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Maersk, Eni, EDP back $21.5M round for ocean carbon removal

Captura's 100-ton-per-year direct ocean capture pilot system at AltaSea at the Port of L.A. Photo courtesy of Captura

Ocean carbon removal startup Captura has raised $21.5 million in an expansion of a Series A round to commercialize its technology.

Why it matters: Using the ocean is looking like one of the most efficient and low cost methods for carbon removal.

Details: Pasadena, Calif.-based Captura brought on new corporate investors with the round, including the VC arms of shipping giant Maersk, and energy companies Eni and EDP.

  • Existing investor Future Planet Capital led the round, which also included Equinor Ventures, Hitachi Ventures, and Aramco Ventures, among others.
  • The funds will help Captura design a first-of-a-kind commercial plant that can remove 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year from seawater. It's also building an additional 1,000-ton-per-year pilot plant with Equinor in Norway.
  • Captura currently has an operational pilot plant that can pull 100 tons per year from seawater using a process called electrodialysis, powered by clean electricity, at the Port of L.A. The tech was developed at the California Institute of Technology.

Zoom in: Captura CEO Steve Oldham was previously the CEO of Carbon Engineering, a direct air capture company that was acquired by oil company Occidental.

  • "The ocean is already good at capturing CO2," Oldham says.
  • Ocean carbon removal can also be cheap, Oldham says, explaining that Captura's technology can get to $100 per ton of CO2 removed pretty quickly.
  • The cost of using direct air capture machines to remove carbon from the air can cost anywhere from a couple hundred to several hundred dollars per ton of CO2. The Department of Energy has a goal to get carbon removal to under $100 per ton.

What's next: The company will need to raise funding over the next 18 months to finance its commercial plant.

  • "We're moving through the VC phase and will be looking for infrastructure funding," Oldham added.
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