Bio-Based Materials for Carbon Sequestration

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Bio-based materials for carbon sequestration represent a promising approach to mitigate climate change by utilizing renewable resources to capture and store atmospheric carbon dioxide. These materials, derived from biomass like wood, agricultural residues, and algae, offer a sustainable and nature-inspired solution to address the growing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. They work by locking carbon within their structure for extended periods, effectively removing it from the carbon cycle and mitigating its contribution to global warming.

Impact on climate action

Bio-Based Materials for Carbon Sequestration offer a dual benefit by mitigating carbon emissions and fostering sustainable material production. Utilizing natural processes, these materials capture and store atmospheric carbon, reducing greenhouse gas levels. This innovation promotes a circular economy, lessening dependence on fossil fuels, and advancing climate action efforts significantly.


  • Carbon Fixation and Biomass Growth: Plants and algae naturally capture CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and convert it into organic matter, effectively storing carbon within their structure. This natural process forms the foundation for utilizing bio-based materials for carbon sequestration.
  • Material Processing and Carbon Storage: Biomass can be processed into various materials that store carbon:
    • Wood Products: Durable wood products, like furniture, construction lumber, and engineered wood, store carbon for the lifespan of the product.
    • Biochar: Biomass is converted into a stable charcoal-like material called biochar through a process called pyrolysis, which involves heating biomass in the absence of oxygen. Biochar can be added to soil, where it stores carbon for centuries.
    • Bio-Based Polymers: Biopolymers, like cellulose, lignin, and chitin, inherently contain carbon. Utilizing these biopolymers in products effectively sequesters carbon for the lifespan of the product.
  • Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU): Emerging technologies combine biomass conversion with carbon capture technologies, capturing CO2 emissions from industrial processes and utilizing it to create bio-based materials, effectively closing the carbon loop.

TRL : 5-8 (depending on the specific material and application)

Prominent Innovation themes

  • Mass Timber Construction: Using engineered wood products like CLT (cross-laminated timber) in large-scale construction projects, creating carbon sinks within buildings and reducing reliance on carbon-intensive materials like concrete and steel.
  • Biochar Production and Soil Amendment: Developing efficient and scalable technologies for biochar production and exploring its potential as a soil amendment to improve soil health, fertility, and carbon sequestration capacity.
  • Bio-Based Polymers for Long-Lasting Products: Utilizing bio-based polymers in durable products, such as furniture, automotive components, and construction materials, effectively locking carbon away for extended periods.
  • Carbon-Negative Biomaterials: Creating biomaterials that sequester more carbon than they emit during their production lifecycle, effectively acting as net carbon sinks.
  • Bio-Based Carbon Capture Materials: Developing materials from biomass that can directly capture CO2 from the atmosphere or industrial emissions, offering a renewable and potentially cost-effective alternative to conventional carbon capture technologies.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Biomass Carbon Capture Technologies
  • Sustainable Biomass Utilization Strategies
  • Advanced Biochar Production Methods
  • Carbon-Negative Biomaterial Development
  • Biomass-Derived Carbon Storage Solutions
  • Enhanced Carbon Sequestration Techniques
  • Bio-Based Materials for Carbon-Neutral Buildings
  • Innovative Biomass Conversion Processes
  • Carbon Capture and Utilization Innovations
  • Sustainable Forestry Practices for Carbon Sequestration
  • Next-Generation Biomass-Derived Polymers
  • Biomass-Based Carbon Sink Technologies
  • Carbon-Neutral Biomass Utilization
  • Bio-Based Materials for Carbon Offsetting
  • Novel Biomass-Derived Carbon Capture Materials
  • Biochar Applications for Soil Carbon Sequestration
  • Carbon-Negative Building Materials
  • Biomass Carbon Capture and Storage Systems

