Engineers in Iceland powered up a plant, named “Orca,” the largest carbon capture device in the world. Orca is the Icelandic word for energy “Orka.”The plant, consists of four units, each made up of two metal boxes that look like shipping containers.
Constructed by Switzerland’s Climeworks and Iceland’s Carbfix the plant is expected to scrub about 4,400 tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere every year once it’s running at full capacity. That accounts for the emissions of roughly 870 cars, meaning Orca certainly won’t solve the climate crisis on its own — but still, it’s an exciting yet tentative step in the right direction.
Orca consists of multiple shipping container-like units that use giant fans to suck up the surrounding air. As the air passes through, carbon dioxide sticks to large filters that essentially scrub it from the atmosphere.
Once those filters are full up, the containers are sealed off so that the greenhouse gases can be concentrated, mixed with water, and sequestered about a half mile underground. There, the Orca team says it will eventually be compressed into rock, keeping it from floating back up into the air.
Critics of carbon capture have long argued that the nascent tech is too expensive and difficult to implement at any meaningful scale — and that the ability to scrub some carbon from the atmosphere could delay efforts to decarbonize altogether.
Reference- The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Verge, Agence France-Presse