Two major airlines have announced plans to help offset their flight emissions with carbon removal credits from a new Direct Air Capture (DAC) facility being developed in the US. Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) was the first airline to sign a direct purchase agreement with Houston-based 1PointFive, while European low-cost carrier easyJet will acquire credits supplied by the same company, but sourced through the Airbus Carbon Capture Offer. Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage (DACCS) uses large fans to filter and remove CO2 directly from the air, after which it is permanently stored in underground reservoirs. The 1PointFive facility, under construction in the Permian Basin oilfield in south-west Texas, will use carbon capture and storage technology developed by Canadian company Carbon Engineering, in which Airbus invested last year. ANA will acquire its carbon removal credits over three years, starting in 2025, while easyJet will do so between 2026 and 2029.
ANA will acquire a total of 30,000 metric tonnes of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) credits, or 10,000 tonnes in each of three years, with the captured CO2 to be sequestered in saline reservoirs that are not used for oil or gas production.
“Reaching our goal of carbon neutrality is one of the key priorities for ANA, and we are actively diversifying our methods to pursue sustainability,” said the airline’s President and CEO, Shinichi Inoue. “As we continue to review and invest in sustainable and innovative technologies and processes that help further our mission, we look forward to seeing the positive impact that partnering with 1PointFive brings to our airline.”
Michael Avery, President of 1PointFive, welcomed the partnership with ANA, Japan’s largest airline group, as part of its broader decarbonisation strategy. “Direct Air Capture is a vital and scalable carbon removal technology that is necessary to help society achieve net zero,” he said. “The aviation industry can uniquely benefit from DAC as a pathway to removing carbon emissions securely, practically and on a large scale.”
United Airlines was an early entrant into DAC when it announced an investment in 1PointFive nearly three years ago.
Low-cost giant easyJet has become the first airline to sign up to the Airbus Carbon Capture Offer, through which the airframer offers verified carbon removal credits to help offset flight emissions.
Airbus invested in Carbon Engineering late last year, and over a four-year period will acquire 400,000 tonnes of carbon removal credits from 1PointFive, which is Carbon Engineering’s licensed US partner.
“Decarbonising a hard-to-abate sector such as aviation is a huge challenge,” said Thomas Haagensen, Group Markets Director at easyJet, which operates more than 300 Airbus A320-family jets on almost 1,000 routes in Europe. “We believe carbon removal will play an important role in addressing our residual emissions in the future, complementing other components to help us achieve our pathway to net zero.
“Our ultimate aim is to achieve zero carbon emission flying and as well as investing into important projects like direct air carbon capture technology, we are working with multiple partners, including Airbus, to accelerate the development of zero carbon emission aircraft technology.”
The easyJet commitment follows an agreement last year in which it joined Air Canada, Air France-KLM, International Airlines Group, LATAM Airlines Group, Lufthansa Group and Virgin Atlantic to engage in negotiations on the possible pre-purchase of verified carbon removal credits, to be issued from 2025 by 1PointFive.
Supported by investors including Airbus and Air Canada, Carbon Engineering developed direct air capture technology at its research plant in Squamish, Canada. It is now targeting large-scale deployment, with 1PointFive using the technology to develop direct air capture infrastructure at megaton capacity, initially in the Permian Basin, and with plans for more sites.
“The Direct Air Capture facility, targeted to become operational in 2024 in the Permian Basin, is expected to capture up to 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year,” explained the companies. “This is roughly equivalent to the work, or absorption capacity, of approximately 40 million trees.”
Julie Kitcher, Airbus EVP Communications, Sustainability and Corporate Affairs, welcomed the deal with easyJet, which she described as “a strong advocate of decarbonisation.”
“This agreement demonstrates the airline’s willingness to extend its environmental commitment through Airbus’ Carbon Capture Offer,” she said. “Initiatives such as this one underline Airbus’ commitment to decarbonisation solutions for our industry, and to bringing together airlines and industry players from all sectors in order to build a sustainable aviation ecosystem.”
As part of its strategy to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, easyJet is focused on a mix of new technologies and operational efficiencies, and beyond Airbus has formed partnerships with Rolls-Royce, GKN Aerospace and Cranfield Aerospace Solutions. As an interim target, the airline is also pursuing a 35% reduction in emissions intensity by 2035, compared to 2019.