Iceland is about to open the world’s largest carbon capture plant, where CO2 will be processed and pumped with water into underground stone to be stored forever.
Nicknamed Orca, it is expected to capture 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year and is being advertised as the world’s “biggest climate-positive facility.”
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) removes CO2 from the atmosphere, primarily at the source of emission, transporting it via pipeline to another facility where it is buried or used for other purposes, like enhanced oil recovery. (EOR). It can refer to the direct or indirect removal of CO2; for example, employing carbon sinks like hundreds of trees or mangroves or kelp beds.
CCS is a game-changer for fossil fuel companies, who are employing it to continue emissions by finding a way to catch up and store carbon. It is a key part of many developed countries’ plans to cut emissions to Net Zero by the year 2050. Opponents decry the procedure, as it allows fossil fuel companies to put off cutting back on GHG emissions, thereby delaying the need for worldwide implementation of renewable clean energy sources.
In the United States, the Biden administration climate change plan incorporates scenarios that rely heavily on CCS as part of drawing down carbon emissions. According to the IEEFA, to meet its climate targets, carbon capture and storage in the US “should increase tenfold” over the next decade.