Startup That Sucks Carbon Dioxide From the Air Is Building a Big Plant in Iceland

Carbon dioxide removal company Climeworks announced on Tuesday it is building a second commercial-sized plant in Iceland that will capture and store 36,000 metric tons per year of carbon dioxide.

The company’s goals are ambitious: It plans to remove millions of tons of CO2 per year by 2030, and 1 billion per year by 2050. Meanwhile, humans emitted more than 36 billion tons of CO2 last year.

But this new factory, alongside a smaller one in Iceland that has the capacity to remove 4,000 tons a year, are just the first steps Climeworks is taking toward its goal of removing multiple millions of tons of carbon dioxide a year by 2030, and 1 billion tons per year by 2050.

Those targets are many orders of magnitude higher than where Climeworks is right now, but as co-founder and co-CEO Jan Wurzbacher told CNBC in May, the team has been at it for 13 years and has seen the technology improve vastly during that time.

“We started with milligrams of carbon dioxide captured from the air. Then we went from milligrams to grams, from grams to kilograms to tons to 1,000 tons. So we did quite a couple of these steps already.”

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