Tiny single-celled marine microalgae called coccolithophores built the White Cliffs of Dover, a famous chalk formation in southern England, in the Late Cretaceous Period. Inspired by this feat, we asked ourselves, “if nature can grow limestone, why can’t we?”
So where did we start? We studied biomineralizing algae, single- and multi-cellular photosynthetic organisms that produce limestone (calcium carbonate/CaCO3).
Our research has yielded a highly efficient, scalable, and economical process for cultivating biomineralizing algae. The algae – through photosynthesis – sequesters and stores carbon dioxide in mineral form, while producing large amounts of limestone at a significantly faster rate than occurs in nature.