UCLA Receives $21M for Carbon Capture Research


The University of California, Los Angeles, recently announced that it has received $21 million in funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to support the institutes’ carbon removal technologies research and development.

“The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s generous investment, coupled with Bruin innovation, will allow the revolutionary technologies being developed at the Institute for Carbon Management to become more accessible, affordable and sustainable for communities,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block.

“This gift will help us build on the outstanding research, ingenuity and activism of UCLA students and faculty to strengthen our position as a leader when it comes to carbon management and the fight against climate change.”

The funding will be received by the Samueli School of Engineering's Institute of Carbon Management over the next three years, with a goal of moving the university’s carbon removal technologies from the lab to the field and testing them in real-world settings. The funding is part of $44 million in grants from CZI to support climate change solutions and technology.

“Scaling carbon removal to a consequential level will require massive advances in technology and innovation,” said CZI co-founders and co-CEOs Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg. “That’s why we’re supporting companies and researchers through a variety of financing methods.”

Research Projects

According to UCLA, the funding will go towards three ongoing projects from the Institute of Carbon Management:

  • SeaChange, a process invented at UCLA that removes carbon dioxide dissolved in seawater;
  • A new approach to carbon dioxide removal using electrochemical direct air capture, called x/44; and
  • The development of a new way to product portlandite, also known as calcium hydroxide.

The grant funds going towards SeaChange enable to the program to build and operate an advanced electrochemical flow-reactor at the Port of Los Angeles. The technology, which won top prize from the 2021 Liveability Challenge, has the potential to remove gigatons of carbon dioxide while producing green hydrogen.

The research is expected to provide insight about reducing the costs of carbon removal, while creating a “blueprint” for deployment of CO2-removal technologies in the surrounding communities.

The x/44 process separates CO2 from the air and is reportedly less expensive than current methods. Partially concentrated streams of CO2 created from this process could potentially be used at a large scale to produce low-carbon concrete or other new industrial uses.

Lastly, researchers from the Institute plan to demonstrate a new electrochemical process for portlandite production to produce carbon negative concrete. Portlandite can be used as a replacement for limestone and cement for cement and concrete production, respectively.

UCLA reports that the new method requires electricity rock resources for calcium and water, instead of limestone or fossil fuels. This development would reportedly reduce emissions associated with cement production, which currently accounts for 8% of global CO2 emissions, by 65%.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative on innovative carbon-management solutions,” said Jayathi Murthy, the Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean of UCLA Samueli. “Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and CZI’s commitment to fund promising technologies to address climate change inspires hope.

“The Institute for Carbon Management has been doing incredible work since its inception. With this gift, we hope to continue advancing ready-to-market green technologies.”

Recent Carbon Capture Research

Last month, the University of Texas at Austin announced that its carbon capture technology will be licensed by Honeywell Sustainable Technology Solutions to support lower-cost capture of emissions from power plants and heavy industrial sources. The technology was created by researchers at UT Austin through the Texas Carbon Management Program (TxCMP).

Honeywell plans to utilize the carbon capture technology to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality in its operations and facilities by 2035. The company reports that 15 million tons per year of carbon is being capture and used in storage/utilization applications through its CO2 Solutions process. Currently, Honeywell has the capacity to capture 40 million tons per year globally.

According to UT Austin’s release, Rochelle and his team have developed a second-generation amine scrubbing system through years of research and analysis. The patented solution uses an advanced solvent, allowing carbon to be captured at a lower cost with greater efficiency and smaller equipment.

The solution allows for “hard to abate” industries such as steel, cement and chemical plants; and coal, natural gas and bio-energy power plants to use the CO2 capture technology.

Installing this technology in typical power plant with 650 megawatt capacity would reportedly enable the capture of 3.4 million tons of CO2 annually, approximately the equivalent to removing 735,000 cars from the road each year.

Honeywell reports that the carbon removal technology can be retrofitted into existing plants or included in new installations. The CO2 is absorbed into the amine solvent, sent to a stripper to separate the CO2 and then compressed for geological sequestration or used in other applications.


Tagged categories: Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS); Carbon dioxide; Carbon footprint; Cement; Colleges and Universities; Emissions; Environmental Controls; Environmental Controls; Environmentally friendly; Funding; Grants; Green Infrastructure; Greenhouse gas; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Research; Research and development; Technology

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