Swiss startup Climeworks has done it again. The company just opened the world’s largest carbon capture plant in Iceland, surpassing its own record for how much CO2 it can extract from the air. The company’s previous record-setting plant, Orca, captured carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually, but the new plant can handle nearly ten times that. .

The plant is called Mammoth and has 72 industrial fans that can remove 36,000 tons of CO2 from the air each year. Just like the Orca, the CO2 is not recycled. It is stored underground and eventually trapped in rock, permanently (within reason) removing it from the environment. The plant is actually located on a dormant volcano, so it would make a great hideout for a James Bond villain if it ever went out of business.

The location was chosen due to its proximity to the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant, which is used to power the facility’s fans and heat chemical filters to extract CO2 with water vapor. After extraction, the CO2 is separated from the steam, compressed and dissolved in water. Finally, it is pumped 2,300 feet underground into volcanic basalt. This compound reacts with the magnesium, calcium, and iron in the rock to form crystals that become solid reservoirs of CO2. It’s pretty good technology.

However, this is not the final solution to climate change. Only momentarily. For the world to achieve “carbon neutrality” by 2050, “we need to remove about six to 16 billion tons of CO2 per year from the air,” said Climeworks founder Jan Wurtzbacher. .

That’s the problem. This facility, the largest of its kind by a wide margin, can capture up to 36,000 tons of CO2 from the air each year, but that’s only 0.0006 percent of what is needed to meet the minimum annual removal threshold as indicated by Wurzbacher . There are other plants, of course, but all of them together don’t make a serious dent in what is needed to pull us back from the brink.

To that end, Wurzbacher is imploring other companies to take up the cause. He says Climeworks aims to surpass millions of tonnes caught annually by 2030 and a billion by 2050. The company’s chief technology officer, Carlos Haertel, told 60 minutes that scaling up the process globally is possible but requires political will to rally behind the initiative.

The Biden administration to start the industry here in the states and for two large-scale projects. US Department of Energy Carbon Negative Shot, to encourage the development of low-cost carbon capture technology.

The carbon capture method implemented by Climeworks is just one of many approaches. These processes range from piles of limestone blocks that absorb CO2 like a sponge to the chemical compound. Reforestation is another possibility that companies have experimented with. Which is the best? All of them together are deployed on a global scale. Whatever is needed. Climate change.