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This CO2 capture plant removes 4,000 metric tons per year: it is the largest in the world and is already operational

A few kilometers from Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, is Orca. Orca is not a city or geographic location, but the world’s largest carbon capture facility. Since this Wednesday, it has started operating and promises to capture 4,000 metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere each year.

The CO2 capture plant has been built by the Swiss company Climeworks AG, with the support of Microsoft. It has a total of eight air collection modules that in turn have dozens of fans to collect the surrounding air, filter it and return it to the atmosphere. During this process it retains the CO2 to mix it with water and later pump it underground. With this process Climeworks says that the Orca plant will be able to withdraw thousands of tons per year.

Orca, with its 4,000 tons per year, represents 40% of the CO2 that is extracted from the atmosphere per year using this method. Of course, to put this in context, there are currently only a total of 15 plants that use a similar method. According to a recent report this year, more than 2,000 plants like this are going to be needed to have an impact on climate change. Climeworks already has plans to open another plant in Norway.

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A process that raises doubts

The method to extract CO2 from the atmosphere directly is a method with relatively young technologies. Although it allows capturing CO2 from the atmosphere, the truth is that many see it as a patch or excuse rather than a true solution. And it is that in addition to “patching” a major underlying problem, it is not convincing because of its real efficiency.

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This type of facility requires energy to operate. Resources are also consumed to obtain this energy, which again has an impact on the environment. Unless fully renewable energies such as solar or wind energy are used, it is a method that loses sense. In the case of Orca, they take advantage of the geothermal energy in the area.

Atmospheric CO2 extractors: this is how the technology we will need to fight climate change works

Another aspect that raises doubts about this method is because the “little” CO2 that is captured. In this case, Orca’s 4,000 metric tons per year represent less than 1% of the CO2 that a bastard plant currently emits. In Quartz they compare these 4,000 tons with the greenhouse gases emitted by about 870 combustion cars a year. If anyone has a better method, Elon Musk offers $ 100 million for it.

Via | Reuters
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