The UK’s Natural Environment Research Council’s BIO-Carbon program will use robots to study the various ways carbon dioxide is stored by marine life.
Beginning in 2024, a fleet of autonomous robots will navigate the oceans collecting data alongside manned research vessels.
Needless to say, the robots are low-carbon since they are part of NERC’s Net Zero Oceanographic Capability (NZOC) program. The program aims to reduce the CO2 creation associated with marine research.
NERC’s BIO carbon program seeks to answer three questions:
- How is sea water’s ability to absorb CO2 affected by marine life?
- How effectively and how fast does marine life generate organic carbon from CO2?
- What impact does climate change have on the ocean’s ability to store carbon?
According to NZOC lead scientist Leigh Storey:
“NERC’s marine research fleet has a target to be net zero in carbon by 2040. To achieve that, new technology must be adopted, alongside scientists developing new techniques that can fully exploit all that robots can provide. The BIO-Carbon program presents an opportunity to show how autonomous platforms might reduce the need for ship-based experiments in the future.”
While Dr. Adrian Martin, the BIO-Carbon Champion from the National Oceanography Centre, added:
“The BIO-Carbon NZOC science mission will add considerably to what we can achieve, providing a new set of powerful tools while pioneering a low carbon emissions approach to environmental science. It is great to see the UK leading the way in this responsible approach to research given the UK’s drive to net zero carbon emissions.”