Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Octavia Carbon, Cella Mineral Storage

Harnessing Kenya's geothermal energy for direct air capture

Agriculture & Energy

A startup hopes to tackle global warming by removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it underground

Spotted: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlights that carbon dioxide removal (CDR) will be necessary for the world to hit its climate targets. CDR encompasses “a range of technologies, practices, and approaches that remove and durably store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.” One of these technologies is direct air capture (DAC), where CO2 is removed from the ambient air using mechanical devices. One of the limitations of this approach is its high energy demand. But this challenge can be addressed by siting DAC machines in areas with abundant geothermal energy.

Kenyan startup Octavia Carbon designs, manufactures, and deploys DAC machines as the Global South’s first dedicated DAC capture machine production company – and has built five scaled machines to date. 

Announced in July 2023, Octavia Carbon has partnered with Cella Mineral Storage, a carbon mineralisation startup spotted by Springwise earlier this year. Through the partnership, the companies are creating a pilot DAC facility at Cella Mineral’s storage plant in Naivasha, which is along the Great Rift Valley in Kenya. The pilot plant, called Project Hummingbird, will remove 1,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. Carbon capture and storage at the plant is set to start in October 2024, and the plan is to sell carbon credits certified by carbon removal platform

Octavia highlights that Kenya is the perfect home for its carbon capture technologies. For one, Kenya is rich in basalt rock, which combines incredibly easily with CO2, permanently storing carbon in the ground. And, crucially, the country is rich in clean geothermal energy, with the grid in most parts of the country run entirely on geothermal power. This means that there is an abundant source of renewable energy on which to run the energy-intensive DAC process. The company claims that geothermal waste heat will provide 85 per cent of the energy requirements for the project, with the remaining 15 per cent being supplied by geothermal-generated electricity. 

In the database, Springwise has also spotted one company that captures CO2 via cooling towers as well as another that extracts clean hydrogen from the ground as an alternative fuel to offset carbon emissions. 

Written By: Archie Cox 




Download PDF