Captura Corporation intends to remove carbon dioxide from the ocean

Captura Corporation zamierza usuwać dwutlenek węgla z oceanu

The ocean is one of the three natural sinks of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – it is estimated to absorb 30% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. CO2 levels are higher today than at any time in human history. The Captura Corporation (a spin-off of the California Institute of Technology) intends to extract carbon dioxide from water using a structure that resembles a sewage treatment plant floating on the ocean. The company not only wants to remove carbon dioxide from the ocean, but also reduce its emissions to mitigate the effects of climate change and support the achievement of climate neutrality. Captura Corporation’s goal is to decarbonize on a large scale, while requiring less money than existing methods.

Carbon dioxide – Captura system for ocean cleanup

The oceans emit huge amounts ofCO2 into the atmosphere while absorbing it. The balance was in equilibrium until we started extracting and burning fossil fuels on a large scale. By absorbing excess carbon dioxide, the oceans are becoming increasingly acidified, leading to the degradation of their biodiversity. In the face of high greenhouse gas emissions, measures are needed to comprehensively prevent the occurrence of further damage. The system, which is expected to be capable of extracting gigatons of carbon dioxide from the ocean annually, is a project by Captura.

The operation of the Captura system begins by pulling a stream of filtered ocean water into the system drifting on the ocean’s surface – it captures carbon dioxide. Water purification is made possible by the company’s patented electrodialysis process, known as Direct Ocean Capture (DOC).

Electrodialysis is used to create an acid that, when added to the ocean water, triggers a key chemical reaction in the entire DOC process – removing carbon dioxide from the water taken from the ocean. The speed of the procedure is increased by a vacuum pump and a gas-liquid contactor. Electrodialysis, through dissociation, uses renewable electrical energy to break water and salt into acid and base. An alkaline base is then introduced to neutralize the ocean water drawn through the system. The stream thus purified returns to the ocean.

“This decarbonized water settles into the upper ocean layer and then reacts with the atmosphere, absorbing an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide,” explains Captura Corporation. In this way, the company is taking advantage of the ocean’s natural ability to absorb this gas from the atmosphere.

Electrodialysis technology generates a stream of cleanCO2 that can be sequestered (a.k.a. stored) or used to produce other low-carbon products, with minimal environmental impact and using only renewable electricity and ocean water.

carbon dioxide
Direct Ocean Capture technology infographic (DOC)
Source: Captura Corporation

Captura Corporation – carbon dioxide and the future

Recent studies show that significant reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions are insufficient to comprehensively prevent climate change. “The removal of significant amounts ofCO2 from the atmosphere should also be implemented into these efforts, “according to Captura Corporation.

Captura’s technology was demonstrated in 2021. in Caltech laboratories on imported ocean water – this allowed the system’s performance to be measured and optimized before releasing the drifting plant into the ocean. Captura entered into a partnership with AltaSea in May of this year to further develop ocean-climate solutions. AltaSea’s 35-acre campus in the Port of Los Angeles will become home to the second Direct Ocean Capture pilot system, which can capture 100 tons of carbon dioxide from the ocean annually. The company’s new and larger Captura project is expected to hit the ocean in the summer of 2023. And start another series of trials.

Due to the huge demand for strategies to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions(Net Zero Strategy), an increasing number of different directCO2 removal projects are expected to be built. Captura’s technology is highly scalable and to facilitate its global deployment, the company intends to work with partners to license their technology and buildCO2 removal plants around the world. This is to introduce the Captura project to the utility sector, desalination industry and inactive offshore gas/oil platforms.

“Working with AltaSea means we can further accelerate our technology and monitor the system’s interaction with the ocean,” said Steve Oldham, CEO of Captura Corporation. “Combining the inherent scalability of the company’s process with a licensing model allows us to fulfill our mission of providing a globally scalable tool for climate action.”


Photo source: Captura Corporation

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