UH team develops method to use electricity to remove harmful carbon from ocean waters
Researchers at the University of Houston are developing a new, cost-effective way to help rid oceans of harmful carbon dioxide and fight the effects of climate change.
UH assistant professor Mim Rahimi published a paper on the development of his lab's emerging negative emissions technology known as electrochemical direct ocean capture (eDOC) in the journal Energy & Environmental Science this month.
The paper details how Rahimi's team is working to create electrochemical tubes to remove dissolved inorganic carbon from synthetic seawater, according to a release from UH. The process aims to amplify the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon and can easily be integrated into existing on-shore and off-shore infrastructure, including desalination plants and oil rigs.
Unlike other methods that involve complex processes, expensive materials and specialized membranes, the eDOC method focuses on adjusting the ocean water's acidity using affordable electrodes.
“While eDOC won’t single-handedly turn the tide on climate change, it enriches our mitigation toolkit,” Rahimi said in a statement. “In this global challenge, every innovative approach becomes invaluable.”
Rahimi's research is funded by a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and preliminary research was sponsored by UH Energy’s Center for Carbon Management in Energy.
“The promise of eDOC is undeniable, but scaling it, optimizing costs and achieving peak efficiency remain challenges we’re actively addressing,” he added in a statement.
Late last month, UH shared details on another carbon removal project it is involved with–this time focused on direct air capture (DAC). Known as the Pelican Gulf Coast Carbon Removal study–led by Louisiana State University and including UH and Shell—the project looks at the feasibility of a DAC hub that would pull carbon dioxide from the air and either store it in deep geological formations or use it to manufacture various products, such as concrete.
In August, UH announced that the project received nearly $4.9 million in grants, including almost $3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy. Click here to read more.