our advantage

carbon removal quality


As part of our approach, we discharge large quantities of ‘de-acidified’ seawater back to the environment.  Unlike other marine methods, Brilliant Planet does not change the seawater chemistry and does not alter alkalinity.  During their growth, the microalgae absorb part of the carbon needed for their biomass from the seawater, thereby removing carbonic acid (HCO3 -, the CO2 bubbles in fizzy drinks).  The unchanged seawater chemistry and its CO2 deficit ensure that the seawater rapidly equilibrates with the local surface water, restoring it to the pre-industrial pH of 8.21.  

Every ton of our discharge restores 10.2 tons of the local surface water.  This improves the local ecosystem health, enabling shell forming and coralline organisms to thrive.  We actively track and monitor this discharge as it travels along shore with the prevailing currents, to measure the impact on net primary productivity (NPP) and biodiversity.

As we operate in coastal deserts, our operations are typically in underserved area, and our community and staff are comprised primarily of historically disadvantaged peoples. Our community members are among the people most heavily impacted by climate change. The main sources of income in the community include subsistence agriculture and fishing. Changing weather patterns exacerbate the community’s existing challenges of poor food security– both due to droughts (farming) and ocean acidification (small fisheries).

By developing our technology in these locations, we are enabling vulnerable rural communities to participate in, and benefit from, the work we are doing to resolve the problems they disproportionately experience and played little role in causing.  

Our economic benefits to the community are from the creation of good jobs, stimulating the local economy and training.  Our non-economic benefits bring an increased sense of purpose and progress to the community and CSR support projects.

Importatly, Brilliant Planet's solution do not cause land conflict as the areas we operate on aere desolate saltpans with no cultural, agricultural, or other economic value. There is typically an abundance of similar unused land in these areas.

We maintain control over our system boundaries and produce and store all biomass on site. This enables us to control and continuously measure the carbon flow across the system.

We directly measure the CO2 that is removed from the atmosphere by weighing the dry biomass before it is buried. Sensors buried with the biomass can detect whether any decay or emissions occur.  As the biomass remains stored only two meters below ground, physical verification of removed carbon is straightforward.

The characteristics of the de-acidified seawater that is discharged are actively measured with a mooring and with sample measurements taken at the ocean surface.This simple approach to measurement means we know exactly how much CO2 is being removed from the atmosphere by our process and can easily confirm that it remains stable during storage. At our next site, all relevant data will be automatically collected and kept in a tamper-proof database which is accessible to third-party verification agencies and buyers.

By operating in the desert and using deep upwelled seawater, our process is 100% additional: we grow biomass that would not have grown otherwise. In technical terms, we create new net primary productivity off a base of zero.

The land we use is barren, meaning our operations do not displace natural systems which are already removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

The nutrients used to grow the algae come from upwelled water that originates from the deep sea. Even at gigaton-scale, our impact on ocean nutrient levels is miniscule.

There's a lot of hot desert space around the world, much of it near the coast, so there is ample room to use our method for removing carbon.

We've used global mapping to find about 500,000 square kilometers of land that is ideal for our process, and that could mean removing over 3.1 billion tons of carbon a year - a big solution that can be used all over the world.

Brilliant Planet applies a 'triple lock' durability mechanism that promotes long-term carbon sequestration.  This involves drying the biomass together with salt from seawater to create a salt-biomass composite that has both low moisture content of <12% and a low ‘water activity’(aw) below 0.32.  The composite also has a salinity between 20%-40%, which again prevents a broad spectrum of microbes from growing.  For comparison, pickled vegetables contain 0.6-1.2% salt.  Finally, the naturally high acid content of the algae results in the salt-biomass composite being pH 3.6 when dried.  At this low pH and high salt content all enzymatic sites on digestive enzymes are either blocked with salt ions or have had their metal constituents leached out by the acid making them inactive.  

Any of these three methods would protect the biomass, all three together protect the biomass even if the storage conditions would change over thousands of years of storage.  These features remove any substrate from microbes and effectively inhibits decomposition, ensuring the sequestered carbon remains stable and locked away for a minimum of 1,000 years, as corroborated by literature of natural analogues like multi-millennial mummies and preserved natural biomass samples.  Brilliant Planet also performs field trials to actively measure the stability of the salt-biomass composite in a purpose-built and covered storage site, above future sea level rise, outside of watersheds, in the Sahara Desert, to ensure that the storage site will remain unchanged in future.

