Carbon Capture Using Microalgae Cultivated in Scalable Photobioreactors Paired with a Particle Filtration System

Case ID:

This invention offers a method to offset carbon emissions for industries where carbon-neutral operations are particularly challenging (e.g., airlines, shipping). Due to the intrinsic scalability of this invention, it has a potential to provide the most cost-effective solution to massive (hundreds of ktons to Gtons-level) CO2 extraction, thereby contributing to the reducing the impact of climate change and meeting demands for such capabilities if carbon taxes are introduced worldwide.

Transitioning industrial processes worldwide to carbon-neutral operations is a necessity yet an enormously expensive technological and economic challenge. Across the globe companies are pledging to become carbon neutral by a certain year. Energy is the number one cause of greenhouse gas emissions which is why this invention is an attractive alternative for shipping companies, airlines, and data centers where energy and fuel use is inevitable.

Greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 43% from 1990 to 2015. If the number keeps growing at that rate, global warming will be irreversible, and the impact will be massive. As more and more companies pledge to become carbon neutral, it has become difficult to find scalable solutions that are cost effective. The invention described here offers a scalable solution to efficiently extract CO2 from ocean water (a gigantic reservoir of CO2 that is coupled to the atmosphere) by utilizing a novel combination of photobioreactor and particle filtration system. Three regions of the world (East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, and the United States) account for about 74% of the total emissions. If companies in these regions can utilize reliable sources of carbon offsetting, then the total world emissions will greatly decrease, and we can slow the impacts of global warming.


  • Offset carbon emissions
  • Help companies achieve net-zero emissions


  • Low cost
  • Efficient
  • Scalable
  • Plentiful resources (ocean water)
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Tod McCauley
Assistant Director of Licensing, CALS
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Daniel Apai
Joel Cuello