During his visit to Iceland, President of the Swiss Confederation Alain Berset toured the Hellisheiði plant, where the initial four shipments of CO2 (80 tons in total) from Switzerland are currently being injected underground. The plant, operated by Carbfix, a partner of DemoUpCARMA, injects CO2 mixed with water for permanent mineralization at its existing wells by the geothermal power plant in Hellisheiði. Marco Mazzotti, coordinator and head of the DemoUpCARMA project at ETH Zurich, attended the visit as the project representative to offer insights.
The initial CO2 deliveries served as a test for establishing a supply chain from Switzerland to Iceland. This test not only provides empirical data for conducting a comprehensive life cycle assessment but also helps identifying existing issues in setting up such a supply chain.
Under the DemoUpCARMA pilot project, a new process will be tested, involving the injection of CO2 dissolved in sea water into the subsurface for mineralization. The injection is scheduled to start in Autumn 2023, and preparations are currently underway in Helguvík to set up the necessary equipment and measuring instruments. Once the plant is completed, the transport of CO2 from Switzerland to Iceland will resume for injecting CO2 into the subsurface at Helguvík.
Furthermore, president Berset visited the Orca plant operated by the Swiss company Climeworks, which extracts CO2 directly from the air. The CO2 captured by Climeworks is also injected by Carbfix in the Icelandic underground for permanent storage via mineralization.
Image credit: Carbfix / Hörður Sveinsson