Saving The World With Plankton

When I moved to California after graduation, I spent some time mulling my options with job prospects. I had just wrapped up my first job in DC as a biotech equity analyst while taking grad classes at Hopkins, and was considering jobs in both the investment and biotech industries (SF is a great locale for both). One such company I interviewed with was called Planktos.

I really had no idea what the company did, and all I knew was that they were trying to grow algae by dumping a bunch of iron filings in the ocean. I mainly wanted to cruise around the Pacific on a boat for six months, and unfortunately Venter’s boat was full. However, I conducted the interview when I was on a wakeboarding boat in Lake Shasta, and, needless to say, didn’t get the job.

Imagine my surprise the other day when I came across an article about Planktos, which had since gone public (PLKT.OB).. From their website:

What is Planktos?
Planktos is a for-profit, publicly traded company dedicated to ecosystem restoration, climate change mitigation, and the creation of high-volume, low-cost carbon offsets for individuals and businesses.

What does Planktos do?
Planktos restores vital plankton populations in the open ocean. By carefully seeding, or enriching, the ocean with iron-rich dust, Planktos mimics the addition of nutrients that induce rapid growth of plankton in the area known as plankton blooms. The increase in plankton reinforces the bottom of the food chain and will likely lead to augmented productivity in the area.

As the primary producers of the ocean, the decline of plankton threatens the well-being of all marine life. Plankton are the world’s most efficient organisms in the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Lost plankton productivity means that about 5 billion tons of carbon dioxide are no longer being removed from the atmosphere.

By stimulating plankton blooms, Planktos will restore deteriorating ocean ecosystems and increases carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere. The amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere can be measured and converted into carbon credits. These carbon credits can then be sold to individuals and businesses to offset their carbon footprint, which is the sum total of their emissions from driving, flying, heating, electricity etc.

I don’t have an opinion on the stock either way, but it is near all time highs with a price of ~$1.15 and $95M market cap. . . Stockpickr has a list of carbon emissions credit trading stocks here.

PS My first job ever was at Lockheed Martin where they basically paid me to study stocks all Summer. The office in the foothills outside of Denver has to be the most spectacular office I have ever seen – it is tucked away near Red Rocks Amphitheatre. They must be doing something right, as the stock is hitting all time highs . . .