In early September, at an industrial facility located about 25 miles southeast of Reykjavik, Iceland, the Swiss company Climeworks will mark the opening of a new project named “Orca.” At least in a conventional sense, Orca doesn’t actually make anything. It is comprised of eight elongated boxes that resemble wood-clad tanks. Each of these boxes—known as “collectors”—is roughly the size of a tractor trailer, and each is festooned with 12 whirring fans that draw a stream of air inside. Within the collectors, a chemical agent known as a sorbent will capture carbon dioxide contained in the air wafting through. Periodically, the surface of the sorbent will fill up. And at that point the carbon dioxide trapped within it will need to be released. At Orca, this task is accomplished with a blast of heat, which is sourced from a nearby hydrothermal vent. The extracted carbon dioxide will then be piped from the collector boxes to a nearby processing facility, where it will be mixed with water and diverted to a deep underground well. And there it will rest. Underground. Forever, presumably. The carbon dioxide captured from the Icelandic air will react with basalt rocks and begin a process of mineralization that takes several years, but it will never function as a heat-trapping atmospheric gas again.
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 30th Aug 2021 read more »