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Startup puts its ocean-based carbon removal MRV forward for scientific review

Climate change Water quality Sustainability +6 more

Planetary Technologies, a firm the specialises in ocean-based carbon removal, is submitting its measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) protocol for CO₂ removal for review as it works to scale up its efforts at ocean alkalinity enhancement (OAE).

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Planetary is calling on all interested scientists and members of the public to provide feedback on the MRV protocol over the next six weeks

Planetary Technologies explains that their MRV can be used to accurately quantify ocean-based CO₂ removal. According to a news release from the company, it is inviting ocean scientists and stakeholders around the world to review its MRV protocol and share their input. By publicly releasing its MRV, Planetary intends to help the carbon dioxide removal (CDR) industry safely increase the ocean’s contribution to CO₂ removal and its effects on climate.

Planetary’s MRV is now open to public reviewing and use; and has been endorsed and validated by Shopify as a robust methodology that enables the purchasing of carbon removal credits. In turn, this will be used to verify carbon removals in Planetary’s first public carbon removal project which is expected to launch in spring 2023.

For the next six weeks, Planetary is calling on all interested scientists and members of the public to provide feedback on the protocol. With input from around the world, the company plans to create a robust measurement process of ocean CDR, ensuring transparency and accountability in how reporting and verification of carbon removal is made. Planetary plans to publish an improved framework and provide full public access to the latest version, while it also continues to refine the MRV as additional trials are conducted.

Using its MRV framework, Planetary’s ground-breaking technology can remove more than one million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually from the atmosphere by 2028, and gigatonnes by 2050, while simultaneously restoring marine ecosystems.

Planetary's approach to ocean alkalinity enhancement

Planetary adds a mild, alkaline substance – an antacid – to the ocean. This reduces the acidity of the local marine environment while converting dissolved CO2 into a salt, which remains dissolved in the ocean © Planetary Technologies

Why it matters and how Planetary’s technology works

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report found that the global population can emit less than 420 billion more tonnes of CO2 – equal to around ten years of current emissions – if mankind is to limit warming to 1.5˚C, the 2015 Paris agreement target. At the current rate, we are likely to exceed 1.5˚C by the early 2030s. The most effective way to stay under the 1.5˚C limit is to reduce emissions. However, according to the IPCC, carbon dioxide removal is now also necessary.

Against this background, Planetary claims that their novel technology can make a significant contribution by cost-effectively removing significant volumes of carbon which are already in our atmosphere, while also neutralising ocean acidity, improving the local environment as well as the climate.

By leveraging the largest carbon sink on the Earth’s surface – the ocean – Planetary has developed a unique, low-emissions approach that mimics what the ocean has been doing for thousands of years – but at the speed and scale the climate crisis warrants. The process is as follows:

  1. Before the use of fossil fuels, the ocean and atmosphere were in equilibrium with regards to CO2. In the last century, we have added billions of tonnes of CO2 to the air, much of which has dissolved into the ocean, causing ocean acidification.
  2. Planetary adds a mild, alkaline substance – an antacid – to the ocean. This reduces the acidity of the local marine environment while converting dissolved CO2 into a salt, which remains dissolved in the ocean for up to 100,000 years. Planetary has been safely testing its technology in the UK, Canada and the US since the summer of 2022.
  3. Because the CO2 in the ocean has been reduced, some of the excess atmospheric CO2 migrates into the ocean to bring the ocean and atmosphere back into balance.

The result of the process is less atmospheric carbon and a more normal acidity level in the sea, which together help restore the climate and the ocean. To verify that the CO2 was in fact removed, Planetary uses its MRV protocol. Through measurements and modelling, the volume of removal can be determined.

With an agreed-upon MRV, high quality carbon removal credit purchasers can acquire Planetary ’s credits with confidence.

Mike Kelland, co-founder and CEO of Planetary Technologies, says: “To address climate change, we need to be ambitious with our approach. For the safety of our planet and people, we need to remove billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the air. At the same time, we want to continue safely so we will continue at low levels and grow as we increase our confidence in the safety and efficacy of our approach.

“Planetary is leading the industry to address a fundamental concern: how to measure and verify the effectiveness of ocean based CDR. This is a very complex issue; we call on the world’s best minds to work cooperatively to create a robust ocean MRV framework.

If you are a scientist or stakeholder interested in joining our journey to help tackle climate change, we want to hear from you. The MRV is available at the Planetary GitHub account. We request your comments before 15 April 2023. Additionally, the MRV is available on our website; please send your thoughts to Thank you for your partnership and for helping to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future.”

Stacy Kauk, head of sustainability at Shopify, says: “Ocean alkalinity enhancement (OAE) has the potential to remove and sequester gigatonnes of CO2 annually at a low cost. Planetary is driving the OAE pathway forward, and their decision to open source their MRV framework and request expert feedback further validates the respect and trust we have in their organisation.”

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