The need to eliminate carbon
In 2018, carbon dioxide accounted for 81% of total emissions released into the atmosphere. Its effects can be devastating, damaging the ozone layer and worsening atmospheric conditions around the world. A recent Harvard study linked air pollution more deaths from COVID-19, also. With such damaging effects, solutions are needed for the immediate implementation of carbon removal strategies.
Large-scale renewables could effectively reduce the climate crisis. However, the transition to cleaner energy from fossil fuels has been slow and reluctant. Iceland, however, is a case study of remarkable progress.
The country is a leader in renewable energies, geothermal energy being an important resource. Iceland is also going a little further now. Due to the rapid progression of climate change, renewable energies are no longer sufficient. Countries and industries must strive to be carbon negative – this is the direction Iceland is heading.
Removing carbon from the air may seem like a long time, but in reality Iceland can do the process. Geothermal energy is the basis of this strategy.
How geothermal energy helps
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the process of removing CO2 from the air and storing it in a place deep underground. CCS can be invaluable for facilities that release higher amounts of carbon during production. Iceland has several of these places.
Plants that produce metals or wherever there is energy production will benefit from a carbon neutral or carbon negative approach. Here’s where geothermal power helps.
Geothermal energy uses a ground loop system to pump heat from the earth upwards and use it as energy or power. During this process, CCS technology uses geothermal water vapor to capture CO2. It liquefies the gas to a condensed form which can then dissolve in water.
As for storage, experts inject this mixture into rocks about 3,300 feet underground. Rocks almost always retain CO2 and use it in calcification processes. Both marble and limestone need CO2 to form.
Like many other energy sources, geothermal energy also releases carbon during production. As he emits around 99% less carbon emissions than fossil fuels, everything contributes to the greenhouse effect. Therefore, the use of carbon removal techniques will make geothermal energy even more sustainable.
Since Iceland already uses renewables and a significant amount of geothermal energy, CCS is the natural next step.
Iceland as a leader
Due to certain levels of Earth’s heat in Iceland – in part due to the region’s volcanic activity – the country is a prime location for the use of geothermal energy. Channeling this power for carbon elimination makes Iceland a pioneer in climate action.
Hellisheiði geothermal installation in Iceland works with Climeworks, CarbFix and ON Power to lead the carbon elimination movement. The faster they implement CCS, the faster they can start to get rid of their carbon emissions and surrounding CO2.
However, this movement speaks to the larger issue of climate change. The Paris Climate Agreement lobbies for participating countries to reduce emissions and become more carbon neutral in the decades to come.
Iceland being on the right track, it is now an example for other countries to follow. The use of renewable energies such as geothermal energy is Iceland’s starting point. The shift to carbon removal with geothermal energy creates a circular system of green living and production.
Other countries must be engaged to help stop and reverse the negative effects of climate change.
Geothermal carbon removal
With Iceland leading the way in combining renewables with carbon phase-out plans, the future must be just as progressive. One without the other may not be enough to stop the climate crisis. Now is the best time to put the two together and become fully sustainable.