It has never been more apparent that the climate crisis is here today. It is not a future risk. It is already causing extreme weather events like droughts and flooding all over the globe.
It is also clear that to avoid catastrophic damage, reducing emissions cannot be enough on its own. When you overfill a bathtub, you don’t expect turning the tap down to empty the tub. Similarly, cutting emissions will not be sufficient: we need to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Without proven ways to do so permanently and on a large scale, we must explore ways to do so.
At Project Vesta we are developing Coastal Carbon Capture, which is a way to harness the power of the oceans to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and enhance coastal resilience. By accelerating the Earth’s natural carbon dioxide removal process we hope to help leave a world in which all can thrive.
I wanted to provide an update on our recent progress, but before I do so I’d like to express my gratitude on behalf of the whole Project Vesta team to all our supporters and collaborators around the world. Thank you.
Our team has made significant progress in conducting foundational research in two key areas. First, in quantifying the ecological effects of the use of olivine in coastal waters, and second, in developing a process to determine and quantify the rate of carbon sequestration through Coastal Carbon Capture. Here are some highlights of what we’ve been up to in our mission to help reverse climate change:
- We’ve grown our full-time team from 4 to 14, bringing on critical scientific and academic support to conduct this effort. We’re proud to have welcomed:
- Dr. Nathan Walworth, a marine biogeochemist
- Dr. Grace Andrews, a leading expert in enhanced weathering
- Dr. Francesc Montserrat, a marine ecologist and expert in advanced weathering, who has made the leap from his role as Chief Scientific Advisor which held since 2019 to join the team full-time
- Dr. Stephen Romaniello, marine geochemist
- Dr. Chloe Leach, geomorphologist
- Numerous other Scientific and technical collaborators in various specialities, including from the Universities of Hawaii, Delaware, Utrecht, and Southern California
Experiments and Research
- We’ve received preliminary ecotoxicology results that are helping to build the case for the ecological safety of olivine in ocean environments.
- We’ve started devising a method for measuring, reporting, and verifying carbon dioxide removal through CCC - a necessary protocol to allow for the scaling of this solution through the sale of carbon credits.
- We have achieved a very exciting milestone at our first pilot site in the Northern Caribbean: we have begun to collect data in our baseline sampling period, a precursor to spreading olivine.
- We have made significant progress with foundational modeling work, including collaborating with the U.S. Naval Research Center on sediment modeling.
Deployment and Future Scaling
- We have been building our pipeline of additional deployment sites for future demonstration pilots, including three possible sites in the U.S. and several further afield.
- We have developed a plan to incorporate olivine sand into coastal nourishment projects, which move millions of tonnes of sand to combat erosion and protect against sea-level rise. This application could support the resilience of vulnerable coastal communities while reducing the carbon impact of beach nourishment and improving the economics through the sale of carbon credits.
- As part of this, we have partnered with Great Lakes Dredge and Dock (NASDAQ: GLDD), the leading coastal nourishment company in the U.S., to create a joint research program.
- To enable future scaling, we have secured 6 LOIs with important deployment supply chain partners, as well as with 12 carbon credit marketplaces for future carbon credit sales.
Partnerships and Social Sciences
- We are developing a partnerships and communications strategy for government and corporate partners and building relationships with NGOs to foster support for CCC.
- We are collaborating with The Aspen Institute in the development of a Code of Conduct for Ocean CDR to ensure responsible research.
- We have begun social science work in earnest, with thorough and transparent engagement with local communities at deployment sites. Our goal is to build local ownership and ensure engagement at every level of the public.
- We hope that our work in the social sciences will support responsible action and climate justice in ocean CDR more broadly.
A Self-Sustaining Model
It has never been clearer that to reverse climate change, it will take a global-scale effort to build global-scale solutions. Gigaton-scale CDR solutions cannot be delivered just by donations: we need a viable economic model for this to happen at scale. Project Vesta is evolving to pave the way for this. We have carefully selected a new hybrid corporate structure that will allow us to continue foundational research through the support of philanthropy and gifts, while also allowing us to establish a business model in the form of a company - all of which will enable us to begin to lay the groundwork for a long-term financially sustainable model.
Specifically, Project Vesta is becoming Project Vesta, PBC - a Public Benefit Corporation. As a PBC, we have given ourselves an explicit legal ability to focus first on the mission of Project Vesta. This corporate form enables us to develop a commercial model for Coastal Carbon Capture through the sale of carbon removal credits.
On the non-profit side, through the Coastal Carbon Capture Impact fund, a 501(c)(3), Project Vesta, PBC will continue to apply charitable dollars to foundational research in furtherance of the mission. Your prior and future donations will be used in the same way as before. While this foundational research will help Project Vesta to fulfill its mission, it will also help to develop the field of Coastal Carbon Capture. For example, the ecotoxicology experiments we are currently running will be published as a gift to the world and can be used by any Coastal Carbon Capture organization which emerges in the future.
Project Vesta’s new hybrid structure is the best approach to enable our climate solution to help the earth thrive. Our mission and our commitment to a robust, careful, transparent approach remain unchanged.
All 501(c)(3) donations to date and in future will continue to be used for charitable purposes. If you have any questions, or you’d like to better understand how your contributions will be utilized, please feel free to reach out to us here. We deeply thank our donors over the last few years dearly for their support. We could not do this without their generosity, belief in us, and shared commitment to what we believe is the defining challenge of our generation.
A collaborator of ours recently said, “Most of us call this a climate crisis or emergency. I urge you to consider whether you’re treating it as an emergency or are those just words you use?” We are. We’re pressing ahead with both urgency and care on our mission to help reverse climate change with Coastal Carbon Capture, but we still have a long road ahead of us. The research continues - we have an ambitious fundraising goal of $7.6M for 2022 - and we’re already almost halfway there! Any financial support to our Coastal Carbon Capture Impact fund, a 501(c)(3), will be deeply appreciated and will help fund the critical foundational research to help make this a reality. If you would like to make a donation, please contact us.
We want to thank all of our donors for their support since our beginning.
Tom Green, Project Vesta CEO