The world's largest CO₂ capture plant opens in Iceland

Climeworks, the Swiss company that pioneered the air, has reached a significant milestone in its fight against climate change with the opening of its latest facility, Mammoth, located next to a volcano in Iceland. This plant, equipped with 72 industrial fansbecomes the largest infrastructure of its kind on the planet.

Last week marked the start of operations at Mammoth, which aims aspirate 36,000 tons of CO₂ annuallyfrom air to bury them underground. The plant's proximity to an active volcano might seem risky, but it is due to its strategic location near the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant, which provides the energy needed to power the fans and heat the chemical filters used in the capture process. .

The process implemented by Climeworks involves the CO₂ separationof water vapor, its compression in a hangar and its dissolution in water to then be pumped underground. This allows CO₂ to react with minerals present in the volcanic basalt, forming solid underground deposits.

With this new plant, Climeworks significantly increases its CO₂ capture capacity, going from 4,000 to 40,000 tons per year once Mammoth is fully operational. Although this figure is still a small fraction of total global emissions, it represents an important step towards carbon neutrality.

Experts emphasize the need to reduce emissions and the secondary role that direct air capture currently plays due to its high cost and dependence on renewable energy. Despite the challenges, Climeworks continues to lead the way in this emerging field. More than 20 new similar projects are under development around the world, and are expected to be operational by 2030.