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The Intergovermental Marine Bioenergy with Carbon Sequestration (IMBECS) Protocol Addresses Multiple GHG Issues via Carbon Negative Fuels.


Description

Summary

Consideration should be given to converting over to carbon negative biofuels to reduce the electrical sectors' GHG emissions. The prominent peer reviewed paper in support of this view is:

Negative carbon via Ocean Afforestation 

 

The above study is the progenitor of the IMBECS Protocol concept. The protocol supports all (i.e. macro/micro algal and aquaponic) forms of marine based carbon negative biofuel production.

Obviously, due to the fuel volume used by the electrical sector, the sector can be a central actor in supporting both initial and on-going demand for carbon negative biofuel. Directly investing in MBECS operations, to secure long-term supply advantages for the industry, would be in-line with the core/profit interests of the industry.

From the global warming mitigation perspective, we need to produce and use as much carbon negative biofuels as possible for the next 10-20-30-100 years. A strong push for MBECS biofuels, by the electrical sector, would be transformative for the overall global warming issue and the electrical industry.

The issue of scalability (i.e. cost effectiveness/environmental issues) of  MBECS operations can be extrapolated from existing on-shore (profitable) micro-algal operations and traditional macro-algal mariculture operations. Most importantly, the marine engineering aspects of the MBECS concept is well within the known/standard marine engineering sciences.

Marine based biomass production methods are, at this time, highly efficient/profitable and thus expansion of carbon negative fuel production, up to the needed global scale, is plausible (<20 yrs with robust industry funding support).

The industries' early support for initiating field level operations and intergovernmental/national level governance efforts would place the industry in a leadership role within what is, in essence, a new energy commodity market/industry in itself.

 

 


Category of the action

Reducing emissions from electric power sector.


What actions do you propose?


Who will take these actions?

Concerning the IMBECS Foundation staffing/consulting needs, an international call would be put out for interested expert level parties in the areas of: 

1) Marine Engineering 

2) Marine Cultivation

3) Wide area marine surface/atmospheric thermal dynamics

4) Benthic Science

5) Biochar 

6) Olivine

The above list is not exhaustive.

At the IMBECS Foundation organizational level, a number of international actors will be needed to fill a wide range of positions. The organizational chart below gives a basic view of the scope of positions which will need to be recruited. 


Where will these actions be taken?

Globally


How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?


What are other key benefits?

  • Oceanic/Atmospheric CO2 Store Reduction Through Large Scale Cultivation of Marine Biomass and Marine Biochar production
  • Wide Area Surface Cooling of Thermally Critical Oceanic Regions
  • Global Scale Production of Organic Food/Feed/Fertilizer/Polymers
  • Vast Scale Production of Freshwater
  • Creation of Mid-Oceanic Wildlife Preserves Supporting Biodiversity and the Protection of Endangered Marine Species 
  • Jobs/Taxes 
  • Global Energy Independence Resulting in a Trans-generational Global Economic Stimulus
  • Accommodations for Environmental/Economic Induced Migration; IMBECS Physical Operations Represent a New Form of 'Real Estate' (with jobs) Usable by Displaced Persons
  • Establishes the First Intergovernmentally Governed Form of Global Carbon Management
  • Reduces Pressure on Wild Catch Fisheries through Significant Expansion of Global Aquaculture
  • Reduces Pressure on Food Crop Conversion to Fuel Crops


What are the proposal’s costs?

The IMBECS operations will be self funding through profits once they begin operations. An overall/maximum one time R&D funding level of $750M is proposed as a means to carry out:

1) Establishing the IMBECS Foundation and thus national and global governance administration;

2) Routine real world testing of the tank farm construction elements required for establishing engineering proof of concept ($30M);

3) Construction and deployment of a 10 km2 Marine Resources Conversion Research Platform equipped with one Marine Covective Tower ($720M);

The tank farm proof of concept field trial will focus upon:

  • The ability to deploy/move a large scale submerged tank farm (i.e. can it be built and moved in a cost effective way?);

  • The ability to secure the farm against strong sea conditions/currents (i.e. can the farm survive even class 5 cyclones? As an important side note, submarines do rather well sitting under the surface during storms. The MBECS tank farms will normally operate submerged);

  • The ability to manage ongoing cultivation under all sea states (i.e. can the cultivation regime continue under extreme storm conditions?);

  • To demonstrate the above list of abilities the use of a relatively small (0.50 km2) MBECS offshore platform would provide operational level proof of concept. In brief, that scale of prototype construct can be attained within a $30M budget.

  • The MBECS goal, on the issue of capital investment return, is a 7 year amortization schedule. 

The initial ($30M) funding can be secured through a compilation of multiple USG level agencies and or corporate/philanthropic sponsors. Interestingly, the IMBECS Protocol is in line with the goals of the 


Time line

Preparations for off shore deployment operations can start immediately as there are no governance issues regarding offshore mariculture.

The 1-5 year phase will be focused upon establishing the initial IMBECS operations and recruiting the first group of for-profit IMBECS Franchise holders. Establishing that the MBECS operations are profitable to the franchise holders is central to the IMBECS Protocol. 

The scalability of the cultivation operations currently is one of the key questions concerning the IMBECS concept. Yet, once commercial level operations provide empirical financial data showing consistent/predictable retained earnings, expansion of operations, up to and beyond 1M km2, is plausible. In brief, this initial phase would be focused upon proving out the business model.

The 5-20 year phase will be a time of rapid expansion of cultivation/bio-refinery operations and environmental scientific observation.

The per km2/day bio-crude output estimate is 80 bbls/minimum and the rate of MBECS expansion can achieve 200 km2 per day. Thus, within 20 years, the daily bio-crude output can be as high as 80M bbls.. That level of production would approximately equal current global FF crude production. At that time, the FF era would be in a sharp decline phase.

Concerning the many possible and relevant scientific observations during this phase; although working in the oceanic gyres illuminates the vast majority of any biological environmental interaction (the gyres are oligotrophic), a great deal of basic science can be conducted utilizing the physical MBECS tank farms. One important scientific area, related to global warming mitigation and which the physical MBECS farms are uniquely suited for, is the exploration of the dynamics of wide area surface water cooling. Such investigations may prove useful in relationship to the study of the ENSO and Cyclogenesis.

The reduction of atmospheric CO2 may be observable at the end of this phase, yet oceanic CO2 reduction will take far longer.  


Related proposals

1) Industry

2) US Government:

 


References

The IMBECS Protocol is conceptually related to the work found in the following documents/links. This list is not exhaustive: