K-water, a state-owned water utility in South Korea, is constructing the largest desalination facility in the country to supply water to heavy industries in the Daesan Industrial Complex nearby which accounts for a full 40% of South Korea’s petrochemical production. The region has been suffering from water scarcity due to severe droughts and reliance on external water resources. The facility is surrounded by industrial plants producing large volumes of greenhouse gas emissions (17MtCO2e/year). This represents an opportunity for Capture6 to deploy its direct air capture (DAC) technology as well as point-source capture (CCS) to further decarbonize the region.
“As a public institution, we are committed to leading the global carbon neutrality efforts and nurturing the domestic water industry by partnering with the private sector to develop innovative water technologies,” said Dr. Yun, Seog Dae, CEO of K-water.
The planned facility, which includes Capture6’s Project Octopus, will be the world’s first fully integrated water management and carbon dioxide (CO₂) removal facility using a seawater desalination plant. Project Octopus is a two-phase project with the ultimate ambition to develop a large-scale commercial facility removing up to 500,000 tonnes of CO₂ per year, becoming the largest DAC + CCS + water recovery facility in Asia.
“This collaboration is a major step forward for Capture6. By pioneering water integrated water management and CO₂ removal facility, this project will significantly contribute to the region’s sustainable future,” said Dr. Ethan Cohen-Cole, CEO and co-founder of Capture6.
From saltwater to solvent
Capture6 uses saltwater to create its carbon removal solvent. By partnering with water treatment facilities like the one K-water is building, Capture6’s technology can provide affordable carbon removal while increasing the facility’s freshwater yields. Capture6’s system will reduce the environmental harms associated with disposing of excess brine into the ocean, a concern expressed by multiple local groups in the country. The company’s process will also generate green chemicals to further decarbonize K-water’s water management operations and heavy industries such as steelmaking.
Capture6’s technology not only removes atmospheric CO₂ and restores freshwater but also generates green chemicals like hydrochloric acid and calcium carbonates. Currently, these chemicals are derived from fossil fuels and imported to South Korea. The upcoming facility and its circular economy approach aim to provide a local and sustainable supply of key industrial chemicals. This initiative is in line with South Korea’s goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
Capture6 and BKT
Capture6 and South Korean water treatment company BKT signed a strategic cooperation earlier this year. BKT was established in South Korea in 1995 and has subsidiaries in the United States. BKT is a market leader in the water treatment industry offering a broad range of solutions integrating biological wastewater treatment, membrane filtration, and energy-efficient technologies.