Advancing the Field of Biomass Carbon Removal

Biological processes like photosynthesis efficiently remove carbon from the atmosphere, but it is difficult to ensure rigorous quantification and durability for many natural carbon capture and storage methods. Our Biologic Program aims to build trust and quality in biomass removal by conducting foundational science, forming cross-stakeholder networks, and developing solutions to industry-wide bottlenecks.   

Durable Storage from Forest Thinnings

To start out, we’re focusing on carbon containment from low-value forest residues in the American West. Over the next decade, thinning operations in the region will extract large volumes of small-diameter, low-value wood from overstocked forests to preserve ecosystem health and mitigate wildfires. Current practices involve stacking it into slash piles on site, then either leaving it to decompose or burning it. In either baseline case, the carbon stored in the slash is lost to the atmosphere. We are developing the scientific and implementation methods to extract and protect the carbon in this biomass safely and durably.

How we're scaling Biologic solutions:

Building trust in the biomass system

Scientists, policymakers, and practitioners need to work together to ensure Biomass Carbon Removal and Storage (BiCRS) approaches are rigorous, safe, and viable. Through research partnerships, workshops, and cross-industry initiatives, we foster trust and collaboration within the BiCRS ecosystem.

Conducting foundational science

Science is the cornerstone of high-quality carbon removal. Right now, many fundamental questions about the behavior of biomass in storage remain open. We’re collaborating with leading researchers and developers to answer them.

Creating a toolkit for implementation

From rigorous MRV protocols to optimal site selection and sustainable feedstock sourcing, nascent biomass storage solutions face many implementation challenges. We’re developing the open-source solutions required to translate science into real-world carbon removals.

Our Projects at a Glance

Delaying Wood Decomposition

The CC Lab is conducting several nationwide field experiments to explore simple, cheap, and scalable treatments for delaying the decomposition of wood. We’re testing methods including submersion, above-ground suspension, and physical encasement (e.g. limewash coasting). Currently in Year 3 of these six-year experiments, we have been periodically analyzing samples from the field to determine rates of decomposition and the efficacy of each treatment.

Carbon Vaults

With partners including University of Maryland Professor Jana VanderGoot and California-based startup Kodama Systems, we are piloting research on above- and below-ground wood storage structures we call “Carbon Vaults.” Vaults can be constructed for burial, where the wood is packed permanently underground in anaerobic conditions, or for above-ground storage, where wood is stockpiled in aerobic, dry conditions. This leaves the option to later access this above-ground vault to use the wood as a ready-made feedstock for carbon negative processes, such as gasification and carbon dioxide injection and storage.