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24 Jun 2024

SeaO2 develops an innovative way to remove CO2 from seawater

Amy Power
SeaO2 develops an innovative way to remove CO2 from seawater

SeaO2 is a Dutch start-up company who recently created an excellent new way to extract carbon dioxide from seawater. The company quickly discovered that extracting CO2 from seawater, helped the company to extract CO2 from the atmosphere.

The technology which makes this possible was developed at the TU Delft, as well as at the Wetsus laboratories which are based in Leeuwarden. The innovative technology operates through using an electrochemical process which strips carbon dioxide from the water and then proceeds to lead the carbon-free water back to the sea where it then absorbs CO2 from the air. The aim that SeaO2 has created is to remove a Gigaton of carbon dioxide from the oceans by 2050 and this will work towards their overall goal of protecting the earth from further warming.

The new system which has been created out of DOC technology, is energy-efficient and it can be applied and operated at a variety of locations. Furthermore, it is possible for the system to be switched on and off within a number of seconds, which means it is perfectly suited for grid balancing. When this technology was being developed, the SeaO2 prototype worked through stripping the first batch of carbon dioxide from seawater at the Afsluitdijk in 2023. Since this point, a lot of development and advancements have been made to this project and it is now planned that the pilot plant will be launched with an annual capacity of 250 tons in the summer of 2024.

The drive behind SeaO2 is to work to protect the plant against further warming and the company aims to do this through reducing the concentration of carbon dioxide within the sea and through extension, the air. To complete this task, the company uses Direct Ocean Capture (DOC) technology, which was developed by the company and it operates through only using seawater and green electricity. This technology divides seawater into an acidic and alkaline stream and it does this without the necessity to use chemicals or heat.

Now that this technique is developed, the business is currently focusing on running a funding round, which will help them to push their project forwards and grow and expand further. At the moment the company is seed funding and this will run for the next few months, as their goal is to reach 5 – 10 million euros. This is the aim as the company is looking to be able to scale-up their facility to capturing 2.5 kilotons of carbon dioxide by 2025 and 1 megaton by 2030. This will be an excellent development of the ocean and the ocean’s ecosystems which are currently under threat from ever-increasing acidification. The project will also benefit earth overall when it comes to reducing greenhouse gases, particularly CO2.

Founder and CEO of the company, Ruben Brands, commented, “The ocean is a giant sponge for carbon dioxide, one-third of all carbon dioxide emissions end up in the sea. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the ocean is 150 times higher than that in the air, which makes it a very good source for capturing CO2. In short: the solution to the climate problem lies in the water.”

Rose Sharifian, founder and CTO of SeaO2, who received her PhD from TU Delft on carbon absorption from the ocean in 2020, added, “The technology I developed under the guidance of David Vermaas is extremely sustainable and completely free of chemicals. On one side, seawater and green energy go in, and on the other, CO2 and deacidified water come out. In time, this way we can stop climate problems with the help of the sea.”


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