- American Airlines signed a purchase agreement with carbon removal startup Graphyte to reduce its carbon footprint and work toward its goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, the airline announced Tuesday.
- The Forth Worth-based airline purchased 10,000 tons of permanent carbon dioxide removal to be delivered in early 2025. American is also the first commercial customer for Graphyte, which is backed by Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
- The carbon removal startup looks to reduce the cost and energy needed to permanently remove and store carbon dioxide through a process called “carbon casting,” which uses readily available biomass, in conjunction with processing and monitoring mechanisms.
Graphyte’s first commercial-scale deployment of carbon casting will take place at its facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, located among other major agricultural and timber production areas, according to the announcement.
The startup’s carbon casting process leverages biomass byproducts, such as crop and wood residues, that have already captured a significant amount of CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. The biomass is then dried to prevent decomposition, converted into dense carbon blocks and eventually stored in an underground facility.
“This is a landmark agreement for both Graphyte and American Airlines,” Barclay Rogers, Graphyte’s CEO, said in a press release. “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.”
This partnership with Graphyte builds on American Airlines’ long-term sustainability goals, which include its target to reduce 50 million gallons of jet fuel through fuel efficiency initiatives by 2025, replacing 10% of its jet fuel with sustainable aviation fuel by 2030, and reducing scope 2 emissions by 40% by 2035.
The airline, which is the largest in the U.S. by fleet size, said though it has already introduced targets to reduce emissions within its operations, it recognizes that “carbon credits will play a critical role in eliminating aviation’s residual emissions.”
“Hard to abate industries like aviation will need high-quality, permanent, affordable and scalable carbon credits — including removals — to achieve our emissions reduction goals,” Jill Blickstein, American Airlines’ chief sustainability officer, said in the release.
American Airlines is not the only commercial carrier to recently announce sustainability initiative updates. Earlier this month, Southwest Airlines said it was upgrading its “Nonstop to Net Zero” strategy and introducing goals to eliminate single-use plastics from inflight service by 2030, have half of all eligible ground support equipment electrified by 2030 and save 1.1 billion cumulative gallons of fuel by 2035.