Since there are no currently active contests, we have switched Climate CoLab to read-only mode.
Learn more at
Skip navigation
Share via:


Re-engineer urban driveways/roads to provide CO2 negative energy conversion/storage, on-site sewage management and water reclamation.



(RCP 2.6)

Re-engineering the sub-surface areas of a city may offer a number of solutions related to climate change mitigation/adaptation. The technology is straight forward and revolves around the creative use of HDPE dual walled culvert based cisterns and high volume biomass production means and methods. 

1) The cisterns can also be used for organic flow batteries or bacterial fuel cells and other energy storage methods.

2) Chemosynthetic technology, which allows for a sewage-to-algal-to- biomass-to-biofuel/biochar processing, is available. Please read: 


The above is an advanced 'Dark Cultivation' form of:

Alabama Gets First-In-World Carbon-Negative Algae Biofuel


NASA's Omega Project

The energy production/storage potential of a large number of sub-driveway/road urban cisterns may justify the creation of a local Social Benefit Corporation (B Corp) which can eventually support many other urban mitigation and adaptation needs. 

The driveway/road cement removed for the installation of these systems can be cut up on-site as pavers and reused for landscape improvements at the site or elsewhere.

Building a Bobcat like paver-cutter attachment, using available masonry cutting tools, is straight forward. 

The above referenced chainsaw bar can be ganged together to make multiple cuts of standard widths of cement in one pass and the diamond chains can be driven by the Bobcat's hydraulics. 

In brief, the carbon negative energy implications of a sewage fed distributed energy conversion/storage system, using a large number of driveway/road cisterns, does seem significant at the urban environmental level and achievable at the technical level. 

For those regions which have no B Corp. structure, create it through your local government! The B Corp. concept should become universal as such environmental directed investment opportunities may become a global driver of climate change mitigation and adaptation.  

What actions do you propose?

"Today we need a global Apollo programme to tackle climate change; but this time the effort needs to be international. We need a major international scientific and technological effort, funded by both public and private money.". (Excerpt from: A GLOBAL APOLLO PROGRAMME TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE)

The above advocates for massive international concentration of political and capital strength on deployment of solar energy means and methods to achieve the needed CO2 reductions. This position is understandable and supportable.

However, carbon neutral energy means and methods, such as solar energy conversion, are no longer adequate to forestall drastic climate change. At this time, the full spectrum of the water, carbon negative energy and nutrient nexus management needs must be factored into any form of 'Global Apollo Programme to Combat Climate Change'. 

Primary action/principle being proposed: Vast scale use of chemosynthetic and or heterotrophic cultivation of biomass as a means for urban, rural, marine and overall global scale water, energy and nutrient nexus (WENN) management.

Funding for this WENN management regimen can be achieved through the use of environmentally focused intergovernmental agreements, market funding instruments and/or non-profit funding programs such as:

1) The most forward leaning intergovernmental climate change mitigation/adaptation agreement is summarized by the US Department of StateIn part:

  • Commitment by developed countries to the goal of mobilizing jointly USD $100 billion per year by 2020 from public and private sources, to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation
  • A call to establish the Green Climate Fund, a new multilateral trust fund designed to foster low emission and climate resilient development and catalyze private sector investment.


2) The Green Climate Fund (a):

"..the Fund will promote the paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways by providing support to developing countries to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change, taking into account the needs of those developing countries particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.".

In the non-intergovernmental space, a growing number of important market funding paths are being developed. Such as:

3) Green Bond Principles 2014: Voluntary Process Guidelines for Issuing Green Bonds:

4) World Bank Green Bond

"Funding for new technologies that permit significant reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions"

5) Homeland Security Grants

"Strengthen national preparedness and resilience, building a ready and resilient Nation, with the ability to plan, prepare for, and respond to disasters. Proposals for climate resilience coupled with a restructured DHS grant program will help create robust national preparedness capabilities.".

6) "Transforming the Traditional Municipal Bond Market to Finance Environment-Friendly Green Projects"

"In 2013 Massachusetts became the first state in the U.S. municipal bond market to issue these so-called green bonds.  The offering was so successful that Massachusetts tripled the volume of green bonds offered in 2014, selling $350 million in bonds to individual and institutional investors this month. According to Massachusetts Treasury officials, the demand for green bonds far outpaced the supply.  The Treasury reportedly received received $1 billion in buy orders for the $350 million bonds offered. billion in buy orders for the $350 million bonds offered.".

7) ‘Conservation Bonds’ Take Green Financing to the Next Level

"Green bonds, as described by the World Bank, “are fixed income, liquid financial instruments that are used to raise funds dedicated to climate-mitigation, adaptation, and other environment-friendly projects.” When issued by multilateral institutions such as the World Bank, or agencies of national governments such as the German Development Bank, such bonds may carry low, or even concessionary interest rates. Furthermore, a number of private financial institutions, attracted by the reliable returns on projects financed by green bonds, have entered the marketplace.

The Green Bond market is rapidly growing. First issued by the World Bank in 2007, the green bond market grew to $11 billion in 2013. As reported by the World Bank, some $32 billion of green bonds have been issued by multilaterals, governments and corporate issuers from January through October 2014, and could surpass $40 billion for the year.". 

8) Climate Bond Initiative:

"Green bonds were created to fund projects that have positive environmental and/or climate benefits. The majority of the green bonds issued are green “use of proceeds” or asset-linked bonds. Proceeds from these bonds are earmarked(link is external) for green projects but are backed by the issuer’s entire balance sheet. There have also been green "use of proceeds" revenue bonds(link is external), green project bonds and green securitized (link is external) bonds.".

9) "The wheels of climate finance are turning: the Green Climate Fund (GCF) will soon start distributing funds through 7 institutions.".

"The accredited institutions include the following:

  • Centre de suivi écologique (CSE) from Senegal, which focuses on combating desertification and protecting coastal areas. In 2010, CSE was the first national institution to be accredited and to implement a project through the Adaptation Fund , the first international climate fund to take the pioneering step of accrediting developing country institutions.
  • Fondo de Promoción de las Áreas Naturales Protegidas del Péru (PROFONANPE) that specializes in funding biodiversity conservation and managing protected areas. Like CSE, PROFONANPE is also accredited to the Adaptation Fund.
  • the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), an intergovernmental organization of Pacific Island countries and territories, based in Samoa, which focuses on protection and sustainable development of the Pacific region’s environment
  • the Acumen Fund, Inc. (Acumen), a well-respected private venture capital fund that invests in developing country entrepreneurs and businesses working to alleviate poverty and advance sustainable development. The social impact investment fund works on improving the lives of low income communities in Africa and Asia, especially in healthcare, agriculture and clean energy.


Three international organizations were also accredited: the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).".

10) "Major International Research Initiative Launched to Improve Food Security for Developing Countries - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation." (a).

"Listening to farmers and addressing their specific needs. We talk to farmers about the crops they want to grow and eat, as well as the unique challenges they face. We partner with organizations that understand and are equipped to address these challenges, and we invest in research to identify relevant and affordable solutions that farmers want and will use. 

  • Increasing farm productivity. We support a comprehensive approach to helping smallholder farmers prosper that includes access to heartier seeds, more effective tools and farm management practices, locally relevant knowledge, emerging digital technologies, and reliable markets. We also advocate for agricultural policies that support farmers in their efforts to better feed themselves and their communities.
  • Fostering sustainable agricultural practices. In an era of increasingly scarce resources and growing impact of climate change, we encourage farmers to embrace and adopt sustainable practices that help them grow more with less land, water, fertilizer, and other costly inputs while preserving natural resources for future generations.
  • Achieving greater impact with partners. We are committed to communicating our strategy more effectively and sharing what we’ve learned with grantees and other partners, including governments, nongovernmental organizations, traditional and emerging donors, and the private sector. Our resources, while significant, represent only a fraction of what is needed. Collaborating effectively with others maximizes our collective impact in helping farming families.".


The above list of funding opportunities is not exhaustive and many existing and future environmentally focused funding programs can be coupled together to provide a comprehensive list of funding options for all WENN management scenarios ranging from the smallest rural communities; remote un-populated rural areas, the largest of metropolitan cities; vast empty marine regions and/or the entire global scale of regions. 

