New Plant to Capture Ten Times More CO2 from Atmosphere at Hellisheiði

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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.

See Also: Set in Stone

“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.

Carbfix to build CO2 Mineral Storage Facility in Straumsvík

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Carbfix has announced plans to build a CO2 Mineral Storage Terminal in Straumsvík in southwest Iceland. The terminal will be equipped to receive large quantities of CO2 transported by ship andinject it into the basaltic bedrock where it turns into stone. The facility will be called Coda Terminal and Carbfix estimates that its construction and operation will create 600 jobs, directly and indirectly.

At full scale, the Coda Terminal will provide annual storage amounting to three million tonnes of CO2. Carbfix CEO Edda Sif Pind Aradóttir states that „The Coda Terminal will receive CO2 transported by specifically designed ships operating on sustainable fuel. The transport of CO2 to Iceland is enabled by the low costs associated with onshore mineral storage. The Carbfix technology will then be used to permanently and safely turn CO2 into stone, deep in within the basaltic bedrock. The Terminal will also be able to store CO2 from local industries, as well as CO2 captured directly from the air (DAC).”

The Coda Terminal will be constructed in three phases, with a full-scale capacity of three million tonnes of CO2 annually. The preparation phase will begin in 2021 with engineering and permitting processes. Drilling of the first wells will start in 2022, with the aim of commencing operations in 2025 and reaching full scale by 2030.

The Carbfix technology is based on dissolving CO2 in water before injecting it deep underground, where it turns into solid minerals in less than two years. It doesn’t require much except water, electricity, CO2 and reactive rock formations such as basalts, and according to Carbfix, the area around Straumsvík is ideal. “The environment in Straumsvík, with its fresh basaltic lavas and vast sources of groundwater streams, is perfectly suited for permanent and safe CO2 mineral storage. The power requirements are minimal, and the transmission grid and an industrial harbour are already in place,” says Edda, adding that the storage capacity is more than sufficient, as Carbfix geologists estimate that Iceland alone could store around 80-200 times the annual global emission of CO2.

The name, Coda, comes from music and refers to a concluding passage that brings the musical piece to a satisfactory

Read more about the Carbfix program.