easyJet signs up for Airbus’ pioneering carbon removal solution.

easyJet has become the first airline in the world to sign a contract with Airbus for its carbon-removal initiative.

Toulouse, October 9, 2023 – easyJet has become the first airline in the world to sign a contract with Airbus for its carbon-removal initiative. Available through the Airbus Carbon Capture Offer, the technology uses Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage (DACCS) to offer airlines worldwide carbon removal credits to advance their decarbonization goals.

DACCS technology filters and removes CO2 emissions directly from the air using high-powered extraction fans. Once removed from the air, the CO2 is safely and permanently stored in underground reservoirs. CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere during aircraft operations cannot be directly eliminated at source, but with DACCS, an equivalent amount can be extracted from the air. The technology is complementary to other carbon reduction technologies, such as the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

“Decarbonising a hard to abate sector, such as aviation, is a huge challenge and 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.”

Thomas Haagensen, Group Markets Director at easyJet, said

“easyJet is a strong advocate of decarbonisation, for its operations and the wider aviation sector. This agreement demonstrates the airline’s willingness to extend its environmental commitment through Airbus’ Carbon Capture Offer. 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.”

Julie Kitcher, Executive Vice President Communications, Sustainability & Corporate Affairs at Airbus, said

easyJet was among the first airlines to sign an agreement with Airbus in 2022, committing to engage in negotiations on the possible pre-purchase of verified and durable carbon removal credits. easyJet’s credits will last from 2026 to 2029. The carbon removal credits will be issued by Airbus’ partner, 1PointFive. Airbus’ agreement with 1PointFive includes the pre-purchase of 400,000 metric tons of carbon removal credits to be delivered over four years.

Direct air carbon removal, capture and storage for aviation

What may sound like science fiction to many is now fast becoming reality. Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage (DACCS) – which removes human-induced CO2 directly from the air, could help multiple industries meet their net-zero carbon emissions targets. For hard-to-abate industries like aviation, it is emerging as a promising complementary solution to sustainable aviation fuel and hydrogen.

A direct air capture, or DAC, for short, facility acts like a large-scale, highly efficient tree: it sucks air out of the atmosphere and extracts the CO2 present there. In 2030, there will likely be dozens of them around the world. Back to the present day, however, and this technology is still in its infancy.

Carbon Engineering is looking to change that. The Canadian company has pioneered direct air capture technology at its pilot plant in Squamish, Canada, and has now set its sights on large-scale deployment. 1PointFive, Carbon Engineering’s licensed US partner, is developing these facilities at a megaton scale in the United States and elsewhere. The DAC facility, targeted to become operational in 2024 in the Permian Basin, is expected to capture up to one million metric tons of CO2 from the air per year once fully operational. This is roughly equivalent to the work, or absorption capacity, of approximately 40 million trees.

The technology is simple: a large fan draws air into an air contactor, which is modeled on industrial cooling towers. The air passes over thin plastic surfaces with a non-toxic potassium hydroxide solution flowing over them to trap the CO2 molecules as a carbonate salt.

The carbonate salt is separated from the solution using a pellet reactor. The carbon pellets are then heated in a calciner to release the CO2 as pure gas. Lastly, the processed pellets are hydrated in a device called a “slaker” and recycled for use in the original capture solution.

The captured pure CO2 can then either be stored underground or reused for the production of, for example, Power-to-Liquid fuel through a complementary process called AIR TO FUELSTM. The former, known as carbon storage or sequestration, involves injecting CO2 into saline formations more than a kilometer below the earth’s surface. As a result, CO2 is permanently and safely stored underground.

Source: Airbus