The above graphic shows the recent radical increase in Arctic methane which can trigger the effect described in the clathrate gun hypothesis. The above graphics also illustrates that we have little time, less than many believe, to prepare for a radically different climate.

A development of a marine centric Biogeoengineering thesis may be critical in mitigating and adapting to such catastrophic changes.

The Intergovernmental Marine Bioenergy and Carbon Sequestration Protocol:

Environmental and Political Risk Reduction of Global Carbon Management

The IMBECS Protocol Draft


Abstract: The IMBECS Protocol employs large cultivation and biorefinery installations, within the five Subtropical Convergence Zones (STCZs), to support the production of commodities, such as carbon negative biofuels, seafood, organic fertilizer, polymers and freshwater, as a flexible and cost effective means of Global Warming Mitigation  (GWM) governance with the primary objective being the global scale replacement of fossil fuels (FF). This governance approach to GWM is categorically distinct from all other large scale GWM governance concepts, yet many of the current GWM technologies  are adaptable to this governance proposal.

In brief, the IMBECS technology would be managed by an  Social Benefit Corporation which would have the following functions/mission:

1) Synthesizes relevant treaty language

2) Performs R&D activities and purchases relevant patents

3) Under intergovernmental commission, functions as the primary responsible international actor for environmental standards, production quotas and operational integrity

4) Enforce production and environmental standards along with production quotas

5) Licence technology to for-profit actors under strict production/environmental standards

6) Provide a high level of transparency to all stakeholders

7) Provide legal defense

8) Provide the investor with a better than average return on their capital investment

The IMBECS Protocol is conceptually related to the work found in the following documents/links:

IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy and Climate Change Mitigation

Negative CO2 emissions

Tropos and Shimizu oceanic complex concepts

Artificial Upwelling of Deep Seawater Using the Perpetual Salt Fountain for Cultivation of Ocean Desert

Chemosynthetic production of biomass - An idea from a recent oceanographic discovery

Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Coupled with the Oxyhydrogen Reaction in Algae (Water Production with Primary Production Aquaculture)

Cool Planet; Land based and cellulose based version of  a carbon negative biofuel concept.

Cellana; Leading developer of algae based bioproducts.

Blue Planet; Leading developer of geo-mimics (i.e. sustainable cement production)

AirCarbon; Leader in methane to plastic conversion

Pilot-scale data provide enhanced estimates of the life cycle energy and emissions profile of algae biofuels produced via hydrothermal liquefaction

DoE Roadmap for Algae Biofuels and Multi-Year Plan

NASAs’ OMEGA study.

The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture

Mariculture: A global analysis of production trends since 1950

BECCS /Biochar/ Olivine


IEA;  Technology Roadmap: Carbon Capture and Storage 2013

The President’s Climate Action Plan 

Negative carbon via Ocean Afforestation

Blue Carbon UNEP

The preliminary conclusion of this analysis calls for funding of an investigational deployment of the relevant technologies, within the gyres, for an open evaluation at the intergovernmental level.

To be continued.

Section 1)  USG Leadership on IMBECS Governance, Demand, Conversion and Within Intergovernmental Treaties:

The below is in response to The Third Way’s challenge, within the MIT Climate CoLab forum, of: This contest seeks new and innovative actions or internal policies that U.S. federal agencies can implement to mitigate climate change. However, the implementation of the  IMBECS Protocol is not dependent upon any governmental actions or approvals.

The IMBECS Protocol attempt to address a wide spectrum of environmental issues and thus the issues surrounding governance/policy are multiplex in nature. The following is focused upon a USG centric approach to the initial governance/policy challenges.  Yet, any nation can adopt the IMBECS  

Protocol without intergovernmental approval or support.  This protocol allows all nations to become independant energy/food/feed/fertilizer etc. producers.

1.1) Establishing the IMBECS Foundation Mission Statement and Board of Directors as Preparation for USG Agency Support. The IMBECS Foundation, once established, can provide co-funding support for initial development.

1.1.a) Mission Statement:

Crafting a comprehensive mission statement is the core immediate challenge. The mission statement will be the road map for the IMBECS Foundation and thus will be the primary tool for recruiting the IMBECS Foundations' founding pro tem Board of Directors, staff and outside supporters.

The lead paragraph of the mission statement should include language such as:

·The IMBECS Foundation mission is to support international cooperation in establishing climate change mitigation methods, such as but not limited to, carbon negative energy independence for all nations. This support would include the purchasing/leasing of relevant intellectual property rights and making such rights widely available through a social benefit for-profit (B) corporation franchise structure. Further, it is also the mission of the foundation to establish a World Heritage Natural Resource Reserve of fossil fuels through trading carbon negative biofuels for in situ fossil fuel reserves as a form of intergenerational environmental protection.


Further guidance on the IMBECS Foundation mission statement can be found within the Department of Energy's Office of Bioenergy Technology (see below) while employing an international perspective.

The mission of the Office is to:

"Develop and transform our renewable biomass resources into commercially viable, high-performance biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower through targeted research, development, and demonstration supported through public and private partnerships."

The goal of the Office is to develop commercially viable bioenergy and bioproduct technologies to:

·        Enable sustainable, nationwide production of biofuels that are compatible with today’s transportation infrastructure, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions relative to petroleum-derived fuels, and can displace a share of petroleum-derived fuels to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

·        Encourage the creation of a new domestic bioenergy and bioproduct industry.

The above language can be crafted to reflect the global need for energy independence and climate change mitigation. Additionally, the final draft of the mission statement should be the subject of debate so as to flush out any strong objections from the STEM, policy or civil society sectors.

A new global energy paradigm, based upon marine derived carbon negative biofuels, requires only the demonstration of scale and efficiencies of biomass production/refinement. There are no regulatory constraints, nor basic scientific/engineering research needs, required to initiate MBECS operations. This strategic shift of biofuel, and other critical commodities, production to the oceanic environment would be supportive of the goals of multiple national and international level environmental mitigation programs. A small sample of such mitigation focused programs is: U.S. Global Change Research Program, Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030, Blue Carbon the International Biochar Inititive and the U.N. Green Climate Fund. The mission statement should be relevant to the broadest possible list of extant climate mitigation programs.

1.2) Board of Directors:

The background of the founding directors will be a critical issue as, even though the technology is straightforward, the scale and long term mission of the IMBECS Protocol is unique and recruiting external support will be, initially, based upon the faith a supporter has in the founding directors' expert knowledge. Volunteers for the pro tem board are currently being recruited and nominations are welcomed. The core STEM pro tem directors will be recruited via the Ocean Forester group.

1.3) Funding 

1.3.a) USG Grant/Loan Guarantee Programs:

There are a number of USG Agency level funding programs focused upon:

·    Energy Security through Renewable Energy Development

·    Climate Change Mitigation

·    Scientific Investigation

·    Economic Expansion

·    Food/Water Security

One USG based loan guarantee program is presented, in brief, below.

From the Bioenergy Technologies Office: Multi-year Plan; "DOE Loan Guarantee Programs (LGP): The Office is actively engaged with LGP to support construction financing for first-of-a-kind IBR (integrated bio-refinery, authors note) facilities. LGP provides loans and loan guarantees to a range of projects to spur further investments in advanced clean energy technologies through the reduction of technical risk in pioneering technologies.".

Through the Biofuels Interagency Working Group, the USG has multiple paths for funding the initial technology development up to and including fuel purchase agreements of meaningful scale.

Additionally, there are multiple international biofuel specific funding paths, such as the emerging U.N. Green Climate Fund and through the guidance/support of the IEA etc.


