Iceland unveils world's largest carbon capture facility, pioneering climate change solutions


TN&MTIceland has achieved a significant milestone in combating climate change with the inauguration of Mammoth, the world's largest carbon capture facility. Operated by Climeworks, the Swiss-based company known for its innovative carbon capture technology, Mammoth extracts carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and transforms it into stone, representing a monumental step forward in global efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

Iceland unveils world's largest carbon capture facility, pioneering climate change solutions

The Mammoth carbon dioxide capture and storage facility by Swiss start-up Climeworks is located in Hellisheidi, Iceland

How does Mammoth operate? 

Located just 31 miles from an active volcano, the site was chosen for its proximity to the Hellisheidi geothermal energy plant, essential for powering the facility's fans and heating chemical filters to extract CO2 with water vapor. Once extracted, the CO2 is separated from the steam and compressed in a hangar where massive pipes crisscross.

Subsequently, the gas is dissolved in water and pumped underground using what has been described as a "giant SodaStream" system, as explained by Bergur Sigfusson, the chief system development officer for Carbfix, the company behind the process. A well, drilled beneath a futuristic dome, injects the water 2,300 feet down into the volcanic basalt, which comprises 90% of Iceland's subsoil. Here, it reacts with magnesium, calcium, and iron in the rock to form crystals—solid reservoirs of CO2.

This groundbreaking technology has garnered international attention and acclaim for its innovative approach to carbon capture and storage (CCS). Advocates hail it as a promising solution to combat climate change by effectively removing CO2 from the atmosphere and permanently storing it in geological formations.

The controversy surrounding Mammoth

Despite its ambitious goals, the project has sparked debate among scientists and environmentalists. Some argue that while carbon capture technology is a valuable tool in the fight against climate change, it should not divert attention or resources away from more sustainable solutions such as renewable energy and emissions reduction.

While there are numerous other CO2 capture technologies being utilized worldwide, including in the U.S., where the Biden administration has committed nearly $4 billion to jumpstart the industry, proponents of the Mammoth facility assert that it represents a crucial step forward in developing innovative climate change solutions. By pioneering carbon capture technology on a large scale, Iceland aims to demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of this approach in reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

The inauguration of Mammoth in Iceland underscores the global community's commitment to combating climate change and transitioning towards a sustainable future. As nations continue to grapple with the challenges posed by climate change, initiatives like this offer hope and inspiration for a cleaner, greener planet.

Ngoc Huyen (Euronews, CBSNews, Fox10Phoenix)


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