Equinor and Captura partner to scale up direct ocean capture

Article by Amanda Jasi

Captura’s technology enhances the ocean’s natural capability for removing carbon from the atmosphere

INTERNATIONAL energy company Equinor has partnered with Captura to develop the direct ocean capture company’s technology at industrial scale.

Captura’s technology enhances the ocean’s natural capability for removing carbon from the atmosphere without increasing the levels of CO2 in the ocean. Using electrodialysis powered by renewable energy, the technology removes CO2 from seawater. The CO2-depleted water is returned back to the ocean, able to then absorb from the atmosphere the same quantity of carbon that was withdrawn.

A joint team will collaborate on various configurations of Captura’s technology, with the goal to scale. Initially, the partners will develop a 1,000 t/y pilot plant that could be a launchpad for large-scale, commercial plants. It will be built onshore at Equinor’s Kårstø natural gas processing facility on the west coast of Norway. Feasibility and design of the pilot plant has already started, and installation is planned for late next year.

The CO2 that the pilot removes from seawater is planned for commissioning of the Northern Lights project, which is expected to be the world’s first open-source CO2 transport and storage infrastructure. Equinor is a partner in Northern Lights, part of a Norwegian, full-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) project.

Through using the captured CO2 in the project, the partners will test how direct ocean capture technology can deliver high-quality carbon removal credits that are “reliable, safe, and certified”. They say these are required to meet net zero targets by counteracting hard-to-decarbonise emissions, as well as removing past emissions from the atmosphere.

The planned 1,000 t/y Norwegian pilot will be the final system in Captura’s pilot and scale-up programme and is aimed at demonstrating the commercial readiness of its technology. It follows two systems installed in the US, including a 1 t/y system that started operating at Newport Beach, California in August 2022, and a 100 t/y system that was recently installed at the Port of Los Angeles.

Morten Halleraker, senior vice-president and head of New Business and Investments in Equinor, said that Captura’s promising technology could play a pivotal role in removing CO2 from the carbon cycle. “We look forward to the collaboration with Captura by bringing in our industrial capabilities in order to de-risk and scale the deployment of the technology,” he added.

Steve Oldham, CEO of Captura, said the partnership with Equinor marked a pivotal moment in the company’s progress, adding that it enhances its reach and capability “exponentially” and signifies a huge advancement in its efforts. He said: “We’re thrilled to be joining forces with the Equinor team to continue driving towards climate-relevant carbon removal.”

Equinor is an investor in Captura and is its second deployment partner. In July, Captura announced a partnership with Deep Sky, a Montreal-based company working to build infrastructure to scale CO2 removal systems.

Earlier this year, The Chemical Engineer spoke to Captura chief technology officer and co-founder Chengxiang “CX” Xiang, and others whose companies are developing technology to capture carbon from the ocean.

A report published in January said that novel CO2 removal technologies need to be scaled 1,300 times by 2050 to meet climate goals.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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