06 Jun 2023 - ongoing
Europe, Global/Multiregional, Infrastructure, energy and climate change, Research

Strategies for the Evaluation and Assessment of Ocean-based Carbon Dioxide Removal (SEAO2-CDR)

Strategies for the Evaluation and Assessment of Ocean-based Carbon Dioxide Removal (SEAO2-CDR) is a new European project directed at deepening our knowledge of Ocean-based Carbon Dioxide Removal (OCDR) solutions, their efficacy, benefits and consequences. Led by the British National Oceanography Centre and coordinated by Uniresearch, the project employs thirteen European organisations who will provide scientific, economic, legal, political, social, and ethical expertise on this subject.

Carbon dioxide is one of the major contributors to global warming, a process that is yet to be inhibited. Already now we are approaching the 1.5C limit set by the Paris climate agreement, which may be reached as soon as 2027. Consequently, there is a need for methods that would slow down and counteract the climate change. One of the possible solutions is Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) which consists of removing CO2 from the atmosphere and upper ocean and storing it in marine, geological or ground reserves. A 2019 IPCC special report stated that achieving the Paris temperature target would require the removal of 1000 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2100. This poses questions as to this technique’s reliability, as its results so far do not meet the set goal and its implementation is influenced by cost, legal frameworks and the availability of appropriate monitoring and accounting techniques. Nevertheless, CDR remains a key element in the IPCC’s climate projections.

One of the considered methods is Ocean-based Carbon Dioxide Removal (OCDR), a technique already implemented by businesses around the world in various forms, including increasing the amount of CO2 that can be absorbed into seawater by countering the effects of ocean acidification, increasing the productivity of algae that consume CO2 during photosynthesis, and sinking seaweed into the deep ocean where the carbon can be locked within the sediments.

The SEAO2-CDR project will address critical gaps in our technical understanding of OCDR approaches by defining the areas in which they are environmentally and economically viable. It will also help develop the frameworks needed to support the responsible and effective implementation of OCDR and support robust monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) strategies using cutting-edge sensor technologies.

Leader: NOC (UK)

Coordinator: Uniresearch (Netherlands)

Partners: University of Cambridge (UK); Heriot Watt (UK); University of Leipzig (Germany); Kiel Institute for the World Economy (Germany); University of Leiden (Netherlands); GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research (Germany); Center for Social and Economic Research (Poland); Comillas Pontifical University (Spain); LUISS University (Italy); Kiel University (Germany) and the World Ocean Council (France).

Funding: Horizon Europe

EN-Funded by the EU-POS