Climeworks starts plant in Iceland and thereby creates the world’s first carbon removal solution through direct air capture

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Swiss cleantech company Climeworks has partnered with Reykjavik Energy to combine direct air capture (DAC) technology for the world’s first time with safe and permanent geological storage. As part of the CarbFix2 project Climeworks will demonstrate a safe, economically-viable and highly scalable carbon removal technology. This type of solution has been recognized as a crucial component in efforts to achieve global warming targets.

The EU-backed collaborative research project centers around one of the world’s largest geothermal power plants in Hellisheidi, Iceland, where CO2 is currently injected and mineralized at an industrial scale. A Climeworks DAC module has been installed on-site to capture CO2 from ambient air for permanent storage underground, thus creating a carbon removal solution.

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A testing phase has started during which the CO2 is captured from ambient air, bound to water, and sent to more than 700 meters underground. There the CO2 reacts with the basaltic bedrock and forms solid minerals, creating a permanent storage solution. Climeworks’ technology draws in ambient air and captures the CO2 with a patented filter. The filter is then heated with low-grade heat from the geothermal plant to release the pure CO2 which then can be stored underground.

During the trial Climeworks will test how its technology works with the specific weather conditions at the location in the South West of Iceland. The CarbFix2 project is a major step forward for DAC technology. Earlier this year the company made history with the world’s first commercially-viable DAC plant near Zurich which filters 900 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere and supplies it to a local greenhouse.

The CarbFix2 project

CarbFix2 has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and is led by Iceland’s multi-utility company Reykjavik Energy. It is based on the original CarbFix project, initiated in 2007. Further partners to CarbFix2 are The University of Iceland, CNRS (Toulouse, France) and Amphos 21 (Barcelona, Spain).

Source: Climaworks