Increasing Carbon Drawdown and Retention in Terrestrial Biomass using Bioengineered Trees

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Exploratory Topics
San Francisco, California
Project Term:
08/10/2021 - 08/09/2023

Technology Description:

The rate of photosynthetic assimilation and decay of lignocellulosic biomass currently limits carbon drawdown and retention in terrestrial biomass. Living Carbon is developing innovative methods to reduce the susceptibility of vegetative biomass to decay by lignin-eating fungi, thereby reducing the rate of release of carbon dioxide back to the atmosphere through fungal respiration. Living Carbon’s trees resist fungal decay through absorbing small amounts of nickel and copper from the soil and depositing these metals in their xylem (wood) tissue as they grow, which offers a biological strategy to mimic the pressure treatment process that forces copper-based preservatives into lumber to increase its longevity. If these results translate at scale, these trees will improve carbon drawdown on the gigaton scale when planted in managed forests, and lumber from these trees may not require costly and emissions-intensive pressure treatment.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Marina Sofos
Project Contact:
Dr. Yumin Tao
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