1.3.b) Corporate Level Funding for Initial IMBECS Development:

The IMBECS Foundation can provide a for-profit organization(s) with the initial physical construction and trials of a modest sized gyre based tank farm. The cost of the trial would be deductible by the for-profit corporation(s), at the federal tax level; as such, the trial would be consistent with the mission statement of the foundation.

(Side Note: The algal cultivation technologies are well established. Thus, the biology will not be the focus of the initial development effort while the cultivation tank farm construction and operation will be the primary priority.)

1.3.c) Philanthropic Level Funding for Initial IMBECS Development:

There are a significant number of environmentally focused non-profit organizations which would have an interest in supporting the initial work of the IMBECS Foundation as the foundation would have the potential to generate significant environmentally focused funds/resources, over a multi-generational time frame.

1.4) The Value of the EPA to the IMBECS Protocol:

1.4.a) At the Intergovernmental Treaty Level:

Within the relevant working groups a nation/state party typically turns to their most relevant national agencies for guidance on technical issues. Thus, the relevant agencies play an important supportive role to their respective policy makers. At the treaty working group level (i.e. UNFCCC/IMO/CBD etc.), the EPA's evaluation of the MBECS technology and subsequent EPA promotion of such within the treaty working groups, could greatly encourage other treaty members to support an IMBECS Protocol like structure.  

1.4.b) At the National Level:

The EPA has Congressional guidance on biofuel mandates through the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (specifically, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)). However, the current real-world production limitations of biofuel restrict the mandated target volumes from being achieved. The MBECS technology offers the nation a pathway to meeting and or exceeding the current biofuel use targets.

The gyre based MBECS operations will be flagged as 'ships' and thus the EPA’s jurisdiction would be expanded out to the US flagged MBECS 'fleet'. Early EPA assistance in establishing environmental MBECS related standards would be critical to all US actors.

1.4.c) Brief Summation on the EPA Factor:

The involvement of the EPA, in the STEM evaluation of the technology, would help establish a high level of STEM consensus at both the national and the intergovernmental treaty levels, as well as, pave the way for increasing the national level biofuel use mandated by Congress through providing regulatory support for and guidance to MBECS like operations.

1.5) The Value of NOAA to the IMBECS Protocol:

1.5.a) International Scope:

The primary relevant program within NOAA is the International Research and Applications Project (IRAP) which attempts to " activities that link climate research and assessments to practical risk management, development and adaptation challenges in key regions throughout the world.". In the context of the IMBECS proposal, expansion of the IRAP mission/budget would be needed to a modest degree.

Beyond the IRAP program, NOAA can also provide in-depth relevant knowledge of the oceanic/atmospheric sciences which would provide the EPA/State Dept. with guidance in their evaluations of the potential impacts/benefits of the MBECS technology.

1.5.b) Developmental/Operational Assistance to the MBECS Technology Suite:

NOAAs' unique level of knowledge and in-depth modeling abilities of the oceanic/atmospheric environments would be a robust assist in the development and operational guidance of the MBECS technology.

1.5.c) Summary of NOAAs' Relevance:

In brief, NOAA can be supportive of the State Dept./EPA's evaluation of the relevant MBECS STEM, as well as, play a key role in vetting the MBECS method(s) at the intergovernmental climate change governance decision making level while contributing to the advancement of the MBECS technology and production output.

1.6) The US Navy:

The USN Green Fleet program could potentially benefit substantially by establishing mid-oceanic biofuel production/storage depots and thus providing substantial funding support for US flagged MBECS operational development, through pre-purchasing biofuel and providing developmental assistance at the STEM level, is justifiable.

1.7) The State Department:

Beyond supporting the IMBECS Protocol at the intergovernmental level as a standalone initiative, the US negotiators can champion acceptance/funding of the IMBECS Protocol within the context of the UN Green Climate Fund.

1.8) The White House:

Under the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) the Administration has an ability to bring a strong focus to carbon negative bioenergy and carbon sequestration (BECCS) in general and MBECS in particular.      

The IPCC (WG3) has recently recognized BECCS as a priority global warming mitigation method. The MBECS technology is scalable to global needs within a relative and environmentally appropriate short time frame (<20yrs). With 'fast track' support from the Executive Branch, significant real world achievements in creating a new energy paradigm, can be realized within a few years. Below is a list of specific action requests concerning how the USG can initiate the IMBECS Protocol.

• White House:

A) Approve the IMBECS Foundations’ 501 (c) (3) mission statement (Private Operating Foundation). This action will open up non-USG (philanthropic/corporate donations) co-funding for development and initial operations of the IMBECS Protocol.

B) Fast track the IMBECS development through the Biofuel Interagency Working Group, as well as, within the USGCRP. This action will initiate the broadest possible coordination of STEM related development focus for the IMBECS related technology.

C) Direct the Department of State (Office of the Special Envoy for Climate Change) to support the IMBECS Protocol within the framework of the UNFCCC Green Climate Fund.

D) Direct the DoD to provide funding support for an MBECS pilot program ($30M) through the Operational Energy Plans and Programs per DoD Energy Policy.

E) Direct the DoE to develop a common MBECS (marine based carbon negative biofuel) focused funding/R&D program within the US Climate Change Technology Program (please see: Strategic Plan, Chapter 3.5 “CCTP Goals for Advanced Technology”  for the rationale of advancing new biomass production means and methods.).

1.9) Opposition Management:

1.9.a) Political/Economic Opposition Management:

The primary disruptive aspect of the IMBECS Protocol/Technology will be the uncoupling of energy importing nations from energy exporting nations as all nations will be able to achieve energy independence through operating their own IMBECS operations within the oceanic commons. This potential global energy paradigm shift can be accomplished, with the least amount of disruption, through encompassing the vested interests of the FF industry, at all levels, within the IMBECS strategy.

1.9.b) Bartering Biofuel for FFs:

The potential vast scale of IMBECS operations can absorb the entirety of the FF workforce and provide the energy market investors with an equivalent and sustainable alternative to investing in FF reserves/production.

This leaves the FF reserve owners as the only sector which would not be folded directly into the the IMBECS Protocol/Technology paradigm.

The MBECS non-fuel commodities profit potentials are so large that MBECS operations will eventually be developed regardless of the fuel issue. And, a (subsidized) <$30 bbl. biofuel market is possible using partial profits from the non-biofuel MBECS commodities as the biofuel subsidy. Thus, the IMBECS Protocol has the potential to allow for the bartering of the carbon negative biofuel for FFs and do so in the reserve owners numerical (profit) favor.

Clearly, keeping FFs in the ground would be to the overwhelming advantage to the vast majority of the global population, as well as, to the planetary ecosystem. The FF reserves, which the IMBECS Protocol can potentially sequester in situ, would represent a World Heritage Natural Resource Reserve for the generations that come after us.

1.9.c) STEM Opposition Management:

The use of the mid oceanic gyres (subtropical convergence zones) isolates the MBECS operations both spatially and, to a large degree, biologically. Using the gyres eliminates the vast majority of the environmental reasons for opposition. In fact, the gyres are warming at such a rate that the MBECS fleets’ ability in providing passive surface cooling, over wide areas, can be viewed as an important secondary, yet critical, environmental benefit/reason for deploying MBECS like operations in those regions.

The scalability factor of the MBECS technology is no more complex than expanding bio-derived HDPE floating tank farms to the extent needed to replace FFs.

1.10) In brief summary, solving the volume issue within the algal biomass industry can lead to a new global energy paradigm. The potential vast scale of MBECS production, under a transparent and equitable IMBECS Protocol like governance, would allow for a rapid and robust reversal of the global CO2 emissions trend as well as provide a number of critical non-fuel commodities on a global scale.

