Technology

Construction of the first ever large-scale direct air capture and storage plant has commenced

Climeworks continues to make large-scale carbon dioxide removal a reality

In order to avert the climate emergency and maintain conditions on planet earth that humanity is evolved to suit it is crucial to turn off fossil fuel emissions at source. The next step is to remove carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. The best way of doing this is ecological regeneration which also support biodiversity reversing the sixth mass extinction event.

Time is short. If we want to keep ice at the poles, healthy rainforests in the tropics and viable coral ecosystems in the seas then we need to reverse global warming fast. Some new technologies may help. Introducing “Orca” - Climeworks’ new direct air capture plant in Iceland. It will take carbon dioxide removal to the next level: it combines Climeworks' direct air capture technology with the underground storage of carbon dioxide provided by Carbfix on a much larger scale, capturing 4’000 tons of CO2per year.

In addition to emissions reduction efforts, which prevent new CO2 from entering the atmosphere, climate scientists agree that removing historic emissions is crucial to limit global warming to 1.5°C. To restore a healthy balance of CO2in the atmosphere, pure carbon dioxide removal solutions are needed at large scale. By providing accessible, permanent and fully measurable CO2removal, Orca sets high standards for the emerging carbon dioxide removal industry.

Orca will permanently remove CO2 from the atmosphere on behalf of corporations or institutions as well as individuals. A unique subscription-based program enables anyone to join the innovative community of nearly 3’000 pioneers from 54 countries around the world who are already leading the way to a climate-positive world. By scaling up its direct air capture and storage technology, Climeworks is making a permanent CO2removal solution more easily attainable.

Christoph Gebald, co-CEO and co-founder of Climeworks said -

Breaking ground on the construction of Orca marks an exciting milestone for Climeworks and an important step in the fight against climate change. Climeworks’ new plant Orca demonstrates that scalable, pure carbon dioxide removal via direct air capture is possible. And we are excited to be a vital part in kickstarting the carbon dioxide removal industry.

The rapid construction of Orca has just started: it will take six months and comprises two phases. Due to the modular nature of the Climeworks technology it is possible to achieve short construction times, which will be a key enabler for scaling the technology in the future.

The construction of Orca comprises two phases: phase one started in October and is expected to be completed by the end of this year. It includes the infrastructure and the foundation for the new generation of Climeworks’ CO2 collectors. Phase two involves the installation of the plant and machinery in Iceland and is expected to be finalized by spring 2021.

Orca, once complete, will remove over 4’000 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere every year, making it the largest direct air capture and storage plant to date. Orca is being built close to ON Power’s Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant in Iceland, meaning that all the energy required to run the direct air capture process at Orca will come from purely renewable sources. Underground storage of CO2 is performed by Carbfix.

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