Kelp to feed the world and backup all renewables?

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by Eclipse, Jan 28, 2017.

  1. Eclipse

    Eclipse Junior Member

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    Hi all,
    I'm busting to know if something is possible out in the open ocean — the low nutrient open ocean to be exact. Dr Tim Flannery says truly GIANT kelp farms covering 9% of the oceans would sequester all our annual CO2 emissions. So that's one thing. But this area is huge, over four times the size of Australia! Why would we do that, apart from some massive geoengineering scheme? It would also:-
    * stimulate fisheries and other seafood growth to about 200kg per person annually, which is over half a kilo of seafood a day for a world of 10 billion!
    * provide all the renewable synthetic gas we could want to back up a renewable grid (and I'll admit I'm normally pro-nuclear!)
    * seaweed on this scale would also provide all the fertilisers we could want, harvesting that NPK leak we currently have with modern agriculture mining our soils of nutrients, and flushing them down the toilet out to sea.
    * Could also be used to sequester CO2 if coupled with a large biochar program, which would itself also have huge implications for farmland restoration and soil remediation projects.
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/nov/20/climate-crisis-future-brighter-tim-flannery
    But here's my question: is there enough nutrient rich ocean in the world to grow that much kelp? The wiki says kelp forests mainly occur near nutrient rich upwellings...
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelp_forest#Patch_dynamics
    ... and these are only 2% of the world's oceans.
    http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archi...se-ocean-upwelling-fisheries-impact-uncertain
    It sounds like we're missing 7% more nutrient-rich ocean. Assuming some *economic* miracle like big oil taking an interesting in this, is it even *ecologically* or *biologically* possible to grow kelp in 9% of the worlds' oceans? Are there enough nutrients out there? Who might know?
    Thanks for any help!
    Cheers
    Eclipse
     
  2. dreuky

    dreuky Junior Member

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    You are posing very interesting and very relevant questions. I don't know the answers to those questions but my only comment is I tend to take anything Tim Flannery says with a large dose of salt. Remember this is the man who predicted there would never be floods again in Northern Australia. So far sense this astounding prediction there have be 2 major floods in Queensland
     
  3. Teza Elise

    Teza Elise New Member

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    My perception is that anything big planned by humanity for its own advantage is one step further to destroy any possibility for a harmonious coexistence of as many species as possible. It is one step further to enhance the existing domination of humanity on the planet, the source of all ecological problems and what precisely permaculturists are aiming against. So no matter how good something sounds if it is man induced and "was" not a natural process it will create more problems than it would solve.

    As if we were a mold specie feeding on the surface of an apple and some spores decide we should dig in and eat from the core and go up the branch and eat the tree, the roots, the mycorrhiza, jump to an other tree specie and eat its fruit, the flowers, the bees, and so on and so forth. We are already eating too much of our share of the planet's resources and by dominating all other lifeforms we are driving them to extinction.

    I hope when my time will come I will find enough strength to pile up a huge pile of organic matter and forest animal manure, in the middle of any left over forest patch, and crawl in there and die as an act of giving something back. I am going to wear as much as I can of organic cotton and wool and fill the pockets with as big of a collection of mycelium species too. This is how I really want to go back to where I came from.

    But I know this is my own very narrow minded and perverse perception of how the planet's problem is humanity, and not that humanity's problem is the environment. From day one this mutation of a chimp specie has started a war with "its environment and all life forms".


    A mutant going rogue

    PS Please don't find any offense to what you propose, I am just stating my general view on things, not on your specific proposal. Much of what we do anyway is using knowledge and tools "trying" to revert some of the damage done. It is just that "big projects" are meant for those who carry "big resources" of knowledge, materials, and tools. They are responsible for 99% of the damage. We shouldn't waste time telling them anything as they always find a way to take advantage from it. They will come up with a GMO kemp that would produce some hard to find mineral (magnesium for example) and deplete the oceans from it to make a buck. At this stage we should keep all good ideas quiet and low (low as your eyesight, because as we bikers say you go where you look at). We permaculturists need to employ fungal tactics in fighting the machine.

    INCOMING!
     
  4. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Hey Eclipse, great thinking. One possible limitation is that kelp grows only in water at a maximum depth of 30 meters as they anchor to the sea floor: http://www.mesa.edu.au/habitat/kelp01.asp
    I guess the next step to continue your investigation would be to estimate all the ocean area that is less than 30 meters deep.
     
  5. Eclipse

    Eclipse Junior Member

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    Hi all,
    I found the answer. Let me summarise!

    Seaweed farms could revolutionise the world. 2% of the world's oceans are nutrient rich enough for these farms. Nutrients come from coastal erosion or oceanic upwelling. Sometimes there is nutrient pollution which causes algal blooms and dead zones. Seaweed farming can help mop up excess nutrients and restore ocean health. A new vertical column method of farming the oceans grows both kelp and shellfish and oysters and even encourages fisheries to grow in an ocean ecosystem based approach. Watch this 15 minute TED talk about seaweed feeding the world, and even bringing some of that seaweed back up onto our farmlands to help our farmers.

