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Breakthrough Energy, State of the Transition 2023

Accelerating the Clean Industrial Revolution

CARBON CASTING: There is a third option, a hybrid of the first two we’ve discussed that combines the strength of nature-based approaches with the lasting impact of engineered removal.

Graphyte is one company exploring this area. Incubated by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Graphyte has developed a carbon dioxide removal approach that is permanent, affordable, and immediately scalable.

Foresters and farmers already capture billions of tons of CO₂ each year in the form of timber and crop residues that are left to decompose into CO₂ and methane. But what if carbon-rich biomass can be transformed into permanently sequestered carbon?

That’s what Graphyte does with its Carbon Casting technology. This process dries the biomass to remove microbes and the water they depend on, then creates inert carbon blocks protected by an impermeable barrier to ensure the biomass decomposition does not restart. These blocks are stored in monitored, underground storage sites that provide a further layer of protection and enable robust long-term monitoring.

This new technology provides an immediate pathway to low-cost carbon removal with durability over 1,000 years. Combining photosynthesis with practical engineering enables Graphyte to meet long-term cost targets in the near term, whereas other approaches hold the promise of achieving these targets over many years, contingent on future innovations.

The Carbon Casting process preserves nearly all the carbon stored in the biomass while also consuming less energy than other removal approaches (an order of magnitude less than the leading direct air capture solutions). In addition, the use of a purpose-built sequestration site enables comprehensive monitoring of the sequestered carbon, making Graphyte’s approach the only permanent negative-emissions technology that can be monitored directly.

By making high-quality carbon removal affordable to companies and governments today, Graphyte accelerates progress toward the billions of tons of carbon removal needed to meet the IPCC’s projected path. It also broadens the opportunity to areas in the Global South that are rich in biomass but simply can’t afford expensive and energy-intensive DAC solutions.

Graphyte collaborates with farmers and foresters who sustainably manage agriculture and timber lands across the world, and turns their unused biomass into permanent carbon removal. As we work to accelerate the clean energy transition, climate leaders should consider this important addition to the toolkit to deliver higher volumes of permanent removals at an affordable price today.

Read the full report.

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