Carbon removal buyer coalition Frontier announced a new set of offtake agreements with Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology companies CarbonCapture and Heirloom totalling $47 million, for the removal of 72,000 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, on behalf of a group of buyers including Stripe, Alphabet, H&M, and JPMorgan, among others.
Launched in April 2022 with $925 million in commitments by tech companies Stripe, Alphabet, Shopify and Meta and global management consulting firm McKinsey, Frontier is an advance market commitment to buy permanent carbon removal, aimed at accelerating the development of carbon removal technologies with guarantees of future demand. In addition to setting a demand pool for carbon removal, Frontier also vets suppliers, with a focus on solutions with the potential to achieve high volume and low cost.
The new agreements mark the first DAC offtakes for Frontier. DAC technology, listed by the IEA as a key carbon removal option in the transition to a net-zero energy system, extracts CO2 directly from the atmosphere for use as a raw material or permanently removed when combined with storage. According to the landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate change mitigation study released last year, scenarios that limit warming to 1.5°C include carbon dioxide removal methods scaling to billions of tons of removal annually over the coming decades, with DAC positioned to potentially account for a significant portion of the total.
Frontier said that it looks for DAC companies that are likely to have particularly steep cost curves and fast iteration speeds, with CarbonCapture and Heirloom meeting these criteria.
Hannah Bebbington, Strategy Lead at Frontier, said:
“Getting DAC to gigaton scale requires finding ways to quickly drive down costs. Heirloom and CarbonCapture are each pursuing creative—and distinct—approaches to doing that.”
The new agreements include a $20 million offtake with CarbonCapture to permanently remove 45,500 tons of CO2 by 2028, and $26.6 million with Heirloom for the removal of 26,900 tons of CO2 by 2030 from its next commercial facility, with options to purchase more tons from future projects at lower prices. The agreements also include measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) that each ton of CO2 is safely stored and accounted for according to a rigorous protocol.
CarbonCapture produces DAC machines that use solid sorbents to efficiently absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, and the company utilizes a modular and upgradeable capture system that allows next-generation sorbents to be swapped in as they become available, enabling cost reductions over time without the need to construct entire new facilities. According to Frontier, buyers will pay a price per ton that will decline by at least 46% over the course of the agreement. CarbonCapture is currently developing “Project Bison,” a new DAC project in Wyoming in partnership with carbon storage developer Frontier Carbon Solutions. The project is expected to be operational by late 2023, and to be developed over multiple phases through 2030, reaching 5 million tons of capture and storage annual capacity.
CarbonCapture CEO Adrian Corless, said:
“We’re extremely pleased to be supplying Frontier and its members with high-quality DAC carbon removal. Large offtake agreements like this are critical to us because they demonstrate commercial viability and unlock a path to scale. We highly value Frontier’s confidence in our technology and team, particularly as we emerge from the lab and begin deployment.”
Heirloom’s technology enhances the natural process of carbon mineralization through which carbon dioxide in the air and water chemically bind to naturally occurring minerals, accelerating the CO2 absorption process to days, rather than years. Frontier said that the technology is compelling as cost reductions occur through operational excellence and economies of scale, rather than depending on innovation. Heirloom is currently developing the Louisiana- based Project Cypress DAC Hub alongside DAC company Climeworks, and applied science nonprofit organization Battelle.
Heirloom CEO and Co-founder Shashank Samala said:
“By harnessing the natural properties of an earth-abundant mineral, limestone, Heirloom has moved quickly from lab to commercial scale and halved the costs of our removals in just over two years. Offtake agreements like these allow us to continue moving quickly towards high scale and low cost direct air capture.”
Companies participating in the offtake purchases include Frontier founders Stripe, Alphabet, Shopify, Meta, McKinsey Sustainability, and members Autodesk, H&M Group, JPMorgan Chase and Workday. Through a partnership between Frontier and climate solutions platform Watershed, companies including Aledade, Boom Supersonic, Canva, SKIMS, Wise, and Zendesk will also participate with purchases.