The arrival of the carbon capture barge coincides with UCLA’s expanded presence in the South Bay with the purchase of Marymount University and its residential buildings located in San Pedro.

LOS ANGELES (October 18, 2022) – AltaSea and the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering’s Institute for Carbon Management (ICM) have partnered to bring a revolutionary carbon capture barge to AltaSea’s 35-acre campus at the Port of Los Angeles. The barge, which arrived September 30th, will allow ICM to showcase its pioneering SeaChange technology, developed at UCLA, that leverages the oceans to effect carbon removal. This innovative technology will help address one of the most daunting climate change challenges the world faces — carbon dioxide emissions.

“ICM’s carbon removal technology is a gamechanger in our global fight against climate change, and it is the breakthrough innovation that will become commonplace on AltaSea’s growing campus,” said AltaSea CEO Terry Tamminen. “We are proud to showcase this and many other pioneering technologies as part of our collective effort to enhance scientific collaboration, inspire young minds and show the world what is possible in the blue economy.”

Recently, UCLA announced the acquisition of Marymount College campus in Ranchos Palos Verdes and its housing buildings in San Pedro. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the sites will also “offer educational opportunities with their proximity to the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro Bay and AltaSea.” The synergy between UCLA’s expanded footprint and the arrival of the carbon capture barge further solidifies Southern California as a worldwide hub for the development and growth of breakthrough blue economy technologies that can have positive, impactful change on our planet.

AltaSea is the nation’s largest blue economy research and development center, creating new well-paying jobs, tackling climate change, and working to solve some of the most pressing issues in the marine environment. In addition to UCLA, AltaSea’s current and planned tenants include the University of Southern California, the Southern California Marine Institute (made up of 23 universities, colleges, and institutes), Braid Theory, Holdfast Aquaculture, RCAM, Eco Wave Power, Greener Port Solutions, and Pacific Mariculture.

ICM’s carbon dioxide removal process uses renewable electricity to entrap carbon dioxide found in seawater in the form of inert, solid carbonates and dissolved bicarbonate ions. This process allows durable, permanent, and energy-efficient carbon removal. The SeaChange technology converts dissolved carbon dioxide, calcium, and magnesium into solid limestone and brucite (the mineral form of magnesium hydroxide) — in a manner similar to how some marine organisms form seashells. The alkalinized outgoing seawater, depleted of CO2, is then able to absorb more of the greenhouse gas just like a sponge, rinsing and repeating the same process. The ready-to-scale method also yields hydrogen gas as a co-product, which can be used as a clean fuel.

“The oceans are the world’s largest sink of carbon dioxide emissions,” said Gaurav Sant, the director of ICM and a professor of civil and environmental engineering and materials science and engineering who holds UCLA’s Pritzker Chair in Sustainability. “This technology can electrochemically enhance and restore the oceans’ capacity for carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere at a globally relevant scale, thereby mitigating ongoing and accelerating climate change.”

In order to combat the effects of climate change, it is estimated that 10-20 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide will need to be removed each year beginning 2050, ICM is poised to rapidly upscale and commercialize its innovative technology to expand the world’s carbon dioxide removal capabilities.

“The next decade is crucial to scale up, scale out and commercialize carbon management technologies,” said Dante Simonetti, ICM’s Associate Director for Technology Translation, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UCLA Samueli. “Access to, and partnership with, world-class demonstration sites like AltaSea is a prerequisite for our success.”

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About AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles

AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles is dedicated to accelerating scientific collaboration, advancing an emerging blue economy through business innovation and job creation, and inspiring the next generation, all for a more sustainable, just, and equitable world.

For more information on AltaSea, please visit: https://altasea.org

6 replies
    • Alex Cornejo
      Alex Cornejo says:

      Hello Robin, all three (Equatic, formerly known as SeaChange, Captura, and Caltech) remove CO2 from the atmosphere by lowering the partial pressure of the CO2 gas in seawater so that more CO2 from the atmosphere is dissolved in the ocean and lowers the amount in the atmosphere that contributes to global warming. The Calcarea (Caltech) project shifts this reaction by adding alkalinity. They basically dissolve a small amount of limestone in seawater.  This lowers the pCO2 and CO2 from the air moves into the ocean. This is a natural process called weathering and they are just speeding it up. It will also address ocean acidification that is harming the corals and shellfish. The category is called ocean alkalinity adjustment. The other two Companies are somewhat similar to each other. They use something called an electrochemical technology.  They use renewable electricity to split the seawater into an acid fraction and a base fraction. They then remove the CO2 from the acid fraction (it wants to come out). When they combine the two fractions back, the combined water has less CO2 and acidity, and it absorbs more from the air. It is also less acidic and the coral reefs like that!  They then store the removed CO2 in some permanent place.  They differ in key process details. The don’t add anything to the water. 

      Reply
  1. Pierre Niemczynski
    Pierre Niemczynski says:

    Hello,
    What about the phyto plancton and zooplancton ? Is there any bad effects on them ?
    Thank you for your answer, good evening.

    Reply

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