ripple effect

UH team develops method to use electricity to remove harmful carbon from ocean waters

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. Photo via UH.edu

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.

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A View From HETI

Memorial Hermann has its eyes to the sky for an upcoming innovative service it's launching in 2026. Photo courtesy of Zipline

A Houston hospital system has announced that it has plans to launch a drone delivery service that will replace traditional car deliveries in 2026.

Memorial Hermann Health System announced that it intends to be the first health care provider in Houston to roll out drone delivery services from San Francisco-based Zipline, a venture capital-backed tech company founded in 2014 that's completed 1 million drone deliveries.

"As a system, we are continuously seeking ways to improve the patient experience and bring greater health and value to the communities we serve. Zipline provides an innovative solution to helping our patients access the medications they need, quickly and conveniently, at no added cost to them," Alec King, executive vice president and CFO for Memorial Hermann, says in a news release.

Zipline boasts of achieving delivery times seven times faster than traditional car deliveries and can usually drop off packages at a rate of a mile a minute. The drones, called Zips, can navigate any weather conditions and complete their missions with zero emissions.

Per the release, the service will be used to deliver medical supplies and prescriptions to patients or supplies or samples between its locations.

"Completing more than one million commercial deliveries has shown us that when you improve health care logistics, you improve every level of the patient experience. It means people get better, faster, more convenient care, even from the comfort of their own home," adds Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, co-founder and CEO of Zipline. "Innovators like Memorial Hermann are leading the way to bring better care to the U.S., and it's going to happen much faster than you might expect."

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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