A new plant in Iceland will capture 36,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide directly out of the atmosphere, increasing the direct air carbon capture at Hellisheiði Power Station tenfold. Named Mammoth, the new facility adds to the existing 4,000 tonnes captured by the plant Orca, which commenced operations at the same location in September 2021, the first of its kind in the world. The plants are a project of Swiss company Climeworks, in collaboration with Carbfix and ON Power.
Hellisheiði Power Station is the world’s third-largest geothermal power plant. Since 2012, the Carbfix project has been capturing carbon dioxide directly from the plant’s emissions, in collaboration with Climeworks. Once captured, the carbon dioxide is dissolved in water, pumped into the ground, and turned to stone, thus permanently removing it from the atmosphere. Orca and Mammoth, however, capture carbon directly from the atmosphere, making them key technologies in the fight against climate catastrophe.
“Today is a very important day for Climeworks and for the industry as construction begins on our newest, large-scale direct air capture and storage plant,” stated Jan Wurzbacher, co-founder and co-CEO of Climeworks.
The IPCC’s latest report shows that in addition to significant reductions in emissions, the capture and storage of CO2 from the atmosphere is a necessary component of most scenarios limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees by 2100. The report states that to reach this goal, up to 310 gigatonnes of CO2 must be captured from the atmosphere by that time.
“Large-scale carbon removal is vital in addition to rapid emission reduction if we are to reach our climate goals and our mineralisation technology provides the safest and most permanent storage mechanism for capture CO2,” stated Edda Sif Pind Aradóttir, CEO of Carbfix.
Climeworks is currently running pilot projects around the world to determine other suitable locations for their carbon capture technology.