Prospective

Icelandic power plant will sequester more CO2 than it emits

  • 19 Oct
    2017
  • 2 min

GreenTech is touted as the key to braking climate change. One power plant in Iceland is showing the way by becoming carbon negative.

Many countries, including France, have ratified the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, thus committing to reducing the output of greenhouse gases. A number of cities, including Copenhagen and Barcelona are going even further, aiming to become ‘carbon neutral’ within a few years. One example from Iceland shows how GreenTech companies can help them achieve their emissions reduction targets. 

On this small island, Swiss CO2 capture technology specialist Climeworks has just installed the world’s first carbon removal solution based on direct air carbon capture (DAC) and geological storage. This carbon capture & storage system, running at the geothermal power plant at Hellisheidi, is part of the EU-funded CarbFix2 project. It is designed to demonstrate that the method – capturing CO2 direct from ambient air and pumping it, together with water, into the basaltic rock formation on which Iceland rests – actually works. The aim is to turn the gas rapidly into solid carbonate minerals, thus ensuring that it will not escape into the atmosphere for millions of years. 

The process is currently very costly, but such technical progress sustains the hope of the international community of keeping global warming to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels and thus helping to avert the worst effects of climate change. The Hellisheidi power plant is the first-ever installation equipped to achieve ‘carbon negative’ status. Carbon negative solutions are also likely to be a key theme at the next United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP23), to be held in Bonn on 7-16 November, an opportunity to promote further initiatives to ensure the well-being of the planet, and its inhabitants, going forward…

By Sophia Qadiri