URI developing federal carbon energy technology

SOUTH KINGSTOWN – The U.S. Department of Energy will supply a research partnership between the University of Rhode Island and the University of Kentucky with $4 million to develop technology that removes carbon from sea water.

The funding, which the federal energy department will disperse in four phases, will finance a dual effort between URI and the University of Kentucky to develop what’s known as an “electrochemical direct ocean capture system.”

The first phase, totaling $250,000 in funding, includes $62,500 for the URI team.

While carbon plays a crucial role in the Earth’s oceans, fossil fuel emissions have driven its concentration to levels that pose a threat to sea and land ecosystems, a URI announcement states.

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Through the funding, the university partnership is seeking to develop technology that can remove this excess carbon from the ocean and will also evaluate locations that could potentially host this technology.

While electrochemical technology has successfully removed carbon from sources such as power plants, the announcement continues, the research team is seeking to replicate this process in the ocean.

URI professors Reza Hashemi and Brice Loose will lead the university’s team, which also consists of students from the Department of Ocean Engineering and the Graduate School of Oceanography.

In a statement, Loose said that “these technologies are important, and the more effective they can be the better because in order to reach a zero-emissions goal, this industry has to achieve a scale that rivals the present-day oil industry.”

Testing will take place on the Northeast Shelf of the Atlantic Ocean, which spans from coastal Maine to North Carolina.

Jacquelyn Voghel is PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Voghel@PBN.com.