Brilliant Planet takes pride in pioneering cost-effective solutions for carbon capture and we have a clear path to reducing the cost of carbon capture to below $100 per ton at scale.

By utilizing an inherently efficient carbon capture methodology and leveraging abundant, naturally available resources, we're able to provide affordable, yet high-impact, solutions for carbon dioxide removal.



Brilliant Planet’s ponds covered thousands of square meters each. They are also lined with a highly reflective white geomembrane and pond operations are tightly controlled.  This means that the cell concentration (light attenuation), depth of pond (light path), and spectral properties of the seawater are well defined and actively measured.  Combined with incident light field measurements, this provides an unprecedented opportunity to monitor the ponds remotely with new multispectral sensors platforms such as NASA’s PACE mission, Pixxel and Planet’s Carbon Mapper.  These provide high resolution, species-specific information throughout the seasons.

Brilliant Planet’s ponds covered thousands of square meters each. They are also lined with a highly reflective white geomembrane and pond operations are tightly controlled.  This means that the cell concentration (light attenuation), depth of pond (light path), and spectral properties of the seawater are well defined and actively measured.  Combined with incident light field measurements, this provides an unprecedented opportunity to monitor the ponds remotely with new multispectral sensors platforms such as NASA’s PACE mission, Pixxel and Planet’s Carbon Mapper.  These provide high resolution, species-specific information throughout the seasons.

Through a systematic series of laboratory-based experiments, culturing key production organisms across a broad range of growth conditions, Brilliant Planet has defined the exchange rates between the different photosynthetic currencies, and developed models to empirically model and calculate them.  This is fundamental to novel insight, to deploy bleeding edge sensors that measure electron flux (in microseconds) into the ponds to adjust to dynamic environmental conditions and maximise growth.  By analysing concurrent pond temperature, light and nutrients, convert to a reliable and accurate second by second measure of pond CO2 fixation.

In this respect, Brilliant Planet is leading the way in pond-deployable primary productivity sensing by using recent advances in Single Turnover Active Fluorometry, which incorporate new features in data collection and analysis (e.g., cellular package effect, internal baseline fluorescence and spectral corrections).

Brilliant Planet used and applies fundamental principals for inorganic carbon chemistry, algal light absorption and utilisation, nutrient uptake and metabolism, as well as developing physical models for gas exchange rates, and predictive in-pond photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) to construct well over 50 standalone sub-models.  Some of these sub-models are based on proprietary laboratory data to derive species-specific coefficients and reaction norms, while others rely on published coefficients and parameters within literature, and still others on historical in-pond production data.  Having developed feedback loops, models have been integrated into a single network, where one is able to define a shortlist of model inputs and perform a day or multi-day simulation of pond productivity, using historical meteorological and environmental data (wind speed, wind direction, humidity, dew temperature, ambient temperature, incident Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR), solar zenith angle etc. as model inputs.

We perform these simulations to maximise yield while weighing the cost of Opex, such as cost and volume of nutrients, the volume and speed of seawater being pumped in for dilution, and the electricity cost of the paddlewheel motors for enhanced gas exchange and mixing.

Our system is complex as our physical infrastructure needs to respond to the dynamics of nature. Interaction between biological processes and the control systems require iterative simulations to finesse the operational logic. We use computer modelling to simulate various aspects of site operations, the algae growth under different conditions, the hydraulic flow through the ponds and the ocean chemistry of water we consume and expel as part of our operations. The logic developed through these simulations drive our Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems and enable the automation for our digital twin.

Our models are created through close collaboration between scientists, engineers and operations specialists to test varying conditions, validate our design decisions and optimise site operations. Our in-house development teams deploy various tools and coding capability using software languages such as Python and Julia. We also drive insights through integrated dashboards and other front-end user interfaces and visualisations created in Javascript, React, or with Dash.

To simulate atmosphere and ocean dynamics in key regions of Brilliant Planet operations and predict how these interact and can optimize in-pond algal growth, Brilliant Planet has developed a coupled atmosphere-ocean forecasting model. The ocean model is the Finite Volume Community Ocean Model, or FVCOM – a hydrodynamic model that simulates fluid flow based on the conservation or continuity equations. This model enables the tracking, monitoring, and prediction of surface ocean nutrients through upwelling events, and other local physical oceanography, such as tidal characteristics, coastal filaments, and local dispersion, that influence the seawater characteristics feeding Brilliant Planet’s ponds.

