Amazon Inc. has announced its plans to purchase 250,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) credits over a 10-year period from 1PointFive, one of the world’s largest Direct Air Capture (DAC) companies. This is Amazon’s first major investment in DAC at this scale, although the total cost of the purchase has not been disclosed. The carbon removal credits will be sourced from 1PointFive’s Stratos plant, which is currently under construction in Texas and is expected to be the largest DAC plant in the world.
Microsoft’s recent investment in CDR credits is part of Amazon’s ongoing efforts to offset the emissions generated by its extensive fleet of delivery vehicles, trucks, and aircraft. The company, based in Seattle, aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040 through significant operational changes, such as transitioning to electric vehicles and utilizing renewable energy sources like solar power. The purchased carbon removal credits will also be used to offset a portion of Amazon’s unavoidable carbon emissions. Additionally, Amazon has been investing in nature-based solutions, including reforestation and forest preservation projects worldwide, as well as renewable energy initiatives to enhance sustainability. Since announcing its net-zero pledge in 2019, Amazon has seen a slight decrease in its carbon footprint in 2022, with a 0.4% reduction compared to the previous year, despite a 9% growth in net sales. Through its Climate Pledge Fund, Amazon is also supporting CarbonCapture Technologies, a company specializing in CO2 removal for the cement industry.
The 250,000 metric tons of CDR credits will be provided by 1PointFive’s Stratos plant, which has the capacity to capture up to 500,000 metric tons of carbon annually once it becomes operational. The agreement between Amazon and 1PointFive stipulates that the captured carbon will be injected into saline aquifers that are not involved in any oil and gas extraction activities conducted by Oxy, 1PointFive’s parent company. Kara Hurst, Amazon’s Vice President of Sustainability, emphasized the company’s commitment to decarbonizing its global operations and expressed excitement about supporting the growth and deployment of DAC technology.
In addition to its partnership with Oxy, 1PointFive is also collaborating with Carbon Engineering, another carbon removal company, to develop industrial carbon capture solutions that assist businesses in achieving their net-zero targets. This joint project was awarded $1.2 billion in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s DAC program. Several other major companies, including Shopify, All Nippon Airways, and Airbus, have also expressed their intention to purchase CDR credits from 1PointFive.
Amazon’s long-term CDR purchase agreement represents a significant commitment to DAC as a crucial carbon removal solution, according to Michael Avery, President of 1PointFive. This investment demonstrates the growing role of DAC in decarbonizing businesses and supports Amazon’s journey toward achieving net-zero emissions. Microsoft also recently revealed a $200 million carbon removal deal with another DAC startup, Heirloom, further highlighting the increasing importance of carbon removal solutions. Microsoft’s agreement with Heirloom involves the purchase of 315,000 metric tons of carbon removal over a 10-year period. Heirloom, in partnership with Climeworks, was also selected as a recipient of up to $600 million in DAC subsidies from the U.S. Department of Energy. Microsoft is currently the largest buyer of carbon removal credits, according to data from CDR.fyi. The platform reported a 437% increase in CDR credit purchases in the first half of 2023 compared to the entire year of 2022.
Despite the significant financial support for DAC, the carbon removal industry still captures only a small fraction of the billions of tons of CO2 that need to be removed annually to meet the goals set by the Paris Agreement. However, the increasing investments in CDR credits by corporations and governments worldwide are driving advancements in carbon capture technologies and expanding the nascent market. Estimates suggest that CDR purchases will reach 6 million metric tons by the end of 2023, representing a tenfold increase from the previous year.
Amazon’s groundbreaking investment in 1PointFive’s Direct Air Capture technology is a significant step toward decarbonizing its operations and underscores the growing importance of carbon removal solutions in addressing climate change. As major corporations continue to make substantial commitments to advance these critical technologies, the future of carbon capture and removal appears promising.