Time magazine has named the carbon-removal Equatic process developed at UCLA’s Institute for Carbon Management one of the best inventions of 2023 in the sustainability category.

Formerly known as Project SeaChange, the Equatic technology was created by a team of researchers at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering. The process accelerates and expands the ocean’s natural ability to absorb carbon dioxide to remove atmospheric CO2, storing it in the forms of solid minerals and aqueous species for more than 10,000 years while producing carbon-negative hydrogen — a clean fuel for transport and industrial applications.

In less than two years, the technique was scaled up from a bench-scale prototype into two pilot systems this spring in Los Angeles and Singapore. The startup Equatic was launched to commercialize the technology. Of the CO2 removed from these two pilots, 100% has been pre-sold to companies such as financial services company Stripe.

In May, Equatic announced a pre-purchase option agreement to remove 62,000 metric tons of CO2 and deliver 2,100 metric tons of carbon-negative hydrogen to the Boeing Company. Equatic expects to reach 100,000 metric tons of carbon removal per year by 2026 and millions of metric tons of carbon removal for less than $100 per metric ton by 2028. 

“We are thrilled that Time has recognized the potential of our low-cost carbon removal and green hydrogen production technology as we work toward net zero by 2050,” said Equatic founder and ICM director Gaurav Sant, who is UCLA Samueli’s Pritzker Professor of Sustainability and holds faculty appointments at the departments of civil and environmental engineering and materials science and engineering. “The need for scalable and sustainable solutions to reduce and remove atmospheric carbon dioxide is more urgent than ever, and we are proud to lead the charge in developing innovative solutions.” 

Civil and environmental engineering professor David Jassby, who is an associate director of ICM, is also a co-founder of Equatic and a co-inventor of the carbon-removal process.

In April, ICM unveiled its first Equatic pilot system at the Port of Los Angeles, drawing media coverage by Forbes, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, the Los Angeles Times and CNN, among others.

Read the full story on the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering website.