FVCOM is an open-source, prognostic, unstructured-grid, finite-volume, free-surface, 3-D primitive equation coastal ocean circulation model, designed to model currents in inshore and coastal environments. FVCOM uses the ‘finite volume’ method, by splitting the model domain into smaller, non-overlapping triangular prismatic volumes (known as cells or elements). The solutions of the model equations satisfy the conservation of quantities such as mass, momentum, and energy, for each individual element, over the whole domain, and for any number of elements used to make up the full domain.

The FVCOM model is coupled to an atmospheric model; the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. The coupled model predicts local environmental conditions and how these influence the seawater feeding in-pond algae. The model developed for Brilliant Planet’s Moroccan operations extends over a region of the Atlantic Ocean, adjacent to the coast of Morocco, and includes the islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. The domain extends approximately 400 km south-to-north and 500 km west-to-east. The model domain is made up of >140,000 elements, with spatial resolutions ranging from ~4 km at the open boundary to a few 10’s of meters close to the Brilliant Planet site.

Brilliant Planet’s rivers model is a sub-model of the Finite Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM) – a hydrodynamic model that simulates fluid flow based on the conservation equations. The rivers model is configured to simulate, track, and monitor the offshore spreading and dispersion of seawater released from Brilliant Planet’s algal ponds. Quantifying how much a volume of water mixes with the surrounding ocean is dependent on its’ relative physical properties and the background atmospheric and ocean conditions. The rivers model resolves the fine-scale ocean dynamics and is coupled to the high-resolution, non-hydrostatic Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, which resolves atmospheric dynamics.

Each Brilliant Planet pond is filled with seawater, which becomes warmer, saltier, less dense and deacidified relative to the offshore coastal ocean as it passes through the pond system. This seawater is then released back into the surface ocean, where it mixes with the surrounding ocean. The rivers model simulates the released seawater using two methods: (i) as a dynamically passive dye release; and (ii) as a dynamically active river input. The latter assigns the released seawater with physical properties matching those of the real discharge. The model then simulates the dispersion of discharged seawater as it interacts with the underlying flow and mixes with the coastal ocean.

By explicitly simulating the properties of the released pondwater, and how this interacts with changing oceanic and atmospheric conditions at the time of discharge, it is possible to monitor how much of the discharge remains at the surface, how it mixes with deeper layers, how its’ area spreads over tidal cycles, and how it influences the bulk properties of the surrounding coastal ocean: The model predicts the cumulative effect of dispersive processes from a well-defined source. This allows the timing and rate of pond-water release to be controlled to optimize interactions with the surrounding environment.

Automation plays a key role in maximising the benefits from our digital twins and underpins our scale up strategy. Across numerous data points across our physical infrastructure, we turn data into key decisions to drive operational efficiencies and enhance our know-how in science and engineering. Traditional automations systems, which are closed, proprietary, and hardware-driven, can undermine our technology agnostic approach and prevent us from adopting the latest technologies. We have therefore chosen to move away from traditional industrial automation systems and chosen an open, interoperable and portable industrial automation system to support our approach.

Through our partnership with Schneider Electric and Platinum Engineering, we have implemented and deployed EcoStruxure Automation Expert, the world’s first software-centric universal automation system, alongside AVEVA System Platform and AVEVA Insight to provide complete visibility and control of operations. EcoStruxure Automation Expert is a universal automation solution based on the IEC 61499 standard for interoperability, and can therefore be easily integrated with new or existing third-party equipment, and scale with ease across Brilliant

We use Building Information Modelling (BIM) as the holistic process of creating and managing structured, multi-disciplinary information for our assets across their lifecycle, from planning and design to construction and operations.

We create digital representation of our designs with appropriate level of definition for each stage utilising Autodesk AEC Suite and collaborate through common data environments such as Autodesk Construction Cloud.across our internal teams and external partners. Our digital models are utilised for effective design and constructability reviews, engaging with construction partners and suppliers, and communicating with stakeholders.

During the planning stage, BIM informs project planning by combining reality capture and real-world data to generate context models of the existing built and natural environment. During the design phase, we progress our conceptual designs through analysis and detailing to enhance design maturity.

The preconstruction process begins using BIM data to inform scheduling and logistics. During the build phase fabrication begins using BIM specifications. Project construction logistics are shared with trades and contractors to ensure optimum timing and efficiency.

We adopt an asset-based work breakdown structure and Uniclass classification system to organise our information. This enables integrated approach across design, construction, schedule, cost and operations, underpinning our digital twin approach, providing a structured feedback loop between the operational physical infrastructure and design.


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