To meet the ever-looming and increasingly destructive challenge of climate change, we must curb our carbon emissions drastically. Now, ‘Orca’ is helping us reverse some of the emissions we’ve already created. It’s the world’s largest plant designed to suck carbon dioxide out of the air and turn it into solid rock.

Switzerland’s Climeworks and Iceland’s Carbfix

The plant is named after the Icelandic word “orka” which means “energy,” and is made up of four units, each made up of two metal boxes resembling shipping containers. Switzerland’s Climeworks and Iceland’s Carbfix collaborated to construct the powerful plant which, according to the companies, can suck 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide out of the air each year. This is equal to the annual emissions of around 870 cars, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

How does it work?

The plant uses fans to pull air into a collector, which has a filter inside. When the filter is filled with CO2, the collector closes, and the temperatures are raised to release the CO2 from the material. That way, the highly concentrated gas can be gathered.

The concentrated CO2 is then mixed with water before being injected at a depth of 1,000 meters into basalt rock, where it is mineralized. Although not as effective or scalable as removing emissions at the source, this strategy can become crucial in the fight against climate change.