Charlie Buttrey

May 14, 2024

It appears to be the consensus among climatologists that, in order to avoid climate catastrophe, merely reducing our reliance on fossil fuels will not be enough; we must also remove carbon from the atmosphere. But so far, the technology for Direct Air Capture (DAC) has been too cumbersome and expensive to be practical.

But that may be about to change.

A pair of climate-solution firms have just turned on the largest CO2 vacuum in the world, capable of sucking thousands of tons of carbon out of the atmosphere. Back in 2021, the firm CarbFix partnered with the Swiss company Climeworks to open a facility in Iceland that could pull 4,000 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere every year. That may sound like a lot of CO2, but it is the equivalent of taking 870 cars off the road.

Now, though, they’ve opened a new plant in Hellisheiði, Iceland. These vacuums can remove 36,000 tons of Co2 out of the atmosphere every year (admittedly still a smidgeon of a drop in the bucket), and since they are powered by Iceland’s abundant geothermal energy, they are actually carbon-negative.

Next up? A massive carbon-capture plant planned for Wyoming which, when completed, will be capable of removing 5 million tons of CO2 every year.

It’s a start.

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