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Huge Biomass Boom On Chines Coast

Even on the algae fora there’s questions what to do about these blooms. The discussion ranges from dumping soda lime (as was done near Boston when the sewage caused an algae explosion) to more care for water treatment. But let’s consider the bright side: It’s biomass, it’s good fertilizer and judging from the people emersed in it it’s not even toxic (which it definitly can be). So let’s haul in the fuel for this winter, food for catle and use it to make oil and plastics. Sadly our world has been stumbling over the richness algae can offer for the last 50 years. 

Not the problem, the solution.

The oceans are rapidly becoming less hospitable to photosystetic microorganisms, small plants we call algae. If we follow the scenario that was followed during the last catastrophic warming period (250 million years ago) the rains caused nutrients to run off into the sea resulting in a layer of biomass sediment: Blooms. It’s not likely that is happening here yet. The problem with blooms is that they can produce massive amounts of hydorgen sulfide which is extremely toxic. If this biomass sinks to the bottom and stays there it means a considerable carbon sink.  IT then rots using all the oxygen and eventually spawns hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria. As long as there is enough oxygen in the water the H2S is not a problem, but with the progressing anoxia it will, unless we take action.

If greencheck could have it’s way it would investigate how to keep blooms like the one in the Yellow Sea going, how to collect the biomass for deep ocean disposal and how to pay for all of that by using a part of the enormous yield that is common with algae per hectare. Deep ocean water contains the nutrients so if you take a runoff bloom to kickstart deep ocean water pumps you may be able to sink many million tons of carbon for very little money. Someone already calcultated it would be benificial to plants on land as wel. 

"The North China Sea Marine Forecasting Center of State Oceanic Administration cited a July 23 monitoring statistics as saying that about 19,050 square km of seawater in the Yellow Sea were found with algae, while some 500 square km were covered with the plant." (bron)

On the other side the rains are more intense these days, the water keeps collecting in the slightly hotter atmosphere longer and then falls out washing the nutrients out of the top soil. It’s not clear if every area is able to deal with that. Especially if it’s just sand and fertilizer like with most intensive farming areas these days. The problem is that a changing climate might really mean plant life (like ocean life) is having a harder time coping. Even if humans don’t poison everything for profit. 

The aglae industry is alway trying to break even with advanced photobioreators. These tube like installations are reinvented time and time again for the pleasure of investors. But the most efficient way to grow algae is wirh open ponds and low wage labour. Then there are the flat plate collectors. These yeild 6% energy proifit in their basic design in Holland (according to a recent report) 6% more after cost is a good rate of interest on any investment.

Also the ‘sea farm’ or zeeboerderij, not new considering Japan has been farming seaweed for centuries, but finally it’s catching on in Holland. There’s even seaweed vodka. Holland is a bit of a pioneer country for this region of the world. It also allows algae grown from manure as food for hogs which amounts to increasing the yield per hectare compared to grass. Below a video (in dutch) about the seafarm, which if expanded could potentially feed 9 billion people with no carbon input. 

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