In pictures: World’s largest carbon capture plant in action
Billed as 'The next step towards a climate-positive world', the Climeworks Orca carbon capture system starts operating in Iceland.
On 8 September, Swiss company Climeworks began operations of Orca, the world’s first and largest direct carbon capture and storage plant.
The construction of Orca started in May 2020, and due to its simple modular-based construction, it was possible for Orca to be operational in under 15 months.
Climeworks estimates that Orca will be able to permanently remove 4,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere per year. Once the carbon dioxide is removed from the air, it can be safely stored underground. For this process, Climeworks teamed-up with an Icelandic company called Carbfix, who specialise in the process of turning carbon dioxide into stone.
The carbon dioxide that Orca captures is mixed with water and is then pumped deep underground. Over the course of a few years, this CO2 reacts with the natural basalt and eventually turns into solid carbonate minerals.
The CEOs of Climeworks are hopeful that the technology will help contribute to ambitious net-zero carbon targets set by the Paris Agreement of 2016.
The Orca facility
Zero waste process
Dirty air goes in...
...Clean air comes out
The magic ingredient
Out of harm's way
How the process works:
Orca is go
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James Cutmore is the picture editor of BBC Science Focus Magazine, researching striking images for the magazine and on the website. He is also has a passion for taking his own photographs