World’s Largest Plant Capturing Carbon from Air Opens in Iceland

Carbon-capture startup Climeworks has opened the world’s largest direct air carbon dioxide capture and storage system (CCS) in Hellisheidi, Iceland on Wednesday.

The plant, named Orca after the Icelandic word “orka” that means “energy”, consisted of four units made up of two metal boxes that look like shipping containers.

The plant would suck carbon dioxide directly from the air and will bury it as rocks deep underground using technology from Climeworks’ Icelandic partner Carbfix.

Orca has the capacity to remove 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency greenhouse gas calculator equated this amount roughly equal to the emissions from 870 cars or 9,261 consumed barrels of oil.

Proponents of the so-called carbon capture and storage believed these technologies can become a major tool in the fight against climate change.

Critics argued that the technology is still prohibitively expensive and might take decades to operate at scale.

Bloomberg reported that the plant cost between US$10 and 15 million to build.


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