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  1. CarbonCure Technologies:
    • Technology Focus: CarbonCure Technologies specializes in carbon capture and utilization (CCU) solutions for the concrete industry. They embed captured CO2 into concrete products during production, enhancing their strength and reducing carbon emissions.
    • Uniqueness: CarbonCure stands out for its innovative approach to carbon sequestration by integrating captured carbon into building materials, thereby contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the construction sector.
    • End-User Segments: Their primary customers are concrete producers and construction companies aiming to reduce their carbon footprint and meet sustainability goals.
  2. Carbo Culture:
    • Technology Focus: Carbo Culture likely focuses on utilizing biochar, a form of charcoal produced from biomass, for carbon sequestration and soil enrichment. They may employ advanced pyrolysis techniques to produce biochar efficiently.
    • Uniqueness: Carbo Culture’s uniqueness lies in its utilization of biochar as a carbon-negative material, sequestering carbon from biomass while improving soil health and agricultural productivity.
    • End-User Segments: Their target segments could include agricultural enterprises, forestry operations, and environmental restoration projects seeking sustainable solutions for carbon sequestration and soil improvement.
  3. Charm Industrial:
    • Technology Focus: Charm Industrial might focus on advanced bioenergy and biochar production processes, utilizing biomass feedstock for carbon sequestration and renewable energy generation.
    • Uniqueness: Charm Industrial may distinguish itself through its integrated approach to bioenergy and carbon sequestration, offering scalable solutions that address both environmental and energy challenges.
    • End-User Segments: Their target segments may include industries looking to reduce carbon emissions while generating renewable energy, such as power generation, industrial processing, and waste management.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  1. Yale University (USA):
    • Technology Enhancements: Yale researchers are focusing on developing bio-based materials that have the unique ability to capture and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They are investigating innovative materials synthesis techniques, such as biochar production from agricultural waste or engineered bio-based polymers with carbon sequestration capabilities.
    • Uniqueness of Research: Yale’s approach involves a holistic view of carbon sequestration, considering the entire lifecycle of bio-based materials from production to disposal. They are exploring ways to enhance the carbon storage capacity of materials while ensuring their sustainability and minimal environmental impact.
    • End-use Applications: The bio-based materials developed at Yale have diverse applications in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, sustainable agriculture, and construction materials. For example, biochar derived from agricultural waste can be used as a soil amendment to improve fertility and sequester carbon in agricultural lands.
  2. ETH Zurich (Switzerland):
    • Technology Enhancements: Researchers at ETH Zurich are investigating novel bio-based materials with enhanced carbon sequestration properties, such as bio-inspired materials that mimic natural processes of carbon fixation. They are developing advanced synthesis methods, including genetically engineered microorganisms or biomimetic catalysts, to produce bio-based materials with high carbon capture efficiency.
    • Uniqueness of Research: ETH Zurich’s research integrates principles of synthetic biology, materials science, and environmental engineering to design bio-based materials specifically tailored for carbon sequestration applications. They are exploring nature-inspired strategies to optimize the efficiency and stability of carbon capture processes.
    • End-use Applications: The bio-based materials developed at ETH Zurich have potential applications in carbon capture technologies, renewable energy storage, and environmental remediation. For instance, bio-based polymers with carbon sequestration capabilities can be used in carbon capture membranes, adsorbents for flue gas treatment, or as electrodes in carbon-neutral energy storage devices.
  3. Wageningen University & Research (Netherlands):
    • Technology Enhancements: Wageningen researchers are exploring the use of bio-based materials derived from sustainable biomass sources, such as agricultural residues or algae biomass, for carbon sequestration purposes. They are developing scalable production processes and refining material properties to optimize their carbon capture performance.
    • Uniqueness of Research: Wageningen’s research emphasizes the integration of bio-based materials into existing carbon capture and utilization (CCU) systems, such as bioenergy production or industrial emissions reduction. They are investigating synergistic approaches to enhance the overall efficiency and sustainability of carbon sequestration processes.
    • End-use Applications: The bio-based materials developed at Wageningen have applications in various sectors, including agriculture, energy, and environmental management. For example, bio-based adsorbents or catalysts can be used in biogas upgrading, wastewater treatment, or soil carbon enhancement practices to mitigate climate change and promote sustainable development.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

Several commercially viable examples of bio-based materials for carbon sequestration are gaining traction:

  • Mass Timber Construction: CLT and other engineered wood products are being increasingly used in building construction, creating carbon-storing structures and reducing reliance on carbon-intensive materials.
  • Biochar Soil Amendment: Biochar is commercially available as a soil amendment for agriculture, horticulture, and landscaping, contributing to soil health and carbon sequestration.
  • Durable Bio-Based Products: Companies are manufacturing furniture, flooring, and other products using durable bio-based materials, effectively sequestering carbon within these products.