by Carla Andrea Fundarotto
An implant capable of capturing carbon dioxide. The idea was born in Iceland, near the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant, located in Hengill, less than 30 kilometers from the capital Reykjavik. Its name is Orka and it is the largest CO2 capture plant in the world, capable of absorbing carbon dioxide and sending it deep into the ground, thus making it harmless to humans and removing this dangerous substance from the atmosphere. Made in just fifteen months thanks to the collaboration between the Swiss company Climeworks and Carbfix, a local Icelandic company, its name derives from the Icelandic word “Orka”, meaning “energy”.
How does it work?
Fans suck the air from the outside and send it to a special collector which is equipped with a filter material that traps carbon dioxide separating it from the rest of the substances present in the air. Once the filter is saturated, i.e. it can no longer store CO2, the collector closes. Once the CO2 has reached this point, it is mixed with the water and injected to a depth of 1,000 meters. Once the carbon dioxide has been combined with the water, the substance is then sent to the subsoil where the mineralization process takes place, i.e. the transformation of this substance into rock.
The benefits of Orka on the environment
This major engineering feat is expected to remove around 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide every year. An apparently high figure but which in reality, if compared with known parameters, is marginal. 0.01% of the total CO2 emissions in the world each year reaches 3.3 million tons of CO2. According to estimates, those 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide removed correspond overall to the emissions of about 870 fossil fuel cars.