Meet the fossil fuel-funded startup trying to take CO2 out of the ocean

A rendering of what a large “direct ocean capture” plant from Captura could look like. | Image: Caltech

An audacious new effort to pull carbon dioxide out of the Pacific Ocean as a way to fight climate change is being backed by fossil fuel giants and Big Tech. But the nascent technology, called “direct ocean capture” (DOC), still has a long way to go to prove that it works — and that it won’t cause any new problems.

Caltech researchers founded the startup Captura, which just announced a new project today. Captura was founded in 2021 and won a $1 million award from Elon Musk’s XPrize competition the following year. Now, with funding from the US’s biggest gas utility, Captura’s setting up its biggest pilot project yet at the Port of Los Angeles.

The idea is that filtering CO2 out of seawater will allow oceans to soak up more of the…

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