Select Page
Developing an ocean-based CDR method
June 14, 2024

With CO2 Foundation support, the California-based Hasten Regeneration team has been piloting a way to pressurize waste biomass and sink it into the deep ocean – envisioned as an accessible, natural approach to carbon dioxide removal (CDR).

The team began by studying sinking performance in a laboratory environment to better understand the impacts of biomass type, depth, time, and pressure; they were able to determine those parameters and then verify them in the open ocean. In addition, Hasten developed and refined an initial Life Cycle Analysis showing that their method achieved a 98% efficiency in durable CDR.

An insurance-related hiccup prevented the full ocean-based trials that the team expected to complete. This unfortunate logistical surprise led, however, to an improved method of documenting wood sinking inside the lab’s pressurized tank, revealing more consistent wood sinking performance among various types of materials than was previously understood: wood sinks at a lower pressure than expected, and all woods (except Balsa) sink after more or less the same amount of time.

Hasten’s research is based on the fact that in order to counter global warming, reduction of emissions is not sufficient. By 2050, 10 Gigatons of CO2 per year (Gt/yr) will need to be removed from the atmosphere and safely stored for at least several hundred years. As Hasten puts it, “for such large amounts of CO2 transfer from the atmosphere to long-term storage, a very efficient or a low-efficiency but large-scale method is necessary.”

The Hasten team expects to prepare to submit an EPA application to continue its work, although EPA requirements have become much more detailed in the time that Hasten has been pursuing this work. The team also notes that commercial, CDR, and scientific communities are showing active interest in wood sinking and other nature-based solutions, and money for experiments and pilots is beginning to flow to projects like this one.

To learn more about this project, visit the project website.