Carbon Dioxide Sucking Machines

October 30, 2021

Terraforming: “carbon-sucking machines” eliminating CO2 from the air switched on in Iceland, will remove thousands of tons of CO2 from the atmosphere each year, primarily harming rainforests and food crops.

Article by ClimateNews

The world’s biggest carbon-sucking machine, called Orca, is a $15 million device that can capture 4,000 tons of CO2 per year and is billed to reverse climate change – but actually harms rainforests and food crops by reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The “direct air capture” (DAC) machine was created by Zurich-based company Climeworks and it was launched at the Hellisheiði Power Station in Iceland … Orca uses a filter to extract and permanently remove CO2 from surrounding air. It is estimated to capture 4,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year – equivalent to the annual emissions from 790 cars. While the feat is notable, this total is a mere fraction of global CO2 emissions, which totaled 34.7 billion tons in the last year, as per the International Energy Agency.

Orca has a stack of metal “air scrubbers” that suck in CO2 from surrounding ambient air using fans. … The CO2 is stored underground, reducing the amount of greenhouse gas that reaches the atmosphere. The gas can be stored permanently in deep geological formations, or used to make fuels, chemicals, building materials and other products. …

Iceland also previously used the technology, but the one at Hellisheiði is the largest one yet. The stark design is meant to embody an “interconnection between nature and technology” in the Icelandic landscape.

Orca started construction in May 2020 and is formed with eight large container-size collector units that are stacked in twos. Each of the stacks is more than 20 feet long. The collector units capture CO2 by drawing in air using a fan. Inside the collectors are chemical filter materials that collect the CO2, and lets clean airflow out the other side.

Once the filter is saturated with CO2, the collector is closed so that no air could get in. Inside the collector, the captured CO2 is heated up using power from the Hellisheiði geothermal power plant, and CO2 from the filter is released and extracted in a concentrated form. “Through natural mineralisation, the CO2 reacts with the basalt rock and turns into stone within a few years,” Climeworks explained.

This removes CO2 from the air and returns it to Earth, depriving food crops, trees, grasses and other plants access to the carbon dioxide they need to survive.

Climeworks noted that the technology can be replicated at different locations worldwide on even larger scales to increase the amount of CO2 being captured. The plant is a long way from Climework’s original goal of capturing one percent of annual global CO2 emissions, or more than 300 million tons by 2025; however, it is still targeting 500,000 tons by the end of the decade.

The demand for carbon removal at Orca is so high that the company decided to scale up the plant and build one roughly ten times larger in about three years. Investments are already pouring in as companies and governments find ways to mitigate global warming.

The main challenge for Climeworks is lowering the cost of its service. … When fully operational, this means its customers will be “greenwashing” their own emissions by hiring Climeworks to burn electricity to run massive carbon scrubbing machines that alter the atmosphere in a way that harms food crops and makes the planet less green (and colder).

Only in an insane world could this be considered good for the environment.

Full Article by ClimateNews