This proposal calls for the creation of a Benefit Corporation (B Corp), with an international scope and benefit mission which can lead the way in the establishing standards and practices associated with WENN local/regional STEM management, funding and policy development.

The B Corp mission statement can use modified language found in many bio-energy development related agencies, such as the Department of Energy's Office of Bioenergy Technologywhile employing an international perspective.

The mission of the Office of Bioenergy Technology is stated as follows:

"Develop and transform our renewable biomass resources into commercially viable, high-performance biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower through targeted research, development, and demonstration supported through public and private partnerships."

The goal of the Office is to develop commercially viable bioenergy and bioproduct technologies to:

·        Enable sustainable, nationwide production of biofuels that are compatible with today’s transportation infrastructure, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions relative to petroleum-derived fuels, and can displace a share of petroleum-derived fuels to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

·        Encourage the creation of a new domestic bioenergy and bioproduct industry.


The above language can be crafted to reflect the global need for bio-energy independence, climate change mitigation/adaptation, water recovery/creation and bulk nutrient management. Additionally, the final draft of the mission statement should be the subject of debate so as to flush out any strong objections from the STEM, policy or civil society sectors.

Once the B Corp is established and the WENN specific funding matrix is customized per specific locations (i.e. cities, rural, marine, regional etc.), multiple on-the-ground projects can be initiated simultaneously around the planet.

Who will take these actions?

This proposal recommends the formation of a 'Benefit Corporation' (B Corp.) as the primary agent of change. The Board of Directors of the B Corp. should be populated by actors within the IPCC class of science communities as well as actors from other more specifically focused science based groups. Many of the working groups within intergovernmental treaty groups, such as the IMO, CBD etc. also offers relevant and robust knowledge bases needed by the Board of Directors of the WENN B Corporation. 

Further, the civil society class of organizations and institutional investment leaders should be equally represented on the board. Clearly, the long term viability and effectiveness of a global scale WENN Protocol (e.g. WENN B Corp.) will depend upon the above player's ability to maintain a strong altruistic perspective while insuring that he B Corp. investor's profit expectations are well supported/protected.

Such split/dual fiduciary responsibilities needs to become the new norm. 

At the broader level of getting the public on-board, a commonly voiced opinion on the issue of; 'Who should do what about global warming'...we often hear the sentiment which conveys the view that:

'We' can no longer afford select groups exerting self centric/predatory exploitation of our planetary environment, resources and political leadership. This global scale crises requires that 'We', as a species, need to get beyond the 'us-against-them' value dynamics. The B Corp. dual value compromise may be the dynamics needed to realize a unified view of both climate change mitigation/adaptation and profits.

As many students of this overall complex of problem sets and issues, climate change clearly places all of humanity, and the vast majority of other life life forms on this planet, in one boat....and that boat is clearly sinking.  


(Drowning Kiribati)


(The map shows only cities with more than 200,000 people exposed to coastal flood risks by 2070 worldwide.)

Where will these actions be taken?


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

The emissions reduction path to a BECCS class project is well covered in:

Whole-systems BECCS analysis - presentation given by Niall Mac Dowell at the UKCCSRC Cardiff Biannual Meeting, 10-11 September 2014

Converting the biomass/microalgae, which is grown using human/livestock sewage waste and/or marine nutrients, into biochar and biofuel creates an urban/rural/marine carbon negative emission scenario.

This type of BECCS pathway offers the widest plausible socioeconomic benefits due to biochars' ability to:

- Improve crop/forest natural carbon sequestration rates and growth rates;

- Reduces atmospheric/oceanic CO2 loads;

- Provides 'drop-in' biofuels for current fleet of FF power plants;

- Provides proper use/sequestration of urban/industrial bio-waste streams; 

The IPCC (WG 3-climate change mitigation) strongly recommends carbon negative emission systems, for obvious reasons.

(RCP 2.6)

The WENN Protocol is relative to 7 of the 8 requirements for meeting RCP 2.6 (net negative global emissions). 

What are other key benefits?

This anticipatory design approach to distributed urban WENN significantly elevates the resiliency of  the energy matrix of an urban area.

