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Technology

Ocean-Based Carbon Removal Is About to Take a Big Step Forward

On Equatic’s big news, heat waves, and the Paris Olympics

Ocean-Based Carbon Removal Is About to Take a Big Step Forward
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Current conditions: Tropical storm warnings have been issued for Texas and Mexico • Parts of southwestern France were hit with large hail stones • The temperature trend for June is making climate scientists awfully nervous.

THE TOP FIVE

1. Lengthy heat wave threatens nearly 80 million Americans

About 77 million people are under some kind of heat advisory as a heat wave works its way across the Midwest and Northeast. In most of New England, the heat index is expected to reach or exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. What makes this heat wave especially dangerous is its “striking duration,” Jake Petr, the lead forecaster with National Weather Service Chicago, toldThe New York Times. Temperatures are projected to stay exceptionally high for several days before beginning to taper off only slightly over the weekend. According toThe Washington Post, temperatures could be up to 25 degrees higher than normal for this time of year. And forecasters expect it to be unseasonably hot across the country for at least the next three weeks. Below is a look at the NWS HeatRisk projections today (top) and Thursday (bottom). The darker the color, the warmer the temperature and the higher the health risks.

Tuesday HeatRisk forecastNWS HeatRisk

Thursday HeatRisk forecastNWS HeatRisk

Meanwhile, about 30 groups (including health organizations, climate movements, and labor unions) have filed a petition urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to add extreme heat and wildfire smoke to the list of emergencies that are considered “major disasters.” Such a declaration could allow communities access to federal funds to prepare for heat and fire emergencies. It could also help pressure employers to provide better protections for workers who toil away in dangerously warm conditions.

2. Crux is getting some powerful new backers

Crux, the New York-based startup that helps companies trade clean energy tax credits made transferable by the Inflation Reduction Act, announced this morning that it has secured strategic investments from some of the largest energy developers, including Clearway Energy, Intersect Power, Pattern Energy, and Électricité de France. “We had an opportunity to bring in some of the leading developers who collectively represent a pipeline of more than 100 gigawatts of power,” Alfred Johnson, Crux’s CEO, told Heatmap’s Robinson Meyer.

Let’s back up a bit. As Meyer explains, companies can claim money on their taxes by building zero-carbon electricity generation, new factories, buying electric vehicles, and more. But energy developers and utilities rarely need to use all the tax credits they generate from their projects. The IRA created a market for those tax credits, and Crux forecasts that $7 to $9 billion of these new “transferrable tax credits” will be sold in that new market this year (with huge potential for growth through 2030). Its product is a platform that lets developers, utilities, and manufacturing companies describe and sell their tax credits to buyers, with the goal being to make these transactions “efficient and standardized.” Crux has now raised more than $27 million in capital since its founding early last year.

3. Equatic to build first commercial-scale ocean carbon removal plant

Plans are underway to build North America’s first commercial-scale ocean-based carbon removal plant and have it up and running by 2027. The facility will be built in Quebec, Canada, by carbon removal startup Equatic in partnership with Deep Sky, a Canadian-based developer of carbon removal projects. Equatic uses electrolysis on seawater to trap carbon both in the ocean and in the air. The process also creates clean hydrogen, which the company plans to sell, and use to power its own technology. Equatic already has two pilot plants – one in Los Angeles and another in Singapore. It says that in its first year, the commercial-scale plant will remove 109,500 metric tons of CO2 and produce 3,600 metric tons of green hydrogen, and help bring the cost of carbon dioxide removal down below the key benchmark of $100 per metric ton by 2030.

4. Report warns Paris heat could put Olympians at risk

A group of Olympians have teamed up with academics to put out a new report warning that the Paris Olympics could be dangerously hot for athletes. The 2024 Games run from July 26 through August 11, the hottest part of the year in Europe. The 2024 “Rings of Fire” report found that July in Paris is 5.58 degrees Fahrenheit warmer now than it was in 1924 when the city last hosted the sporting event. Last year more than 5,000 people died in France due to excessive heat. The report has several recommendations, including scheduling events for cooler times of the day, but also includes suggestions from the athletes themselves, such as eliminating the stigma that may come with speaking out about heat risk, and weeding out fossil-fuel sponsorship in sports.

5. Vermont clean energy mandate becomes law

Vermont’s House and Senate yesterday pushed through a law that will significantly shift the state’s utilities to renewable electricity within the next decade. The legislature voted to override Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of H.289, a bill that will require all electric utilities to get to 100% renewable energy by 2035 – a shift from the existing law that says utilities must hit 75% renewables by 2032.

THE KICKER

More than 800 coal plants in developing nations have the potential to be profitably decomissioned and transitioned to large-scale solar and storage systems, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify Equatic’s carbon removal process.

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Jessica  Hullinger profile image

Jessica Hullinger

Jessica Hullinger is a freelance writer and editor who likes to think deeply about climate science and sustainability. She previously served as Global Deputy Editor for The Week, and her writing has been featured in publications including Fast Company, Popular Science, and Fortune. Jessica is originally from Indiana but lives in London.

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THE TOP FIVE

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