In a significant development, Microsoft Corp has signed a memorandum of understanding with Norway’s Equinor to explore the use of a carbon dioxide storage facility with Microsoft seeking to significantly reduce its carbon footprint.
In January, Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, had pledged in January to erase its carbon footprint by 2050 to account for all of its CO2 emissions since its founding in 1975; it had also said it aims to invest $1 billion in a carbon removal technology.
Following the signing of the MOU, Microsoft will become a technology partner in the Northern Lights project, which is part of a wider Norwegian effort to develop carbon capture technology at industrial sites and store it under the seabed, said Equinor at a news conference in Oslo.
“Our goal is not only to contribute our technology and know-how, but explore how new solutions like the Northern Lights project can help us meet our own carbon negative goals by 2030,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith in a statement.
The Northern Lights project is a partnership with Shell and Total.
The Norwegian government is expected to cover around 80% of the $751 million (6.9 billion Norwegian crown) cost of the first stage of the CO2 deposit program, which will enable it to store 1.5 million CO2 tonnes per year, said Equinor.
“Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a proven technology and has the potential to play a key role in decarbonising energy and industries across sectors to meet international climate targets,” said Equinor executive Irene Rummelhoff.
During a news conference, Microsoft’s Smith stated it was important to find new ways to pay for carbon to be removed and stored permanently.
“That’s why this new technology is of such critical importance to a company like Microsoft,” said Smith via video link. “I believe we will be one of many companies… that would want to purchase the services for carbon to be removed, to be captured and to be stored”.
($1 = 9.1873 Norwegian crowns)