Chemosynthetic Management of the Water/Energy/Nutrient Nexus (WENN) by The WENN Protocol
A massive increase in the production of water, carbon negative energy and nutrients can be achieved through chemosynthesis.
Which proposals are included in your plan and how do they fit together?
The Water, Energy, Nutrient Nexus (WENN) Protocol attempts to outline a suite of extant technologies which can support, to a substantial degree, the net negative global emissions of CO2 as well as support the critical needs of water and nutrient management.
The core benefits of the WENN Protocol are listed below:
- Capture, utilization and sequestration of carbon through marine and terrestrial chemosynthesis based biomass production with further processing of the biomass into bio-fuels, biochar, food, feed, fertilizer, polymers, freshwater etc.
- Sustainably utilize atypical bulk nutrients, such as found in the marine nutricline and/or terrestrial animal/human sewage streams, to support the the above metastrategy.
- Global standardization of primary climate change mitigation and sequestration (WENN) technologies so as to create:
a) economies of scale in equipment purchasing/deployment;
b) a means for streamlining a global scale funding effort;
c) a means for establishing an intergovernmental production and environmental protection protocol;
- Be applicable to a wide spectrum of relevant sectorial interests such as energy supply, transportation, industry, land use, waste management, urban adaptation etc.;
- Be universally applicable to all global regions so as to provide a core suite of technology, funding and governance tools at the global scale;
- Be a foundational suite of technologies which can technically support many other climate change mitigation and adaptation technologies/concepts both today and in the future.
- Be supportive of carbon negative emissions strategies such as the Representative Concentration Pathway 2.6 scenario.
- Be fundable through current and future 'Green' bond/grant programs:
Key scientific and market rationale for the WENN Protocol:
A) IPCC (WG3)-"..the combination of bio-energy, carbon capture and..storage (BECCS)...if biomass is grown sustainably, this combination may lead to negative emissions". The WENN Protocol is a BECCS class proposal. Production and use of WENN derived Biochar is the primary carbon sequestration path and thus the WENN STEM is a carbon negative energy production scenario a.k.a BECCS.
B) REDUCTION OF CARBON DIOXIDE COUPLED WITH THE OXYHYDROGEN REACTION IN ALGAE: (a)(b)(c)(d) Hydrogen Based primary production of biomass and water.
C) Chemosynthetic biomass can be lower in cost due to multiple factors. The primary technical issue is starting out with anoxic water and ample H2 production. Deep ocean waters can provide for both needs (a)(b)(c).
Marine WENN Tech:
Marine Biomass- International interest in sustainable marine biomass/biofuel production is high (a)(b)(c)(d)(e).
(Green chemistry and the ocean-based biorefinery (Francesca M. Kerton et al.)
Marine Biomass Production Actors:
(Blue Frontiers) The above depiction of relative percentiles has been challenged by knowledgeable persons and is thus subject to debate.
Examples of Large Scale Marine Multiplexed Projects Currently Under Development:
NASA/OMEGA Project. "..to grow algae, clean wastewater, capture carbon dioxide and..produce biofuel without competing with agriculture for water, fertilizer or land."
What actions are being proposed in the marine space?
(Maruyama et al.)
Once the raw resources, such as anoxic water; raw nutrients; CO2 and Hydrogen are harvested/produced, a high through-put flow of biomass will fed into either off-shore or on-shore biorefineries for further processing into a wide spectrum of downstream products.
Land WENN Tech:
The above marine technology can also be used in
Explanation of the emissions scenario calculated in the Impact tab
As outlined above, the WENN Protocol and it's related technologies attempts to create a global scale carbon negative emissions scenario while addressing other critical climate change mitigation/adaptation needs such as water and nutrient management.
Global scale carbon negative emissions of CO2 can be expected once the WENN Protocol is established at the international level and the technology suite is deployed and expanded to meet the critical commodity needs, such as bio-fuel, biochar, food, feed, fertilizer etc., of a meaningful number of nations.
The closest generally available depiction of the expected emissions scenario of a deployed WENN program is found in the description of the Representative Concentration Pathway 2.6:
RCP 2.6– Low emissions
This RCP is developed by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. Here radiative forcing reaches 3.1 W/m2 before it returns to 2.6 W/m2 by 2100. In order to reach such forcing levels, ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reductions would be required over time.
