Big milestone for new carbon removal method

Posted on
July 25, 2023

Block makes first large purchase of desert algae carbon removal from Brilliant Planet through the Watershed Marketplace.

Watershed customer Block is purchasing permanent carbon removal from Brilliant Planet through the Watershed Marketplace. Brilliant Planet removes CO2 from the atmosphere by growing local strains of marine algae on land in coastal desert areas. This is the first large-scale sale for Brilliant Planet, a leader in high-integrity nature-based, permanent carbon removal.

On behalf of Block, Brilliant Planet will remove 1,500 tons of carbon by 2027 at its planned demonstration facility in Morocco.

A key pillar of Block’s corporate sustainability program is its commitment to becoming net zero carbon for its operations by 2030, which includes internal carbon reductions, transparent emissions disclosures, and carbon removal sourcing. Block’s carbon removal portfolio spans interventions across a variety of removal types and maturity–including reforestation, biochar, biomass sequestration, and direct air capture.

Brilliant Planet is one of the carbon removal providers in the Watershed Marketplace, the curated, scientifically-vetted selection of nature-based and engineered carbon removal available to all Watershed customers.

Their pioneering carbon removal method starts with pumping seawater through a series of open ponds, enabling natural algae blooms to continue year-round. The algae biomass is harvested, rapidly solar dried and buried underground on site, ensuring sequestered carbon remains easily verifiable and stable for over 1,000 years.

Using only upwelled ocean water as a nutrient source and sunlight as energy, the exceptional productivity of year-round algae blooms enables Brilliant Planet’s facilities to capture 30x more carbon per year than an equivalent area of forest, without competing for productive land.

“Fighting climate change requires emissions reductions and carbon removals. We need to throw everything we’ve got at solving climate change. That’s where innovators like Brilliant Planet come in,” said Watershed co-founder Taylor Francis. “We’re excited to keep working with Brilliant Planet and leading companies like Block to pioneer innovative solutions to climate change.”

Adam Taylor, CEO at Brilliant Planet commented, “We are privileged to work with Block and Watershed in our shared vision of a net-zero future.  Early contracts with Block and other pioneering environmental leaders are important in the development of the high-integrity carbon removal sector and demonstrate to like-minded firms that solutions are actionable today.”

“At Block we believe that effective corporate climate action includes a clear focus on internal reductions and a strong commitment to carbon removal,” said Neil Jorgensen, Global ESG Lead at Block, Inc. “We’re proud to be working with Watershed to curate our carbon removal portfolio and invest in frontier carbon removal technology like Brilliant Planet. Providing support in the early days of these innovative projects is crucial to helping collectively secure a livable planet.”

Brilliant Planet’s pilot site in Akhfennir, Morocco
Brilliant Planet’s current pilot site in Akhfennir, Morocco, operating since 2018

Brilliant Planet has operated a pilot project in Southern Morocco since 2018, in addition to its previous pilot sites in South Africa (2013) and Oman (2014). They will begin construction on their demonstration site in Q2 2024 and start operations later that year. Following the construction of the demonstration site, Brilliant Planet intends to modularly increase its carbon removal capacity, reaching 1 million tons of CO2 per year by 2030.

In addition to removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, Brilliant Planet’s carbon removal method de-acidifies local coastal areas, improving biodiversity. It also creates high-quality jobs in vulnerable rural areas, enabling those that are most affected by climate change to become part of the solution.

By purchasing carbon dioxide removal (CDR) through the Watershed Marketplace, companies of all sizes and industries help scale the businesses at the forefront of CDR innovation while working to meet their own climate goals. Watershed’s team of climate scientists and external advisors vets CDR projects for additionality, verification, durability, leakage, co-benefits, and catalytic nature. Read more about the Watershed Marketplace here.


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