Finally, using the oceanic gyres allows for the uncoupling of all energy importing nations from exporting nations as even landlocked nations could operate their own IMBECS Franchise. The IMBECS Protocol is a true game changer for multiple globally important issues and needs.

 The following list of  benefits, which successful governance/policy can produce, is not exhaustive.


To be continued.

Section 2) Limiting Environmental and Political Risk:

2.1) Environmental Risk Reduction

Starting small and evaluating for environmental stability during expansion would allow for the use of the precautionary principle. Additionally, the use of the STCZs keeps the operations within the marine deserts which isolates the operations from existing marine ecosystems. Through profitable operations and under strict intergovernmental oversight, the IMBECS production can be expanded up to and beyond 1M km2.

To be continued.

2.2) Political Risk reduction:

The core IMBECS technology is well within the current STEM arts and providing the basic technology to all energy importing nations would reduce political risk as such support should be widely welcomed at the public level. The IMBECS option offers an abundant and low cost energy supply, as well as food, feed, fertilizer, freshwater, polymers/fabrics and a vast expanse of new territory offering jobs, recreation and habitation. Strong acceptance at the public level reduces political risk for all policy makers.

Interestingly, marine GWM  already has a relevant fledgling intergovernmental governance matrix in place. The IMO and CBD are currently evolving language which is attempting to encompass the concept of marine based geoengineering. Thus, this project is an attempt to bring to the table a concept which can, at the practical level, evaluate and test both the contemporary STEM and governance realities of large scale GWM operations while opening a path to intergovernmental and intergenerational global environmental management .

This technology would be managed by an intergovernmentally sanctioned B Corporation which would have the following functions/mission:

1) Synthesizes relevant treaty language

2) Performs R&D activities and purchases relevant patents

3) Under intergovernmental commission, functions as the primary responsible international actor for environmental standards, production quotas and operational integrity

4) Enforce production and environmental standards along with production quotas

5) Licence technology to for-profit actors under strict production/environmental standards

6) Provide a high level of transparency to all stakeholders

7) Provide legal defense

8) Provide the best possible return on the investment while maintaining social mission goals

The IMBECS Foundation would be designed, through its' formal mission statement, to function as the principal and responsible global actor for IMBECS related R&D and operational deployment. In that, the foundation would deploy investigatory technology for universal RITOP evaluation and approval and then lease the technology to for-profit corporations. The leasing corporations would be required to follow standards, procedures and practices, established by the foundation (and approved by relevant RITOP working groups), or forfeit their licence. 

To be continued.

2.2.a) Signatory Authorities and Responsibilities and Relevant Intergovernmental Treaty Organizations and Parties (RITOP):

The IMBECS Protocol offers a strategy which allows the relevant RITOP actors to establish authority over the the IMBECS Foundation while avoiding direct responsibility for the actual deployment of a globally significant and highly complex program. Withdraw of relevant RITOP support, and thus loss of commissioned status, would be the effective end of operations of the IMBECS Foundation.

In exchange for the RITOP commission, the IMBECS Foundation would support the prevailing RITOP environmental objectives/missions. Further, to the fullest extent possible, the IMBECS Foundation would monitor critical environmental conditions/issues and assist in achieving the UNFCCC mitigation objectives. See below:

UNFCCC Mitigation Focus Points:

To be continued.

2.2.b) The IMBECS Board of Directors Representing the Seven IMBECS Biogeochemical Governance Regions:

The primary operational territory of IMBECS operations would be STCZ centric with each of the five STCZ being represented at the Board of Directors (BoD) level. Additionally, the polar regions can be and will be addressed in future IMBECS work. With the polar regions being represented, the seven IMBECS Biogeochemical Governance Regions (BGR) would encompass all oceanic regions.

This seven member STEM focused BoD roster would be recruited from within the STEM communities and within the respective BGR to help insure that each BGR is properly championed from the regional environment and indigenous population perspective. Additional seats would be made available to RITOP working group leaders and STEM focused civil society actors.

Crafting a comprehensive mission statement is the core immediate challenge. The mission statement will be the road map for the IMBECS Foundation and thus will be the primary tool for recruiting the IMBECS Foundations' founding pro tem Board of Directors, staff and outside supporters.

The lead paragraph of the mission statement should include language such as:



Further guidance on the IMBECS Foundation mission statement can be found within the Department of Energy's Office of Bioenergy Technology (see below) while employing an international perspective.

The mission of the Office is to:”

"Develop and transform our renewable biomass resources into commercially viable, high-performance biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower through targeted research, development, and demonstration supported through public and private partnerships."

The goal of the Office is to develop commercially viable bioenergy and bioproduct technologies to:

The above language can be crafted to reflect the global need for energy independence and climate change mitigation. Additionally, the final draft of the mission statement should be the subject of debate so as to flush out any strong objections from the STEM, policy or civil society sectors.


Figure 1) The IMBECS Protocol Relationship Structure

2.2.c) The Initial IMBECS Foundation staffing/consulting recommendations:

1) Marine Engineering

2) Marine Cultivation

3) Wide area marine surface/atmospheric thermodynamics

4) Benthic Science

5) Biochar

6) Olivine

7) AWL

The above list is not exhaustive.

(governance focus) UNFCCC, IMO,LP/LC, CBD, ISA, UNCLOS/ Wiki, IPCC Working Group 3 (Mitigation),; Civil society actors; Decoupling FF importing nations from FF exporting nations with access to IMBECS technology; Governance of global warming through widely accepted agreement on IMBECS biofuel/biochar production quotas/limits (ie. adjusting IMBECS biofuel/biochar outputs to meet desired atmospheric/oceanic CO2 levels).

To be continued.

Section 3) Electrical Sector GHG Reduction and the IMBECS Protocol:

Consideration by the electrical generation sector should be given to converting over to carbon negative biofuels to reduce the electrical sectors' GHG emissions. The prominent peer reviewed paper in support of this view is:

Negative carbon via Ocean Afforestation

The above study is the progenitor of the IMBECS Protocol concept. The protocol supports all (i.e. macro/micro algal, fish/crustacean and aquaponic) forms of marine based cultivation which supports carbon negative biofuel production.

Obviously, due to the fuel volume used by the electrical sector, the sector can be a central actor in supporting both initial and on-going demand for carbon negative biofuel. Directly investing in MBECS operations, to secure long-term supply advantages for the industry, would be in-line with the core/profit interests of the industry.

From the global warming mitigation perspective, we need to produce and use as much carbon negative biofuels as possible for the next 10-20-30-100 years. A strong push for MBECS biofuels, by the electrical sector, would be transformative for the overall global warming issue and the electrical industry.

The issue of scalability (i.e. cost effectiveness/environmental issues) of  MBECS operations can be extrapolated from existing onshore (profitable) micro-algal operations and traditional macro-algal mariculture operations. Most importantly, the marine engineering aspects of the MBECS concept is well within the known/standard marine engineering sciences.

Marine based biomass production methods are, at this time, highly efficient/profitable and thus expansion of carbon negative fuel production, up to the needed global scale, is plausible (<20 yrs with robust industry funding support).

The industries' early support for initiating field level operations and intergovernmental/national level governance efforts would place the industry in a leadership role within what is, in essence, a new energy commodity market/industry in itself.


Section 4) Biogeographic Preference:

The most environmentally stable oceanic regions on the planet are the highly oligotrophic STCZs. These regions also represent the most biologically isolated regions on the planet. The oligotrophic nature of STCZ regions is due primarily to poor access to subsurface nutrients within the nutricline due to warming. Yet, this nutrient supply is available through simplistic technical means, as well as through the use of ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) equipment.

The highly stable STCZ regions which, in many wide areas, experience few storms, little current, minor wave activity and provide vast supplies of renewable raw nutrients and energy,  represent a unique combination of environmental factors which makes STCZs suitable for large scale cultivation of a broad spectrum of species and for a broad spectrum global warming mitigation reasons.

