Climeworks Begins Construction on Large-Scale DAC Plant in Iceland
The Mammoth project follows the company’s proven Orca model but will scale up the CO2 capture capacity to 36,000 tons per year.
Construction of Climeworks’ newest and largest direct air capture (DAC) and storage plant is due to begin this week in Iceland. Dubbed Mammoth, the project represents a step in the company’s scaleup plan: multimegaton capacity by 2030, on track to deliver gigaton capacity by 2050. Mammoth follows Climeworks’ Orca project, a first-of-a-kind carbon removal plant launched last September.
Mammoth is Climeworks’ 18th project and its second commercial DAC and storage plant. It is designed with a nominal CO2 capture capacity of 36,000 tons per year when fully operational—an order of magnitude larger than its Orca. The per-year figure is the equivalent of taking 850 cars off the road. Construction is expected to last 18 to 24 months before operations start.
Mammoth will be made up of around 80 large blocks of fans and filters that will pull in air and extract the CO2. The gas is then mixed with water and stored underground. Carbfix, Climeworks’ CO2 storage partner, is providing the permanent underground storage. The Hellisheidi power plant operated by ON Power will supply the plant and the Carbfix CO2 injection sites with renewable energy to run the DAC and storage process.
“With Mammoth, we can leveraged our ability to quickly multiply our modular technology and significantly scale our operations,” said Jan Wurzbacher, co-founder and co-chief executive of Climeworks. “We are building the foundation for a climate-relevant gigaton-scale capacity, and we are starting deployment now to remain on track for this.”
Following a recent equity raise of $650 million, Climeworks is focused on rapidly scaling up capacity in the market. Funders in the latest equity raise included names like John Doerr, M&G, Swiss Re, BigPoint Holding, and J.P. Morgan Securities.
An artist rendering of Climeworks' planned Mammoth DAC and storage plant.
Mammoth is designed to further expand supply and provide engineering experience for scaling up Orca's DAC process. According to Climeworks, it capitalizes on a dynamic market demand—with several 10-year offtake agreements signed over the past months—as well as technology learnings from operating Orca.
Orca comprises eight collector containers, with an annual capture capacity of 500 tons each. The containers are arranged around a central process hall that accommodates all electrics, such as the processing unit. The heat and electricity required to run the DAC process is supplied by Hellisheidi.
The world currently has 18 DAC facilities, according to the International Energy Agency. US oil firm Occidental plans to launch a large-scale DAC facility in the Permian Basin of west Texas to collect 1 mtpa of CO2. The Oxy facility is due online in late 2024.