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The World's Largest Carbon Capture Plant Opens in Iceland

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Photo: The World's Largest Carbon Capture Plant Opens in Iceland. Source: Getty Images
Photo: The World's Largest Carbon Capture Plant Opens in Iceland. Source: Getty Images

Swiss company Climeworks has opened the world's largest carbon capture plant in Iceland. Equipped with 72 industrial fans, it can extract 36,000 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere annually, as reported by The Washington Post.

The Mammoth plant is situated on the surface of an extinct volcano. The captured carbon dioxide from the air undergoes special filtration and chemical reactions, mixing with water and being injected underground into volcanic basalt. Through reactions with magnesium, calcium, and iron present in the rock, crystals are formed, serving as solid CO2 reservoirs that prevent its re-entry into the atmosphere.

The location of the Mammoth plant was chosen due to its proximity to the Hellisheidi geothermal power station, which powers the fans and heats the chemical filters. This setup ensures that the plant's operations do not result in additional carbon emissions, enhancing its efficiency and carbon neutrality.

Climeworks profits by selling carbon capture quotas, with clients including companies like Microsoft, Shopify, and Stripe. The cost of Climeworks' services for businesses is undisclosed, but they offer individual subscriptions for carbon removal at $1,500 per metric ton. According to the company's website, over 20,000 individuals have subscribed.

Experts note that as the number of carbon removal installations increases globally, the cost of such services will decrease to around $100 per ton, a target price for many startups in this field.

Climeworks is currently focusing on developing effective methods to utilize the captured carbon, such as for product manufacturing or as an energy source.

Additionally, The Gaze reported that France is banning short-haul flights in an effort to reduce CO2 emissions from transportation. Approved last May, the decision essentially prohibits domestic flights between destinations within the country if they can be reached by train in less than 2 hours and 30 minutes.

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