Following a recent injection of government funding into technology designed to extract carbon from the atmosphere, major corporations are also stepping up their involvement.
On Tuesday, Amazon unveiled its plans to support the largest-ever deployment of direct air capture (DAC) technology by procuring a quarter of a million metric tons of carbon removal from STRATOS, the inaugural DAC plant from 1PointFive, a company specializing in carbon removal technology. While the exact financial details of Amazon’s investment were not disclosed, it marks a significant commitment.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The carbon removed by these air capture systems will be securely stored underground in saline aquifers, which are extensive rock formations saturated with saltwater.
To provide context, a quarter of a million metric tons of carbon dioxide is roughly equivalent to the emissions generated by 55,633 gasoline-powered cars in a single year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Through its Climate Pledge Fund, Amazon is also channeling resources into CarbonCapture Inc., a climate tech firm focused on expediting the commercial deployment of novel DAC materials designed to absorb carbon.
Kara Hurst, Amazon’s Vice President of Worldwide Sustainability, emphasized the purpose behind these investments, stating, “With these two new investments in direct air capture, we aim to target emissions we can’t otherwise eliminate at their source. We’re also helping launch technologies we know the world will need to avoid the worst effects of global climate change—supporting those technologies’ growth so they’ll also be available to other companies and organizations.”
Amazon is actively pursuing decarbonization of its global operations through initiatives such as renewable energy projects involving wind and solar, electrifying its delivery fleet, and reducing the weight of packaging per shipment.
Amazon’s announcement closely follows Microsoft’s recent news that it has agreed to purchase carbon credits from Heirloom Carbon, a California-based startup that employs limestone to extract carbon from the atmosphere. Over the next decade, these credits are expected to remove up to 315,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, a value estimated to be at least $200 million based on market prices. This volume of carbon offsets is equivalent to the annual emissions of approximately 70,000 gas-powered cars.
Notably, Heirloom’s DAC Hub was recently chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy to receive up to $600 million in matching funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.