Carbon capture and storage

Climeworks Switches On World’s Largest Direct Air Capture Plant

The plant is designed for a capture capacity of up to 36,000 tons of CO₂ per year once in full swing by filtering CO₂ from the air and storing it permanently underground. The company is also developing multiple megaton hubs in the US.

Mammoth, the world’s largest direct air capture and storage plant, is designed for a capture capacity of up to 36,000 tons of CO₂ per year.
Source: Climeworks

The largest direct air capture (DAC) and storage plant, named Mammoth, has begun operations in Iceland. It is the second commercial facility of Climeworks in Iceland and is about 10 times bigger than its predecessor, Orca.

Climeworks broke ground on Mammoth in June 2022. The plant is built with a modular design, with 12 of its total 72 collector containers currently installed onsite. The plant will be completed throughout 2024. It is designed for a capture capacity of up to 36,000 tons of CO₂ per year.

Mammoth has successfully started to capture its first CO₂, using renewable energy to power its DAC process, which requires low-temperature heat like boiling water. Geothermal energy partner ON Power in Iceland provides the energy necessary for this process. Once the CO₂ is released from the filters, storage partner Carbfix transports the CO₂ underground, where it reacts with basaltic rock through a natural process, transforming it into stone, and remains permanently stored. Climeworks verifies and certifies the whole process through independent third parties.

“Starting operations of our Mammoth plant is another proof point in Climeworks’ scale-up journey to megaton capacity by 2030 and gigaton by 2050,” said Jan Wurzbacher, co-founder and Co-CEO of Climeworks. “It is exemplary of our continuous R&D investments to further optimize our technology and gain maturity through on-the-ground experience. Constructing multiple real-world plants in rapid sequences makes Climeworks the most deployed carbon removal company with direct air capture at the core.”

Climeworks’ engineers process close to 200 million data points daily through the company’s 7 years of field experience. The derived learnings were applied to Mammoth to increase plant performance, efficiency, and recovery and ensure better availability to maximize CO₂ capture through the year. Climeworks expects to gain further operational field experience with Mammoth and says its 180 science and research and development experts will continue large-scale testing and development.

The operational and testing learnings will be deployed in the next DAC projects. Until 2030, Climeworks’ roadmap focuses on megaton hub roll-out. Climeworks is part of three megaton DAC hub proposals in the US, all of which were selected by the US Department of Energy for public funding for a total of more than $600 million. The largest one, Project Cypress in Louisiana, was granted an initial $50 million in March to kickstart the project. Climeworks said it plans to replicate its megaton hubs worldwide to reach a global scale. The company actively develops projects in Norway, Kenya, and Canada and is exploring further potential DAC and storage sites.