The rapid construction of Climeworks' new direct air capture and storage plant Orca has started

News | 02.12.2020

Climeworks continues to make large-scale carbon dioxide removal a reality with the rapid construction of its new direct air capture and storage plant Orca

Project background

“Orca” is the name of Climeworks’ new direct air capture plant in Iceland. It will take carbon dioxide removal to the next level: it combines Climeworks' direct air capture technology with the underground storage of carbon dioxide provided by Carbfix on a much larger scale, capturing 4’000 tons of CO₂ per year.

In addition to emissions reduction efforts, which prevent new CO₂ from entering the atmosphere, climate scientists agree that removing historic emissions is crucial to limit global warming to 1.5°C. 

To restore a healthy balance of CO₂ in the atmosphere, pure carbon dioxide removal solutions are needed at large scale. By providing accessible, permanent and fully measurable CO₂ removal, Orca sets high standards for the emerging carbon dioxide removal industry.

Orca will permanently remove CO₂ from the atmosphere on behalf of corporations or institutions as well as individuals. A unique subscription-based program enables anyone to join the innovative community of nearly 3’000 pioneers from 54 countries around the world who are already leading the way to a climate-positive world.

Project details

The rapid construction of Orca has just started: it will take six months and comprises two phases.

By scaling up its direct air capture and storage technology, Climeworks is making a permanent CO₂ removal solution more easily attainable. Due to the modular nature of the Climeworks technology it is possible to achieve short construction times, which will be a key enabler for scaling the technology in the future.

The construction of Orca comprises two phases: phase one started in October and is expected to be completed by the end of this year. It includes the infrastructure and the foundation for the new generation of Climeworks’ CO₂ collectors. Phase two involves the installation of the plant and machinery in Iceland and is expected to be finalized by spring 2021.  

Orca, once complete, will remove over 4’000 tons of CO₂ from the atmosphere every year, making it the largest direct air capture and storage plant to date. Orca is being built close to ON Power’s Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant in Iceland, meaning that all the energy required to run the direct air capture process at Orca will come from purely renewable sources. Underground storage of CO₂ is performed by Carbfix.

Key take-aways

  • Orca sets high standards for the emerging carbon dioxide removal industry by providing accessible, fully measurable and permanent CO₂ removal
  • The construction on Orca has begun and will be finalized in spring 2021: the modular design of Climeworks’ CO₂ collectors makes it possible to implement large-scale industrial constructions at speed
Christoph Gebald, co-CEO and co-founder of Climeworks
“Breaking ground on the construction of Orca marks an exciting milestone for Climeworks and an important step in the fight against climate change. Climeworks’ new plant Orca demonstrates that scalable, pure carbon dioxide removal via direct air capture is possible. And we are excited to be a vital part in kickstarting the carbon dioxide removal industry.”

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