Taking ocean-based carbon removal to new heights


 

The effort stems from an exclusive project with Singapore’s National Water Agency (PUB) and UCLA to remove 10 tones of carbon dioxide and create 300kg of carbon-negative hydrogen per day. When completed, the 3,650 tonne per annum plant will be among the world’s largest carbon dioxide removal (CDR) facilities.

“This plant is the essential next step towards carbon dioxide removal at a globally relevant scale and a competitive price,” said Lorenzo Corsini, principal advisor at Equatic, in a press release. “We are on track to deliver a replicable, easy-to-manufacture electrochemical reactor—the beating heart of our CDR technology—that will bring removal costs below the $100 per tonne industry target well before 2030.”

The demonstration project, named Equatic-1, will be commissioned in Tuas, Singapore in mid-2024. The engineering design, fabrication, and installation builds on the learnings from two pilot facilities in Los Angeles and Singapore, first operational in March 2023. Equatic-1 is a modular system, allowing the performance of individual units to be staged and stacked to allow systematic and rapid expansion. These units employ Equatic’s oxygen-selective anodes developed with the support of the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to produce carbon-negative hydrogen, while eliminating the unwanted production of chlorine gas. This opens a new pathway to carbon removal at the gigaton scale with the co-production of carbon-negative hydrogen to support decarbonization in hard-to-abate industries.

Equatic’s carbon removal demonstration plant will use four inputs—seawater, air, rock, and renewable electricity—to remove and store CO2 while simultaneously generating carbon-negative hydrogen. Equatic will pass an electrical current through seawater (electrolysis) and then pass atmospheric air through the processed seawater (direct air capture); these steps trap CO2 in solid minerals and as dissolved substances that are naturally found in the oceans, ensuring that the trapped CO2 will remain securely stored for 100,000+ years. Finally, Equatic will use rock to neutralize the processed seawater and to preserve the ocean’s chemistry.

This project continues Equatic, PUB and UCLA’s joint efforts to identify methods, processes, and practices to scale global deployment of carbon dioxide removal technologies. Importantly, Equatic-1 will demonstrate improvements in the unit cost per tonne of CO2 removed using the electrochemical reactors manufactured by Equatic, and will use the ISO 14064-2:2019 standard MRV methodology that was established during the Equatic pilot phase.

Equatic has commenced development for its first commercial scale deployment–a plant capable of removing 109,500 tonnes of CO2 and generating 3,600 tonnes of carbon-negative hydrogen per year as early as 2026. This plant will be a modular system that deploys the electrolysers optimised during the Equatic-1 demonstration project. Carbon credits and hydrogen from future plants have been pre-sold to companies such as Boeing with further sales ongoing.

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