To supplant all global FF use, the scale of the IMBECS cultivation requires approximately 1.5M km2. The use of littoral regions for IMBEC would not be practical mainly due to the large scale displacement of indigenous ecosystems by such a vast operation. To replace just  the U.S. liquid FF consumption volume, with IMBECS cultivation, will require an area larger than 60K km2.

The only significant economic difference between using littoral waters or using the STCZs for IMBECS is the transport factor. Low cost fuel production by the IMBECS cultivation/biorefineries, however,  mitigates that limiting factor. Most of the five STCZs are closely associated with established shipping lanes and thus the establishment of new shipping routes would not be needed for IMBECS commodity transport.

An important  benefit of using the STCZ s, from the production security view,  is that the STCZs are largely immuned from large scale (mature) cyclones, as STCZs are typically within the Subtropical Ridge travel range. Subtropical Ridges/STCZs are regions of cyclogenesis and thus are producers of subtropical storm systems. In brief, storms travel out of subtropical ridges, not through them.


Figure 2) QED


The subtropical ridge shows up as a large area of black (dryness) on this water vapor satellite image from September 2000. (Wikipedia)

Figure 3) QED


Figure 4) QED

The coordinates of approximately 30N/140W is a prime low wave location (which also shows the eye of the eastern "Gyre" within the North Pacific. As to long range swells, rogues and ship wakes; the IMBECS surface structures' height can be made adjustable to allow for wave pass through and a maximum wave height of 35m will be the engineering standard. There are multiple design options for achieving that function/standard. Further, horizon monitoring of wave height is possible through active wave monitoring.


To be continued.

Section 5) The General Business Model:

The profits from the non-fuel mariculture output (ie. food, feed, fertilizer, freshwater, polymers etc.)  would  allow algae based biofuels to be subsidized at a price below that of fossil fuels. The IMBECS strategy is primarily one of economics rather than technology. The basic marine engineering, required to deploy initial research and commercial operations, is routine in nature and requires no further innovations or in-depth investigations.  The initial IMBECS platforms would be comprised largely from off the shelf systems and subsystems.

To be continued.

Section 6) The  Production Output  Estimates:

To produce a biofuel alternative to FFs, on the same scale of FF extraction, will require vast amounts of raw nutrients. The largest environmental store of raw nutrients on the planet is found within the nutricline. Large scale industrial conversion of this resource requires no scientific or technological breakthrough.

A well designed 1 km2 IMBECS cultivation platform and biorefinery has the potential to produce, at a minimum, 80 barrels of oil, 6 tons of organic industrial grade fertilizer with biochar, 4 tons of aquaculture feed, 300 pounds of organic seafood protein, 1.5M gal. of freshwater and 1 ton of salt per day (other products are being evaluated). Factoring in all the current relevant commodity prices, that level of production equates to approximately $7.3M of  annual gross income. A typical large capital equipment investment requires an amortization time frame between 5-7 yrs. Factoring for a 7 yr. schedule, the acceptable capital investment in a 1 km2 IMBECS installation is approximately $45M. That level of investment is adequate for a 1 km2 IMBECS commercial class installation.  

If the economic viability of each km2 IMBECS installation can be assured, through the broadest possible spectrum of product production, expansion of up to and beyond 1.5M km2 of IMBECS production is economically plausible.  

To be continued.

Section 7)  IMBECS Tank Farm/Biorefinery Design  Considerations: 

 A short list of a IMBECS design criteria includes:


One of the simplest, of the many, IMBECS tank farm design options would be to use modified dual walled white HDPE culverts as the main structural/floatation (tank) element, as well as,  internally lighted photobioreactors and ‘Dark’ reactors. Dark bioreactors can be used for a number of purposes ranging from bacterial based fabric cloth production to CO2 reduction via the oxyhydrogen reaction within algae (i) to production of  cloud enhancing enzymes.

Rapid and ongoing IMBECS expansion would best be served by having a multitude of culvert presses operating onsite with only the virgin bio derived HDPE pellets being transported to the site. Beyond being an efficient use of transport in general, this would make incorporating the waste plastic particles in the gyre garbage patch efficient. Also, onboard biocrude refinement will allow for the complete tank production cycle, from algae to finished HDPE tank, to be accommodated within the IMBECS installations and thus eliminating petroleum input for tank fabrication.

The other principle construction components, within the tank farm design, would be robust forms of standardized struts, related attachments, connectors and a relatively small number of custom produced structural members. By maintaining a highly simplistic architectural/engineering focus, a regiment of rapid expansion can be made as simplistic and cost effective as possible. To achieve 1M+ km2 of IMBECS production within 20 years will require the fabrication/deployment of 200+ km2 per day. This robust fabrication/deployment schedule is achievable through the use of approximately 300 specialized fabrication/deployment barges with crews of approximately 75-100 per barge. A ten year time frame may be possible with a large enough initial funding effort.

To be continued.

Prime LSM Tank Farm Drawing.jpg

Figure 5) Idealized cross sectional view of a production tank farm. Wave energy conversion means and methods would be deployed, yet that aspect of this idealized level design effort is taken to be understood by the reader. For wave energy conversion concepts, the works of Dr. Steven Salter is recommended.

7.1) The Marine Covective Tower (MCT) Option:

The basic production tank farm configuration can be deployed without extensive upper decks and serviced by the equivalent of a catcher/processor ship . Yet, such a simplistic production tank farm would not be able to provide safe and proper full time habitat for crew and processing equipment. Ideally, large scale waves (35 m/115ft.+) should be allowed to pass through the structure with minimal interaction with the installation. The tank farm can be moved well below the wave trough using ballast adjustment. The main surface structure, which would house processing equipment and crew accommodations, requires a more complex design approach. The following conceptual sketch is offered as an example of how the need for a non-wave zone surface working structure can be met.


Figure 6) The Marine Covective Tower

(Note: Please see the Shimizu floating city and the TROPOS  concept for comparison. The discovery of those concept was made after the IMBECS/MCT concept was published.)

MCT-Plane View.jpg 

Figure 7) Plan view of a combined MCT and Tank Farm configuration

7.2) Production Energy Options:

Due to the low wind/wave energy value within the STCZs, the production related energy requirements can be best  met using the open form of  Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC). This renewable energy option provides synergistic production benefits such as tank cooling, nutricline water delivery to the tanks and continuous freshwater production. The biochar pyrolytic process will generate additional power which would supplement the primary energy conversion method. Under some conditions, biofuel would be used as a supplemental energy.

A recently published paper on Emissive Energy Harvesting (EEH) shows an energy conversion method which promises to be capable of enhancing  OTEC. Yet, EEH is an early stage concept and thus can not be immediately incorporated into the IMBECS design. Further, a new energy storage method known as Organic Flow Batteries (OFB) can be deployed on a vast scale using modified IMBECS tanks.

 To be continued.

7.3) Food and Fertilizer Production Flow Charts:

Figure 8) QED

To be continued.

Section 8) Importance of Seafood Cultivation to IMBECS Operations and Economics:

(Focus) Collapse of wild catch fisheries; long term market/environmental implications; fish waste as an organic agriculture fertilizer ingredient; increasing halophyte based biofuel production through aquaponics; increase of algal cultivation through aquaculture waste  (i.e. ammonia/nitrogen); primary economic support for sub FF biofuel pricing.

To be continued.


