While there have been many attempts to increase soil’s natural ability to store carbon (known as soil organic carbon), one unintended effect is the release of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The use of kelp as a soil additive is emerging as a tool to reduce nitrous oxide emissions and create a net climate benefit.
GreenWave believes that kelp has strong potential to reduce both the need for nitrogen additives (fertilizer) on agricultural crops and nitrous oxide emissions in soils, progress that would have significant implications for climate benefit, as it counters the concern that increasing soil organic carbon can result in increased nitrous oxide emissions, negating climate change mitigation that comes with higher soil organic carbon storage. If GreenWave is correct and kelp can both reduce the need for nitrogen additives (fertilizer) and reduce nitrous oxide emissions while increasing soil organic carbon, regenerative ocean and land farms can work together to have a net climate benefit, adding another impactful nature-based solution to the fight against climate change.
TreadRight’s grant will support GreenWave’s Kelp Climate Fund and its research on the link between kelp’s effect on greenhouse gas emissions and carbon storage through a one-year field study using kelp grown on 10 farms, including the GreenWave farm, as a soil additive for regenerative land-based farms in the Northeast, USA. The goal of the Kelp Climate Fund is to incentivize farmers to scale regenerative ocean farming, increasing its key climate benefits including removing carbon and nitrogen from the atmosphere, rebuilding reefs and biodiversity, and creating jobs. In its pilot year, the project planted 266,240 linear feet of kelp seed string, representing a potential removal of 27,581 lbs (13.8 tons) of carbon and 2,206 lbs (1.1 tons) of nitrogen. In its second growing season (2022/2023), 30+ farmers will participate in the Kelp Climate Fund, and an anticipated 50,000 lbs of carbon and 4,000 lbs of nitrogen will be removed. Within the next 5 years, GreenWave intends to grow the Kelp Climate Fund to a pool of $1 million in annual payments to 250 farmers planting 1 million feet of kelp seed.