Science

The Earth’s Thermostat

Human activity is driving an abundance of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. As rain falls towards Earth’s surface, it reacts with this CO2 to become slightly acidic, and upon hitting the land, this mild acid strips alkaline minerals from rocks. This weathering produces dissolved bicarbonate (HCO3-) and carbonate (CO32-) ions that flow via rivers into our oceans, where they remain dissolved for many thousands of years. A small fraction of these dissolved ions form minerals that accumulate on the seafloor and eventually become the rocks that are once again exposed to the atmosphere. 

Illustration of Water Runoff + Biology cycle

This process is the earth’s natural thermostat and given enough time (~100,000 years), this is how the earth will re-balance our excess greenhouse gas emissions.


Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement (OAE)

Stated simply, OAE is any strategy to add alkalinity to seawater for the purpose of capturing CO2. Learn more about Ocean CDR and OAE from these great resources.


Biological Safety

Planetary utilizes naturally occurring alkaline waste minerals from around the planet that are purified through our electrochemical process to ensure no nutrients, fertilization, or harmful metals or additives can be unnecessarily introduced into our precious oceans. 

Nonetheless, it is necessary to understand any potential ecosystem effects resulting from the dosing of alkalinity into the oceans. It’s not enough to assume that no harm can occur, and therefore we partner with the world’s leading ocean science experts to conduct studies on how our process could affect marine life and their food web (phytoplankton). 


Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (MRV)

MRV is a standardized set of methodologies that are developed in partnership with third parties to verify the uptake of CO2 from OAE. An agreed upon MRV framework is one of the challenges in deploying OAE at scale. To learn more, download Planetary’s work on the subject.