On October 11th 2017, we launched the Climeworks and CarbFix2 project in Hellisheidi, Iceland, where we installed a Climeworks plant consisting of one CO2 collector module (DAC-1) on the premises of one of the world’s largest geothermal plants. Our goal for this is to investigate the performance of our technology in Iceland as well as to trial storing the captured atmospheric CO2 safely and permanently in the basalt rock formations below.
This launch has generated a huge media response, with outlets from all over the world covering the story. We have been asked plenty of questions about the technology, its purpose and our partnership, and we thought we would answer some of the questions here.
How much CO2 will you capture?
The nominal capacity of the Climeworks DAC-1 plant is 50 tonnes of CO2 per year. Depending on the scheduling of tests, we estimate to capture 30-40 tonnes of CO2 over the testing phase.
Why did you decide to work with CarbFix and not with other solutions to store CO2?
Three factors make the collaboration between CarbFix and Climeworks especially beneficial. First is the fact that the CarbFix approach turns the captured CO2 into stone, thus creating a permanent and safe storage solution. Second is the fact that the CarbFix project centres around the Hellisheidi Geothermal power plant which can provide the necessary low-carbon heat and electricity to run the Climeworks plant. Thirdly, CarbFix offers a very strong scientific backbone as well as sophisticated monitoring and analysis of sequestered CO2, which is crucial to reliably show that CO2 is removed permanently and safely.
Why not just plant trees?
Trees should absolutely be planted. If done right, afforestation comes with a number of important benefits such as reduced soil erosion and increased biodiversity. In terms of reversing CO2 emissions, afforestation needs to be complemented with negative emissions enabled through direct air capture as well as other measures. One measure alone will not be sufficient to provide the required amount of negative emissions.