Ocean carbon removal is taking a step forward with a recent investment. SeaCURE – a technology capturing CO2 out of ocean water, announces it will build a pilot plant at the SEA LIFE centre in Weymouth.
That is achieved thanks to a recent $3.55 million (£3 million) grant from the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through its Net Zero Innovation Portfolio as part of the Direct Air Capture & Greenhouse Gas Removals Innovation Programme.
SeaCure is a collaboration between the University of Exeter, Brunel University London, and also involves Plymouth Marine Laboratory and industrial partner Eliquo Hydrok. Participants say they are passionate about carbon emissions, the marine environment and the overall health of our planet.
The research group at Brunel University plan to focus on modelling and optimisation of the solvent-based CO2 capture process over the course of the three years of the project. The demonstration plant is planned to remove 100 tonnes of CO2 per year and will aim to prove the feasibility of the process at a pilot scale.
“We are really excited to have the opportunity to test this technology in the real world, and be part of the solution to one of the biggest challenges facing our planet,” said project leader Professor Paul Halloran, of the University of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute.
According to Mr Halloran, the pilot plant should begin operating in 2024 and process 3,000 litres of seawater per minute. One of the main goals is to find out what barriers there might be to scaling up to a similar magnitude to current global carbon emissions.
The advantages of the technology are that it could be positioned offshore so it won’t compete for a land use. That opens the potential for operating at a global scale.
“Removal of carbon dioxide is a key technology to fight against climate change – one of the biggest threats to global ecosystems. In SeaCURE, we are developing a process which, unlike for post-combustion capture technologies, can be readily deployed anywhere in the world…,” added Dr Salman Masoudi Soltani, Senior Lecturer in Chemical Engineering at Brunel.
The SeaCure technology resembles a process where seawater is bubbled out to capture the CO2. Then, the gas gets trapped and concentrated by the tech to form a near-pure stream of CO2 that could later be utilized by the industry or buried underground. The CO2-free water is returned back to the ocean where it naturally replenishes the lost gas by sucking carbon from the atmosphere.