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Atmospheric CO2 Management (ACOTM) 

XPRIZE Submission 

FIRST STEP:  Read the Proposal - View PDF file here

Logo ACO2M.jpg



Since there are only 50 to 60 years supply of oil and natural gas left on the planet, the world will be forced to transition to renewable clean energy within 2 generations whether we like it or not. During the transition stage we need to manage atmospheric Co2 concentration to avoid catastrophic climate change and that is the objective of this proposal.


This is where governments and fossil fuel producers need to consider a contingency plan while fossil fuel is still required in the energy mix.


The essential part of this equation are the key words “carbon neutral”. To start with, the objective is to present a strategy to remove Co2 from the atmosphere equivalent to Australia’s carbon footprint. Then interpolate that out globally. This would also include a countries fossil fuel exports. Once this is achieved, countries can market carbon neutral products to the world and local energy producers at a premium during the faze out period for fossil fuels.


The first step is for producers to look to the not too distant future and invest in carbon capture. Since the fossil fuel industry is the problem then they should be the ones to invest in the solutions. That requires government support and not government subsidies for fossil fuel production.




Man’s most remarkable achievements:  Our sky scrapers, our bridge, our ships, our planes, space travel and cities that glow in the dark, have been made possible because of one underlying factor. The energy to create all this has been driven on a road paved in fossil fuel.


There are compelling arguments for and against the reasons for increasing global temperature put forward by those with vested interests but, that’s not important. What’s important is public perception and what the greater population believes. This has the potential to drive government policy and impact fossil fuel use and production. The result of an informed public would be pressure to reduce atmospheric Co2 and/or Co2 emissions to stabilise global temperature so public education and the facts about the impact of global warming and climate change are essential.




CARBON PRICE: Or “carbon tax” is the amount that must be paid for the right to emit one tonne of Co2 into the atmosphere. Economists widely agree that introducing a carbon price is the single most effective way for countries to reduce their Co2 emissions. And give renewables a financial edge.


CARBON TRADING: Allows companies to avoid their emissions reduction targets by purchasing carbon credits. “Cap and trade” sets emission limits in a time frame and grants tradable permits to polluters. The market sets the per tonne cost of Co2 emissions.


CARBON OFFSETS: Runs parallel with carbon trading. Companies can finance “emissions-saving” or “carbon capture” projects outside the capped area to generate carbon credits and thereby increase their carbon/Co2 emissions. These credits can also be traded within the carbon market.


When affirmative climate action is introduced by progressive governments, due to informed public pressure, the fossil fuel industry needs to be in a position to lobby for concessions while fossil fuel remains an integral part of the energy mix as a matter of necessity. This becomes possible if the industry is involved in massive carbon capture projects to offset their Co2 generating products.


This, of course, is seen as an excuse for continued fossil fuel production and for the industry to continue polluting the atmosphere with Co2. That being said and being realistic, the climate crisis can’t be solved without extracting present and future Co2 emissions from the atmosphere. The objective here is that the primary polluters are the ones primarily involved in solving the atmospheric Co2 over saturation problem. The objective being atmospheric Co2 management to stabilise global temperature financed by the primary fossil fuel polluters.



The objective for Australian fossil fuel producers would be to market and sell carbon neutral products. This is achieved by reproducing a natural process. In other words, “do what nature does” by stripping Co2 equivalent from the atmosphere and storing that carbon equivalent in oceanic biomass and/or ocean sediment. The intention is that, for each tone of fossil fuel produced, one tonne or greater of Co2/carbon will be extracted from the atmosphere and stored in biomass. 


The industry will be seen to be taking up the challenge, as responsible global citizens, and work towards carbon neutrality while guaranteeing supply to meet Australia’s pressing short term energy needs ahead of 100% renewables.


I have been developing the atmospheric Co2 extraction process since 2008 to give the project credentials. With the backing of the U.N. it is now widely accepted that humanity has 10 years to take decisive action to avoid a climate catastrophe. In light of current public and industry sentiment now is the time to act and we need governments in power that supports affirmative climate action.




The Australian Institute of Company Directors' (AICD) biannual Director Sentiment Index — based on a survey of 1,252 public and private company directors undertaken between 2018 and 2020, shows directors are heeding warnings from regulators about the risks of climate change and the fact that they may, in future, be held liable for failing to act.


