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The Stanford Carbon Removal Initiative is a joint effort being developed by the Precourt Institute for Energy and Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. The goal of the initiative is to extend our thinking from addressing technical issues in isolation to a more integrated approach that addresses the elements and pathways together. The initiative will engage faculty across the Stanford campus and beyond to participate in flagship projects.






Initial Focus Areas for Flagship Projects


The goal of this flagship project is to build prototypes and eventually a test facility to allow researchers to experiment with different techniques for GHG emission removal in order to find new energy-efficient and scalable solutions.


  • CH4 removal: Given the difficulty of reaching zero methane emissions from agriculture and energy use, atmospheric methane removal through in situ oxidation will likely be needed to reach net-zero emissions for methane. The goal is to find solutions that work for non-flareable concentrations, from thousands of ppm down to 2 ppm, on a path to long term lifecycle costs of < $100/t CO2e.
  • CO2 removal: Most capture systems today have high energy penalty required to release bound CO2, which impacts the overall energy efficiency and, thereby, scalability to gigaton levels. The goal is for projects to focus on reducing lifecycle costs down to < $100/t. Assessments of novel techniques for industrial or geologic removal reliant on organic materials, mineralization and others are of interest.  Techniques and examination of alternative reductants for releasing CO2 bound by sorbents or to produce syngas..
  • N2O removal: Innovative solutions for removal and transformation of N2O, the third most important GHG in terms of radiative forcing.



The goal of this flagship projects is to map the landscape of opportunities and barriers for natural climate solutions in California and other regions, with realistic potential for 2025, 2045 and 2100. The plan is to combine observations, earth system models, and empirical studies to provide high-resolution recipes for project-level and jurisdictional deployment of strategies for increasing carbon stocks in forests and soils, and for capturing energy from waste.


  • Background ecosystem carbon sinks: Improved understanding and a framework for quantifying double counting.
  • Reforestation, afforestation, and improved forest management: Explore forest management, policy, and economic levers consistent with generating high confidence carbon removal in forests and forest products.
  • Soils: Modeling and empirical studies to examine organic and inorganic paths for carbon storage in soils.
  • Waste to energy with CCS: Evaluation of waste streams, value from potential products besides energy, technologies for collection, processing, and transportation, and the policy landscape in California.




  • Carbon uses and disposition
    • CCS (capture, storage, BECCS)
    • Utilization
  • Integrated systems modeling
  • Community benefits and impacts