Section 9) Socioeconomics of the IMBECS Protocol:

(focus) The greatest good for the greatest number can be achieved through providing low cost  carbon negative biofuels, protein,  organic fertilizer , polymers,  freshwater etc, while reversing the environmental damage of FF use; Alternative to the  conversion of land based food production to biofuel production. Expected perpetual sub $30 bbl  price war with global economic stimulus:  the IMBECS subsidized carbon negative biofuels ‘ advantage.

To be continued.

Section 1o)  Ethically Negating the Moral Hazard of Global Warming Mitigation


This  analysis first explores the philosophical possibility that IMBECS based  GWM can be ethically employed while negating the moral hazard of encouraging sustained or increased FF use due to GWM. The primary focus of the IMBECS strategy is to replace FFs, on a global scale, with subsidized carbon negative biofuels derived from marine biomass. Profits from the sale of the non-biofuel IMBECS commodities provides for the biofuel subsidy. The following sections explores how carbon negative fuel appears to negate the moral hazard of GWM.

To be continued. 


10.1) Mapping out the Moral Hazard Paradox:

The primary opposing views of metaethics revolves around the issue of ones’ perspective. To qoute

Perhaps the biggest controversy in metaethics is that which divides moral realists and antirealists.

Moral realists hold that moral facts are objective facts that are out there in the world. Things are good or bad independent of us, and then we come along and discover morality.

Antirealists hold that moral facts are not out there in the world until we put them there, that the facts about morality are determined by facts about us. On this view, morality is not something that we discover so much as something that we invent.”.

In the context of GWM, the highly complex matrix of the socioeconomic, political and environmental realities, encompasses both ‘realistic’ and ‘antirealistic’ valid moral views. This creates a co-realistic moral paradox.

1o.2) Solving the Moral Hazard Paradox:

Solving paradoxes requires identifying the point of fallacy in the paradox and then avoiding that point. The premise that fossil fuels are currently irreplaceable, at the global scale, is the fallacy which needs avoiding as FFs are the core cause of GW and FFs can be replaced with current technology.

The overall issue of large scale mitigation of  global warming offers up a blinding array of relative rights or wrongs which can possibly be reduced to one core question and a simply stated strategy.

Is the continued use of FFs, on a global scale, scientifically, morally or ethically supportable? If not, ending the FF era should be the prime objective.  Any large scale mitigation strategy which can support the primary objective of replacing FFs should be given priority.

Until transformative improvements in energy storage  and or distribution occurs, production of vast amounts of carbon negative, renewable, low cost, portable biofuels are needed to supplant FF use. The carbon negative fuel benefits of  bioenergy/carbon capture and sequestration (BECCS) is well recognized at the IPCC Working Group 3 level.


Under a global carbon negative fuel scenario, the failure to increase fuel production and use would be considered unethical due to the global warming mitigation potential of BECCS. Thus, production of carbon negative biofuels appears to ethically negate the moral hazard of mitigating FF induced global warming.

As an important adjunct to the above observations, the IMBECS Protocol would allow each nation to be energy independent through operating their own IMBECS operation within the STCZ of their choosing.  Obviously, the geopolitical importance of such widespread energy independence would be transformative on multiple sociopolitical and ethical  levels.  

To be continued.

Section 11) The Science Literature in Support of IMBECS Technology:

(focus) benthic to tropopause environmental dynamics within STCZs; GW induced changes within STCZs; reasonable estimate of IMBECS impacts on environment (ie.  large area surface water cooling as a form of super storm/El Nino reduction, endangered species habitat and potential benthic nutrient increase etc.); cultivation related studies covering micro/macro algae, halophytes, bamboo, copepods, rotifer, finfish, shellfish etc.; Marine Biochar production; Olivine etc.

Enhancing the Oceans Role in CO2 Mitigation (Rau) This review is an excellent and insightful treatment on the subject. The IMBECS Protocol attempts to bring additional light to the practical use of:

1)  Intensive cultivation of marine biomass using large scale arrays of enclosed bioreactors

2) Transfer of cultivated marine biomass to agricultural organic fertilizer use

3) The synergistic benefits of operating within the STCZs

To be continued.

Section 12) Conclusion:

(focus) GWM moral paradox resolution; equitable and sustainable food/feed/fuel/fertilizer/freshwater and polymer production for a 10B+ world population; governance of climate through IMBECS production; recommendation for the funding ($750M) of a 10 km2 IMBECS Marine Resources Conversion Research Platform equipped with a Marine Covective Tower .

It has become recognized, at the IPCC level, that the terrestrial BECCS related STEM methods are well within the known relevant STEM arts and it is only the demonstration, on a large scale, which needs to be achieved to establish terrestrial BECCS as a leading GWM strategy. The IMBECS variant would be a significant advancement over the terrestrial BECCS concept as many of the well recognized land use and economic issues, found within the agricultural based BECCS concept, simply become moot under a marine centric BECCS effort as presented within the IMBECS Protocol strategy.

With that, the fossil fuel industry will have an opportunity to convert over to carbon negative biofuels while allowing the IMBECS Foundation to build a robust World Heritage Natural Resources Reserve of Fossil Fuels for use by future generations.


I would like to draw the U.N. Green Climate Funds' attention to the MIT Climate CoLab entry concerning the Intergovernmental Marine Bio-Energy and Carbon and Sequestration (IMBECS) Protocol. The protocol has design features which could be relevant to the overall goals of the Green Fund. In that, the protocol is designed to allow all nations to produce carbon negative biofuel (and other critical commodities) within the ocean commons. The protocol attempts to provide environmentally effective, transparent and equitable means for addressing climate change mitigation.

This approach to collaborative climate change mitigation is a new concept which is still in the refinement stage and the interest and goals of the Green Fund has been a significant factor in my efforts in creating the protocol. Any feedback which your organization can offer would be highly welcomed.


Michael Hayes


Dear Mr. Hayes,


Thank you for your input on the Fund’s Investment Framework. The Fund Secretariat sincerely appreciates the time, effort and contribution regarding the Intergovernmental Marine Bio-Energy and Carbon Sequestration (IMBECS) Protocol. The input will be taken into consideration as the work on the Investment Framework progresses.


I hereby acknowledge receipt of your submission.


Kind regards,


Brett Barstow

Secretariat of the Green Climate Fund

G-Tower, 175 Art Center-daero

Yeonsu, Incheon, Republic of Korea

To be continued.

Note to reader: The development of this analysis is a solo effort.  Any suggestions on fleshing out this basic outline or improving its’ clarity would be welcomed. A rather large volume of peer reviewed papers, books and other materials are being collected in support of the claims being put forward in this document. Any contributions of links and or financial donations to offset the cost of research material would be greatly welcomed. The extent of the investment in the literature review, graphics, other research expenses and travel may exceed $25K.

Note about the author: I’m a retired commercial fisherman (Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska, Kodiak, SE. Alaska) and ex-medic. For the last 5 years I’ve undertaken an in depth study of the issues surrounding GW with a focus on large scale mitigation and adaptation challenges and proposals. This work is a synthesis of that study.  Email:    Phone: 360-708-4976  Skype: voglerlake ,  the MIT Climate CoLab entries: USG / The Cambridge Heat Island Protocol (CHIP); Management, Funding and STEM



Appendix A) A Recent Media Article on BECCS/Carbon Negative Fuels:

U.N. report explores bioenergy's potential for pulling CO2 out of the air

Umair Irfan, E&E reporter

ClimateWire: Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pushing the needle back on billowing carbon dioxide emissions may be necessary to avoid catastrophic warming. But for those who are squeamish about drastically engineering the climate by seeding algae blooms or spraying aerosols to form clouds, scientists are exploring the concept of negative emissions.

The physical science section of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's fifth assessment report, released last September, suggested that bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration (BECCS) could effectively remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The assessment also notes that bioenergy that produces char could also take a big bite out of greenhouse gases.

