To fight the growing effects of global warming, we need to eradicate carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as much as possible. For this purpose, the Swiss start-up Climeworks teamed up with Carbfix, an Icelandic carbon storage firm, to develop a plant that would capture carbon dioxide from the air and store it underground. The plant is able to suck up to 4000 t/y of carbon dioxide gas and began its operations on Wednesday, 8th September in Iceland. Talking about the operations of Orca, Climeworks said in a press release, “Today our vision becomes reality. With our Icelandic partners Carbfix and ON Power, we launch Orca, the world’s first large-scale direct air capture and storage plant.”
The plant, named as Orca after the Icelandic term for energy, will help reduce CO2 emissions by about 870 car per year which is equivalent to 500 tons each year! The Orca is made up of eight giant containers that remove CO2 using high-tech filters and fans. The containers filter out the cO2 gas, after which it is mixed with water and then pumped deep into the underground wells. This process turns the gas into stone, thus removing the harmful effects of carbon dioxide gas from the atmosphere and helping to reverse the effects of global warming.
According to Climeworks, their technologies are powered by renewable energy which is sourced from a geothermal power plant nearby. While direct capturing of CO2 from the air is a relatively new and expensive technique, many different companies are investing in it to minimize their excessive carbon footprint. Once, these gigantic CO2-sucking machines become widely available in the international market, along with planting as many trees as possible, we can hope to see a better future where the harmful effects of greenhouse gases are reduced to a bare minimum.