An American company called Equatic has developed a groundbreaking technique to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the ocean by electrolyzing seawater.
This process generates green hydrogen, which is then utilized as a sustainable fuel by aviation giant Boeing. The initiative aims to combat climate change by addressing the substantial amount of CO2 absorbed by the oceans.
Equatic recognizes that approximately 30% of annual CO2 emissions are absorbed by the oceans. Leveraging this knowledge, the company has developed a technique to extract stored CO2 from seawater, releasing green hydrogen in the process. Gaurav Sant, the founder and CEO of Equatic, who is also a professor of civil and environmental engineering and the director of UCLA’s Institute for Carbon Management, emphasizes the effectiveness of removing CO2 from ocean water, considering that it contains 150 times more CO2 than the air.
The electrolysis process employed by Equatic involves seawater being transported through a pipe to a tank. Inside the tank, an electrolyzer splits the water into hydrogen gas and oxygen gas. The CO2 extracted from the water is mineralized, transforming into rock. The captured CO2 is then stored in underground, depleted gas and oil fields or salt formations. What remains is low-CO2 water, while the captured hydrogen gas can be used as green fuel.
Equatic ensures that the acid content in the water remains balanced by dissolving an alkaline rock, thereby preserving the natural composition of the seawater. The company emphasizes that the water released back into the ocean is as clean as when it was extracted, with the only difference being a reduced CO2 concentration.
The collaboration between Equatic and Boeing involves a five-year agreement, during which Equatic will capture 63,000 tons of CO2 for Boeing and produce 2,100 tons of green hydrogen. Equatic has demonstrated its ability to remove CO2 on a smaller scale, with a pilot plant in Los Angeles successfully extracting 100 kilograms of CO2 per day, resulting in the production of a few kilograms of green hydrogen. In late 2023, a larger test plant is scheduled to open in Singapore, with a target of capturing 3,500 tons of CO2 annually. By 2030, Equatic envisions large-scale factories capable of removing 1 million tons of CO2 and producing 35,000 tons of hydrogen each year.
The development of Equatic’s CO2 removal technology represents a significant step forward in addressing the global challenge of climate change. By effectively capturing CO2 from the oceans and converting it into green hydrogen, Equatic not only mitigates environmental damage but also offers a practical solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As the world seeks sustainable alternatives, innovative initiatives like Equatic’s hold immense potential for combating climate change and building a cleaner future.