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Significant expansion of carbon removal and storage planned at geothermal plant in Iceland

Hellisheidi geothermal power plant, Iceland (picture. CarbFix)
Alexander Richter 26 Aug 2020

A groundbreaking agreement has been announced for a new plant that will significantly scale-up carbon removal and storage at the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant in Iceland.

In an announcement today, Climeworks and its Icelandic counterparts CarbFix, carbon storage pioneers and ON Power, Icelandic geothermal energy provider, report having signed ground breaking agreements.  These agreements are to lay the foundation for a new plant that will significantly scale-up carbon removal and storage in Iceland. The new plant will be able to permanently remove 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the air per year.

The agreements set down an important milestone in the fight against climate change: They mark the first time the technologies have been combined for a project of this scale to remove carbon dioxide from the air.

Under the agreement with ON Power, Climeworks will build facilities within their Geothermal Park to capture CO2 from the air. This will be done using Climeworks’ direct air capture technology (DAC). The geothermal power and heat provided by ON Power secures a constant supply of renewable energy to power the DAC technology.

Climeworks’ agreement with Carbfix ensures the safe storage of the CO2 through natural underground mineralization. The underground basaltic rock formations in Iceland provide the ideal conditions for this process, providing a permanent solution for CO2 storage.

The collaborative efforts of these agreements are particularly important as the scale-up of carbon removal is essential to reach the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, and the continued development of these technologies could prove to be a game-changer in the fight against climate change.

Jan Wurzbacher, co-founder and co-CEO of Climeworks: “This collaboration with ON and Carbfix marks a big step forward in reducing the CO2 in our air. The site in Iceland provides ideal conditions: the supply of renewable energy and a safe and natural storage space for our air-captured carbon dioxide. All partners have developed pioneering solutions and are experts in their field. We are proud, together with our partners, to bring the permanent and safe removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to the next level.”

Edda Sif Pind Aradóttir, CEO of Carbfix: “The combination of the proprietary Carbfix and Climeworks technologies marks a turning point in climate action, allowing us to permanently capture CO2 already emitted to the atmosphere and rapidly turn into stone underground. Through continued up-scaling of these technologies a climate disaster can be avoided while at the same time establishing a new industrial pillar for the global economy. This agreement between Climeworks, ON and Carbfix marks an important milestone towards that goal.”

Berglind Rán Ólafsdóttir, CEO of ON Power: “The ON Geothermal Park is a venue for companies utilizing the resources of the Hellisheiði Power Plant in a responsible and sustainable manner to create value and promote innovation in the field of geothermal operations. This agreement takes us a big step closer to realizing that vision. The collaboration between ON, Carbfix and Climeworks showcases how innovative projects can come together to create and scale-up one of the solutions to global warming. We at ON Power are immensely proud of this collaboration and we look forward to support the operations of Climework in the future.”

Carbfix and Climeworks have received funding from the European Union‘s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 764760.

Source: Carbfix company release