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Turbocharging the ocean’s natural processes to store more CO2

As a vast, natural carbon sink, the ocean plays an essential role in regulating our environment. In fact, the NOAA estimates that around 27% of the CO2 produced from fossil fuel burning each year is already absorbed by the ocean. If we could find a way to further boost this oceanic carbon-capturing capacity, it could prove to be a gamechanger.

LA-based startup Equatic is doing just this using technology developed at UCLA’s Institute for Carbon Management. The company runs an electric current through seawater to split the oxygen and hydrogen in the water into two streams, a technique called electrolysis.

Water processed in this way has the capacity to absorb additional atmospheric CO2. Fresh air is bubbled through it in a direct air capture process that converts CO2 into dissolved inorganic carbon and solid calcium carbonate, both of which already exist in abundance in ocean-based organic material like seashells. Crucially, these materials permanently lock away carbon in a stable form, meaning that the process has the net effect of reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Electrolysis does cause acidity, however the Equatic process neutralises it by dissolving alkaline rock. And in an additional upside, the captured hydrogen can be used in a range of ‘green’ applications such as the decarbonisation of industry and the production of sustainable aviation fuel. It could even be used to power Equatic’s own process, further boosting its climate benefits.

To find out more about Equatic, visit their website at:

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