Icelandic carbon capture plans receive EUR 3.9m EU funding

Icelandic carbon capture plans receive EUR 3.9m EU funding Well heads at Hellisheidi power plant of Reykjavik Energy (source: flickr/thinkgeonergy, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 15 Aug 2021

For a project targeted to capture more carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide from the emissions of the Hellisheidi geothermal plant, partners Carbfix and ON Power receive EUR 3.9m in EU funding.

Icelandic companies Carbfix and ON Power, subsidiaries of Reykjavik Energy, have received funding from the European Union’s Innovation Fund for the Silfurberg project. The grant is one of the highest that has been granted for a climate project in Iceland and amounts to about EUR 3.9 million (approx. ISK 600 million). This is the first time that an Icelandic project has been funded by the fund.

Traceless processing at Hellisheidi geothermal plant

The goal of the Silfurberg project is to build a new treatment plant at the Hellisheidi power plant, which will capture almost all of the carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide from the power plant’s emissions, which will then be pumped into nearby basalt rock layers for permanent quarrying with Carbfix technology. As a result, Orka náttúrunnar will be at the forefront of green geothermal energy utilization with uninterrupted production of electricity and heat.

The Carbfix method works against climate change

Carbfix has been developing technology for the permanent sequestration of carbon dioxide at the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant since 2007 in collaboration with domestic and foreign research institutes. The technology only requires electricity and water and the operation has an insignificant environmental impact. The technology involves dissolving carbon dioxide in water and pumping it into the basalt bedrock, where natural processes permanently drain it. In this way, the carbon dioxide is permanently bound in the rocks deep in the bedrock, thus preventing its impact on the climate. The method can also be used for other gases such as hydrogen sulphide, but it has also been captured from the power plant and pumped down since 2014.

Larger and more powerful treatment plant

The current refinery at Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant captures about 30% of carbon dioxide and about 75% of hydrogen sulphide from its emissions, or about 12 thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide and about 7 thousand tonnes of hydrogen sulphide per year. The grant received by the Silfurberg project will be used for the design and construction of a larger and more powerful plant at the power plant, which is planned to be commissioned in 2025. This will purify almost all carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide emissions from the power plant, or about 34 thousand tons of carbon dioxide and about 12 thousand tons of hydrogen sulphide per year.

Actions to achieve climate goals

Iceland’s climate plan assumes a 55% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from energy production and industry, which falls under Iceland’s direct responsibility by 2030. The Silfurberg project will reduce emissions by about 10% of this reduction. The results of the project will also be useful to reduce emissions from other geothermal power plants both in Iceland and abroad, in addition to which it is possible to use the technology to reduce emissions from other industrial activities such as steel mills, cement production and incineration and landfill.

Edda Sif Pind Aradóttir, Managing Director of Carbfix: “It is a great recognition for a young knowledge company like Carbfix to receive such great support from the Innovation Fund and as a sign that carbon disposal with Carbfix technology is both an economical and environmentally friendly climate solution that can have an impact far beyond the rocks. . ”

Berglind Rán Ólafsdóttir, Executive Director of Orka náttúrunnar: “The new climate report from the United Nations shows that we must all do better in the fight against climate change. The energy from ON – both electricity and hot water – is green, but we want, must and intend to do even better. On the basis of the grant, we are taking a big step towards a smooth track, an ambitious and at the same time necessary journey in which all companies should take part. ”

Source: ON