On 8th September 2021, we launched Orca, the world’s first and largest climate-positive direct air capture and storage plant, making direct air capture and storage a reality.
The launch of Orca was not only a monumental moment for Climeworks but the direct air capture industry as a whole.
Read here: The Economist
Shortly after 6pm on September 9th, the Orca carbon-capture plant, just outside Reykjavik in Iceland, switched on its fans and began sucking carbon dioxide from the air.
Read here: Reuters
The world's largest plant that sucks carbon dioxide directly from the air and deposits it underground is due to start operating on Wednesday, the company behind the nascent green technology said.
Read here: The Financial Times
The start-up behind the world’s biggest direct carbon capture plant said it would build a much larger facility in the next few years that would permanently remove millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
"Orca" is the name of Climeworks' new direct air capture and storage plant in Iceland. It takes carbon dioxide removal to the next level by combining Climeworks' direct air capture technology with the underground storage of carbon dioxide provided by Carbfix. Orca will capture 4000 tons of CO₂ per year - making it the world's biggest climate-positive facility to date. Using Climeworks state of the art technology is one of the most impactful ways to stop climate change.
The 8th September 2021 marked a monumental milestone in our company history, launching Orca, the world’s first large-scale direct air capture + storage plant with our Icelandic partner Carbfix.
The day began with the former President of Iceland, Mr. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, who opened the launch event, followed by Ms. Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland, and Mr. Dagur B Eggertsson, Mayor of Reykjavik. We also welcomed renowned climate scientists Dr. Julio Friedmann of Columbia University and Prof. Thomas Stocker of the University of Bern, as well as Noah Deich, co-Founder and President of climate-focused NGO, Carbon180. And last but certainly not least, Dr. Edda Aradottir, CEO of Carbfix - together with our co-CEOs Jan Wurzbacher and Christoph Gebald, who brought their vision of industrial-scale direct air capture and storage into reality.
The construction of Orca in the Geothermal Park in Hellisheidi, Iceland, is well underway! Now, all eight collector containers of the Orca plant have been mounted and are ready to start capturing carbon dioxide.
The collector containers are the heart of our plant: this is where the two-step process to of capturing carbon dioxide takes place. Having all eight collector containers mounted marks an important milestone in the construction of Orca, as this is the starting point for all outside installations. The next step will be to assemble the interconnecting piping to our process unit to prepare for the most complex step of the construction process — the installation of the process unit itself.
The construction of Orca on the geothermal park in Hellisheidi in Iceland is well underway. The plant is expected to be in operation in late summer 2021. Evolving from a 50-ton capacity pilot installed in 2017 in Iceland, Orca demonstrates that Climeworks is able to significantly scale carbon dioxide removal capacity quickly. These developments will lead to several million tons of direct air capture and storage.
Orca consists of four plants that consist of two collector containers. In this picture, we see the second collector container being put on top of the first one.
Here's our CO₂ liquefaction equipment being installed. We use this equipment so that the CO₂ can be liquefied for further purification or easier transportation.
This equipment sits inside our process hall, right next to the collectors outside.
This shot shows the cooling water pipes and hot water pipes that run from the Hellisheiði geothermal power plant to our process hall.
Notice the thick insulation around the pipes to protect them from the extreme temperatures in Iceland.
Climeworks continues to make large-scale carbon dioxide removal a reality with the rapid construction of its new direct air capture and storage plant Orca.
The construction of Orca has just started: it will take six months and comprises two phases. Phase one has started in 2020 and was finalized in January 2021. It includes the infrastructure and the foundation for the new generation of Climeworks' CO₂ collectors.
Read the full press release here.
Ideal location, strong partners
Climeworks has signed groundbreaking agreements with both Carbfix, carbon storage pioneers, and ON Power, the Icelandic geothermal energy provider, to lay the foundation for a new plant that will significantly scale-up carbon removal and storage in Iceland.
Climeworks’ agreement with Carbfix ensures the safe storage of the CO₂ through underground mineralization. The underground basaltic rock formations in Iceland provide the ideal conditions for this process, providing a permanent solution for CO₂ storage. The energy required to run the direct air capture process comes from purely renewable resources and is supplied by ON Power, operating the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant.
Orca was designed in a way to express the positive and synergetic combination of nature, natural processes as well as technology. We chose earthy colours and natural materials that give Orca a natural touch, emphasizing our commitment to a positive industry.