To help accelerate the development of direct air capture (DAC) solutions, Amazon is purchasing carbon removal credits from 1PointFive and investing in CarbonCapture Inc. This DAC investment is part of Amazon’s Climate Pledge commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. Here’s more about this emerging technology and what it means for our environment.
Understanding direct air capture
DAC is an emerging set of technologies that chemically scrub carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air. The captured CO2 is then stored deep underground or used in applications such as building materials (like concrete, bricks, and cement) or low-carbon fuels.
Supporting emerging technologies
Amazon is supporting the world’s largest deployment of DAC technology by committing to purchase 250,000 metric tons of carbon removal over 10 years from STRATOS, 1PointFive’s first DAC plant. This is equivalent to the amount of carbon stored naturally across more than 290,000 acres of U.S. forests—roughly 180,000 football pitches. Carbon captured under this agreement will be stored deep underground in saline aquifers, which are large geological rock formations that are saturated in salt water.
In addition, Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund is making an investment in CarbonCapture Inc., a climate technology company recognised for its pioneering modular DAC systems. These systems are designed to be easily upgraded over time with next-generation sorbents—the core materials responsible for filtering CO2 from the atmosphere—facilitating cost reductions driven by rapid material science advancements.
Combating climate change
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world must remove roughly 1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the course of this century to keep global warming below the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit set by the Paris Agreement. Achieving this goal will require organisations to both evolve their operations, deploying technologies to reduce or eliminate emissions, and to capture CO2 that has already been emitted. While restoring natural systems can contribute significantly to this undertaking, technological solutions like DAC will also be required to capture and remove large volumes of CO2 from the air.
With these new investments, DAC will become one component of Amazon’s broader sustainability strategy, which also includes developing nature-based solutions, such as forest conservation and restoration.
“Amazon's primary focus is to decarbonise our global operations through our transition to renewable energy, building with more sustainable materials, and electrifying our delivery fleet and global logistics,” said Kara Hurst, vice president of worldwide sustainability at Amazon. “We are also pursuing changes such as reducing the weight of packaging per shipment for our customers. At the same time, we also need to seek every possible avenue to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. These investments in direct air capture complement our emissions reductions plans, and we are excited to support the growth and deployment of this technology."
Investing in one of the world’s largest DAC purchase agreements
1PointFive is currently constructing its first DAC plant in Ector County, Texas. When fully operational, the plant is expected to be the largest in the world and designed to capture up to 500,000 tons of CO2 annually. It will also use digital infrastructure from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to analyse real-time performance data and optimise operations, and enable 1PointFive to apply these learnings in its future DAC plants. This purchase agreement with Amazon is one of the largest ever for a DAC facility.
"Amazon’s industry-leading purchase and long-term contract represent a significant commitment to direct air capture as a vital carbon removal solution,” said Michael Avery, president and general manager of 1PointFive. "The addition of 1PointFive’s high-integrity, quantifiable carbon removal credits support Amazon’s path to achieve net-zero and shows the growing role that DAC technology will play in decarbonisation pathways. We are excited to collaborate with Amazon to help them achieve their sustainability goals.”
Accelerating the commercial deployment of DAC
Climate technology startup CarbonCapture is focused on accelerating innovation and scale in the DAC industry. The company’s patented modular open system architecture allows new sorbents to be swapped in as they become available. Maximising sorbent performance is a key strategy for driving down the cost of DAC over time. In addition to an investment from Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, CarbonCapture will be making up to 100,000 tons of carbon removal credits available to the company, which Amazon plans to make available to businesses within the company and among its suppliers, selling partners, and customers.
“We’re extremely excited to be backed by a first-class venture investor like Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund,” said Adrian Corless, CarbonCapture’s CEO and chief technology officer. “Further, we’re looking forward to leveraging our relationship with Amazon to both democratise access and reduce the long-run cost of producing carbon removal credits.”
Learn more about Amazon’s sustainability efforts.