So James Lovelock, he of the Gaia Hypothesis, has come up with a novel way to beat global warming – using little jellyfish-like creatures called “salps” to, more or less, terraform our own planet. He’s was working with Chris Rapley of the Science Museum in London to design a scheme to grow colonies of salps in the tropical oceans inside long sections of floating pipes. The scheme was first floated (so to speak) in Nature, using algae to take the CO2 out of the air and sock it away deep under the oceans.
Then, as shown in this Harvard report and reported on the BBC, the two British scientists learned that the American company Atmocean was refining a remarkably similar planet-saving plan – only they had settled on salps as more efficient CO2 suckers. Here’s how the scheme works:
Floating pipes reaching down from the top of the ocean into colder water below move up and down with the swell.
As the pipe moves down, cold water flows up and out onto the ocean surface. A simple valve blocks any downward flow when the pipe is moving upwards.
Colder water is more “productive” – it contains more life, and so in principle can absorb more carbon.
One of the life-forms that might benefit, Atmocean believes, is the salp, a tiny tube which excretes carbon in its solid faecal pellets, which descend to the ocean floor, perhaps storing the carbon away for millennia.
Atmocean CEO Phil Kithil has calculated that deploying about 134 million pipes could potentially sequester about one-third of the carbon dioxide produced by human activities each year.
You can read more at the homepage of the Atmocean company.