“Orca” was until September last year the largest air capture plant (DAC) in the world, this machine has the capacity to absorb 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the air, which is equivalent to 790 cars driving with all positions occupied.
However, the new plant called Mammoth, which will soon come online, will have the capacity to capture 9 times more carbon dioxide than the current Orca.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), there are no more than 20 plants of this type on planet Earth, so they do not represent a real solution to the greenhouse gases caused by the industrial activities of the Humans.
This same agency indicates that to achieve a true positive impact on the environment, there would have to be air capture plants capable of absorbing 85 million carbon dioxideHowever, at the moment with the 20 plants that exist plus Mammoth that will enter construction in the next 18 to 24 months, only 0.01 million tons of CO2 could be absorbed.
With the above, cleaning the planet of greenhouse gases will require plants that are capable of absorbing one million tons of carbon dioxide per year, each. To which Mammoth will only have the capacity to capture 36,000 tons of this chemical compound, which makes it very far from the goal already mentioned, although it is a great advance in terms of technology for the environment.
So far the biggest drawback with plants that capture carbon dioxide from the air is that they require large amounts of Energy to function however, in the case of Orca and Mammoth, as they are located in the Hellisheiði geothermal park in Iceland, they can use this renewable energy to power their operations and thus be able to separate CO2 from clean air.
On the other hand, in the state of Texas, United States, a plant is being built that promises to be capable of absorbing a million tons of carbon dioxide, but the problem with this machine is that, due to its large size, it requires to work not only with renewable energy but also with natural gas To be able to filter CO2 at high temperatures, which will cause it to end up absorbing the carbon dioxide that it will generate.
This last project is counting on the support of the Petroleos Occidental company, which seeks to recover the oil reserves from the subsoil by injecting the carbon that is absorbed.
In the case of Orca and Mammoth the plan is to convert carbon dioxide into stones, and the location of these plants in Iceland is ideal as they will be able to store these stones under the surface of this island.
For this activity, the company that creates these machines is working in collaboration with the Carbfix company, with whom they plan to store CO2 in the region’s basalt formations, thus avoiding the construction of pipes to transport carbon dioxide, a situation that It brought very concerned to the defenders of the environment of that country as well as its inhabitants in general.
Although at the moment this plant that will help clean the air will be the largest in the world, other much larger plants are already being planned.