Two CC Lab-Affiliated Projects Receive Frontier Climate Funding

December 15, 2022

Announcing our Participation in Frontier's Second Purchase Cycle

Today is an exciting day for the Carbon Containment Lab -- we are thrilled to announce that two of our collaborations have received funding from Frontier Climate, a $925 million advance market commitment for carbon removal led by Stripe, Alphabet, Shopify, Meta, and McKinsey. From 150+ applications this cycle, Frontier awarded seven pre-purchase agreements totaling $11 million, as well as two research grants.

CREW Carbon, a containerized enhanced weathering startup developed by the CC Lab and the Noah Planavsky Lab in Yale’s Earth and Planetary Sciences Department, received a pre-purchase agreement to remove 410 tonnes of CO2. CREW now operates as an independent startup.

Kodama Systems, in partnership with the CC Lab, received a $250,000 research grant to run a pilot project in the Nevada desert, burying woody biomass thinned from forests at risk of wildfire. Pending the results of this initial research, Frontier may subsequently purchase carbon removal credits from Kodama generated by the project.

Congratulations to CREW and Kodama! We can't wait to get to work.

Enhanced Weathering with CREW

CREW Carbon, a carbon removal startup supported by the CC Lab, is developing a container-based solution to enhanced weathering. CREW’s technology can flexibly capture carbon from a variety of sources, converting the CO₂ into bicarbonate ions in the ocean for secure and scalable storage. Moreover, the team's ability to measure and quantify system effluent will serve as a model that researchers can use to better understand weathering reactions and ensure that the discharge doesn’t affect local ocean ecosystems. 

The 410 tonne removal funded by Frontier will occur at the company's pilot project, co-located with a nearby wastewater treatment facility. CREW's first-of-a-kind system will remove the carbon generated by the incineration of organic waste, using a series of weathering reactors to increase the speed of reaction of CO₂, water, and carbonate or silicate feedstock. 

"CREW speeds up the natural, long-term pathway for CO2 removal by engaging in a process called enhanced weathering. We take rock that consumes CO2 and make it more reactive by grinding it into a powder and then putting that rock powder in contact with water and CO2. By doing this process in a reactor system, we have the ability to monitor and quantify the rate of this CO2-removal pathway," explains CREW Co-Founder Joachim Katchinoff.

"We are thrilled to participate in Frontier Climate's latest round of carbon removal purchases— their largest yet! With this transformational support from Frontier, we are accelerating CREW’s development as we grow from pilot to full-scale deployments."


Wood Vaults with Kodama Systems

Based in Sonora, CA, Kodama Systems is a startup developing technology to improve climate resilience and carbon storage in forests.  They're building a full-stack solution for forest restoration by automating machinery, optimizing on-the-ground operations, and developing new methods to utilize low-value biomass.

Kodama and the CC Lab will use the grant awarded by Frontier for a research collaboration, piloting the burial of woody biomass thinned from forests at risk of wildfires in the Nevada desert. This technique has the potential to be a low-cost and highly efficient form of carbon dioxide removal, but there are open research questions regarding the durability of burial as a storage method.

Kodama and the CC Lab are using a novel approach to construct underground “vaults” that minimize water, oxygen, and microbial activity that could decompose the biomass, while employing numerous surface sensors to detect any decomposition. By determining optimal vault designs, we will aim to minimize CDR costs and maximize storage durability.

“We have been exploring the concept of wood vaults with the CC Lab for over a year, and we now have high confidence that this is a durable, low-cost method of carbon removal. The CC Lab brings an impressive team, valuable expertise, and a track record of innovation. We’re thrilled to be working with Justin, Sinead, and the rest of the CC Lab to test this method of carbon removal at a pilot scale," says Merritt Jenkins, Co-Founder and CEO of Kodama.

Jimmy Voorhis, Kodama's Head of Biomass Utilization and Policy, explains the potential of wood vaults as a removal method: “Woody biomass utilizations are a major bottleneck to scaling forest restoration. Wood vaults are compelling today because they have the potential to be significantly cheaper and more scalable than other carbon removal options in the near term. If vaults work as planned, we expect to create value from huge quantities of currently unmerchantable materials."

“We’ve been learning a lot about how to control decay in a variety of contexts from experiments we’ve deployed across the U.S., and initial results are very promising. We’re thrilled to partner with Kodama to further hone the understanding of wood decomposition, and get towards best practices on the burial of biomass at scale," says Sinead Crotty, CC Lab Project Manager.

"Many restoration projects are stuck in limbo because the wood is unmerchantable," adds Justin Freiberg, one of our Managing Directors. "We're excited to be collaborating with Kodama on a novel method of biomass utilization because it has potential to open new markets and match the distributed nature of the problem."

On site at a forest in Washington. CC Lab, 2022.
On site at a forest in Washington. CC Lab, 2022.

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