Fort Worth-based American Airlines has a long-term goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050—largely by investing in technologies to reduce its carbon footprint. But today it also announced the purchase of “carbon removal credits” to help accelerate and scale the CO2 removal market.
American has become the inaugural customer of Graphyte, a North Carolina-based carbon removal startup backed by Breakthrough Energy Ventures. The airline has purchased 10,000 tons of permanent carbon removal to be delivered in early 2025.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Graphyte’s Carbon Casting process uses “readily available” biomass, efficient processing, and state-of-the-art monitoring to make carbon dioxide removal “quantifiable and permanent.” Compared to existing carbon removal approaches, the company says Carbon Casting “permanently removes and stores CO2 using significantly less energy and at a substantially lower cost.”
Scaling an ‘important new technology’
“American is focused on accelerating new low-carbon technologies to reduce aviation’s climate impact,” Jill Blickstein, American’s chief sustainability officer, said in a statement. “Hard-to-abate industries like aviation will need high-quality, permanent, affordable and scalable carbon credits—including removals—to achieve our emissions reduction goals. We’re excited to work with Graphyte to help them scale their important new technology.”
To reach its net-zero goal, American’s chief focus is to reduce CO2 emissions within its operations by acquiring more efficient aircraft, using low-carbon sustainable aviation fuel, and other measures. But it recognizes that carbon credits will play a critical role in eliminating aviation’s residual emissions, Graphyte noted.
“This is a landmark agreement for both Graphyte and American Airlines,” Graphyte CEO Barclay Rogers said in a statement. “It demonstrates the growing demand for affordable and scalable high-quality carbon removal credits and the ability of Carbon Casting technology to make a significant impact in the fight against climate change in the very near term.”
How Graphyte turns biomass into ‘dense carbon blocks’
ç said this first commercial-scale deployment of Carbon Casting will take place at its facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, which is located near agricultural and timber production areas. Carbon Casting leverages readily available biomass byproducts, including crop and wood residues, that have already captured significant CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis, the company said, adding that the biomass “is then dried to prevent decomposition, converted into dense carbon blocks, wrapped in an environmentally safe polymer barrier, and monitored in a state-of-the-art underground storage facility.”
The company says its Carbon Casting technology “provides an immediate pathway for billions of tons of low-cost carbon removal with durability over 1,000 years.”
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