We must remove 100’s of billions of tons of CO2 from the atmosphere this century.
Working with the ocean's natural mechanisms for removing carbon from our atmosphere could be one of the most scalable ways to address our climate crisis.
Carbon to Sea is the leading initiative to evaluate whether ocean alkalinity enhancement can safely remove and store billions of tons of CO2.
The promise of ocean-based carbon removal
For billions of years, minerals on land have been washing into the ocean, creating slightly alkaline waters and drawing down CO2 from the atmosphere. Over time, this has created an enormous, permanent and harmless sink for atmospheric CO2, nearly 38 trillion tons of carbon.
Accelerating this natural process is called Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement (OAE) and there are many different pathways, such as adding alkaline minerals to the ocean or removing acid from seawater via electrochemistry.
How the Carbon to Sea Initiative works
Carbon to Sea is a nonprofit initiative with a mission to evaluate OAE as a viable pathway to repair historic carbon pollution. We bring together the best scientists, engineers, field builders, and market shapers to systematically assess whether and how OAE can be a safe, scalable, and permanent CDR method, and to lay the groundwork for cost-effective and responsible deployment in the future. Carbon to Sea was created by Additional Ventures and launched in June, 2023.
In our first wave of funding, we have selected exceptional grantees for our OAE Research and Technology Awards with the help of Ocean Visions, and started to build out a global network of field research sites. Subscribe to be notified about future opportunities.
Carbon to Sea will take OAE from an exciting idea to a serious climate solution through five integrated tracks:
Scientific approaches that systematically assess the conditions under which OAE can safely and permanently remove CO2 and market intelligence to advance sector knowledge.
Targeted engineering cohorts to innovate alkalinity production, dispersal and measurement and support road-to-market strategy.
Field Research Network
Global network of field research sites, MRV systems and models, and decision-making tools such as technoeconomic assessments and lifecycle analysis.
Advancing responsible regulatory frameworks and public funding for research and development.
Convenings and knowledge-sharing to foster collaboration across disciplines and invite new entrants into the field of OAE.
Guiding principles for responsible research and development
We are pursuing this work to restore our climate for humans and all species on Earth. Understanding the community and environmental impact of OAE is core to our mission. Together with our grantees and field research partners, we are designing a gold standard process to engage stakeholders in our work and model, measure, and minimize the environmental footprint of real-world research.
This process will be continuously updated with the help of partners around the world and published here on our website.
We build a highly accountable sector by inviting and clarifying regulatory oversight in our work
Coastal communities are empowered to understand and evaluate whether our research aligns with their climate goals
All research results are published and summarized in clear language, no matter the outcome
All materials are progressively tested in lab and mesocosm trials before they are used in the real world
Our investments in high fidelity regional ocean modeling and observations help plan, measure and validate outcomes of field trials
While field research supports global science priorities, it is accountable to local leaders, permit holders and decision-makers
Credit: Ulf Riebesell/GEOMAR
Mesocosm studies are an important stepping stone for investigating possible ecosystem impacts under close-to-natural conditions. The “giant test tubes” enclose natural communities from bacteria to small pelagic fish and follow the seasonal succession at their deployment site. Applying a gradient experimental design enables the identification of nonlinearities, thresholds and tipping points of the enclosed communities, thereby allowing to determine the safe operating space for different alkalinisation scenarios.
Board of Directors
We rely on trusted partners to bring our program to life and maintain operational excellence. In particular, we look to local expertise to gauge local interest and viability for field research, environmental assessment requirements, evaluation of policy and permitting processes. We also rely on external expert reviewers of our grant proposals and to ensure our team is abreast of the latest scientific and technical knowledge.
We are supported by a diverse group of funders with deep experience in ocean conservation, climate and R&D. Our funders provide meaningful guidance to our program’s direction and are invited to join in the learning journey by participating in quarterly advisory meetings and in-person convenings.
Science Advisory Board
Commonly Asked Questions
Why focus on Carbon Dioxide Removal?
In addition to reducing emissions, we need to remove huge amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), averting the most devastating impacts of climate change requires removing and permanently storing hundreds of billions of tons of atmospheric CO2 this century. But so far only a few tens of thousands of tons of CO2 have been permanently removed.
What is the scope of your research?
The scope of our funded research is broad, but generally addresses the questions of the safety, efficacy and scalability of OAE using different methodologies.
What does OAE cost?
In recent years, OAE has gained more attention as modeling and early laboratory work suggest it could permanently remove and store carbon for as little as $25-$160/ton.
What is your stakeholder engagement strategy?
To build a highly accountable sector that people can trust, we must seek authentic stakeholder input and incorporate their ideas in our work. We set a high bar at the program level for what quality engagement looks like (inclusive, transparent, accessible) and work with local orgs to help us understand what their communities need and want from our program. We work with a range of stakeholders in many different communities, each with unique interests in our program: scientists, funders, research institutes, local NGOs, fishers, startups and more.
What are some examples of the types of projects Carbon to Sea funds?
We fund projects ranging from fundamental research, to mesocosm experiments and prototype development. Examples include dissolution kinetics, dye trace studies, environmental impacts, and sensor and electrochemical membranes prototype development.
How can research and engineering teams apply for your program?
We plan to run additional RFP processes for engineering grants. Please keep an eye out for announcements.
How is Carbon to Sea run and governed?
Carbon to Sea is run by a small, nimble team and governed by a 3-member Advisory board for large-scale expenditures and big decisions. We also have a Science Advisory Board to provide technical and programmatic direction. Carbon to Sea is fiscally sponsored by the Windward Fund, a 501 (c)(3) public charity.