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First Direct Air Capture Plant in Kenya Partners With Tomorrow’s Air

10 June 2024

Tomorrow’s Air has signed a new partnership with Octavia Carbon, the first direct air capture provider out of Kenya. As a new supplier in the Tomorrow’s Air portfolio, Octavia Carbon provides a host of co-benefits in addition to scrubbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, enabling Tomorrow’s Air travel partners to share an even more compelling narrative with their travelers. 

Octavia Carbon’s plant, which will go live in November 2024, is located in Naivasha, about two hours outside of Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. The company’s process takes advantage of Kenya’s unique natural characteristics to deliver its carbon removal service efficiently and cost effectively: its direct air capture units run on renewable energy (Kenya’s grid is 93% renewable) and take advantage of geothermal waste heat. The waste heat accounts for more than 80% of the plant’s energy requirements, with the other 20% sourced from renewable geothermal energy. 

Once the carbon dioxide is pulled from the atmosphere, it must be stored, and this is where Kenya’s Rift Valley, rich in basaltic rock formations shines: the basaltic rocks act as natural carbon dioxide reservoirs. Octavia’s location in Kenya eliminates the need for capital-intensive infrastructure for carbon dioxide transportation to storage sites, reducing the cost of deploying their technology in Kenya.  

Beyond helping clean the air of excess carbon dioxide through the sale of carbon credits from the project, Octavia Carbon is located in a region primarily inhabited by the Maasai and Kikuyu communities, and offers an alternative source of livelihood for local people and Kenyan youth. As climate change has resulted in irregular rainfall patterns, extended droughts, and increased temperatures in the region, traditional agricultural practices have become unreliable, which has put pressure on people to find new ways to sustain themselves. In some cases, local people in Octavia Carbon’s deployment area have resorted to alternative sources of income, such as cutting down trees for charcoal. 

To make sure its plant delivers maximum benefit to the region, the Octavia team is not only offering job benefits, but co-developing a benefits plan with the communities to help address significant issues such as water scarcity and limited resources to access quality education. They have started implementing the benefits plan and have already sponsored 11 high school children from the region. The current Octavia team consists of 55 people - 99% of them Kenyan - and will grow as operations scale.

“We share a philosophical alignment with Tomorrow’s Air - that tourism has a uniquely powerful opportunity to inspire and educate people about the significance and potential of carbon removal technologies,” said Martin Freimüeller, founder and CEO of Octavia Carbon. “With Tomorrow’s Air we know we’ll be helping to educate and inspire travelers who will hopefully share what they know with others. Connecting with travel businesses and travelers is especially exciting for us, and we hope every traveler who comes on safari to Kenya might also learn about the significant carbon removal industry being launched in this vibrant, fertile region.”

Learn more about the partnership on Tomorrow’s Air stories and contact [email protected] to find out how your travel company can participate.