Locals Lead Oyster Replenishment Project With Shellevator

Andy Depaola, a retired microbiologist with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and Ben Raines, a former AL.com reporter and current environmental fellow at the University of South Alabama, are leading the Restoring Oysters for Climate Sustainability project., AL.com reports. The group hopes to use Depaola’s patented invention, the Shellevator, to scale up oyster production both locally and worldwide. The Shellevator is a mobile device used to farm oysters by raising them out of the water using an air pump in minutes, dramatically reducing the required labor. It can be scaled up or down to increase the number of oysters produced, Depaola says. The “express” model can hold 96 oyster bags, and each bag contains 300-500 oysters. “The significance of this cannot be overstated,” Depaola said. “I can grow about 20 times the yield in an acre than I can through conventional methods.” In April, the nonprofit was named one of the top 50 teams in the XPRIZE for Carbon Removal, a four-year competition put on by Elon Musk to incentivize carbon capture projects. The winner of the competition, to be announced in 2025, is to receive $50 million. The team has also applied to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for GOMESA funds to implement the Shellevator locally.

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