Vesta

After over 2 years of foundational research, Vesta is preparing for its first field pilots

Our pilots aim to address the urgent call in The National Academy of Sciences Report for field pilots of Coastal Carbon Capture. Three major pillars form each field pilot.

1. Stakeholder engagement

Vesta works with local communities in both public and private sectors to inform, plan, and design field pilots. Our participatory governance integrates input from local and regional stakeholders into the implementation and permitting of Coastal Carbon Capture.

2. Environmental Impact Assessment

Vesta conducts extensive ecosystem monitoring before and after olivine placement including ecological and ecotoxicological assessments of local fauna.

3. Quantification of CO₂ removal

Vesta assesses CO₂ removal through numerous approaches including monitoring changes in carbonate chemistry, alkalinity, secondary minerals, nutrients, sediment transport, and other biogeochemical and physical parameters.

The Town of Southampton is implementing a beach nourishment project to replenish sand at North Sea Beach. North Sea Beach Colony (NSBC) is a community located on the North Shore of Long Island bordering Little Peconic Bay. Like many coastal areas, NSBC is experiencing shoreline erosion. Over the last decade, New York alone has deployed more than 25 million cubic yards of sand to restore eroding coastlines in the state through a method called beach nourishment: a shoreline protection approach used in the USA and worldwide for over a century to replenish eroding beaches with sand.

In an effort to restore a section of North Sea Beach, the Southampton Town Board formed the NSBC Beach Erosion Control District (NSBC-BECD). In 2020, NSBC-BECD executed phase 1 of this beach nourishment project which placed sand from North Sea Harbor Inlet onto a portion of North Sea Beach. Phase 2 of this project, slated for 2022, involves a second placement of sand onto North Sea Beach. In 2021, Vesta entered into talks with the firm First Coastal and the Town of Southampton to explore the potential to amend the phase 2 nourishment with a small amount of olivine sand, equaling 5% of the total nourishment volume. After close to a year of project scoping and stakeholder engagement with NSBC, Southampton Town, US Army Corps Of Engineers (USACE), local organizations, and state and federal regulatory agencies, the NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued a permit to the Town of Southampton in March 2022 authorizing the addition of 500 cubic yards of olivine sand to the NSBC-BECD phase 2 nourishment. Additional permits from Suffolk County, New York Department of State, and USACE were also secured.

The primary objectives of the NSBC-BECD phase 2 project are to 1) replenish lost sand due to beach erosion, 2) study the dissolution of olivine sand in seawater to determine the rate and quantity of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) removal, and 3) monitor any environmental effects from the placement of olivine sand. To achieve these objectives, NSBC-BECD project is collaborating with the following project partners:

First Coastal LogoVesta LogoStony Brook UniversityCornell University Logo

This project supports the sustainability goals of the Town of Southampton and the state of New York to achieve reduced and net zero greenhouse gas emissions outlined in the Town Southampton 400+ and NY State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019. For more information on the timeline and details of the project, please visit our project website.

This site will be one of Project Vesta’s first demonstration pilots of Coastal Carbon Capture™ and serves as an important part of its overall research program. It will generate critical data concerning the safety and effectiveness of this solution. This pilot also supports the State of New York’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Leadership Act toward its ultimate goal to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Dominican Republic - Puerto Plata

Vesta obtained a Phase I permit from the Ministry of the Environment to conduct baseline research characterizing two pocket bays in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic in order to assess the suitability for an olivine dissolution field pilot. In this first phase, the main objectives are to 1) collect baseline physical, chemical, biological, and ecological data, 2) establish mesocosm systems to study olivine dissolution in local conditions, and 3) develop a participatory governance approach to integrate community input into our process and explore ways to support local communities.

To achieve these objectives, Vesta has set up a field research station to collect and process sediment, porewater, and seawater samples. The pocket bays have been outfitted with state of the art sondes, wave buoys, and a meteorological weather station. Ecological surveys are being conducted to characterize species abundance and distribution, and laboratory and mesocosm studies are investigating olivine dissolution and any potential effects on representative marine organisms. The initial physical, geochemical, and biological data are currently being analyzed and collated into a report for the Ministry of the Environment and Vice Ministry of Marine Resources.

Vesta has also created an independent steering committee made up of local government entities, NGOs, and academic institutions to review the project’s progress so that Dominican citizens have visibility and opportunity to comment on the ongoing efforts. This participatory governance framework has received very positive feedback thus far with continuous offers of support.

Our key partners include academic and government institutions. We are collaborating with the Network of Dominican Universities (RAUDO) to promote scientific research and contribute to the objectives and capacity building of academia for climate change mitigation in the country. Through partnerships with Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña (UNPHU) and Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM), we will be able to support students in advancing their careers through knowledge sharing and internship programs. We have also partnered with the National Authority for Maritime Affairs (ANAMAR) to work together to realize the potential of Coastal Carbon Capture for Dominican coastlines and to submit our progress to their technical team for regular review. Our team strives to maintain transparency and space for feedback through regular newsletters and workshops with our stakeholders.  

In collaboration with social scientists and local community experts, we have also created a rigorous social science framework and developed relationships with the regional communities to understand the current knowledge and attitudes toward the climate crisis and our work. These insights will help fill well-known knowledge gaps regarding perceptions about marine carbon dioxide removal from populations in Latin American countries.

Vesta intends to apply for a Phase II permit to conduct a field pilot of Coastal Carbon Capture. This will involve deploying a small quantity of olivine sand in one of the two bays, with the other bay acting as a control. Both bays will be monitored in detail for both ecology and geochemistry before and after deployment. The intention is to generate critical data to understand the viability of Coastal Carbon Capture on small scale.

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Vesta's hybrid structure enables philanthropic donations to fund open research in the field of Coastal Carbon Capture. For all large gift enquiries, PLEASE EMAIL OUR Development team