Swiss cleantech company Climeworks has partnered with Reykjavik Energy to combine direct air capture (DAC) technology for the world’s first time with safe and permanent geological storage.
As part of the CarbFix2 project Climeworks will demonstrate a safe, economically-viable and highly scalable carbon removal technology. This type of solution has been recognised as a crucial component in efforts to achieve global warming targets.
The EU-backed collaborative research project centres around one of the world’s largest geothermal power plants in Hellisheidi, Iceland, where carbon dioxide (CO2) is currently injected and mineralised at an industrial scale. A Climeworks DAC module has been installed on-site to capture CO2 from ambient air for permanent storage underground, thus creating a carbon removal solution. Scientific studies have warned that the two-degree climate target is not achievable without carbon removal solutions. Carbon negative solutions are also likely to be a key theme at the UN Climate Conference COP 23 starting in Bonn next month.
A testing phase has started during which the CO2 is captured from ambient air, bound to water, and sent to more than 700 metres underground. There the CO2 reacts with the basaltic bedrock and forms solid minerals, creating a permanent storage solution. Climeworks’ technology draws in ambient air and captures the CO2 with a patented filter. The filter is then heated with low-grade heat from the geothermal plant to release the pure CO2 which then can be stored underground.
Christoph Gebald, Founder and CEO at Climeworks, said, “The potential of scaling-up our technology in combination with CO2 storage, is enormous. Not only here in Iceland but also in numerous other regions which have similar rock formations. Our plan is to offer carbon removal to individuals, corporates and organisations as a means to reverse their non-avoidable carbon emissions.”
Edda Sif Aradóttir, CarbFix project leader at Reykjavik Energy commented, “We have developed CarbFix at a unique location here in Iceland and proved that we can permanently turn this greenhouse gas into rock. By imitating natural processes this happens in less than two years. By integrating the Climeworks and CarbFix technologies we create a solution that is deployable where we have basalt but independent of the location of emissions. This is important to scale up the CarbFix approach on a global level.”