Airbus and a number of major airlines including Air Canada, Air France-KLM, Easyjet, International Airlines Group, LATAM Airlines Group, Lufthansa Group and Virgin Atlantic have signed Letters of Intent (LoI) to explore removal opportunities for a future supply of carbon credits from direct air carbon capture technology.
The airlines are hoping that in an attempt to meet their net zero pledges, the technology, called Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage (DACCS), may be pre-purchased by them as verified and durable carbon removal credits starting in 2025 through to 2028.
DACCS is a process that sees CO2 emissions filtered and then removed directly from the air using high powered fans. It is then stored in geologic reservoirs. Since airlines can’t capture CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere at source, DACS would allow the sector to extract the equivalent amount of emissions from its operations.
The carbon removal credits that would be generated by this process will be issued by Airbus’ partner 1PointFive – a subsidiary of Occidental’s Low Carbon Ventures business and the global deployment partner of direct air capture company Carbon Engineering. Airbus’ partnership with 1PointFive includes the pre-purchase of 400,000 tons of carbon removal credits to be delivered over four years.
The airlines see DACS as one of several ways they can meet their promises around CO2 reductions, including Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). DACS has the advantage of addressing remaining emissions that cannot be directly eliminated.
“We are already seeing strong interest from airlines to explore affordable and scalable carbon removals,” said Julie Kitcher, Executive Vice President Communications and Corporate Affairs, Airbus. “These first letters of intent mark a concrete step towards the use of this promising technology for both Airbus’ own decarbonisation plan and the aviation sector’s ambition to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), carbon removal is required to help the world go beyond climate mitigation and to support the achievement of net-zero targets. In addition, according to the Air Transport Action Group’s (ATAG) Waypoint 2050 report, offsets (mainly in the form of carbon removals) will be needed – between 6-8 per cent – to make up any remaining shortfalls in emissions above the goal.