Over the course of 100 years, the report said, BECCS could pull 125 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from the sky, while biochar energy systems could draw down 130 billion metric tons of the gas. For reference, the world churned out just less than 40 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2013, according to the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia.

However, "potentials for BECCS and biochar are highly speculative," the report acknowledged. "BECCS technology has not been tested at industrial scale, but is commonly included in Integrated Assessment Models and future scenarios that aim to achieve low CO2 concentrations."

The logic behind it is that plants breathe in carbon dioxide from the air as they grow, turning it into sugar for energy and structures like cellulose for rigidity. When plants die, their carbon compounds decay into carbon dioxide and methane, which other plants then use, thereby completing the carbon cycle.

Advocates for fuels like corn-based ethanol and power systems like wood-pellet-burning boilers argue that this makes biomass carbon-neutral, so that it has negligible effects on the global climate. Coaxing some of this carbon into the ground instead of the sky makes the process carbon-negative. This is almost the opposite of fossil fuel combustion, in which carbon stored underground for millions of years is burned and spews into the air, increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases.

The carbon-negative idea hinges on a lot of "could," "might" and "may." The bold predictions depend on aligning many variables, like supply chains, economics and technology, and in such a young field, it's too early to tell whether carbon-negative bioenergy will work in the real world. But with carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere racing past 400 parts per million, some scientists and engineers are pushing on this front, arguing that carbon-neutral isn't enough.

Bold predictions, but little testing

One of the main problems is the dearth of practical research. Bioenergy, for both fuels and for electricity, is still a fledgling field on its own, while utilities are struggling to run viable commercial carbon capture and sequestration systems for fossil fuels.

"Our primary focus has been, for the last five to 10 years, on large point-source CO2 capture," said Jared Ciferno, director of the Office of Coal and Power Research and Development at the Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy.

The group conducted life-cycle assessments of bioenergy in the context of blending biomass with existing coal feedstocks, though the group did little in terms of practical experiments. "Our interest was 'What is the maximum amount of biomass you can feed in with coal?'" Ciferno said. "Mathematically, you can get carbon-negative."

However, in order to get negative emissions, the wood chips, corn stover or switch grass that feed generators have to come from nearby, because transportation fuel emissions eat into their "clean" credibility. Greenhouse gases from fertilizing and harvesting biomass also factor in, along with changes in land use.

In addition, processing biomass requires additional hardware, like dryers and grinders, which are very energy-intensive to run, according to Timothy Skone, a senior environmental engineer at the National Energy Technology Laboratory. "It's technically feasible, but then you have the logistics surrounding feedstock supply," he said.

BECCS revives past debates over whether energy from biomass is really neutral and renewable. Proponents note that past studies overestimated the environmental fallout from approaches like corn-based ethanol.

"One of the biggest concerns was indirect land-use change," said William Hohenstein, director of the Climate Change Program Office at the Department of Agriculture. "What we're finding in reality is that farmers are very innovative and are meeting demands by a number of ways we haven't anticipated."

Selecting the feedstock is another important consideration. Pulp from a massive tree that lived for a century will likely never get to carbon-neutral within a meaningful time frame, while a fast-growing crop like switch grass could balance out in less than a year.

Storing CO2 in char

Challenges still loom over the carbon capture and sequestration side of the equation. In a coal plant, a CSS system can downgrade its output by as much as 40 percent and can double the cost of the energy produced. Because biomass has a lower energy density than coal, the numbers look much worse.

Making biofuels also releases carbon dioxide, but in smaller streams at different steps of the fermentation process, so CCS installations are more tedious.

As a result, fossil fuels will be the proving ground for CCS systems before bioenergy can benefit from it. "Almost surely, capture and storage of CO2 from industrial sources (including coal and natural gas power plants) will [precede] the deployment at large scale of the various negative carbon strategies now being discussed," Robert Socolow, director of the Climate and Energy Challenge at the Princeton Environmental Institute, said in an email.

That's why producing char from biomass is so appealing. In pyrolysis, operators cook organic material to temperatures around 300 degrees Celsius, which releases hydrogen, methane, methanol and carbon monoxide, leaving behind char as a byproduct. Crank the temperature up to 700 C and take out the oxygen, and you have gasification, which also produces fuel and char.

Because some of it stays behind in the char, not all of the carbon from biomass oxidizes into carbon dioxide. This leads to a net reduction in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere without costly carbon dioxide absorbers. Farmers commonly use char to enrich soil, so blending it with earth or burying it effectively sequesters this carbon and helps more biomass grow, further driving emissions into negative territory.

"That material you generate is more persistent in the soil in the environment than the original biomass it's produced from," said Johannes Lehmann, a professor of soil science at Cornell University. He noted that char itself is a fuel and, if burned, makes pyrolysis or gasification carbon-neutral instead of carbon-negative, which is still a benefit to the extent it displaces fossil fuels.

However, it's difficult to keep track of where the carbon is going in these situations so that energy producers can claim carbon credits or tax incentives. "From a market point of view, there is at the moment no broadly agreed carbon methodology to trade and account for greenhouse gas emissions and reductions using biochar," Lehmann said.

BECCS and biochar approaches do have their critics, who argue that carbon-neutral energy should be a priority over carbon-negative.

"First of all, with regard to CCS, bioenergy plants typically emit 50 percent more CO2 than coal per megawatt produced," said Mary Booth, director of the Partnership for Policy Integrity, a think tank that studies energy trade-offs. "You would increase costs by 50 percent at no great gain."

"Char is unburned fuel. Why would any facility want to leave half their fuel unburned?" she added. "I think these claims about biochar are incredibly far-fetched."

Nonetheless, there are companies working to commercialize these systems, at least at small scales. All Power Labs, a Berkeley art collective turned energy startup, has sold more than 500 small-scale gasifiers.

"We got started in this because we were a bunch of artists that had our power turned off," said Tom Price, director of strategic initiatives at All Power Labs.

Can gasifiers substitute for diesel oil?

The devices produce 20 kilowatts, cost less than $30,000 and fit on the back of a Toyota pickup truck. "It was designed from the ground up for the hardest-to-reach places," Price said.

It is in these hard-to-reach places where biomass gasification stands to make the biggest dent in emissions. Trucking in diesel or coal is prohibitively expensive in regions with rough roads and sparse infrastructure. Price observed that in parts of West Africa, charging a cellphone costs the equivalent of $45 in local market rates.

Trees, shrubs, grasses and crops, by contrast, are ubiquitous. "Everywhere you find humans, you find biomass," Price said. Gasifiers burn biomass more cleanly than open-pit fires and stoves, so they provide short-term health benefits and negative greenhouse gas emissions, all while producing cheap local electricity. Users can also modify the gasifiers to provide shaft power to drive machinery or run chillers.

"These things can pay for themselves in less than a year," he added. The goal now is to make them simpler and easier to operate.

"At the small scale, most people believe the benefits can be much, much higher than the drawbacks," said Helena Chum, a research fellow at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the lead author of the bioenergy chapter in the IPCC's special report on renewable energy and climate change.

Though most of the individual steps in bioenergy processing -- like growing, harvesting and converting biomass into useful fuels and energy -- are mature in terms of technology, the economics are still a challenge, but increasingly less so.

"Every part of this chain has to make a profit," Chum explained. "I think in five to 10 years, we'll have several production facilities going."

As global energy demands grow and the climate changes, bioenergy will eventually have to step up at larger scales. "There are portions of our energy economy that are really hard to decarbonize, aviation being one of them," said Nathanael Greene, director of renewable energy policy at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "For that we need to find a low-carbon, high-density liquid fuel, and the only one anyone talks about is some kind of biofuel.

