Monday, July 15, 2024

Equatic launches CO2 removal and hydrogen production tech

A Los Angeles-based startup Equatic, spun out from the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering’s Institute for Carbon Management, is partnering with The Boeing Company to deploy the first technology that combines carbon dioxide (CO2) removal and carbon-negative hydrogen generation. Addressing both legacy and future emissions in a single process, the multi-product climate solution enables decarbonization at the scale, speed, and cost necessary to mitigate climate change.

Under the five-year arrangement, Equatic will remove 62,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide and will deliver 2,100 metric tons of carbon-negative hydrogen generated as a byroduct of its technology to Boeing.

“The world has two unprecedented challenges: how to remove and permanently store gigatons of carbon dioxide and how to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” says Lorenzo Corsini, Principal Advisor at Equatic. “Equatic’s first-of-its-kind technology solves both. It combines basic principles of chemistry with the natural capabilities of the world’s best carbon removal tool, the ocean, to create the most promising solution for scalable decarbonization – cost-effectively and at a globally-relevant scale.”

Equatic’s carbon removal plant uses four inputs–seawater, air, rock, and renewable electricity – to remove and store CO2 while simultaneously generating carbon-negative hydrogen. The company passes an electrical current through seawater (electrolysis) and then passes 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 stable for over 100,000 years.

Finally, Equatic uses rock to neutralize the processed seawater and ensure that the ocean’s chemistry is preserved. This patented process could deliver scalable, high-quality carbon removal, durable and permanent storage, and accessible, carbon-negative hydrogen fuel.

The oceans are considered the world’s largest reservoir of carbon dioxide. Around one-quarter of the world’s daily CO2 emissions are drawn down into the ocean. Equatic’s technology accelerates and amplifies this natural cycle to remove and durably store CO2. This entire removal and sequestration process happens within the boundaries of an industrial carbon removal plant, enabling Equatic to precisely measure CO2 down to the gram.

Equatic currently operates two carbon removal pilots in Los Angeles and Singapore. A financial services company Stripe is buying CO2 offset credits from these small pilot facilities. Boeing’s purchase agreement is the fifth-largest CO2 elimination deal that’s been announced.

Equatic expects to reach 100,000 metric tons of carbon removal per year by 2026 and millions of metric tons of carbon removal for less than $100 per metric ton by 2028.

Moreover, the hydrogen will be sold as a clean energy source to decarbonize industrial processes, produce electricity for the transportation sector, create Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs) and fuels for trucking, and power the Equatic technology itself.

“The aviation industry has an important role to play in global decarbonization efforts. Reaching aviation’s sustainability goals will require a multi-faceted approach, and Boeing sees immense value in Equatic’s technology,” said Sheila Remes, Boeing’s Vice President of Environmental Sustainability. “SAF is enormously important to reaching the commercial aviation industry’s net zero by 2050 goal, and we are excited to partner with Equatic on both green hydrogen feedstock and carbon dioxide removal.”