Montreal-based carbon removal company Deep Sky will host the pilot project for direct air capture (DAC) technology developed by Los Angeles-based Equatic, adding to the growing roster of firms testing solutions at Deep Sky’s Quebec facility.
Equatic, which spun out of research from the University of California, Los Angeles’ Institute for Carbon Management, uses electrolysis to fix atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) into seawater and as a mineral, storing the greenhouse gas and generating hydrogen for clean fuel applications.
Its electrolyzer unit will be tested in 2024 at Deep Sky’s Alpha pilot facility, and is anticipated to remove over 300 tonnes of CO2 per year as a demonstration for larger-scale deployments of over 90,000 tons per year.
“We’re thrilled to add Equatic to our pilot facility, marking a DAC partnership with a truly unique capture and sequestration technology,” Deep Sky CEO Damien Steel said in a release.
“As we prepare to remove gigatons of CO2 from the air for our carbon credit customers, Equatic’s unique electrolysis process enables the oceans to play a major part in averting climate catastrophe.”
Shocking seawater through Equatic
Equatic’s DAC electrolysis process uses electricity to split seawater into hydrogen and oxygen, then exposes it to atmospheric air to capture the CO2, trapping it in dissolved bicarbonate ions and solid mineral carbonates. This locks away the greenhouse gas for thousands of years in the ocean, the firm says.
Hydrogen is captured and processed for use as a clean fuel, while the seawater is returned to a chemically comparable original state.
The technology earned Equatic several accolades, including being named one of Time’s 200 best inventions of 2023. It has already notched a pre-purchase option agreement with Boeing, under which Equatic will remove 62,000 tonnes of CO2 and deliver 2,100 tonnes of carbon-negative hydrogen to Boeing.
In another release, Equatic said it expects to remove 100,000 tonnes of CO2 per year by 2026, then millions of tonnes for less than $100 per tonne by 2028.
Steel told Sustainable Biz Canada in an email exchange Deep Sky's co-founders Fred Lalonde and Joost Ouwerkerk learned about Equatic through Gaurav Sant, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, whose technology is the basis for Equatic's process.
The Deep Sky CEO said Equatic's approach runs entirely on electricity and makes it easy to measure each molecule of CO2 captured, which caught the company's attention.
Already piloted at the Port of Los Angeles and in Singapore at a rate of 100 kilograms of CO2 per day, Deep Sky said the purpose of the test in Quebec will be to monitor the performance of the electrolyzer unit in “the unique marine environment of Quebec.” The two companies will collect data on carbon dioxide removal, energy consumption and regulatory compliance.
“By working together, Equatic and Deep Sky will bring the most promising carbon dioxide removal technologies to market at scale,” Lorenzo Corsini, a principal advisor at Equatic, said in a release.
Building a carbon removal network in Quebec
Deep Sky, which has the ambition of removing billions of tons of carbon at an industrial scale in Canada and selling carbon removal credits, is piloting a variety of carbon removal technologies to test their viability for larger-scale deployment.
Its first publicly announced DAC partnership was with London, U.K.-based Mission Zero Technologies, while its first technology provider partnership was with Pasadena, Calif.-based startup Captura Corp. on direct ocean capture.