Tech

A stealth effort to bury wood for carbon removal has just raised millions


After a series of five devastating fires across the West, some states are ramping up funding for clearing efforts to reduce those dangers. That includes removing shrubbery, cutting trees or controlled burning to disrupt the landscape and prevent fire from reaching the forest canopy.

Justin Freiberg, executive director of the Yale Carbon Containment Laboratory, said countries will generate more and more forest waste from these efforts as climate change intensifies in the coming years.prevent wood carbon” approach under different conditions for several years.

But today, harvested plants and trees are often piled up in cleared areas and then left to rot or intentionally burned. That allows the carbon stored in them to easily re-enter the atmosphere, fueling further warming.

Kodama hopes to tackle both the wildfire risk and the emissions challenge. The company says it’s developing automated ways to thin out overcrowded forests, making the process cheaper and faster (though it hasn’t discussed this part of the business in detail yet). After removing branches from trees that are too small to be sold for timber, they load them onto trucks and move them to a prepared pit.

Small logs and other biomass collected by Kodama.

KODAMA SYSTEM

The key will be to ensure that what the company calls a “wooden vault” will block oxygen and water, which can accelerate decomposition and prevent greenhouse gases from leaking out.

In a field effort with Yale researchers, scheduled to begin in the third quarter of next year, the company plans to create a burial mound in the Nevada desert 7 meters high, 3 meters deep, and 58 meters long. .

They plan to cover the biomass with a layer of geotextile and then bury it in the ground and a layer of selected native vegetation to absorb the moisture. Given the region’s arid conditions, this would create a system that would prevent “degrading agents from acting on the buried timber,” said Jimmy Voorhis, head of policy and biomass use at the site. “. Kodama.

Freiberg adds that they will also expose the wood at the site and create smaller side vaults designed in different ways. Teams will continue to monitor them and compare the rate of decomposition and any greenhouse gas leaks over the years. The teams hope to be able to extrapolate long-term carbon storage estimates from that data, along with other studies and experiments.

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