Amazon Invests in Direct Air Capture Technology

(Photo Credit: Amazon)

by | Sep 13, 2023

Amazon semi trailer truck

(Photo Credit: Amazon)

Amazon is making its first investments in direct air capture technology as part of its climate pledge to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Direct air capture (DAC) technologies extract carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere through chemical reactions. Amazon said it plans to purchase 250,000 metric tons of carbon removal over 10 years from STRATOS, the first DAC plant from 1PointFive, a carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) company.

The carbon captured equates to the amount stored naturally in more than 290,000 acres of forest. It will be stored underground in saline aquifers, or large geological rock formations that are saturated in salt water, according to the agreement. DAC technology can also filter CO2 out of the atmosphere that can be stored in building materials, such as concrete and bricks. 

Amazon is not the only major company leveraging carbon capture in order to meet climate goals. In 2022, Microsoft penned a 10-year deal with Climateworks to remove 10,000 tons of carbon from the atmosphere. Earlier this month, the company also made another carbon capture deal, this time with Heirloom, to remove 315,000 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere through DAC. 

Beyond purchasing the 250,000 tons of carbon removal, Amazon also said it was investing in CarbonCapture, a climate technology company recognized for its modular DAC systems. The systems are designed to be updated with next-generation sorbents that filter carbon out of the atmosphere. This design improves cost reductions as science advances. 

“We’re extremely excited to be backed by a first-class venture investor like Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund,” Adrian Corless, CarbonCapture’s CEO and CTO, said in a statement. “Further, we’re looking forward to leveraging our new relationship with Amazon to both democratize access and reduce the long-run cost of producing carbon removal credits.”

CarbonCapture will also make 100,000 tons of carbon removal credits available for Amazon, which the e-commerce giant plans to make available to businesses within the company and among its suppliers, selling partners, and customers.

“Amazon’s primary focus is to decarbonize 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.”

The move comes as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates the world needs to remove 1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the course of the century to keep global warming below the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit defined in the Paris Agreement. As a Climate Pledge signer, Amazon has agreed to reach net-zero carbon by 2040, which is 10 years earlier than the Paris Agreement.

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