In a speech in June, ASIC Commissioner John Price said directors "would do well" to carefully consider a 2016 legal opinion by Noel Hutley SC and Sebastien Hartford-Davis that they could face lawsuits for failing to consider risks related to climate change.


Mr Price said the advice, which was commissioned by the Centre for Policy Development and the Future Business Council, "appears legally sound and is reflective of our understanding of the position under the prevailing case law in Australia in so far as directors' duties are concerned".


SMH 22nd November 2018 - Labor is vowing to underwrite a series of mammoth new energy projects that ramp up the supply of renewable power. Bill Shorten sets a new course on climate, subsidising batteries for 100,000 homes, $10 billion for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and upgrading the emission cuts target to 45% by 2030. 


BHP: 'Rallying cry': “Mining giant BHP renews calls for carbon price”. Rio Tinto: Rio Tinto chairman links coal exit to climate action. Woodside: Calling for a carbon price. 




Dr Katherine Woodthorpe said company directors were not just being influenced by regulator warnings, but also a push from investors to act. "Investor pressure is certainly one of the factors having an impact," she told ABC News. "Climate change is a real and urgent risk for organisations, businesses, and directors are keen for governments to seriously consider what they're doing in that space."


Conversations were being had at the board level, especially for companies exposed to higher risks of climate-related events. "Directors get it about climate change," she said. "It's real. The scientists are unequivocal in their advice. And were conscious of the pressing need for action."




As an example, in general, clean coal refers to removing any regulated pollutant emitted from burning coal, but nowadays, the focus is on Co2. Clean coal does not currently exist and will be expensive to develop. Implementing a carbon capture scenario, at point of emission, could potentially double the cost of electricity to consumers making coal non-competitive compared to alternate energy, with obvious consequences for coal producers that favour cleaner air.


The manufacturer or producer of a product is responsible for the quality and safety of that product. That responsibility does not pass to the end user. International conventions dictate that Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are measured as a total of domestic consumption plus exported products, including coal and natural gas. The responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions does not pass to the overseas end user but remains Australia’s responsibility as the producer and supplier.


I hate to be blunt but, it’s a dereliction of fiduciary duties not to look at the carbon risk. Again, the safety of a product is the responsibility of the producer not the buyer. As an example, the car manufacturer is responsible for the pre-sale safety of the vehicle. As is legally the case with any manufactured or supplied product.




The big question on the table then becomes: Will clean fossil fuel, as in carbon neutral, be part of the future energy mix in Australia as we move to a clean energy future.


In light of public sentiment and the ensuing pressure on progressive governments to take action on global warming, along with the recommendations of the IPCC to become carbon neutral by 2050, it may now be prudent for producers to assess and develop contingency plans because business as usual has a limited life span.  


If we are going to produce, use and export fossil fuel, in the interim period, then the way forward is to be "carbon taxed" and  “carbon neutral”. The way backward would be to side-step responsibility and complacency. Responsible global governments are looking at a boarder tax on imports from countries promoting fossil fuel and ignoring Co2 abatement so there own carbon taxed producers are not disadvantaged.


Carbon neutral value adding production serves a number of purposes including public acceptance, investor confidence, future market guarantees, a justifiable price increase and reduced atmospheric Co2 concentrations. The priority now is not debate but implementation of a massive carbon capture programs to at least match Co2 emissions. The pathway to get there is the issue.


It's great to come up with a proposal but leaving that floating in the air achieves nothing. I have made repeated representations to both the federal government and the big players in the Australian fossil fuel industry to at least air the possibilities. I have been ignored at all levels other than from BHP who said they were doing their own thing (in other words, fiddling the books). Australia is in the unenviable position of having a government blinkered to the impact of climate change in favour of protecting the fossil fuel industry. Australia’s position on climate change is an increasingly lonely place with our fossil fuel industry controlling the Morrison government, being the first wet blanket to serious climate action. Companies won't get serious about climate action until the government does.

There are plenty of scientists, including within Australia's CSIRO, who would support research into this proposal and then lobby the government for grants but, the government doesn't listen to scientists. One again, the government only listens to big business or the majority in the electorate. As a plus, the electorate have been heavily influenced by organised environmental groups whose underlying objective is to sway public opinion to install politicians with a pro climate action agenda. 


