Running Tide, which sold carbon credits for sinking seaweed, shuttering operations

Running Tide Founder and CEO Marty Odlin
Running Tide Founder and CEO Marty Odlin | Photo courtesy of Slush
4 Min

Portland, Maine, U.S.A.-based carbon-sequestration solutions company Running Tide is closing, according to a 14 June statement from the company.

Running Tide, which aimed to sink limestone-coated wood waste seeded with kelp in the ocean, then selling credits to companies interested in offsetting their carbon footprint, attributed its shuttering to a drop in demand for carbon credits.

“The problem is the voluntary carbon market is voluntary, and there simply isn’t the demand needed to support large-scale carbon removal. We need global leadership that understands geoengineering is required to fix the only planet we have and that our integrity will be judged on if we achieve the victory condition and nothing else,” Running Tide CEO and Founder Marty Odlin said. “That leadership exists. I’ve seen it in places like Iceland, Norway, Japan, and Canada. We just need more of it globally – and in the U.S. particularly – if we are going to make a dent.”

The company had 120 employees at its peak, but laid off its remaining 32 staff members on the day of its closure, according to the Portland Press Herald. It was originally funded by the sale of Atlantic Trawlers, the Odlin family's groundfishing company, and raised USD 50 million (EUR 47 million) between its founding in 2017 and 2024.

However, questions emerged about the company's business methods in recent years. An MIT Technology Review article was critical of Running Tide’s longer-term business plan and the amount of material it was proposing to add to the seabed off New England, forcing the company to shift to operating in Icelandic waters. And in June 2024, Icelandic magazine Heimildin published an investigative series and a lack of oversight by the Icelandic government in the execution and deployment of its sequestration strategy.

Odlin said the company’s work was backed by experts in the space.

“Our methods and intentions have been peer-reviewed by multiple independent sources and are based on a solid scientific foundation,” he said. “The methodology was reviewed by over 50 organizations and individuals, including scientists, independent research centers, consulting firms, and Running Tide's independent scientific advisory board. Independent consultants then carried out a review in accordance with ISO-14064-2, which is an international standard for carbon sequestration projects.”

Odlin said Running Tide had an impact beyond the several thousand tons of carbon the company claims to have removed from the atmosphere during its existence, citing advances it made in the understanding of the ocean as a carbon sink.

“While this [closure] is incredibly disappointing, I can’t help but be proud of the work we have done as a team,” he said. “Running Tide ultimately became a global company with investors, partners, and collaborators across multiple oceans. With the support from corporate partners … we proved that partnering with the ocean is the lowest-risk, lowest-cost, and most scalable way of removing carbon. The work of fixing the planet will be done on docks, on ships, in forests, in mines, and out in the open ocean.”

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