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Direct Air Capture

Capturing CO2 directly from the atmosphere is necessary on large-scale if the world is to meet the goals Paris climate agreement. Since 2017, Carbfix has been in collaboration with Climeworks, a Swiss clean-tech company, that specializes in direct air capture technology. Climeworks ran a small pilot plant, the Arctic Fox, to the Carbfix mineral storage operations at the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant. The power plant provides access to a suitable heat source, to power the direct air capture technology (DAC) which mostly relies on energy in the form of low-grade heat (~100°C).

Image credit: Climeworks

From the Climeworks webpage:

"Our CO₂ collectors selectively capture carbon dioxide in a two-step process. First, air is drawn into the collector with a fan. Carbon dioxide is captured on the surface of a highly selective filter material that sits inside the collectors. Second, after the filter material is full with carbon dioxide, the collector is closed. We increase the temperature to between 80 and 100 °C - this releases the carbon dioxide. Finally, we can collect this high-purity, high-concentration carbon dioxide."

The world's first direct air capture and storage operation

The Arctic Fox was a pilot plant meant to demonstrate the viability of the next generation DAC facility. Enter the Orca. Climeworks's Orca plant is the first complete direct air capture and storage chain at a commercial scale. The plant is currently being installed in the ON Power's Geothermal Park in Iceland and will start operating in 2021. The plant has the capacity of capturing 4000 tons CO2 per year, all of which will be injected into basaltic formations on-site and permanently stored via the Carbfix process.