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A Moroccan Desert is the Site for a New Carbon Capturing Project

London-based startup Brilliant Planet has leased 6,100 hectares of land outside the remote coastal town of Akhfenir in southern Morocco, wedged between the Atlantic Ocean to the north and the Sahara to the south. And it’s using it to cultivate algae. Algae absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide and emits oxygen via photosynthesis, and has been doing so since before the first land plants ever existed. Brilliant Planet’s CEO Adam Taylor says the company has developed a way to grow algae at exponential rates starting in a beaker in a lab and ending in 12,000-square-meter pools of locally-sourced seawater. The algae is extracted from the water then pumped up a 10-story tower and sprayed into the desert air. In the roughly 30 seconds it takes to reach the ground, hot air dries the biomass out, leaving hypersaline algae flakes which can be collected and shallow buried, sequestering their carbon for thousands of years, the company claims.