Microsoft begins carbon removal drive with Climeworks agreement


After adding Climeworks to its carbon removal portfolio, Microsoft has announced a ten year agreement with the company which sees Climeworks become its first long-term carbon removal supplier.

The removal offtake agreement will allow Climeworks to permanently remove 10,000 tons of CO2 emissions from the atmosphere on Microsoft’s behalf. This commitment is one of the largest direct air capture (DAC) agreements ever signed, with Climeworks asserting the proof of Microsoft’s conviction in both Climeworks’ technology and their ability to scale.

Founded by engineers Christoph Gebald and Jan Wurzbacher, Climeworks says that it empowers people to reverse climate change by permanently removing carbon dioxide from the air. One of two things happens to the Climeworks air-captured carbon dioxide: either it is returned to earth, stored safely and permanently away for millions of years, or it is upcycled into climate-friendly products such as carbon-neutral fuels and materials. The Climeworks direct air capture technology runs exclusively on clean energy, and the modular CO2 collectors can be stacked to build machines of any capacity.

“We are thrilled to sign our second carbon removal contract with Microsoft and work together in the long run. Long-term commitments like this multi-year agreement are crucial for scaling the DAC industry because the guaranteed demand catalyses financing of our infrastructure and consequently accelerates the development of the required ecosystem for scaling DAC”, said Gebald.

“Microsoft’s multi-year offtake agreement with Climeworks is an important step towards realising the ‘net’ in net zero,” said Microsoft’s chief environmental officer, Lucas Joppa. “Our experience in purchasing renewable energy shows that long-term agreements can provide an essential foundation for society’s race to scale new decarbonisation technologies. Paired with Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund investment in Climeworks’ direct air capture plant, this agreement with Climeworks can help kickstart the commercial and technical progress in a nascent but crucial industry to achieve IPCC targets.”

The IPCC estimates that by mid-century, we will need to remove up to 12 billion tons of CO2 from the air every year in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Direct air capture and storage is expected to contribute a significant part, with a potential of removing up to 310 billion tons of CO2 by 2100 to limit global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot.

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