The world’s largest plant capable of sucking carbon dioxide out of the air and stashing it securely underground has officially been switched on.
About half an hour outside of Reykjavik, Iceland, nestled between green, rolling hills sits an array of eight rectangular steel boxes arranged in a U shape. Each box, about the size of a shipping container, holds fans and filters that pull in air and trap carbon dioxide molecules. Heat piped into the boxes releases the CO2 from the filters, after which it is combined with water and pumped deep underground. There, the CO2 that was once helping to warm the atmosphere reacts with basalt rock and will turn into stone over the course of two years.
This network of boxes, fans, and pipes is called Orca, and it is a partnership between Climeworks, a company that designs and operates “direct air capture” machines, and Carbfix, a company that turns CO2 into stone. As of Wednesday, Orca has begun removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for anyone willing to pay the price.
It is a major milestone for the carbon removal industry, which could become essential to keeping t... Read more