Iceland launches world’s largest plant to capture carbon from air

Iceland has launched the world’s largest plant that turns carbon dioxide captured from air into rock. In a joint effort between Iceland’s Carbfix and Switzerland’s Climeworks, the plant is set to suck 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the air every year once operating at total capacity.

The plant uses fans to draw air into a collector, which is then collected by filtered material. Once the material is filled with carbon dioxide, the collector is closed and the temperature is raised to release the carbon dioxide from the material. From there, the carbon dioxide is mixed with water and then injected into nearby basalt rock at around a depth of 1000 meters, where it is then mineralized.

The plant, named Orca after the Icelandic word “orka,” meaning “energy”, comprises four units, each made up of two metal boxes that resemble shipping containers.

Orca is among the first initiatives to capture and store carbon as an important tool to help fight climate change. Bloomberg reported that the cost is between US$10m and US$15m to build. It is estimated that Orca will capture 4000 tons of CO2 per year, making it the world’s biggest climate-positive facility to date.

Image: Climeworks