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Deep Sky, Equatic plan commercial-scale ocean carbon removal plant in Quebec

Companies say it will be world's largest facility of its kind, will remove over 100,000 tonnes of CO2 annually

Deep Sky and Equatic have moved beyond a pilot to engineering work on a commercial-scale carbon removal facility in Quebec. (Courtesy Deep Sky)

Deep Sky and technology partner Equatic have announced the start of engineering work for a Quebec facility that will be designed to remove over 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere per year.

The location of the facility will be publicized before the end of 2024 after local consultation, Equatic’s COO Edward Sanders told Sustainable Biz Canada in an email exchange. The cost is expected to range from $137.2 million to $164.6 million.

“Carbon credits and green hydrogen from this and future plants have been pre-sold to companies such as Boeing, and further sales are ongoing,” the release adds.

Said to be the world’s largest ocean-based carbon removal facility and North America’s first commercial-scale ocean-based CO2 removal plant, it is an evolution from a Quebec pilot project between Montreal-based Deep Sky and Los-Angeles-based Equatic.

Deep Sky has tested numerous carbon removal technologies for potential use in a planned network of industrial-scale carbon removal facilities across Canada. Equatic employs electrolyzer technology first developed with the University of California, Los Angeles to lock atmospheric CO2 into seawater as dissolved bicarbonate ions and as mineral carbonates.

It also produces green hydrogen, a clean fuel.

“Quebec is the perfect location for commercial launch given the access to non-fossil electricity and the use of hydrogen to decarbonize the province’s well-established industrial base. Just as important, Deep Sky’s experience, coupled with its local relationships, will keep us on track to be operational by 2026-2027,” Edward Muller, chairman of Equatic, said in the release.

Engineering the facility

Arup, a London, U.K.-headquartered engineering and design firm, will be leading the assessment and planning of the facility. The design will be based on the modular electrolyzers used at Equatic’s demonstration project in Tuas, Singapore revealed in May.

Construction will take 12 to 18 months, Phil De Luna, chief carbon scientist and head of engineering at Deep Sky, told Sustainable Biz Canada in an email exchange.

There were no regulatory approvals required for the engineering phase, he added.

The net energy requirement is said to be below 1.4 megawatt-hours per tonne of carbon removed.

It is anticipated to remove 109,500 tonnes of CO2 and produce 3,600 tonnes of green hydrogen per year, helping Equatic lower the cost of CO2 removal below $100 per tonne by 2030.

Equatic has previously listed its targets of achieving 100,000 tonnes of carbon removal per year by 2026 and removing millions of tonnes of carbon for less than $100 per tonne by 2028.

It also set a pre-purchase option agreement with Boeing, by which Equatic is to remove 62,000 tonnes of CO2 and deliver 2,100 tonnes of carbon-negative hydrogen to the aerospace company.

The technology does not make the oceans more acidic as it avoids producing carbonic acid, Sanders said, and stores away CO2 for approximately 10,000 years.

Damien Steel, Deep Sky’s CEO, previously told Sustainable Biz Canada the ease of measuring the CO2 removed was critical to its selection by Deep Sky. The facility and other Equatic projects will follow the ISO 14064-2:2019 measurement, reporting and verification standards for electrolytic ocean-based carbon removal.

“As climate urgency grows, we need to accelerate the development of commercial facilities,” Steel said in the release. “We’re thrilled to begin the engineering phase of a commercial-scale plant with Equatic, moving closer to removing billions of tons of CO2 using the oceans to reverse global warming.”

Editor's Note: Sustainable Biz Canada has added additional information for this article.

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