Air Canada announced today a new agreement to work with clean energy company Carbon Engineering (CE) on advancing aviation decarbonization solutions, exploring opportunities including direct air capture, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and carbon removal technologies.

The aviation industry has come under scrutiny as a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, responsible for 2-3% of global emissions, with that figure potentially rising dramatically over the coming decades if no action is taken. Several initiatives are being pursued in order to address the climate impact of the industry, typically involving efforts to improve aircraft efficiency, develop sustainable aviation fuels, or create aircraft utilizing low or zero carbon propulsion systems such as electric or hydrogen-based.

CE is focused on deploying its proprietary Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology, which captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The captured CO2 can be permanently stored deep underground, or it can alternatively be used to produce ultra-low carbon transportation fuels, such as SAF, by combining atmospheric CO2 with clean hydrogen using CE’s AIR TO FUELS technology.

Steve Oldham, CEO of CE, said:

“Addressing emissions within the aviation industry is expected to be some of the most challenging, yet important, work in the years to come. The good news is that feasible, affordable and scalable solutions, like CE’s DAC and AIR TO FUELSTM technologies, are available and capable of making a meaningful impact in meeting critical net zero targets. At CE, supporting aviation decarbonization is a key component of our commercialization plans and we’re thrilled to be working with a major airline, like Air Canada, to collaborate on ways to accelerate the potential of DAC-based solutions in supporting the aviation energy transition.”

The new agreement follows Air Canada’s launch earlier this year of a series of sustainability goals, including a commitment to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) throughout its global operations by 2050, along with interim targets to achieve 20% GHG net reductions from flights plus 30% GHG net reductions from ground operations by 2030, and a pledge to invest $50 million in SAF and carbon reductions and removals.

Amos Kazzaz, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer at Air Canada, said:

“At Air Canada, we are very focused on seeking innovative, long term, sustainable emission reduction solutions as we work towards achieving our absolute midterm GHG net reduction targets by 2030 and our net zero GHG emissions goal by 2050. Our relationship with Carbon Engineering spanning three years has enabled us to learn about their emerging technology advances, SAF production and ecosystem building efforts. We are pleased to officially become the first Canadian airline to work with CE to advance new, transformational technologies towards the commercial viability of SAFs and carbon removal, two significant components to building a long-term, sustainable, global aviation industry.”