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'First-of-its-kind' technology turns ocean pollutant into seashell dust: '[It's] the most promising solution'

"This is a reaction that happens naturally."

"This is a reaction that happens naturally."

Photo Credit: iStock

The ocean is one of our most important allies in combating harmful carbon pollution, and California-based startup Equatic plans to give it an assist with technology that tackles two key challenges: removing harmful carbon pollution and reducing the use of dirty energy

"Equatic's first-of-its-kind technology solves both. … [It's] the most promising solution," Lorenzo Corsini, the Principal Advisor at Equatic, said in a press release.

The ocean already absorbs about 31% of harmful carbon pollution, but that doesn't come without a cost. When carbon levels in the water rise, a chemical reaction occurs that affects the acidity of the environment, disrupting the habitat of numerous sea creatures.  

The company's technology works by removing carbon dioxide (CO2) and turning it into a material similar to seashell dust

Sound far-fetched? Some ocean creatures, such as mollusks, naturally pull CO2 from the water to make their shells. 

"We were thinking, 'What would be one of the best ways for us to start trapping CO2?' Well, what about the formation of seashells? This is a reaction that happens naturally," Dante Simonetti, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, told Adele Peters of Fast Company. 

The CO2 removal process from Equatic utilizes air, seawater, rock, and renewable electricity, and it naturally produces hydrogen, a clean form of energy — unlike oil, coal, or gas — because it releases only water into the atmosphere when used. 

Clean energy is a game-changer in reducing harmful environmental impact, providing hope for the outlook of our planet while sparking potential for long-term economic growth

Equatic signed a carbon-removal and hydrogen deal with Boeing in May. Sheila Remes, Boeing's Vice President of Environmental Sustainability, believes Equatic's technology will play a vital part in reducing the harmful pollution that travel can contribute to the environment. 

"SAF [Sustainable Aviation Fuel] is enormously important to reaching the commercial aviation industry's net zero by 2050 goal, and we are excited to partner with Equatic on both green hydrogen feedstock and carbon dioxide removal," Remes said in a press release.

Equatic plans to remove 100,000 metric tons (about 110,000 tons) of CO2 per year by 2026. That's roughly equivalent in weight to 2.2 million 100-pound bags of cement. 

By 2028, the company's goal is to remove millions of tons of CO2 annually.

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