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Tenfold increase to CO2 direct air capture and storage at Hellisheiði

Climeworks‘ new direct air capture plant at Hellisheiði, Iceland, built in collaboration with Carbfix and ON Power, will bring a tenfold increase to the current CO2 capture and storage capacity at the site. The new plant adds to the capacity of Climeworks‘ Orca plant, which commenced operations in September 2021, the first of its kind in the world.

Ⓒ 2022, Climeworks

The new plant, called Mammoth, has a nominal direct air capture capacity of 36,000 tons per year; bringing the capacity at Hellisheiði from 4,000 tons with Orca to a total of 40,000 tons per year. The captured CO2 is then mineralized underground using the Carbfix technology. The construction of Mammoth has commenced, and the plant is expected to start operating in 18-24 months.

“Today is a very important day for Climeworks and for the industry as construction begins on our newest, large-scale direct air capture and storage plant,” said Jan Wurzbacher, co-founder, and co-CEO of Climeworks. “With Mammoth, we can leverage our ability to quickly multiply our modular technology and significantly scale our operations. We are building the foundation for a climate-relevant gigaton-scale capacity, and we are starting deployment now to remain on track for this.”

Mammoth is Climeworks’ 18th project and its second commercial direct air capture and storage plant. Climeworks' process can also be applied in other areas around the world where renewable energy and geologic storage options are available. The company is already exploring further locations around the world with pilot projects.

Ⓒ 2022, Climeworks

From air to stone through the Carbfix technology

“Building on Carbfix’s ten-year track record of safely and successfully mineralizing CO2, Mammoth represents a decisive step towards developing and scaling up the DAC sector,” said Edda Sif Pind Aradóttir, CEO of Carbfix, whose proprietary technology involves dissolving CO2 in water and injecting it underground, where it mineralizes in less than two years through an accelerated natural process.

“The project is a testament to Carbfix’s commitment to provide permanent mineral storage in support of this growing industry, whether in Iceland or elsewhere. Large-scale carbon removal is vital in addition to rapid emission reduction if we are to reach our climate goals and our mineralization technology provides the safest and most permanent storage mechanism for captured CO2.“

Important role of capture and storage in fighting climate change

The IPCC‘s latest report shows that in addition to significant reductions in emissions, the capture and storage of CO2 from the atmosphere is a necessary component of most scenarios limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees by 2100. The report states that to reach this goal, up to 310 gigatons of CO2 must be captured from the atmosphere by that time.

 “Based on most successful scale-up curves, reaching gigaton by 2050 means delivering at multi-megaton scale by 2030. Nobody has ever built what we are building in DAC, and we are both humble and realistic that the most certain way to be successful is to run the technology in the real world as fast as possible. Our fast deployment cycles will enable us to have the most robust operations at multi-megaton scale,” said Christoph Gebald, co-founder and co-CEO of Climeworks.

Geothermal Park: hotbed for innovation

ON Power will provide Mammoth with electricity, hot water, and cold water. Like Orca, the new plant will be located in ON Power‘s Geothermal Park at Hellisheiði.

„Mammoth will be a significant and welcome addition to our Geothermal Park, where we are committed to fostering development of climate friendly technologies. The Geothermal Park‘s mission is to fully utilize the resource streams of the geothermal power plant in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner, creating value consistent with the circular economy,“ said Berglind Rán Ólafsdóttir, CEO of ON Power. „We have significantly reduced CO2 emissions from the geothermal power plant at Hellisheiði through carbon capture and underground mineralization in collaboration with Carbfix, and we aim to make the plant net-zero by 2025.“

As part of an environmental impact assessment of the CO2 storage, handled by Carbfix, an assessment plant was submitted earlier this year. CO2 dissolved in water will be injected into the bedrock at two new injection wells at the site. Mammoth-related injections will amount to less than one tenth of injections in the area, most of which are attributed to the operation of the geothermal power plant.

Further info: https://climeworks.com/news/climeworks-announces-groundbreaking-on-mammoth

Photo credits: Ⓒ 2022, Climeworks

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