Thursday, February 23, 2006

Saving the Earth can also bring profit to startups

Saving the Earth can also bring profit to startups: "startup Planktos plans to create huge algae blooms at sea that will suck some of the greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere, then sell credits to European companies unable to meet their emissions targets.

Those companies would, in essence, pay Planktos to take out of the air carbon dioxide they are putting in. Should California, New York or other American states adopt similar cap-and-trade systems, Planktos would sell here, too.

Russ George of Planktos belongs to a small but growing group of entrepreneurs trying to turn carbon dioxide limits into business plans. Spurred by the Kyoto Protocol that mandated greenhouse gas reductions in Europe and Japan, they are dreaming up products and services they can sell to companies that take advantage of cap-and-trade systems.

Like many in the nascent field, Planktos is still in its early stages. George and his colleagues are running offshore tests to see if they can reliably produce the size of phytoplankton blooms they want, using ground-up iron ore to stimulate growth. They also are starting a forest restoration project in Hungary to remove carbon dioxide from the air. The company generated enough interest that Vancouver's Solar Energy Ltd. bought it last year for "

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