Captura Corporation, a spinoff of the California Institute of Technology, has devised a unique plan to eliminate carbon emissions by developing an aquatic purification facility in the middle of the sea. The firm reportedly intends to withdraw carbon dioxide from ocean water and then release the purified water into the ocean, using ocean water and renewable electricity as inputs to lower the environmental impact.
The carbon clean-up will be achieved via the firm’s patented electrodialysis process, referred to as Direct Ocean Capture (DOC). The DOC generates pure CO2 that can be easily reused or sequestered to produce other low-carbon products or materials in a conscious effort to mitigate the significant effects of climate change. The firm aims at achieving large-scale carbon removal at a lower cost than the existing methodologies.
The Caltech-developed DOC technology can pull out from oceans several gigatons of carbon. The procedure starts by bringing a freshly filtered stream of water from the sea into the facility, where electrodialysis technology is utilized to generate acid.
The acid is then blended with the ocean water, triggering a chemical reaction which extracts CO2 from the water. The procedure is expedited with the help of a vacuum pump and gas-liquid contactor, resulting in a reliable and purified stream of CO2 that can easily be reused or sequestered.
The procedure of neutralizing water from the ocean is executed by adding an alkaline base. This helps absorb atmospheric CO2, after which the decarbonized water is returned to the ocean. Per Captura, the water can then react with the atmosphere to draw down an equal quantity of CO2.
On being filtered, seawater has the remarkable capacity to reabsorb the same amount of CO2 from the atmosphere that was removed initially. The unique capability makes it an effective and efficient tool that can help mitigate the ill effects of climate change.
In 2022, Captura set up its first-ever ocean-based pilot facility as a standalone unit in California’s Newport Beach. The firm used a continuous flow of ocean water to measure system performance and make all necessary improvements.
Following the success of the pilot trials, Captura (in association with AltaSea at the Port of LA) plans to set up the second direct ocean capture system capable of cleansing 100 tons of carbon dioxide from ocean water per year. To further advance its technology, Captura will conduct ocean modelling and technology developments to validate further, scale, and enhance its innovative procedures.
Captura’s next-gen technology is rapidly progressing via the firm’s piloting program dedicated to large-scale commercial deployment, mentioned Captura’s CEO Steve Oldham.
The company’s work with AltaSea indicates that it can further accelerate the technology and monitor how the system interacts with the ocean. They could not develop a better partner to help them progress to the next level. Besides the support from SoCalGas, this is a great instance of California firms working together to take a leading role in the fight against climate change.
References: New Atlas, BusinessNews