Iceland has been making headlines recently with a couple of innovative carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies (CCUS). CCUS will be part of the technology mix that is essential to dealing with challenging, unpreventable emissions created, for example, during power generation and steel manufacturing.
Iceland is the ideal testing ground for such solutions. Production of all electricity from renewable sources (hydro and geothermal) is important when testing new, often energy-intensive, technologies that aim to make the future more sustainable.
On 8 September, Swiss company Climeworks launched Orca, the world's largest direct air capture and CO₂ storage plant in Iceland. Orca will pull 4,000 tons of CO₂ out of the air annually and safely sequester it basalt rocks underground in partnership with Iceland's Carbfix and its mineralization process. Orca is operating right next to the Hellisheiði Geothermal Power Plant outside of Reykjavík.
Not far away, at the Svartsengi Geothermal Power Plant, Carbon Recycling International's (CRI) Emissions to Liquids technology is bridging the gap between industries. CRI captures hydrogen and CO2 gas from the geothermal boreholes, compressing it and converting it to renewable methanol in its George Olah Plant. Methanol is a versatile chemical that can be combusted as fuel or an ingredient in everyday products such as paint, adhesives, and plastics. CRI's technology is working in Iceland, Norway, Germany, and China with other projects in development.
In time, these technologies will scale up and make lasting changes to reduce carbon emissions and make the most of off-gassing waste streams from power production.