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This Is CDR Episode 9: Climeworks Update – 2021 and Beyond

This is CDR is an ongoing series of online events to explore the range of carbon dioxide removal solutions that are currently in development. And this week is a big...

This is CDR is an ongoing series of online events to explore the range of carbon dioxide removal solutions that are currently in development. And this week is a big one! We’ve got a major update from Christoph Beuttler, head of Climate Policy for Climeworks

The Switzerland-based startup is one of the major players in direct air capture, having just opened the world’s largest DAC plant to date: the Orca plant in Iceland. Orca will capture 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year; Climeworks has partnered with the Icelandic carbon sequestration company Carbfix to inject the captured CO2 into subterranean basalt deposits, where it will be permanently mineralized in about two years. (We covered this process in This Is CDR Episode 7, if you want to know more!)

As exciting as Orca is, Christoph is quick to acknowledge that it’s a drop in the bucket in terms of the scale of carbon removal that will be necessary over the course of the 21st century. But the good news is, Climeworks is growing fast. In just over a decade, the company has built 15 DAC facilities across Europe, at increasing scale. The next plant they plan to build, Mammoth, will capture 40,000 tons of CO2 per year – ten times the scale of Orca. Mammoth is planned to go live in 2024, and the process will continue from there.

In addition to walking us through Climeworks’ exciting roadmap for the next decade, Christoph touches on a number of other fascinating details, including the science and economics of scaling up, and the need for long-term thinking in designing climate policy. It’s a great talk–lucid and super-informative–and we really encourage you to check it out. 

Thanks for watching – be sure to check back next week for more This Is CDR, and check out the whole series on our resources page.

Peter Smith Peter Malamud Smith is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. In his non-OpenAir life he works as a game developer programming wizards to cast the right spells.

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