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Ethical, legal, societal and environmental aspects on the use of microalgae for CCS.

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Harald Throne-Holst, Gunnar Vittersø, Line Johanne Barkved, Trine Dale, Tore Brembu


This report concerns the ethical, legal, social and environmental aspects of the potential use of μ-algae for carbon capture and storage (CCS). Through ocean fertilization or similar measures, major algae blooms can be initiated. For CCS purposes, it would be desirable that such blooms occur with selected algal species that rapidly sink to the ocean floor and sediment, alternatively are stored in deep ocean levels. Such a measure is controversial, and it is therefore desirable, as a part of the μ-algae project, considered the ELSA aspects related to this. This report is not a complete assessment for the use of μ- algae for CCS-purposes; rather it is intended as the base for the decision on further research in this project for such purposes. In the project, not only ocean fertilization has been considered, but even the selection of species for sowing (inoculation) in the ocean. The report highlights some of the evaluations and questions that should be taken into account when doing research in this field.