In mid-January, a Los Angeles-based company by the name Captura managed to raise as much as $12 million in funding to develop a marine device capable of absorbing carbon dioxide from the ocean. The project uses an electrochemical approach to absorb CO2 from ocean water and then put the water depleted by it back into circulation, using renewable energy to power the process.
Excess carbon dioxide in the oceans is a problem because it changes the pH of the water. It is estimated that acidity has increased thirty-fold in the last 200 years, creating a problem in search of a solution. The water Captura decarbonizes can then absorb more CO2 just repeating the process, like what happens with dialysis on a human patient. The captured residues will then be easily used as feedstock by other companies, such as those producing synthetic fuels. The company is also working with the nonprofit organization Ocean Visions and has recently hired an oceanographer, who will be tasked with making sure that Captura’s technology is safe for ocean ecosystems.
Captura is able to use existing offshore infrastructure, such as desalination plants or oil platforms, for its systems. In the summer of 2022, Captura installed its first autonomous ocean-based pilot plant in Newport Beach, California, where the use of a continuous flow of ocean water allowed the research team to measure the system’s performance and implement improvements. The company plans to increase its capacity by a factor of 100, with the goal of installing the system in an ocean location in 2023.