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Harvest of free-range Bluefin Tuna by pelagic aquaculture.

In cooperation with the HUB (Seattle) we are hosting a working group in January to kick off project proposal drafting for an experimental installation off the NE coast of Big Island. Emphasis will be on structural engineering for long term marine operability.

Work includes formation of ecosystems in the pelagic ocean that will replace neustonic micro- sedimentary ecotypes by a pyramidal ecosystem having large predators such as tuna at the apex and a steady-state macro-fecal output sufficient to capture 5% of annualized human CO2 emissions at full scale. The full scale array will cover 100,000 square kilometers of open ocean and dynamically open shipping lanes without interference. Current work focuses on surviving a storm surge of 20m wave amplitude and 125 km/hr wind velocity without catastrophic failure of systems.  The array is equipped with variable buoyancy ballast and will be submerged below 20m to escape severe conditions.
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Calculations are discussed here in detail (link).

From ARPA-E Proposal RFI-0000027:

"Our proposal is based on proven technology to accelerate carbon sequestration. The approach is an organic outgrowth of the John Martin nutrient limitation hypothesis (Moss Landing) demonstrated experimentally by Kenneth Coale (Moss Landing) and more recently by David Karl (University of Hawaii [Manoa]), among many others (EiFeX, KEOPS) who have focused on phytoplankton. We use macroalgae and invertebrates as sponges for neustonic detritis (e.g., through exopolymer matrix binding of plastic) and as intermediaries for larger food chains in pelagic deserts. In earlier patented work on inorganic carriers, we shifted the focus to heterogeneous niche surfaces at fractal scale effective in generating photo- and heterotrophic food webs of sufficient size and complexity, sensu Whittaker, to reduce mesopelagic loading by accelerating the macro-sedimentation rate while avoiding surface blooms. We are now partnering to extend this to the next level, to explore the activity, longevity and fate of extended release compositions having inorganic balanced nutrient composition and surface roughness at millimeter and centimeter scales that are seeded with Chlorophyta, Heterokonts, Rhodophyta, Actiniaria and Cirripedia capable of elaborating extracellular matrices having affinity for plastic waste and capable of forming dispersed and free-floating “biopatches” in the major gyres. Seeding these locations at controlled test plots will be followed by monitoring for biomass, community complexity (metagenomic screening), water temperature, pH, and carbon exportation rates via a) harvest or b) sedimentation. Ultimately a preferred composition can be scaled for distribution across multiple gyres, raising the possibility that 100-200% of annual human carbon emissions from fossil fuels and cement (i.e., 10 GtC out of 10 GtC released per year) can be sequestered annually below the 100 year horizon by the biological pump, plus an added large quantity of high quality protein from increased fish production as foodstock, without contributing to zones of anoxia or short-lived blooms. This calculation is based on 1 gm C/m2, well below the 7 gmC/m2 reported by EiFeX 2004 (from blooms) and approximating productivity of natural communities having fractal surface area habitation not limited to a thin neuston layer. Composition optimization cost of deployment and expected quantitative results will be estimated from test plots. Advantageously, fishermen can be recruited to disperse the devices as a means of increasing harvest. Attention will also be given to air-lift assisted upwelling nutrient rich water. Briefly, plume output from the Hilo Shipman Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant, will be pumped with head pressure of 1.2 atm through a diffuser nozzle (at about a 10 meter immersion) designed to draw eductive upflow of deep water through a pipe. The thrust of these proposals is to transform waste CO2 into useful chemicals in the form of fuels, protein, nutrients, and extractables having use as fibers, medicines, enzymes, and so forth.


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