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The world's largest direct-air capture facility, Orca, right, at the Hellisheidi geothermal power site, in Iceland.

The world's largest direct-air capture facility, Orca, right, at the Hellisheidi geothermal power site, in Iceland.

Photographer: Arnaldur Halldorsson/Bloomberg

Green
Cleaner Tech

World’s Largest Carbon-Sucking Plant Starts Making Tiny Dent in Emissions

 

Startups Climeworks and Carbfix are working together to store carbon dioxide removed from the air deep underground.

In Iceland’s barren landscape, a new container-like structure has risen alongside plumes of steam near the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant. Its job is to reverse some of the damage carbon-dioxide emissions are doing to the planet.

The facility, called Orca and built by Swiss startup Climeworks AG, will suck CO₂ out of the air. Icelandic startup Carbfix will then pump it deep into the ground, turning it into stone forever. Of the 16 installations Climeworks has built across Europe, Orca is the only one that permanently disposes of the CO₂ rather than recycling it.