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World’s largest carbon capture plant begins operations in Iceland – Times of India

WorldWorld’s largest carbon capture plant begins operations in Iceland - Times of India

NEW DELHI: On Wednesday, the world’s largest facility designed to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere started operations in Iceland. Dubbed “Mammoth,” this plant is Climeworks‘ second commercial direct air capture (DAC) facility in the nation and is significantly larger than its predecessor, Orca, which began in 2021. This cutting-edge technology draws in air and chemically extracts carbon dioxide, which can then be stored underground, converted into stone, or reused.
The Swiss company Climeworks, in partnership with Icelandic company Carbfix, plans to sequester the captured carbon by turning it into stone beneath the earth’s surface, utilizing Iceland’s abundant geothermal energy to power the process.This approach underscores a growing trend of using next-generation climate solutions as the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide continues to hit record highs, a CNN report said.
Despite the potential of DAC technology to mitigate climate change effects, it has sparked controversy due to its high costs, energy requirements, and doubts about its scalability. Critics like Lili Fuhr, director of the fossil economy program at the Center for International Environmental Law, argue that such technologies pose significant ecological risks and might divert attention from necessary reductions in fossil fuel usage.
Mammoth, which began construction in June 2022, features a modular design that allows for the flexible arrangement of its 72 collector containers. Currently, with 12 containers operational and more to be added, the facility aims to remove 36,000 tons of carbon annually—equivalent to removing about 7,800 gas-powered cars from the road each year. While Climeworks has not disclosed exact costs per ton of carbon removed, it is estimated to be closer to $1,000 than $100. The company targets reducing costs to around $100 per ton by 2050, potentially making the technology more viable on a larger scale, the CNN report said.
The scale of the challenge remains vast. Current global carbon removal efforts are capable of handling only about 0.01 million metric tons per year, far from the 70 million tons per year the International Energy Agency says is needed by 2030 to meet climate targets. Yet, with larger DAC plants like Stratos under construction in Texas, and more ambitious plans for future facilities, there is hope that significant progress can be made in combatting climate change.

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