Kelly Zheng and Thomas Storwick, co-founders of Coastal Carbon, sat down for a fascinating conversation on how they're leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) to tackle critical environmental issues. Originally planning to grow massive amounts of seaweed to absorb carbon, they quickly realized the challenge wasn't in the farming, but rather in quantifying the environmental impact to qualify for carbon credits. This led them to work with Quantum machine learning to measure underwater biomass in real-time. The AI models they developed can process both high and low-resolution satellite data along with community knowledge and water parameters to accurately calculate how much carbon a seaweed farm can offset.
The significance of Coastal Carbon lies not just in their immediate service to seaweed farmers but in their broader vision. By optimizing operations and harvest predictions, they're building a data corpus that can prove the ecosystem benefits, thereby opening doors to various forms of ecological restoration payments like biodiversity credits, not just carbon credits. What sets them apart is their smart application of AI, particularly generative AI and attention-based foundational models, to transform how we understand and interact with ocean ecosystems. This proactive, data-driven approach positions Coastal Carbon as a pioneering force in environmental restoration and sustainable development.