NSTerrible after At 6 pm on September 9, the Orca carbon capture plant, just outside Reykjavik, Iceland, turned on its fans and began sucking carbon dioxide from the air. The sound was subtle and rumbling. However, plant creators want it to make a big difference in human interaction with climate.
Orca is currently the largest facility in the infant “direct air capture” industry for CO removal.2 From the atmosphere.If you seal such CO underground2 It is counted as “negative emissions”. This is an essential but undeveloped way to tackle global warming. According to the Paris Agreement, hundreds of billions or hundreds of billions of tonnes of CO are required to prevent temperatures from exceeding the pre-industrial average by 1.5 ° C or 2 ° C.2 It will have to be removed from the atmosphere later in the century.
Currently, the only way to do that is by planting trees. This is an option that is not completely flawless. Trees burn in wildfires and can be cut down. When this happens, much of the carbon they store escapes. Orca plants show another way.The company that owns it, Climeworks, has developed a chemical filter that catches CO.2 When air passes through them.Releases CO when heated2Again, it creates a stream of gas that is passed to another company called Carbfix.
Carbfix pipes gas to a nearby well, mixes it with water, and pumps the resulting carbonated water into the bedrock. In Iceland, it is almost entirely composed of volcanic basalt and contains minerals that react with carbon dioxide to form calcium carbonate, the white crystals that are the main component of limestone.Therefore, full operation extracts CO2 Turn it from the air and into rocks.Tests show that Icelandic basalt can isolate CO2 With hard rocks within 2 years. Power comes from a nearby geothermal power plant.
One catch is volume. Orca recovers 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually out of the approximately 35 billion tonnes produced by burning fossil fuels. Climeworks is “confident” that it could reach millions of tonnes before 10 years have passed. (The card no longer has the previous spectacular ambition to reach 1% of emissions by 2025.)
The other is cost. Orca costs $ 600 to $ 800 to isolate a ton of carbon dioxide, and the company sells offset packages online for about $ 1,200 per ton. The company believes that economies of scale can reduce costs by a factor of 10. However, there seems to be no shortage of customers who are willing to pay the current highs. Even if Orca fans rejuvenate, about two-thirds of their lifetime carbon removal offerings have already been sold.Clients include Microsoft, Swiss Re (and economist), And over 8,000 individuals.
Climbworks isn’t the only one to find an opportunity. Carbon Engineering, a Canadian company, is preparing to switch on its own carbon cleaning facility using a variety of chemicals. Building a gigaton-scale industry requires more than these pioneering engineers and financiers. But the fans are spinning. ■■
This article was published in the Science and Technology section of the printed version under the heading “Sucking Money from Thin Air”.
The world’s biggest carbon-removal plant switches on Source link The world’s biggest carbon-removal plant switches on