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Challenges of Turning the Sargassum Crisis into Gold: Current Constraints and Implications for the Caribbean
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Caribbean-Wide, Negative Emissions Solution to Sargassum spp. Low-Cost Collection Device and Sustainable Disposal Method

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue Building 3 Room 443, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
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SOS Carbon S.R.L., Suite 1401, Torre Piantini, Avenida Gustavo Mejia Ricart, Distrito Nacional, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
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Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: John James Milledge and Anne Desrochers
Phycology 2021, 1(1), 49-75; https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology1010004
Received: 31 May 2021 / Revised: 27 July 2021 / Accepted: 6 August 2021 / Published: 12 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sargassum Golden Tides, a Global Problem)
Sargassum spp. blooms exacerbated by climate change and agricultural runoff are inundating Caribbean beaches, emitting toxic fumes and greenhouse gases through decomposition. This hurts tourism, artisanal fishing, shore-based industry, human health, standards-of-living, coastal ecology, and the global climate. Barriers, collection machinery, and Sargassum valorization have been unable to provide sufficient, sustainable, or widespread relief. This article presents a total Sargassum management system that is effective, low-impact, and economically scalable across the Caribbean. Littoral Collection Modules (LCMs), attached to artisanal fishing boats, collect Sargassum in nets which are brought to a barge. When full, the barge is towed to the deep ocean where Sargassum is pumped to ~150–200 m depth, whereafter it continues sinking (Sargassum Ocean Sequestration of Carbon; “SOS Carbon”). Costing and negative emissions calculations for this system show cleanup costs <$1/m3 and emissions reduction potential up to 1.356 → 3.029 tCO2e/dmt Sargassum. COVID-19 decimated Caribbean tourism, adding to the pressures of indebtedness and natural disasters facing the region. The “SOS Carbon strategy” could help the Caribbean “build back better” by establishing a negative emissions industry that builds resilience against Sargassum and flight shame (“flygskam”). Employing fishermen to operate LCMs achieves socioeconomic goals while increasing Sargassum cleanup and avoiding landfilling achieves sustainable development goals. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbon offset; carbon dioxide reduction; negative emissions technologies; Sargassum; Sargassum management; sustainable development carbon offset; carbon dioxide reduction; negative emissions technologies; Sargassum; Sargassum management; sustainable development
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gray, L.A.; Bisonó León, A.G.; Rojas, F.E.; Veroneau, S.S.; Slocum, A.H. Caribbean-Wide, Negative Emissions Solution to Sargassum spp. Low-Cost Collection Device and Sustainable Disposal Method. Phycology 2021, 1, 49-75. https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology1010004

AMA Style

Gray LA, Bisonó León AG, Rojas FE, Veroneau SS, Slocum AH. Caribbean-Wide, Negative Emissions Solution to Sargassum spp. Low-Cost Collection Device and Sustainable Disposal Method. Phycology. 2021; 1(1):49-75. https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology1010004

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gray, Luke A., Andres G. Bisonó León, Folkers E. Rojas, Samuel S. Veroneau, and Alexander H. Slocum 2021. "Caribbean-Wide, Negative Emissions Solution to Sargassum spp. Low-Cost Collection Device and Sustainable Disposal Method" Phycology 1, no. 1: 49-75. https://doi.org/10.3390/phycology1010004

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