The way forward is a move towards a more progressive government with people on the inside, people elected, to push hard core lobbying for legislation to force the fossil fuel industry into contributing to Co2 abatement and CCS projects. To get to this point needs a strategy. Politicians only listen to the electorate and feed the need for votes so that's the starting point. Ideally, the Australian Greens need to hold the balance of power in the senate to pressure the government. 

The blueprint for that is written at the ballot box and you won't get any help from mainstream media who support the right-wing pro fossil fuel government. After producing a short explanatory video and approaching environmental groups the next step would be a coordinated advertising and education campaign to sway public opinion. There needs to be a smart step by step approach in the build-up process: (1) Wide reaching multi faceted public education campaign on the need for climate action. (1) Political campaigns to get the pro Green numbers in targeted electorates. (3) Government legislation for a fossil fuel industry contribution to CCS projects. 

To save a planet you need to think as big as a planet so don't let minor obstacles deter you. If you can help formulate the solution to get this proposal underway, that will be embraced. Email with your strategy and ways you can help or leave a comment at the bottom of this page.




The objective being to extract sufficient Co2 from the atmosphere to balance against fossil fuel emissions. Organic matter including coal, oil, natural gas, timber and, in fact, all life on Earth stores carbon/Co2. Burning or decay of organic matter releases that stored Co2 into the atmosphere. It follows then that a carbon capture program of propagating organic matter, in sufficient quantity, can reduce and stabilise atmospheric Co2 and cap global temperature increase.


As 90% of life on planet earth lies within its oceans then this is where we will look to store our surplus carbon/Co2. The process has ongoing continuity and is 50 times more efficient than tree planting in terms of carbon capture volume and propagation time frame.


In brief, the project model works with a natural process and is based on the hypothesised first step in oil, gas and coal formation. Carbon dioxide stripped from the atmosphere is stored in oceanic biomass, the world’s largest carbon sink. Plankton, and associated biomass, slowly works its way up the food chain and/ or settles out to becomes trapped in natural ocean sediment or recycles as nutrient in periodic ocean current upwellings. So, the process becomes self-perpetuating and accumulates along with ocean expansion from increased ocean temperature and ice melt.


In effect, as an ongoing process, the object is to recapture, and store carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of man’s activity including burning fossil fuels. This will equate to increasing oceanic biomass by an amount equivalent to Australia’s annual coal production as a first step.


This is possibly the only solution to fast track bulk stripping of Co2 from the atmosphere in an endeavour to stabilise global temperature and as such is a positive response to minimise or cap global warming. View “Atmospheric Co2 Management” (ACO2M) PDF file.




[1] Develop an inexpensive process to extract Co2 from the atmosphere. As a start, something in the vicinity of 10 cents per tonne based on 450,000,000 tonnes of Australian fossil fuel production p.a.


[3] Prepare an advertising campaign with lifestyle type promotional ads with the catch phrase:  “Carbon Neutral Energy”, “Clean Fossil Fuel in the Energy Mix” etc


[4] Prepare a supportive environmental documentary of the plankton carbon capture process operating hand in hand with responsible fossil fuel industry. There is already plenty to draw from to start building something supportive and visually compelling.


[5] As this has the potential to impact share prices, when appropriate, notify the ASX and media of a carbon capture program to offset Co2 emissions. The objective being that Australian products will be marketed as carbon neutral with a zero-carbon footprint.


The intention is to continue research and development aimed at a piolet plan. To give the project credentials, I would be establishing a team of researchers, developers and scientists to operate and think in terms of the current necessity of Australian fossil fuel in the energy mix.



Support of environmental groups and then the wider population to drive government support for legislation to force a contribution from the fossil fuel industry to finance carbon capture and storage projects (CCS). ACOTM three year piolet plan = $135 million or 10 cents per tonne of fossil fuel produced in Australia for 3 years (conservative estimate).



  1. Set up Pty Limited Company:  ACOTM Co Pty Limited

  2. Project manager and co-ordinator

  3. Lobbyist, negotiator and strategist 

  4. Oceanographer with postgrad in climate science and research assistant




  1. Research required before, during, and after natural plankton bloom to establish trigger event, nutrient regime and plankton depletion scenario.

