Blue Carbon: "Natural Corn Flakes"

We recently caught up with one of our advisors, Perses Billimoria, the founder and CEO of Earthsoul, a company manufacturing 100% biodegradable and compostable bioplastic products. Perses is passionate about exploring new angles in the climate solution debate and he has generously shared with us a blog he and his colleague, Ryan Bestre, prepared for Climate Exp0, the first virtual conference from the COP26 Universities Network.

We hope you find this short read on Blue Carbon thought-provoking.


Artwork: Dr Cécile Girardin


Currently, there is a large amount of plastic floating in the ocean, but imagine if there was a way we could use natural buoyant flakes to sequester carbon?

What are natural buoyant flakes, you may ask? Perses Bilimoria, the founder and CEO of Earthsoul, a company manufacturing 100% biodegradable and compostable bioplastic products, explains that natural buoyant flakes are like corn flakes made from waste materials such as rice husk and red mud, a by-product of ore mining. They are bound together by lignin, a derivative of paper and pulp. The mixture, when dispersed in the ocean, can slowly release nutrients.

On the surface, the flakes stimulate the growth of phytoplankton, which absorbs carbon from the atmosphere. As the flakes sink to deeper depths, they begin to decay and serve as food to fish and algae. The abundance of algae leads to the production of dimethyl sulphide that aid the formation of clouds. These clouds then block solar radiation, helping to cool the planet.

This ocean fertilisation strategy, which is similar to desert sands being blown into seas and oceans, could increase fish stock and biomass. It could assist in the regeneration of marine ecosystems by turning them into carbon sequesters, instead of emitters. It could also assist in decreasing sea and ocean acidity, which is responsible for the increased bleaching of coral reefs.

According to Bilimoria, successful lab interventions and initial trials make researchers and scientists hopeful, warranting larger scale trials. He notes that the approach is not a silver bullet that can fix all marine environments but instead, seen as a possible solution that is based on research in the area where it will be applied to.

Bilimoria adds that if validated reasonably soon, this could be an intervention which would be modelled as an outstanding example of a truly affordable, natural, sustainable, and carbon negative nature-based solution. At the same time, it can be a profitable initiative for corporations globally, in their efforts to turn carbon neutral.

Find out more about Bilimoria’s work via the Climate Exp0 media library.

Climate Exp0 is the first virtual conference from the COP26 Universities Network and the Italian University Network for Sustainable Development (RUS), sponsored by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Cambridge University Press, the Conference of Italian University Rectors (CRUI), and the 2021 UN Climate Change Summit (COP26).

Running from 17–21 May 2021, it takes place at a critical juncture in the COP26 pre-meetings and negotiations, and is part of the All4Climate Italy 2021 official pre-COP26 initiatives. Learn more and register your place via https://www.climateexp0.org.



Ryan Anthony M. Bestre and Perses Bilimoria