    Many seaweeds are a rich source of vegetarian super-food in their own right, and help form a whole variety of seaweed ice-creams, salads, sauces, and other food ingredients. Kelp farms also stimulate ocean ecosystems, and there are a variety of oysters and shellfish and even wild fish that will grow in amongst the kelp farms. We could feed the world from a small fraction of the 2% of the world's oceans that have their own nutrients. Not that we would be limited to only seaweed and seafood! Think of all the seaweed fertiliser this industry could grow.We could grow so much seaweed that we bring some onto land, get the salt out, and use it as fertiliser. Seaweed could bring our soils back to life. There is even a special seaweed that cows love and eliminates their methane burps! Methane burps are bad news, and cattle lose 15% of their growth to these energy losing burps. But a special seaweed cuts their burps by 99%, solving cattle's infamous methane climate emissions, *and* helping the cows grow faster!
    https://theconversation.com/seaweed...utting-methane-emissions-from-cow-burps-66498
    Now here's where it gets really bizarre, and potentially planet-saving. Some peer-reviewed work has been done imagining extending kelp farming out into the nutrient-poor open ocean. They start farming the nutrient rich waters. Then a previous season's kelp is biodigested to collect methane gas out the top, leaving the digested kelp nutrients behind. They then recycle those nutrients out in nutrient poor waters. They use slow drip feed hoses and 'tea-bags' that slowly fertilise the kelp, extending the kelp farms out into what was nutrient poor water. This means that nutrients are not a limit to where we can grow kelp!
    What if we really went crazy and farmed about 9% of the world's oceans this way?
    It would give:-
    * a world of 10 billion people half a kilogram of seafood per person per day!
    * all the biofuels and biogas we could need to backup a renewable grid (and this is coming from someone who is usually pro-nuclear because of the intermittency and unreliability of renewables!)
    * remove ocean acidity
    * restore our atmosphere to 350ppm by 2085
    In other words, seaweed is a silver bullet to feed the world, save the oceans, and save us from climate change, all in this free PDF. "Negative carbon via Ocean Afforestation". Just register, and download it for free.
    http://www.psep.ichemejournals.com/article/S0957-5820(12)00120-6/abstract
     
  6. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Senior Member

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    If you feed 10 billion they will breed
     
  7. dreuky

    dreuky Junior Member

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    That is a really important point. I agree that permaculture is a good way of looking after the Earth but as any good farmer can tell you, you should not off stock your land and I am sure that the Earth is already over stocked with humans. Over stocking leads to degradation.
     
  8. Eclipse

    Eclipse Junior Member

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    Yes, but if you feed them and give them everything they need for a modern, convenient, dignified life, they'll have less children when they do breed and the population will stabilise.
    https://eclipsenow.wordpress.com/reduce/
     
  9. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Senior Member

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    Its a difficult one because unfortunately expectations of what a fair few of those 10 billion believe is "a modern, convenient, dignified life" is the aspiration for the American dream.
    There's not enough planets or resources for us all to achieve our middle class American Dreams.

    Its noble and I agree in principle but we also need to let nature sort out the carrying capacity,its been distorted by cheap fossil fuels.
    http://www.ecoglobe.org/nz/sustain/popfosag.htm
     
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  10. Eclipse

    Eclipse Junior Member

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    CO2 emissions form half our global input. Kelp and associated fisheries could feed and power everyone on earth, and provide all the biomass feedstock for all plastics or fibres as well. Kelp could provide ALL the biochar we could need to bring the farmlands back to life. Then if there's any additional power requirements, breeder reactors eat nuclear waste. The nuclear waste in America could power her for 1000 years. Dr James Hansen supports their deployment passionately! Once you have enough energy, metals become recyclable through the industrial ecosystem just as permaculturalists might trace nutrients flowing through an ecological system. Not only this, but ALL household wastes, including dirty nappies (diapers), toxic asbestos, old jogging shoes, all grades of plastic, everything can all be tipped into a plasma burner and recycled into new plastics and even building materials. Household waste can be turned into something like 70% of the ingredients of the next house!
    https://eclipsenow.wordpress.com/recycle/
     
  11. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Senior Member

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    I love the enthusiasm but in the end its still carrying capacity and 10 billion is too many footsteps no matter how gentle they are.
    Theres lots of wonderful energy theories that arent economically viable
    eg The ocean is full of hydrogen but it doesnt make economic sense to harvest it.

    Ill be dead so I wont see anything like this happen and when I die, the world will still be burning fossils in a metal box, to run a generator.or move a machine, just like it has since Victorian times.
     
  12. Eclipse

    Eclipse Junior Member

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    "I love the enthusiasm but in the end its still carrying capacity and 10 billion is too many footsteps no matter how gentle they are."
    Really? But if the ocean is feeding us... and other technologies are not just 'light', but almost completely neutral, then the T in IPAT becomes the ultimate divider, not multiplier of harm.
     
  13. Eclipse

    Eclipse Junior Member

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    OK, so vat-grown meat is a thing.
    http://www.nextbigfuture.com/2017/02/lab-grown-meat-prices-have-dropped.html
    But what if the feedstock is unsustainable? Could we use processed kelp as a feedstock for all our meat and chicken and turkey needs, so that we would never have to kill real live animals for protein again? Anyone know any biochemists that might work in this field?
     

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