Nanotech sets sail

This week, Planktos, a nanotech company with the lofty goal of reducing carbon emissions, finally set sail. Planktos aims to reduce carbon emissions by releasing huge amounts of iron into the ocean, with the hope that plankton will take up that iron, and absorb more carbon. According to the New York Times, Planktos' 115-foot ship, the WeatherBird II, linkurl:launched from Florida;http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/06/project-to-harness-plankton-puts-to-sea/index.html on Sunday (Novem

By | November 8, 2007

This week, Planktos, a nanotech company with the lofty goal of reducing carbon emissions, finally set sail. Planktos aims to reduce carbon emissions by releasing huge amounts of iron into the ocean, with the hope that plankton will take up that iron, and absorb more carbon. According to the New York Times, Planktos' 115-foot ship, the WeatherBird II, linkurl:launched from Florida;http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/06/project-to-harness-plankton-puts-to-sea/index.html on Sunday (November 4). In this month's issue, bioethics columnist linkurl:Glenn McGee;http://www.the-scientist.com/2007/11/1/33/1/ expressed concerns about Planktos, arguing that the technology is too much of a question mark to be deemed safe. Early findings weren't encouraging, and scientists and environmentalists have dismissed the company's claims. What are the long-term implications of releasing this plankton? How will the current carry the particles? How will this massive amount of extra iron affect plankton plumes? McGee asked. Looks like we may soon find out.

Comments

Avatar of: Steve Kerry

Steve Kerry

Posts: 1

November 9, 2007

Hello,\n\nYou said Planktos was going to release "huge" amounts of iron into the ocean. That's erroneous. They are releasing extremely tiny amounts of iron...essentially parts per billion. This is the whole point of iron fertilization. Iron is a trace nutrient and in certain areas of the ocean, the addition of a very tiny amount catalyzes a huge amount of plant growth. Note that the Japanese seaweed farming researchers have already done the same sort of thing on a much larger scale, in international waters, so the fuss over Planktos is rather silly.

November 9, 2007

As I wrote to editors and the author of the article, Planktos has never said we will use "nano-sized particles of zero-valent iron (ZVI)." I am unsure where this information orginated, but we are not employing nanotechnology of any kind for our work.\n\nI welcome any further scientific or policy related questions to clear up any other misinformation.

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