New Tech Removes CO2 from Air and Water, Turns it into Hydrogen Fuel

New Tech Removes CO2 from Air and Water, Turns it into Hydrogen Fuel

Equatic: Tackling Climate Change Through Ocean and Air CO2 Capture for Hydrogen Production


  • Equatic’s Dual Approach: Equatic, a California-based startup, is taking a dual approach to combat climate change by removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from both the ocean and the air while simultaneously producing hydrogen as an alternative fuel.
  • Innovative Technology: Equatic’s technology sets it apart by combining CO2 removal and carbon-free hydrogen production.
  • Environmental Concerns: Despite its promise, Equatic’s technology has raised environmental concerns related to its potential impact on ocean chemistry and marine ecosystems.
  • Support and Expansion Plans: Equatic has received significant support, with funding from organizations like the US Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Boeing Partners with Equatic: A California Startup Leading the Way in Carbon Removal and Sustainable Aviation Fuel

A new California-based startup called Equatic is tackling climate change through a dual approach of removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the ocean and air while producing hydrogen as an alternative fuel.

Boeing has already signed an agreement with Equatic, the company that recently launched, to purchase 2,100 metric tons of hydrogen for use in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Equatic’s technology combines two emerging climate change strategies: capturing CO2 from the atmosphere and oceans, and producing hydrogen as an alternative to fossil fuels.

Equatic’s process, which sets it apart from other startups, encompasses both CO2 removal and carbon-free hydrogen production.

Originating from a research initiative at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Equatic currently operates small pilot plants in Los Angeles and Singapore.

The process begins by passing an electrical current through ocean water, splitting it into hydrogen and two distinct streams: one acidic and one alkaline.

In the alkaline stream, dissolved calcium reacts with CO2 to form calcium carbonate, while the gas in the acidic stream mineralizes into magnesium bicarbonate when air is bubbled through it. The ultimate objective is to trap the CO2 in the ocean, preventing its release into the atmosphere and mitigating global warming. Equatic’s technology aims to maintain the ocean’s acidity levels and ensures that the water released meets necessary thresholds.

While Equatic’s approach shows promise, there are concerns among environmental advocates regarding potential consequences.

John Fleming, a senior scientist at the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, emphasizes that Equatic is attempting to exert control over complex ocean chemistry.

Altering the mineral balance in the ocean could impact shell-building creatures already struggling with human-caused ocean acidification, with potential ripple effects across marine ecosystems.

The Way Forward

Despite these concerns, Equatic remains optimistic about the environmental effects of its technology. Edward Sanders, COO at Equatic, assures that the water released from their process is comparable to effluent from desalination plants or other industrial facilities. The startup envisions the diffusion of environmentally sound technologies from high-income countries to low and middle-income countries as part of their expansion plans. Larger plants are planned for Singapore and an undisclosed location to meet the demands of agreements with Boeing and other customers.

Equatic has garnered significant support, launching with over $30 million in funding from organizations such as the US Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Notably, former BP CEO John Browne chairs Equatic’s advisory board, and electronic payments company Stripe has paid for captured CO2 at the startup’s pilot plant.

To scale up its operations, Equatic aims to reduce the cost of capturing CO2 from $1,370 per ton to $100 per ton by 2028.

By 2026, the company plans to establish a large plant capable of capturing 100,000 tons of CO2 annually, surpassing the capacity of existing plants.

Equatic holds an advantage in potentially generating its electricity from the hydrogen it produces, which could help lower costs.

However, critics express concerns about the energy intensity of such operations and emphasize the importance of transitioning away from fossil fuels.

Equatic takes an all-of-the-above approach, recognizing the necessity of both removing existing carbon dioxide and reducing future emissions. The startup believes that its innovative process effectively addresses these goals, offering a promising contribution to the fight against climate change.

Equatic’s Innovative Approach: Simultaneous CO2 Removal and Hydrogen Production for a Greener Future

Equatic’s approach to simultaneously removing CO2 from the ocean and air while producing hydrogen aligns with the growing interest in carbon capture and utilization (CCU) technologies.

