Large-scale direct air capture moving to next step

1 November 2022

The world’s largest commercial-scale project capturing carbon dioxide directly from the air and storing it underground is undergoing assessment in Iceland. Ramboll has been selected by prominent direct air capture (DAC) company Climeworks to carry out a due diligence study of the project, which is operating under the name ‘Mammoth’.

In 2021, Climeworks opened the largest direct air capture & storage (DAC+S) plant to date, Orca, in Hellisheiði, Iceland. The plant has a nominal capture capacity of up to 4000 tonnes of CO2 annually. The captured CO2 is stored deep underground by Climeworks’ storage partner Carbfix, where it will eventually be ‘mineralised’ ie converted to rock deposits.

The new plant is to be co-located with Orca. The plant will be around ten times bigger than Orca and is expected to capture up to 36000 tonnes of CO2 annually. The next goal however is to scale up in the future to reach multi-megaton capacity in the 2030s, on track to gigaton capacity by 2050.

Ramboll has been chosen to provide independent engineer services to Climeworks, including the technical, environmental and commercial due diligence for the project with primary focus on the technical aspects, via an Independent Engineer Review with the object of providing a basis for potential investors in invest in the Mammoth Project.

Thomas Hyldgard Christensen, manager of the project at Ramboll, commented: “Very few plants of this type are in operation worldwide. They are key to reaching global climate goals, and one of the first steps is upscaling, as here in Iceland.” 

The plant will be located near the Hellisheiði geothermal power plant, which will provide the energy to power the capture process. Construction is expected to take 18-24 months before operations start.

Image: Digital rendering of the Mammoth direct air capture plant (courtesy of Climeworks)

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