World’s largest plant to suck CO2 from air starts in Iceland

World’s largest plant that has been designed to suck carbon dioxide (CO2) from air and turn it into rock was started recently in Iceland.

Key Points

  • This plant has been named as Orca, after the Icelandic word “orka”, meaning energy.
  • The plant comprises of four units. Each of the units are made up of two metal boxes. They are similar to the containers used for maritime transport, in appearance.

Who constructed the plant?

Orca plant has been constructed by Switzerland’s Clime works and Iceland’s Carbfix.

Plant’s capacity

When the plant will operate at its full capacity, it will draw 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from air every year. As per US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this amount is equal to the emissions from about 870 cars.

How CO2 will be collected?

In order to collect the CO2, Orca plant uses fans to draw air into the collector comprising of filter material inside. Once the filter material is filled with carbon dioxide, collector is closed and temperature is raised to release the carbon dioxide from the material. Following this process, highly concentrated gas can be collected. Collected CO2 is mixed with water and are injected at a depth of 1,000 metres into nearby basalt rock where it is petrified.

Significance of the plant

As per the proponents of carbon capture and storage (CCS), these technologies can become a major tool towards the fight against climate change.

What are the concerns?

This technology is still prohibitively expensive and will take decades to operate at larger scale.

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