We partner with nature to remove carbon durably and at scale.
Our system design principles produce a variety of Carbon Buoy recipes that we research, test, and iteratively improve upon.
Net Positive Impact
Net positive environmental and ecological impact: The carbon removal system must be designed to have a measurable net positive environmental and ecological impact, meaning that the benefits of the intervention must outweigh any potential negative impacts as evaluated by a third party audited environmental impact assessment (EIA). Where possible, any potential negative impacts must be proactively identified and mitigated prior to deployment.
Positive socioeconomic impact: The system must be designed to have a measurable positive impact on communities that are most vulnerable to climate change, and subject to input and feedback from local stakeholders directly connected to planned research and operational sites.
Non-exogenous materials: The system will utilize materials that are non-exogenous to the ocean (in this case, regionally native species of macroalgae, minerals that are distributed throughout the world’s oceans such as CaCO3, and terrestrial biomass that already enters the oceans in vast quantities through rivers and other natural pathways). To the extent possible, all algae species within the system should be native to the location where they are deployed, limiting invasive species risk.
Natural products: The system should minimize the use of non-natural products, particularly plastics, including in any data collection or monitoring hardware deployed.
Location selection: The system deployment locations are targeted to affect the highest benefit for ocean health, coastal communities, and system efficiency, and factors including but not limited to: carbon removal duration, system performance, the health of the ecosystem, coastal community perspectives (including Indigenous Peoples and Tribal Nations) near operational sites, and possible conflicts with other ocean-based operations. Where available, locations should be considered within the context of Sustainable Ocean Plans.
Staged progression towards scale: The system must be designed such that as certainty around intervention outcomes and benefits increases, deployments can be incrementally scaled in both volume and complexity in a responsible and sustainable manner.
A binary switch: The system must be designed with the capacity to be turned off or removed if necessary to minimize the risk of any long-lasting negative effects.
Intervention duration control: The system must be designed with the ability to control for the amount of time it interacts with the natural environment.
Intervention size, density, and distribution control: The system is designed such that these factors can be controlled and iterated upon to optimize system performance.
Cost effective: The system is designed to be deployed at the lowest cost possible.
Simple: The system should be as simple as possible, and complexity should only be added to reduce risk and increase efficiency.
Quantifiable: The system must be measurable and modelable so that impacts and performance can be accurately assessed with known levels of uncertainty.
Auditable: All processes and quantifications of impact must be auditable by a qualified independent third party so that outcomes can be effectively evaluated in a transparent manner, building trust in the underlying system and results.
Utilizing existing infrastructure: The system should be designed to leverage existing infrastructure (such as underutilized ports or shipping assets), and new infrastructure should be multimodal if possible.
Minimal slow carbon inputs: The system must be designed with the least amount of slow carbon energy inputs possible.
Our approach provide a pathway toward climatically relevant scale.
We rely on materials that amplify natural carbon removal: biological growth and storage, and chemical dissolution. The first process, "grow," uses terrestrial biomass, like sustainably sourced wood, to capture carbon through photosynthesis and store it durably in the deep ocean after sinking.
We enhance natural carbon removal with a focus on alkalinity. Alkaline minerals in the "dissolve" process fix carbon chemically in the surface ocean, aiding its transfer to the slow carbon cycle. This complements the "grow" process, where biomass captures carbon through photosynthesis, transferring it by sinking into the deep ocean.
We employ materials, including macroalgae, to enhance natural carbon removal processes. The "grow" process captures carbon via macroalgae's photosynthesis, transferring it to the slow carbon cycle through sinking into the deep ocean.
Running Tide’s Carbon Buoy system, coupled with our open ocean verification fleet, enables us to scale a carbon removal solution while monitoring impact and tuning the designs along the way.
This work moves carbon from the fast cycle to the slow cycle.
Carbon removal is the process of rebalancing the carbon cycles by moving the excess carbon from the fast cycle back to the slow cycle, where it originated. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has repeatedly stated that the development and scaling of carbon removal is a critical component of any reasonable pathway to limiting global warming to the 1.5°C benchmark. Carbon removal at scale requires operating a negative carbon supply chain — physically moving as much carbon mass as possible from the fast to slow carbon cycle, as efficiently as possible.
Fast Carbon Cycle
The fast carbon cycle occurs in the biosphere, atmosphere, and upper oceans. Excess carbon in the fast cycle is causing a rapid decline in planetary health, resulting in damage to ecosystems worldwide, including the ocean. Moving carbon from the fast cycle back to the slow cycle is the work of carbon removal.
Slow Carbon Cycle
The slow carbon cycle occurs in the deep ocean, geological reservoirs, and dissolved inorganic carbon. Fossil fuels were originally stored in the slow carbon cycle, but since the Industrial Revolution, humans have moved massive amounts of carbon from the slow cycle to the fast cycle, creating an imbalance that must be corrected.