Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and Captura, a carbon removal company founded at Caltech, announced on 22 November the deployment of direct ocean carbon removal technology that uses renewable energy and ocean water to draw down surplus atmospheric CO2.
The technology, which was recently installed at Caltech’s Kerckhoff Marine Lab in Newport Beach, marks the first time the Captura system will be operating in ocean water conditions.
Over the next few months, researchers will test and validate the energy efficiency costs and purity of the extracted CO2. Captura plans to scale up the technology to remove millions of tons of atmospheric CO2, which could help accelerate achieving California’s climate goals.
“Just like solar panels, wind turbines, and clean fuels, carbon removal technologies will be essential tools in the clean energy transition,” said Neil Navin, SoCalGas vice president for clean energy innovations.
“Supporting innovations like the Captura technology helps utilities like SoCalGas plan for the infrastructure investments that will be needed to reach California’s climate goals affordably and reliably.”
At commercial scale, Captura plans to deploy its technology atop offshore oil and gas platforms as they reach end of life. In this way, Captura can utilize existing infrastructure and co-locate the technology with existing storage sites. The company claims that it works closely with environmental health groups and ocean science experts for the protection of ocean ecosystems.
In California, Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent ambitious climate proposal includes setting a 20 million metric tons (MMT) carbon removal target for 2030 and 100 MMT carbon removal target for 2045, emphasizing the role of natural and working lands and the need for safe and equitable engineered carbon removal.
Press release edited by Suzanna Hayek