Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Case 22 Group2

The case we discussed today was about the Planktos company and their project to improve the world's atmosphere. Planktos is working on a way to make plankton absorb more CO2 and produce more oxygen.

The project involves dumping a refined form of iron into the ocean, where the plankton exist. Some people in our group are worried that such dumping may negatively effect other marine life. Someone mentioned the mercury poisoning problem with fish and was curious to know if excess iron might also prove hazardous to people consuming fish from these areas.

Later we found that the CEO went ahead and dumped the iron without permission (100 tons I believe). This is an interesting case, because if this plan negatively effect the plankton then we may have problems, due to the fact that they produce a large amount of oxygen for the planet.


  1. We talked about the effectiveness of oxygen being produced would probably be very miniscule and not enough to have a large effect on the world's atmosphere. I would say trees and plants would be a more efficient way to produce oxygen and well.. keep things natural. By the time the CEO used whatever boat to haul so many tons of iron, he/she probably created more pollution than the benefit of dumping iron would have caused. What was this CEO doing with all this iron? Perhaps he/she just needed an excuse to get rid of it.

  2. Vincent: yeah sure... because iron is such a huge waste product... we all should just dump our extra iron into the ocean. lol.... I don’t know. and don't forget we talked about genetically enhanced foods too!

  3. i agree that the plan by Planktos was not an effective plan as a way to eliminate the problems with global warming. The plan that they established had too many unanswered questions, which could possibly cause much more harm than good. The biggest problem that I saw was the increase in Iron content of the fish we get from the ocean. Seafood is a major part of the cuisine of many Americans and this increase in Iron could possibly lead to other health issues. I am personally glad the project by Planktos was not completely carried out as planned due to the fact that there were so many possible issues that could have happened after the iron was dumped into the ocean.

  4. here is the story of Planktos dumping iron into the sea


    i applaud thinking outside of the box, but lets not loose sight of the box. many things look great on paper but fail when introduced to nature or society. while Planktos may have done a lot of research on seeding the ocean for phlankton growth i feel they jumped the gun on just dumping before they even got a permanent no answer.

  5. This was actually case 26. I think that this is a perfect example of a good idea gone wrong. It may be true that we need to consume greater amounts of carbon dioxide, but dumping zero-valent iron into the ocean is not the way to do that. We have no idea what the long-term effects would be, and there really is no way to test for that either. There could be health risks for humans and animals, changes created in these ecosystems that we cannot foresee, and as far as I could tell from the case study, the benefits were not even guaranteed. I agree with Vincent that planting trees and other logical steps already being taken are more cost-efficient, and less likely to create another problem to solve by harming us.