Approaches

The Yale Carbon Containment Lab (CC Lab) launched in January 2020 as part of the Yale School of the Environment. Recognizing the need for carbon removal, the CC Lab seeks to develop and implement safe and novel methods of removing and containing atmospheric carbon at scale and at low cost. To achieve implementation and adoption, the Lab combines scientific expertise with economic and business insight to design practicable business plans and pull together talented management and environmentally concerned funding.

Carbon removal is the process by which humans actively and intentionally remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and store it in plants, soils, oceans, geological reservoirs, or in long-lived products like cement. Explore a further explanation of carbon removal on Yale’s Beyond the Buzzwords: Carbon Removal.

With a focus on implementation, the CC Lab aims to contribute to the containment of one billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent (MTCO2e) emissions by 2100, and, in the shorter term, one million MTCO2e per year before 2030.

As projects are further refined, the CC Lab will complete additional analyses, estimate life cycle emissions, and consider the generation of environmental, economic, and social costs and benefits.

Emerging themes from the CC Lab’s work in 2020 include a focus on cost-effectively containing carbon by:

  • Re-purposing stranded infrastructure, such as old natural gas wells, existing pipeline infrastructure, and mines.
  • Focusing on key points of intervention in the carbon cycle, such as when CO2 is released back into the atmosphere through decomposition.
  • Demonstrating that projects can also benefit other desirable goals, such as severe wildfire mitigation, use of waste resources, and/or economic development.

CC Lab projects are designed to consider potential other benefits beyond climate change mitigation, such as wildfire risk reduction, economic development, and social justice. The CC Lab considers and selects interventions considering a full life cycle and systems perspective, and applies a wide range of techno-economic, environmental, and social impact assessments.

The CC Lab is focusing on testing new ideas through practice, application, and learning. Operating as an open-source non-profit, the CC Lab actively seeks ideas to build on, adapt, and improve. Building a network of individuals and groups is also key to this focus; the CC Lab will help such groups find the right human and financial resources to support project implementation.

Carbon Containment Lab project criteria.

The CC Lab divides its work into two main areas: A) developing novel systems for carbon containment; and B) enabling market development for carbon containment solutions.