Puro.earth listed

Carbon Lockdown: Potomac Project 1

7 500
CORC Price
162 €
Production Timeline
Q2 2024-Q4 2024

About the project

Project Summary:

Situated near the Potomac River in southern Maryland, U.S.A., the Potomac Project will bury and durably sequester 5000 tonnes CO2-equivalent (tCO2e) of coarse woody biomass in a Wood Vault. The wood feedstock is sustainably sourced from wood residuals that would otherwise be destined for mulch or pile-burned. Multiple phases will add more storage capacity to the site.

Wood Vault Overview:

Wood Vault (WV) is a specially engineered structure that durably stores sustainably sourced coarse woody biomass (CWB) based on the Wood Harvesting and Storage (WHS) method of CDR researched and developed by Carbon Lockdown Founder Dr. Ning Zeng. The science behind WHS and WV can be summarized as a ‘reverse coal’ process in which carbon in the form of woody biomass is taken out of the “fast” photosynthesis-decomposition biotic carbon cycle and transferred to a “slow” geological carbon cycle via human engineering, as illustrated below.

High durability is achieved by burying CWB in an anoxic subterranean environment several meters below ground, away from the active biosphere (vegetation, soil, and decomposers) that's typically limited to the first meter of the soil profile. Carbon Lockdown’s patent-pending WV design ensures an oxygen-depleted environment that prevents wood decomposition and initiates the re-fossilization of carbon. 

The operational steps of WV conform to Puro’s Biomass Burial Methodology, and specifically involve:

  • Site analysis: soil permeability; soil composition (sand/silt/clay/organic); hydrology; topography; community and environmental impact;
  • Source CWB that would otherwise be chipped for mulched or burned (i.e. with the baseline that its constituent carbon continues in the fast carbon cycle, released to the atmosphere immediately, or within few years), optimizing for a short distance of transport to minimize cost and CO2 emissions; 
  • Stockpile the CWB on site temporarily before burial, sorting CWB  to confirm a minimum diameter of 10cm;
  • Baseline measurement of soil carbon at the WV site, and a nearby control site. Conduct biochemical analysis of CWB feedstock to determine moisture content, carbon content, and baseline for future MRV; 
  • Construction of WV: site preparation; excavation; place subsoil and organic topsoil separately;
  • Prior to burial, weigh the CWB to determine the exact mass for subsequent conversion to CO2e; 
  • Backfill the trench with the excavated subsoil, then the topsoil. Compact the soil with the excavator as the soil is backfilled to further lower permeability for better sealing. Seed the ground with grass.  After rehabilitation, soil settling, and grass re-establishment (~1 year), optionally transition the land to additional productive use such as grazing, recreation, solar farm, forestry, light construction, or combinations thereof e.g. agrivoltaics.
  • Continual monitoring of the site using sensors, flux measurements, and periodic sampling to ensure durability, reinforce the burial condition as needed, develop scientific and technical understanding, serve as a model project blueprint for future projects. 

WV is a hybrid Nature+Engineering method of CDR. CO2 is captured by trees via photosynthesis for 'free', with an estimated global CDR scaling potential between 2-10 gigatonnes (Gt) CO2e annually by 2045 (Zeng and Hausmann 2022). The WV method requires no complex technology or significant capital expenditure, and only minimal sorting and processing of feedstock. I.e., we bury raw residual woody biomass, which is a key advantage for its simplicity and low-cost. Additionally WV does not employ any thermal conversion of biomass (which in the case of pyrolysis for biochar typically emits 50%+ of the initial CO2e) and thus sequesters 100% of the feedstock’s carbon. 

WV is a durable CDR we can scale today, to multi-Mt by 2025 and 10Mt+ CO2e/y by 2030. 

Potomac Project 1:

The Potomac Project 1 is located in southern Maryland, ~25 miles south of the Capital Beltway (I-495) near the Potomac River. The Wood Vault will occupy 1 acre of a Carbon Lockdown-owned property. Soil is a heavily weathered red clay (ultisol) with low permeability, ideal for sealing the chamber to ensure anaerobic condition.

The Potomac Project 1 will bury and durably sequester a minimum net 5000tCO2e of residual CWB sustainably sourced from nearby commercial forestry operations, tree removal companies, commercial real estate developers, and state and local government. 

Multiple phases will add an additional 20-50Kt CO2e storage capacity to the site. Beyond the Potomac Project, Carbon Lockdown is building out a pipeline of potential project partners consisting of commercial forestry companies, solar developers, commercial real estate developers, mine operators, and local, subnational, and national governments worldwide with Mt-scale delivery potential in 2023-2025 and beyond.

Key Project Data

  • Type of project info
    New facility or site
  • Carbon removal methodology info
    Terrestrial Storage of Biomass
  • Durability of carbon removal in years (number) info
  • Co-benefits info
    Wood Vault durably sequesters residual coarse woody biomass that would otherwise burn, be chipped, or left to decompose in situ -- emitting its constituent CO2 back into the atmosphere -- and offers short-term local employment opportunities to rural communities.
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) info
  • Production facility country info
    United States
  • Site visits are possible info
  • Certifications or assessments info
    Carbon Lockdown: Potomac Project 1 will conform to Puro's Woody Biomass Burial Methodology, and be certified by Puro.
  • Project start date info
  • Expected certification and issuance date info
  • Annual carbon removal capacity in tCO2e (number) info
  • Additionality info
    The execution of Carbon Lockdown: Potomac Project 1 is conditional on project funding.

About the supplier

Carbon Lockdown Project Benefit LLC

Carbon Lockdown is a Public Benefit LLC dedicated to the advancement and scaling of Wood Harvesting and Storage (WHS) via Wood Vaults (WVs) as a method of long-duration carbon removal.
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