  2. Monitor from ocean floor to surface and atmosphere to 10km elevation

  3. Monitor temperature and humidity & atmospheric Co2 concentrations

  4. Research and monitor ocean currents and natural upwelling

  5. Research upwelling nutrient regime for manmade duplication

  6. Categorise zooplankton and phytoplankton colonies, habitat and life cycles




  1. Contact NASA for satellite imaging of global plankton and di-atom blooms

  2. Contact other space agencies

  3. Map natural global plankton and di-atom blooms and frequency




  1. Iron chelate fertiliser produced from organic waste or,

  2. Haber-Bosch process to produce fertiliser from natural gas

  3. Assess best method to recreate nutrient regime to mirror natural plankton bloom

  4. Calculate nutrient volumes and broadcasting system required for best outcome

  5. Determine, land-based river mouth and/or aerial application of nutrient




  1. Lobby federal and state government to set up a piolet plan

  2. Land based nutrient broadcasting at river mouth in flood – Locate and secure. Engineering and construction of equipment required

  3. Aerial broadcasting considerations in open ocean – Aircraft modification and coverage

  4. Monitor piolet project in terms of [2] above

  5. Calculate volume of carbon capture per square kilometre.




  1. Plankton bloom coverage 10x3 metre depth 45,000 square kilometres produce 675,000,000 tonnes of dry biomass equivalent. 15,000 tonnes per square kilometres per year.

  2. Monitor the outcome in terms of sinking and sediment carbonation and/or adding to the natural nutrient regime. Monitor the flow on effect to increased biomass up the food chain.

  3. Assess carbon capture permanent storage and/or time frame of carbon storage.

  4. Tree planting carbon capture per square kilometre. First year = Nil. 50 years growth = 25,000 tonnes of carbon capture. Divide by 50 = 500 tonnes per square kilometres per year.






Plankton proliferation: 1000 kg H2o or 1 tonne or 1 cubic metres = 0.3 kg of plankton (Dry weight) 1 square km = 1 million cubic metres = 300,000 kg plankton = 300 tonnes 50 metres deep = 15,000 tonnes of plankton in the top quarter of the photic zone including (grazing, sinking, species dominance and regrowth).


The extent, size and duration of the bloom is determined by ocean salinity, temperature, sunlight and the nutrient regime. Bass Straight plankton bloom covers 250km x 180km = 45,000 square km 45,000 square km x 15,000 tonnes = 675,000,000 tonnes carbon capture per bloom Over a 6-week duration as part of the oceanic bio-mass or to settles out into ocean sediment




Production = 450,000,000 tonnes pa. Testing, analysing, research, initial set up cost @ 10 cents per tonne = $45,000,000 Fertilizer production – To add trace elements equivalent to natural plankton bloom. 2,000 tonnes plankton per 1 tonne of fertilizer @ $100 to $400 per tonne. 450,000,000 divides by 2,000 = 225,000 tonnes x $100 = $22.5 million. Application is river mouth land based and/or possibly aerial seeding. TOTOL = $45,000,000 per year for 3 years as a first step then, fertilizer = $22,500,000 per application. Ongoing research, testing, application and administration say $22,500,000 per year to start.

Initial three year development plan cost $135,000,000 payed for by the fossil fuel industry. At an initial rate of 10 cents per tonne p.a. of fossil fuel produced in Australia. Final costings of about $2.25 per tonne to run the project would be woven into the per tonne sell price of fossil fuel with the carbon neutral stamp of approval. This needs to be combined with a global average carbon tax and, once again, this is not a proposals to promote the ongoing production and use of fossil fuel and we need to look at that.


We need to avoid getting tangled up in the governments Carbon Capture and Storage agenda, and the “clean coal” and “clean hydrogen” bullshit that comes with it. This is a smoke screen and will never go away for two simple reasons: we can keep researching it forever because it will never be invented and it works as a cover story to keep using fossil fuels whether we invent it or not. It drives complacency and we need to step away from the spin and actually take action to capture and store carbon. Not just uses some fanciful future CCS possibility as a reason to continue burning fossil fuel, continue doing nothing and continue adding to the Co2 problem.


Generating oceanic bio-mass, the same way nature does, is a practical solution to manage atmospheric CO2 concentrations during the faze out of fossil fuel while we transition fully to renewables. The piolet program would run for 3 years of development and then an ongoing process of carbon capture implemented.


We only have 10 years to act and aim towards stabilising atmospheric Co2 concentrations so debate and doing nothing is not a solution. This project is ready to roll - It just needs backing.

Stephen Fitzgerald (SteveFitz)

Unit 2, 1 Avalon Parade

Avalon Beach NSW 2107



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