CCU technologies aim to capture CO2 emissions and convert them into useful products, such as fuels or building materials, contributing to carbon neutrality or even carbon negativity.

The integration of CO2 removal and hydrogen production in Equatic’s technology highlights the potential for synergy between these two areas.

Hydrogen is considered a clean energy carrier that can be used in various sectors, including transportation, electricity generation, and industrial processes, providing a viable alternative to fossil fuels.

By utilizing CO2 as a feedstock for hydrogen production, Equatic’s approach has the potential to reduce emissions while creating a valuable energy source.

Equatic’s emphasis on trapping CO2 in the ocean through mineralization aligns with ongoing research on carbon sequestration.

The concept of enhancing natural carbon sinks, such as oceans and forests, to absorb and store CO2 has gained attention as a potential climate change mitigation strategy.

By promoting the formation of mineral carbonates in seawater, Equatic aims to facilitate long-term carbon storage, contributing to the stabilization of atmospheric CO2 levels.

Scaling Up Carbon Capture and Hydrogen Production: Equatic’s Path to Environmental Sustainability

The collaboration between Equatic and Boeing underscores the aviation industry’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact.

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), derived from renewable sources, is seen as a crucial element in decarbonizing air travel.

The use of hydrogen produced by Equatic in SAF demonstrates the potential of innovative technologies to support the aviation sector’s transition towards sustainable practices.

Equatic’s expansion plans and its intention to bring environmentally sound technologies to low and middle-income countries highlight the need for global collaboration in addressing climate change.

By sharing knowledge, expertise, and technological advancements, it becomes possible to accelerate the adoption of sustainable solutions worldwide, fostering a more inclusive and comprehensive approach to mitigating climate change.

As Equatic works toward scaling up its operations and reducing costs, ongoing research and development efforts in the field of carbon capture, hydrogen production, and ocean conservation will contribute to refining and improving the environmental performance and sustainability of such technologies.

Continued innovation and collaboration are essential to drive the advancement of solutions that can effectively address climate change while minimizing potential ecological impacts.

The feasibility of Equatic’s approach can be assessed from various perspectives:
  1. Technological Feasibility: Equatic’s technology is based on a process of electrolysis, which is a well-established method for splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen.

The company has already developed small pilot plants in Los Angeles and Singapore, indicating that the basic principles of their technology are viable.

However, scaling up the operation to larger plants will require further engineering and optimization to ensure efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and environmental sustainability.

  1. Economic Feasibility: The economic viability of Equatic’s approach depends on several factors, including the cost of capturing and utilizing CO2, the market demand for hydrogen and the price competitiveness of their products compared to traditional fossil fuels.

The company aims to reduce the cost of carbon capture to $100 per ton by 2028, which would significantly enhance its commercial prospects.

Additionally, as the demand for sustainable aviation fuel and hydrogen increases, it could create a favorable market for Equatic’s products.

  1. Environmental Feasibility: Equatic’s technology aims to contribute to climate change mitigation by removing CO2 from the atmosphere and oceans.

While this approach has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it is crucial to ensure that the process itself does not have adverse environmental impacts.

Concerns raised by environmental advocates regarding potential effects on ocean chemistry and marine life emphasize the need for rigorous monitoring, scientific evaluation, and adherence to strict environmental standards. Ongoing research and regulatory oversight will be essential to ensure the technology’s environmental feasibility.

Scalability and Deployment

Equatic’s ability to scale up its operations will be critical for achieving significant impact.

Building larger plants, as planned, and expanding their customer base, including collaborations with major players like Boeing, indicates a positive trajectory.

However, the successful deployment of Equatic’s technology on a large scale will require not only financial investments but also robust infrastructure, supportive policies, and market demand.

Collaboration with governments, industry stakeholders, and research institutions will be essential to facilitate the widespread adoption of such technologies.


While Equatic’s approach shows promise in addressing climate change and producing clean energy, further research, development, and testing are necessary to validate its feasibility, optimize its processes and ensure its long-term sustainability.

The collaboration between scientists, engineers, policymakers, and industry leaders will be crucial in refining the technology and overcoming any potential challenges along the way.

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