Carbon dioxide removal has reached a new milestone in offtake agreements being negotiated. Frontier – the advance market commitment (AMC) from corporate buyers to accelerate carbon removal technologies, has facilitated its first set of direct air capture (DAC) carbon credits purchases from CarbonCapture Inc and Heirloom.
Frontier buyers will pay for permanent carbon removals from CarbonCapture Inc and Heirloom, two leading innovative companies in the DAC space. The deals signed are for $20 million for the permanent removal of 45,500 tons of CO2 by 2028 from CarbonCapture and $26.6 million for the removal of 26,900 tons of CO2 by 2030 from Heirloom’s next commercial facility. There are also options for the buyers to purchase more tons from future projects at lower prices.
The prices account for both the removal itself and the measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) to make sure each ton is safely stored and accounted for following a rigorous protocol. The total purchases amount to $46.6 million to support direct air capture and storage development.
The purchases are made on behalf of Frontier’s founding members which are Stripe, Alphabet, Shopify, Meta, and McKinsey Sustainability, Autodesk, H&M Group, JPMorgan Chase, and Workday. Aledade, Boom Supersonic, Canva, SKIMS, Wise, and Zendesk have purchased via Watershed’s partnership with Frontier.
Both companies have their own unique approach to direct air capture. CarbonCapture’s technology involves DAC machines that use solid sorbents. Those sorbents soak up the atmospheric CO2 and then release it via heating. The company’s modular DAC systems can work with the best-in-class sorbents as they become available. That is an innovation compared to building an entirely new facility to benefit from the latest sorbent breakthroughs.
Heirloom’s approach is different and uses the ability of certain minerals to react with the CO2 from ambient air. The company uses limestone (an inexpensive, abundant, and effective material) that is capable of soaking up the CO2 from the air like a sponge. Then, the limestone is heated for a few seconds in renewable-energy-powered kilns to release the CO2. The same limestone is then redistributed back onto trays, and the cycle begins again. The captured CO2 can be paired with any type of permanent storage, according to Heirloom.
Heirloom’s cost curve also depends on operational excellence and economies of scale rather than any breakthroughs or innovation. The company has managed to reduce its price by more than 50% since 2021 which is substantial progress in the DAC space. It projects a further 70% decline by 2030.