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:
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.
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.