"The trick would be to make sure you're getting your biomass in a really sustainable way, then capturing as much of the carbon as you possibly could," he added.

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Appendix B) The following is an attempt to answer questions concerning the IMBECS Protocol to the Geoengineering Governance team within the MIT Climate CoLab and the other relative CoLab teams.

michael123, thanks for your proposal. It is clear that you are passionate about this and keen to generate some interest around your idea. Is it possible for you to clarify a few points on your proposal, and especially to refine your idea around the contest question.

For the purposes of the contest, which focusses on governance, it is useful to black-box your actual technology and just assume that it is a marine-based proposal that occurs in the one of the major oceanic gyres and interacts with the marine ecosystem to produce several products, one of which is biofuel. Is this a fair simplification?

Yes, the concept is primarily one of economics rather than technology. Biofuel needs to be subsidized to be competitive with FFs and the profits from the non-fuel IMBECS commodities can provide the needed subsidy. This proposal also provides for the vast scale of cultivation/production needed for biofuel to be truly competitive at the global scale. The majority of the technical aspects of this proposal are, in fact, currently being used on a modest scale. This proposal explores the deployment of known technologies on a globally significant scale and suggests a means for governance through international public/private cooperation (ie. a sanctioned non-profit as the principal and ultimately responsible ‘actor’).

Once biofuels can be provided in the volume, and at the price needed to supplant FFs, the production volume can be tied directly to the oceanic/atmospheric CO2 store. A simplified example would be; If global cooling begins due to the over consumption/sequestration of CO2 by the IMBECS operations, the volume of only the marine biochar production, not the fuel production, would be scaled back to achieve the desired oceanic/atmospheric CO2 levels. The command and control of such adjustments would be within and through the IMBECS Foundation. The current IMO/CBD matrix is, at this time, being coordinated to act in unison on the oceanic based global warming mitigation governance issue. The IMBECS Protocol is designed to be supportive of such intergovernmental efforts in this field.

It would helpful if you explained how your technology is carbon negative. Are emissions from the use of the marine bioenergy captured and stored? Can you please elaborate on this?

The production of organic fertilizer, which utilizes biochar and other IMBECS products, is the primary carbon negative path. By transferring the marine biochar/organics into the industrial agricultural setting the oceanic carbon will contribute to further CO2 sequestration through the soil fungi/root interaction. Further, olivine dust within the fertilizer increases the fungi/biochar/root sequestration efficiencies. The amount of CO2 sequestration within this terrestrial phase is difficult to express in exact terms as there is a broad range of conditions and potential outcomes. In general, it can be safely stated that a properly formulated organic fertilizer will produce multiple sequestration pathways with multiple sequestration outcomes.

Also, in the pyrolytic production of biochar there is the production of CO2 and soot which would be fed back into the microalgal cultivation (both CO2 and dissolved inorganic carbon/soot are consumed within the microbial loop). There is the possibility that IMBECS may reach a degree of efficiency which largely closes the nutrient loop, much like what is found in permaculture practices. Even the importation of minerals needed for microbial loop cultivation support would not be needed if seafloor mining is used. However, mining is beyond the scope of this analysis.

Further, the energy generated by the pyrolysis of the biomass will be used in conjunction with ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) and other energy conversion methods. Also, a large enough bioplastics production level would represent a form of sequestration in of itself. It is safe to speculate that 1.5M km2 of IMBECS tank farms, made from bioplastic, represents a significant volume of carbon sequestration, in of itself.

On governance, there are a few questions that arise with your idea and it would be useful to have your views on these. Below are a select few of these questions.

Firstly, your proposal takes place in the open seas, which is under no national jurisdiction. This area is generally governed by international treaties, such as the London Convention (which is also known as the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter 1972) and particularly the London Protocol to that convention. A recent amendment to that treaty regulates marine geoengineering. See this media release for information on the amendment: 

Can you provide more detail as to if and how international treaties might affect your proposal?

This question needs to be addressed at a number of different levels. At the most topical level, the core STEM aspects of the IMBECS concept is ‘mariculture’, which is specifically exempted from GE related IMO restrictions. The IMBECS concept is, in many ways, designed specifically with the UNFCCC/IMO/LC/LP/CBD etc. views on marine based mitigation in mind.

The IMO amendment was in direct response to ocean iron fertilization. Yet, the IMBECS concept does not use any type of 'dumping' and all aspects of the cultivation can be used. The permaculture approach to cultivation is well known in small scale agriculture and is adaptable to IMBECS cultivation method(s). Further, the IMBECS concept is closely related to the 'Circular Economy' concept which encourages the use of all waste.

There is, however, the issue of thermal changes within the Gyres induced by the IMBECS installations. The STEM used in the monitoring of the ENSO can be directly employed in the monitoring of the surface thermal effects of the IMBECS operations.

Such detailed monitoring has significant importance at the socioeconomic level as the STCZs are the spawning grounds of superstorms. The IMBECS installations can possibly play an important role in decreasing the severity of superstorms, if, at the intergovernmental policy level, such actions are called for. Unless there is a broad sociopolitical support, at the intergovernmental level, for storm reduction via IMBECS, such actions would be avoided through dispersing the installations at such a range that the surface cooling effect is dissipated. In essence, the wide area surface cooling aspects of IMBECS can be ‘turned off’.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that the primary geoengineering aspect of the IMBECS Protocol is the replacement of FFs at the global scale.

Secondly, let's assume that your proposal went forward, a major research program was undertaken and shortly after this there was some adverse environmental impact--for example, fish stocks declined in neighbouring waters or weather patterns were altered because of changed ocean temperatures. Your proposal might be blamed for this and this could lead to geopolitical tension. What safeguards do you propose for this? 

In simple words, starting small and monitoring for environmental responses during expansion is the rational way to approach any large scale global warming mitigation method. Further, as mentioned above, IMBECS would have the ability to be dispersed (which negates any extensive surface water thermal effects) and the use of the STCZ is purposefully employed to avoid significant impacts on, or even interaction with, any established wildlife ecosystem (beyond minor bacterial/viral levels).

As to geopolitical tension, the open source nature of the basic IMBECS technology sets up the scenario which allows all nations to be energy independent.

Thirdly, in the section 'Who will take these actions?' you suggest that organisations would carry out the work and that international participation would support technology transfer and cooperation with civil society being consulted in evaluation of the science. Is it correct that you expect private companies to champion this idea? If so, do you think they should be able to patent the technology? If so, what mechanisms do you propose to promote technology transfer?

Beyond the STEM aspects, this proposal calls for the creation of a non-profit organization, which would function as a mirror organization of the primary treaty organizations for the purposes of synthesizing the intent of the UNFCCC/IMO/CBD (ie. "preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with Earth's climate system" etc.) across the spectrum of international/national related governance organizations. The non-profit foundation would be designed, through its' formal "Mission Statement", to function as the primary global "actor" for IMBECS related R&D and operational deployment. In that, the foundation would deploy ‘investigatory’ technology for universal evaluation and then lease the technology to for-profit corporations (IMBECS Franchises). The franchises would be required to follow procedures and practices established through the IMBECS Protocol or forfeit their licence. Further, the emerging class of business structure known as Benefit Corporations would be the prefered for-profit  partner at the IMBECS Franchize level. Also, the IMBECS Protocol and technology are highly supportive of the Green Climate Fund.

However, the IMBECS technology will be highly standardized and the procedural protocols streamlined. Failure at the

The motivation to advance technology is often linked to patents and patent ownership should be supported for that reason. Yet, a strong effort should also be made by the IMBECS Foundation to purchase the relevant patents so as to best manage the technology development. The first fielded method would seem to have an advantage simply due to the significant effort, at the policy level, to establish cooperation.

