Direct air capture technology may be essential in helping the world fight against climate change. There are already many startups, governments, and research groups driving the technology forward. One of them is Swiss cleantech company Climeworks.
The company has now broken the ground in Iceland to build its newest and largest direct air capture and storage plant, called Mammoth. The facility represents a demonstrable step in the company’s ambitious scale-up plan – multi-megaton capacity by 2030, on track to deliver gigaton capacity by 2050.
In September 2021, Climeworks began operations of Orca, its first-of-a-kind plant, kick-starting the supply availability of high-quality carbon removal. Orca is capable of absorbing 4,000 tons of CO2 each year and features a modular design consisting of stackable units.
Mammoth is Climeworks’ 18th project and its second commercial direct air capture and storage plant. It will also employ a modular architecture and is designed with a nominal CO2 capture capacity of 36,000 tons per year when fully operational. Located in Iceland, construction is expected to last 18-24 months before operations start.
Climeworks’ CO2 storage partner Carbfix will provide the permanent underground storage of carbon dioxide. The Hellisheiði electricity power plant operated by ON Power will supply Climeworks’ Mammoth plant and the Carbfix CO2 injection sites with renewable energy to run the entire direct air capture and storage process.
“Today is a very important day for Climeworks and for the industry as construction begins on our newest, large-scale direct air capture and storage plant,” said Jan Wurzbacher, co-founder, and co-CEO of Climeworks. “With Mammoth, we can leverage our ability to quickly multiply our modular technology and significantly scale our operations. We are building the foundation for a climate-relevant gigaton-scale capacity, and we are starting deployment now to remain on track for this.”
“Based on most successful scale-up curves, reaching gigaton by 2050 means delivering at multi-megaton scale by 2030,” said Christoph Gebald, co-founder and co-CEO of Climeworks. “Nobody has ever built what we are building in DAC, and we are both humble and realistic that the most certain way to be successful is to run the technology in the real world as fast as possible. Our fast deployment cycles will enable us to have the most robust operations at a multi-megaton scale.”