This future would require:
1) Declining use of oil (WENN biofuels can replace FFs)
2) Low energy intensity (WENN can alleviate this requirement)
3) A world population of 9 billion by year 2100 (Global economic stimulus from WENN expansion and increased commodities production may reduce pressure for larger families)
4) Use of croplands increase due to bio-energy production (Marine based WENN biofuel alleviates this factor)
5) More intensive animal husbandry (Marine protein from off-shore WENN aquaculture operations meets this requirement)
6) Methane emissions reduced by 40 per cent (Non-methane WENN biofuels can displace natural gas a.k.a. methane in the market)
7) CO2 emissions stay at today’s level until 2020, then decline and become negative in 2100(The WENN Protocol can achieve this requirement)
8) CO2 concentrations peak around 2050, followed by a modest decline to around 400 ppm by 2100 (With aggressive WENN deployment, this requirement can be realized)
What are the plan’s key benefits?
AWhat are other key benefits?
By establishing a universal WENN management paradigm, it may become possible to manage the global carbon cycle to the degree that we may prevent such environmentally catastrophic events such as:
-Arctic Methane Tipping Point (a)(b)(c)
-severe droughts/El Nino/El Nina conditions
-Expansion of Low-Productivity Regions in Mid Ocean Gyres
At the socioeconomic level, the vast scale of the oceanic biomass production platformsrepresent a new form of Movable Artificial Islands which can be used to provide housing and jobs for displaced persons (a) and or for those simply wishing to earn entry level and middle class incomes.
At the policy level, the above offers lowest risk options for managing many of the critical climate and socioeconomic problems we now face. And, the costs can be financed through the sale of Carbon Investment Bonds (a) which may also function as a foundation for a unified international and US carbon price structure.
What are the plan’s costs?
Once mainstream production is established in the marine space, the time to profit can be as short as 3-5 years. Land WENN systems will take longer as the costs are higher; possibly 10-15 years. It is critical that the program be profitable at all levels.
Although the production of a vast number of cultivation tanks/pipelines are required, the use of plastic material which can be made from bio-oil and post consumer plastic waste, such as HDPE, creates a scenario in which the greater the production of bio-oil and the conversion of waste plastic becomes, the cheaper the tanks/pipelines becomes.
In summary: Once initial (relatively small scale) real world deployment of the WENN technology suite has been achieved and critically reviewed and accepted by the many potential funding actors, rapid expansion of a globally standardized WENN Protocol/STEM suite can be started around the planet.
The initial funding level for an investigational trial can be as low as $10M and take less than a year.
What are the key challenges to enacting this plan?
A successful climate change mitigation/adaptation strategy is largely contingent upon three critical factors:
1) STEM: the expected market performance of the technology suite;
2) Funding: the type and amount of funding which can support the deployment of the technology suite;
3) Governance: the type of technology largely determines how the governance function can function.
Solving this three way paradox has been a central limiting factor within many past intergovernmental efforts (i.e. the Conference of the Parties) at reaching a unified climate change mitigation/adaptation strategy.
The WENN conceptual development focus is to reduce the complexities of the tech, funding and governance factors so as to provide a unified starting point for large scale deployment of known WENN technologies using currently available funding tools.
Effective governance can be achieved through a modified corporate franchise model which can be governed through the social benefit corporation structure.
The 5-15 year time frame can see an environmentally meaningful scale of WENN technology deployment and thus significant advancement toward the goal of achieving a carbon negative emissions scenario (i.e. RCP 2.6).
This optimism is based upon the facts that:
- the technology is deployable today;
- the funding is available;
- all nations can be a strong player;
- the eventual limit to expansion s only dictated by the carrying capacity of the marine environment.
- even the smallest village can deploy this STEM with off-the-shelf HDPE tanks and a relatively simple compilation of ancillary components.
- the larger towns and cities can incorporate this suite of technology during routine road repairs or initial road construction or undertake coordinated conversion to the WENN tech package in association with other communities (Cities for Climate Protection program).
By 2050, critical mass acceptance of the WENN suite of technologies and funding paths may be universally established.
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Please watch this NASA video while noting the primary point source of vast scale CO2 emissions from highly urbanized regions.
Methane Hydrates: Natural Hazard or Natural Resource? - Perspectives on Ocean Science: "Explore naturally occurring frozen methane deposits under the sea with renowned geochemist Miriam Kastner and discover whether or not they are a hazard to climate change".
This video is a critical reality check for all involved in solving for the mitigation/adaptation problem sets as it shows just how vulnerable we are to catastrophic climate change.
Due to the lack of space, I refer the reader to references within:
Urban Scale: Chemosynthetic Management of the Water/Energy/Nutrient Nexus (WENN)
Waste Management: Chemosynthetic Production of Biomass Using Sewage Nutrients
Google Doc copy of the final 'Regional-Global Plan' proposal submission form: