Aquaculture for all

Coastal Carbon secures $1.6 million towards carbon credit assessment tool

Blue carbon Artificial intelligence (AI) Seaweed / Macroalgae +5 more

Coastal Carbon has received $1.6 million in funding from Canada’s Ocean Supercluster (OSC) to develop AI-driven sensors for seaweed biomass measurement - a tool that could be used to quantify blue carbon credits.

Two people posing for a picture
Coastal Carbon's co-founders Kelly Zheng and Thomas Storwick

The startup emerged from the University of Waterloo's Velocity incubator © Velocity

Taking part in the AI-Driven Sensors for Seaweed Measurement Project, in collaboration with seaweed farmer HoldFast NL, will enable Coastal Carbon to develop its small, non-intrusive sensors to remotely measure seaweed biomass and quantify those data using artificial intelligence.

“The ocean is a huge resource to fight climate change, but crucial data is largely inaccessible,” Thomas Storwick, co-founder of Coastal Carbon, told the University of Waterloo. “This project will advance our sensor and measuring technology and bring this important data from underwater, which stands to accelerate the regeneration of our oceans’ ecosystems and bring added confidence to stakeholders in the blue carbon credit market.”

Co-founder Kelly Zheng said that due to how difficult seaweed is to analyse, the ocean has largely been untapped as an important resource to fight climate change.

“We are using sensors and artificial intelligence to detect and analyse what’s underwater,” Zheng said. “Seaweed is one of the fastest growing organisms in the world, providing large amounts of carbon sequestering and is an important resource that should not be overlooked.”

She added that measurement accuracy is one of the biggest problems blocking blue carbon credits from reaching the market.

Coastal Carbon’s tech can better measure blue carbon credits for seaweed farmers, and the company is working with stakeholders on the supply and demand side — farmers credits and companies looking to purchase ones to offset greenhouse gas emissions.

“The ground truth data collected from this project will enable us to increase accuracy of our AI models and allow us to continually calibrate, especially important as the ocean itself changes due to climate change,” Zheng said. “Seaweed farmers want to get what they deserve, based on what they are producing, and the industry wants quality carbon credits — our objective is to develop the technology and work with experts and seaweed farming communities to advance towards a carbon neutral future.”

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