As the levels of CO2 rise in the atmosphere, so do those levels increase proportionately in the ocean, which results in harmful consequences for wildlife and entire ecosystems. And while most carbon removal companies today are primarily focused on pulling CO2 out of the air, Oxford-based startup Heimdal is working to extract that CO2 from seawater at scale.
The tech company has dedicated its efforts to using renewable energy sources for its purposes and, in the process, it creates carbon-negative industrial materials, among which are concrete-making materials like limestone.
The latter is especially significant given the fact that cement production is estimated to be responsible for some 8% of all carbon emissions. In addition, seawater happens to be rich in minerals that are necessary to manufacture cement.
Heimdal attract funding for oceanic CO2 removal
Heimdal has already managed to attract significant funding thanks to the novel vision of its founders Erik Millar and Marcus Lima to create a linear process that uses only seawater and electricity to permanently sequester CO2 and produce useful materials.
But the process is not as easy as it sounds.
It begins with the alkalization of the seawater, which results in the isolation of hydrogen, hydroxide sorbent and chlorine. After this, more seawater is added to the mixture, leading to the precipitation of minerals, such as magnesium and calcium, and the reduction of CO2 in the water.
This, in turn, allows for CO2 to be pulled from the air once the water is released back into the sea.
Hence, the procedure not only results in the sequestration of large quantities of carbon dioxide, but also in the production of sodium carbonate (Na2CO3), magnesium carbonate (MgCO3), calcium carbonate (CaCO3) or limestone, all of which are used in glass manufacturing and other sectors.
And of all of the above, limestone is of critical importance due to its high demand and due to its emission-intensive supply methods that are currently available.
Heimdal has already partnered up with several glass and cement manufacturers and its first facility in the US is currently being planned. Then once test products have been provided to the company’s partners, commercial production is set to commence in 2023.