Most future emissions models predict that hundreds of billions of tons of carbon dioxide removal is needed by the end of the 21st century to complement emission reductions to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement. Macroalgae farming has been identified by several highly recognized organizations as a potential carbon capture strategy, and significant research investments have been made in this area. However, there are significant challenges to measuring the carbon captured by macroalgae, understanding the duration and permanence of carbon stored, and ultimately assessing the true potential for offsetting carbon emissions. These measurement and verification efforts, as well as the processing required to turn harvested macroalgae into carbon-neutral or carbon-positive products, require energy. Marine energy has been identified as a possible solution to these energy needs, though applications have not been well defined or assessed.
This work will describe the crosscutting opportunities for marine energy in the macroalgae aquaculture and marine carbon dioxide removal space in the United States. Siting overlap between macroalgae farms and available marine energy resources will be assessed in relation to power needs at farms currently in operation. Power needs for various methods for monitoring carbon dioxide removal will also be assessed for marine energy potential. Results from several case studies evaluating the overall impact of switching to marine energy in the processing phases of multiple macroalgae products will be discussed.