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The world's largest carbon dioxide pump has started operating in Iceland

The world's largest carbon dioxide pump has started operating in Iceland

May 12, 2024 – 10:15 am

Iceland's first large-scale CO2 pump was commissioned in 2021 and the trial run proved successful, so the company behind the plant, Climeworks He built it A ten times larger version of it. The new plant has just been commissioned and is currently the largest of its kind in the world. In addition, it is far from reaching its final size: there are 12 units currently in operation, which will be expanded to 72 by the end of the year. At that time, its full capacity will allow 36,000 tons of carbon dioxide to be filtered from the air annually, which corresponds to the average annual emissions of 8,000 cars.

The principle of operation of the system is not very complicated: fans force air through filters in container-sized units, which bind carbon dioxide. It is then dissolved in water, which is pumped under high pressure deep into the Earth, where it reacts with the basalt and fuses into the rock and is expected to remain there for millions of years. The energy for all of this is provided by a nearby geothermal power plant.

Photo: Climaworks

This technology remains expensive to this day, and its potential pales in comparison to annual human emissions of 40 billion tons. However, according to the company, its solution can be scaled up well and is just one of several promising projects being used to capture carbon dioxide. They calculate that by 2050, using renewable energy sources, their technology could reach nearly a billion tons of annual carbon dioxide filtering capacity. According to the basic principles set out in the Paris Climate Agreement, carbon dioxide emissions from human civilization must be reduced by several billion tons by 2050 in order to halt climate change, and it could help us a lot if we not only emit less harmful substances to the Earth. the air, but also effectively remove them from it, which we acknowledged earlier.

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