The ocean has a breath movement in which it inhales and exhales carbon dioxide (CO2). As more carbon dioxide is created by fossil fuels, more is being absorbed by the ocean. It continues to soak this up until global warming heats the ocean and slows down ocean circulation.
Water trapped at the surface becomes saturated and the carbon uptake slows. This means more carbon dioxide is left in the atmosphere and contributes to additional warming. Natural cycles in the weather and ocean currents alter the rate of absorption.
Scientists have learnt that as atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide increase, the ocean is absorbing greater volumes in an attempt to stay in balance. When it does this, the PH of the water is lowered and becomes more acidic. This harms wildlife and changes ecosystems - and there's no ceiling to the damage that could be done.
Making this worse, ozone depletion causes strong winds around Antarctica. These strong winds stir the ocean, allowing carbon to vent into the atmosphere from the carbon rich deep water. So while the rate of absorption has increased, other factors mean the rate of absorption is actually at a deficit.
Heimdal is an Oxford-based carbon capture and storage technology company. Founders Erik Millar and Marcus Lima were disappointed that carbon capture is frequently a circular process, where carbons are captured only to be used and emitted again. Better than producing new carbons, yes. But why weren't there more ways to permanently remove them from the ecosystem?
Heimdal has found a way to create carbon negative glass, concrete and other building materials through extracting calcium and magnesium carbonate from the ocean. Electricity is used to alkalinize seawater and extract precipitates of calcium and magnesium carbonates. This process leads to the permanent sequestration of CO2, something the Oxford Offsetting Principles highlight as critical in the long-term race against climate change.
It removes one tonne of CO2 for every kilotonne of seawater and has established a new way to produce concrete and limestone, currently an intense industrial process that emits large amounts of CO2.
We advised Heimdal at an early stage of its journey, helping it secure $250,000 in seed investment from VoLo Earth Ventures, a US investment firm focusing on responsible ESG and climate-based investing for a sustainable future.
Heimdal is currently working with established multinationals and looking to supply them with glass and concrete as well as the world's first carbon negative limestone. Erik believes by 2024 Heimdal will be capturing hundreds of thousands of tonnes of CO2 per year and fulfilling the carbonate input requirements of plants all over the world.
We're proud to help Heimdal decarbonise industry and build a more sustainable future.
10 February 2023
26 March 2023