In simple words, we need inventors and the inventors need a buyer for their GE patents which offers both governance and financial support for planetary changing technology.

Fourth, another impact of increased atmospheric carbon concentration is ocean acidification. Does your proposal increase or reduce ocean acidification and do you think an appropriate governance regime should address this?

One interesting aspect of terrestrial BECCS is the potential to 'overshoot' current CDR goals. The following recent paper explores a few of the aspects of that scenario.

Trade-offs between mitigation costs and temperature change


This paper uses the MERGE integrated assessment model to identify the least-cost mitigation strategy for achieving a range of climate policies. Mitigation is measured in terms of GDP foregone. This is not a benefit-cost analysis. No attempt is made to calculate the reduction in damages brought about by a particular policy. Assumptions are varied regarding the availability of energy-producing and energy-using technologies. We find pathways with substantial reductions in temperature change, with the cost of reductions varying significantly, depending on policy and technology assumptions. The set of scenarios elucidates the potential energy system transformation demands that could be placed on society. We find that policy that allows for “overshoot” of a radiative forcing target during the century results in lower costs, but also a higher temperature at the end of the century. We explore the implications of the costs and availability of key mitigation technologies, including carbon capture and storage (CCS), bioenergy, and their combination, known as BECS, as well as nuclear and energy efficiency. The role of “negative emissions” via BECS in particular is examined. Finally, we demonstrate the implications of nationally adopted emissions timetables based on articulated goals as a counterpoint to a global stabilization approach.”

In simple words, the carbon removal and sequestration ability of BECS can be so aggressive that, potentially, widespread use may trigger a cooling trend. IMBECS will draw CO2 directly from the nutricline water and thus would have a direct effect on ocean acidification. During the initial deployment phase this will be negligible. At the 1.5M km2+ scale, the CO2 consumption of IMBECS operations would be, however, globally significant. Intergovernmental level oversight of the overall field operations would be imperative under that large scale scenario.

As to the question on the need for an ocean acidification (specific) governance regime: Full scale and continuous scientific monitoring of the full spectrum of environmental effects of IMBECS deployment should be accepted and supported by all parties and an ocean acidification governance regime should be guided by the knowledge generated through such continuous scientific studies.  

Clarification on these fronts would help in evaluating your proposal. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to clarify. And, on a final thought, one interesting question concerning the replacement of FFs is; How can the FF reserve owners be compensated for shutting down the extraction of their reserves? The production of biofuel, on a vast scale, can offer a form of barter exchange. The following is a sketch of how reserve owners may be encouraged to voluntarily sequester their FFs.

The Build, Bark and Barter Strategy:

1) Build: Use the vast production capacity potential of IMBECS, along with marine biochar as the carbon negative fuel factor, as a straightforward competitive tool to drive down the value of the FF reserves. The first flush of IMBECS production platforms can demonstrate the sustainable industrial scale production potential of marine biomass/biofuel production levels even within a sub $30 bbl market. Such an industrial scale demonstration of the reliability of the marine technology would start the energy markets moving. Establishing the initial downward price pressure is key and partial profits from the non-biofuel commodities (which has a combined market value far greater than that of the biofuel) would provide the subsidy to support continuous downward pressure on the FF market.


2) Bark: Rapidly expand marine biomass production, for a 3-5 yr. time frame which would give institutional class investors confidence in the new energy supply and the overall spectrum of commodity production output, and then make an offer on the FF reserves (Bark). At the basic economics view, the following question will be asked: Should the FF reserve owners sell early (higher barter exchange rate) or later (at a lower open market commodity value)?

3) Barter: Once marine biomass production has gained traction within the energy market, barrel for barrel bartering should be considered. Setting the rate of exchange in favor of the FF reserve owners, at approximately 1.05bbl of biofuel for each FF bbl (energy equivalent), can begin the financial transition to a new biomass based global energy regiment while providing the least amount of disruption at the workforce/corporate level. The FF reserve owners get to lock in a 5% ‘profit’ while the workforce gains expanded work opportunities within the biomass field.

In simplistic words; keeping FFs in the ground is the ultimate form of large scale global warming mitigation (geoengineering).

To be continued.

Appendex C) Email to the The House of Representatives Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition:


The IMBECS Protocol strategy may offer a way to convert the FF industry over to carbon negative biofuels. From the STEM point of view, this is plausible.

The IMBECS Protocol employs vast scale offshore farming operations which uses the ubiquitous nutrients found within the nutricline and the abundant renewable energy supply also available within the marine environment to produce a subsidized carbon negative biofuel and other critical commodities.

This technology would provide trans-generational energy and environmental security for the U.S. and can be made available to all energy importing nations.

The IMBECS Protocol has been selected as a finalist within the MIT Climate CoLab contest and I would like to ask for the support and vote of the SEEC members within the MIT forum.

Best regards,

Michael Hayes  

Appendex D) Green Float concept: a carbon negative city on the ocean: The Botanical City Concept

Appendex E) 

Introduction to the Blue Carbon Portal



The Blue Carbon Portal has been brought to my attention as being a leader in the marine based climate change mitigation field. I would like to draw your group's attention to an early stage draft of a private work which attempts to build a case for an Intergovernmental Marine Bio-Energy and Carbon Sequestration (IMBECS) Protocol. The IMBECS Protocol draft attempts to outline the potential socioeconomic, environmental and policy benefits of:


  1. Creation of a benefit corporation to:
  1. Synthesizes relevant treaty language
  2. Perform R&D activities and purchases relevant patents
  3. Under intergovernmental commission, functions as the primary responsible international actor for environmental standards, production quotas and operational integrity
  4. Enforce production and environmental standards along with production quotas
  5. Licence technology to for-profit actors under strict production/environmental standards
  6. Provide a high level of transparency to all stakeholders
  7. Provide legal defense
  1. Creation of large scale biomass cultivation operations within the mid-ocean subtropical gyres as a means to utilize the abundant resources in those regions for a multitude of climate change mitigation regiments including, but not limited to, carbon dioxide removal, wide area surface water cooling, critical commodity production (i.e. food, feed, biochar, fertilizer, polymers, freshwater etc.) and creation of mid-oceanic wildlife sanctuaries within these oligotrophic regions.
  2. Creation of oceanic habitation and employment for environmentally displaced persons (and others). The IMBECS Protocol utilizes extant technical concepts, with some modifications/extensions, yet not significantly different than the Tropos and Shimizu oceanic complex concepts.


The IMBECS Protocol is technologically ambitious as it proposes vast scale deployment of cultivation and refinery equipment yet the technology called for in the draft is well within the current marine engineering arts and the installations can reach financial self sufficiency within a reasonable time frame. Further, the relevant intergovernmental treaties currently provide for such operations or are silent on such operations, there are no obvious/current prohibitions against immediate deployment and operations. At the international policy level, the protocol attempts to provide an equitable and transparent bridge between all relevant actors including the intergovernmental treaty organizations, industry and the scientific communities.

The IMBECS Protocol may eventually become a useful component within a broader (globally comprehensive) form of an Integrated Protocol for Climate Change Mitigation (IPCCM). The IPCCM concept would couple marine climate change mitigation operations with terrestrial climate change mitigation operations such as soil improvements (i.e. supplying biochar/organic fertilizer/olivine), terrestrial feed/crop biofuel production reduction, coastal freshwater aquifer replenishment and shrimp farming relocation to offshore operations etc..


Any feedback your group may wish to offer on the current IMBECS Protocol draft, or guidance on the future development of the draft, would be highly appreciated. Regrettably, I missed your most recent webinar and I would like to ask that I be included in any future webinar and or general notifications.


Best regards,



Michael Hayes


The IMBECS Protocol Draft