New project will see carbon capture pioneer Climeworks work with Carbfix and ON Power to remove 4,000 tons of CO2 a year from the atmosphere
Carbon capture pioneer Climeworks is spearheading a new project to permanently remove 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide directly from the air every year and store it deep beneath the ground in Icelandic basalt.
The Swiss firm signed a groundbreaking agreement yesterday with carbon storage company Carbfix and geothermal energy provider ON Power that will see the three firms work together on a new plant in Iceland.
Under the agreement with ON Power, Climeworks will build the facility within the Icelandic firm's Geothermal Park. As such, it will draw on a reliable supply of renewable geothermal energy to power Climeworks' direct air capture technology, which will remove CO2 from the surrounding air.
The captured CO2 will then be stored by Carbfix through natural underground mineralization processes. The carbon dioxide will be injected into wells that reach down deep into Iceland's underground basalt rock formations, which provide ideal conditions for the carbon gas to mineralize and solidify, according to the firm, providing permanent storage.
"The site in Iceland provides ideal conditions: the supply of renewable energy and a safe and natural storage space for our air-captured carbon dioxide," said Jan Wurzbacher, welcoming the agreement.
"All partners have developed pioneering solutions and are experts in their field. We are proud, together with our partners, to bring the permanent and safe removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to the next level."
The project is the latest ambitious venture from Swiss firm Climeworks, which only opened its first commercial carbon capture plant in Switzerland in May 2017 - taking carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere and funnelling it to a nearby salad farm to help boost plant growth.
In 2018, the firm raised €30.5m to scale up the system, announcing an ambitious vision of capturing one per cent of global CO2 emissions by 2025.
Last year, it launched a new service allowing customers to purchase subscriptions promising to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it underground as stone, creating a new rival for nature or renewable energy-based emissions offset companies.
The ability to capture and store carbon dioxide directly from the air has been hailed by advocates as a potential gamechanger for efforts to draw down greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. However, critics have argued the approach remains hugely expensive compared to most alternatives, faces significant technological challenges, and could detract from the need to reduce emissions at source.
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