In simple words, as long as there is sewage being produced and is available in a sector of the city, so will there be energy.

Further, the re-engineering of the roadways provides an opportunity to bring to the project ancillary technologies such as in-road electrical induction loops to power urban traffic (which conceptually dates back 100+ years!).

Through a universal water/energy/nutrient nexus (WENN) management paradigm, it will become possible to manage the global carbon cycle to the degree that we may prevent such catastrophic events such as an Arctic Methane Tipping Point, super cyclones, severe droughts/El Nino/El Nina conditions etc.

The construction costs can be financed through the sale of Carbon Bonds which can also function as a foundation for a unified international and US carbon price structure.

What are the proposal’s costs?

Efforts such as The Climate Bond Inititive (CBI) offers a relatively standard financing path for cities/regions/nations/corporations to afford this aggressive degree of critical infrastructure up-grade and protection.  

However, not all critical infrastructure (CI) up-grade/protection plans encompass the full spectrum of WENN management needs. Bringing the full spectrum of those needs into the view of the relative CI organizations may help in coordinating planning, funding and expenditure efforts around a common WENN Protocol.

In brief, one of the initial goals of the WENN Protocol is to establish policy and market confidence in the profitability of the WENN Protocol. This may be achieved within a relative short time frame as the technology suite that makes up the WENN Protocol is well known.   

Time line

The entire technology suite called for in this proposal is extant and thus this proposal can be initiated today.

The 5-15 year time frame can see vast scale deployment and thus significant advancement toward the goal of achieving RCP 2.6

Related proposals

The below 4 proposals are combined as they have common needs/solutions:


Rural Resilience

Land Use: Agriculture, Forestry, Livestock

Global-Energy-Water Nexus



The below 2 proposals are combined as they have common needs/solutions:

Energy Supply




The below 4 proposals are combined as they have common needs/solutions:

Urban Energy Efficiency

Waste Management-Urban Level Energy/Water/Nutrient Nexus Management Through Chemosynthesis

Atypical ideas for CO2 Neutrality-Urban Level Energy/Water/Nutrient Nexus Management Through Chemosynthesis

Urban-Energy-Water Nexus- Urban Level Energy/Water/Nutrient Nexus Management Through Chemosynthesis



The below 5 proposals are combined as they have common needs/solutions:

Energy solutions for Latin America

India’s Climate Action Plan

China’s Climate Action Plan

Europe’s Climate Action Plan

United States’ Climate Action Plan



The below is a one-off proposal

US Carbon Price


Please watch this NASA video while noting the primary point source of vast scale CO2 emissions from highly urbanized regions:

Cities for Climate Protection program

Marine Biomass 

Energy–nutrients–water nexus: Integrated resource recovery in municipal wastewater treatment plants

Chemosynthesis/Oxyhydrogen Reaction in Algae

The Intergovernmental Marine Bio-Energy with Carbon Utilization and Sequestration (IMBECUS) Protocol: Environmental and Political Risk Reduction of Global Carbon Management

algal hydrogenase

NASA's OMEGA Project

Hydrothermal conversion of biomass to fuels and energetic materials

AVA-CO2 Achieves a Breakthrough in Phosphorus Recovery and Introduces the "AVA cleanphos" Process

The Blue Biochar Initiative (BBI) website

Grace Mariculture Project

Gigantic Ocean Vortices Seen From Space Could Change Climate Models

The Effect of Biochar Application in Microalgal Culture on the Biomass Yield and Cellular Lipidsof Chlorella vulgaris:

Biochar production from freshwater algae by slow pyrolysis:

Fast pyrolysis of microalgae remnants in a fluidized bed reactor for bio-oil and biochar production

Bio-oil and bio-char characterization from microalgal biomass:

Algal biochar – production and properties

The Sustainable Shipping Initiative

"Proposed multifunctional OTEC plant

benthic hydro-thermal

Mission Blue

Advances and Innovations in Biochar Production and Utilization for Improving Environmental Quality

An Engineered Microbial Platform for Direct Biofuel Production from Brown Macroalgae

Establishing offshore autonomous communities:current choices and their proposed evolution

seaweed energy projects