diagrams below) has much higher nutrients (Distribution of Phosphate, Nitrogen Compounds, and Silicate in the Oceans). When these nutrients mix with the dissolved CO2 + sunlight + water, it results in ocean photosynthesis (phytoplankton growth) as Earth has been doing for the past 2.6 billion years and producing 50-80% of the oxygen we breathe. And our negative emissions technologies can boost this oxygen intake.

  • Phosphate in Ocean
  • Nitrate in Ocean
  • Silicate in Ocean

We’ve designed our ocean-based carbon dioxide removal technology to operate on 100% ocean wave energy far offshore and away from coral reefs to free-drift (like plankton) in the ocean gyres.

How Pumps Work

  1. Deploy wave-powered 500 meter deep pumps in nutrient-depleted zones (ocean gyres)
  2. To deliver higher-nutrient seawater
  3. Which triggers ocean photosynthesis: Sunlight + Nutrients + Water + CO2 = Phytoplankton Blooms
  4. Phytoplankton sink at death or in fecal pellets (eaten by zooplankton/fish)
  5. BGC Argo for measuring sinking rate/depth of phytoplankton
  6. Buoy for Argo
  7. Argo sea-anchor keeps rope down current
  8. Argo Lines. The first line is a vertical rope extending 500 meters below the pump, held by a 300 lbs ballast weight connected to a diagonal rope, which is the path the BGC Argo measures data points that determine the sequestration of the CO2.
How Ocean Nutrient Pumps (Artificial Upwelling Pumps) Sequester CO2

Pump Design

(Pre-deployment configuration)

  1. Tube, full rolled up
  2. Rotational brakes
  3. Parachute Panels
Pre-deployment configuration

Front View

  1. Main Buoy
  2. Instrument Chamber
  3. High-strength ropes
  4. Outlet
  5. Tube
  6. Bottom-weight Valve (2500 lbs)
Front View

Side View

  1. 5 meters
  2. 500 meters
Side View

Maintenance Management

Ocean Nutrient Pumps (Artificial Upwelling Pumps or Pumps) have a design life of 80+ years if properly maintained. Much of the routine maintenance can be accomplished in situ – removing biofouling from the buoy, swap-out of on-buoy electronics, solar/battery maintenance, etc. This is achieved by snagging the buoy recovery line and lifting the buoy onto the workboat aft deck, then performing the necessary procedures.

If the inspection determines fabric tube replacement is required, the valve/bottom-weight recovery line is winched in which lifts the bottom weight to the surface, emptying water from the tube. The tube is re-spooled and a new tube is fitted to the top valve outlet and the valve/ bottom-weight, then deployment procedures are followed.

Pumps requiring more extensive repair or refurbishment are brought back to shore and recycled or the components repaired and re-used.

End of Life

At end of life, the Pumps are removed and brought onshore for recycling or disposal. Our pricing At end of life, the Pumps are removed and brought onshore for recycling or disposal. Our pricing schedule includes an allowance to cover these costs.