Mycelium & Carbon Vaults

HiveMind began 12 years ago as an adjunct to the Chicago Green Roof Program. 

We gave out a series of small grants for community centers to install a green roof inoculated with mycelium to increase the garden’s resilience. Our original blend was based on the groundbreaking work of mycologist, Paul Stamets. 

Though the focus was on mitigating the urban heat island effect we also measured for CO2 and N2O in the soil.  Over the next five years, we discovered three game changing results:

1.) The mycelium not only helped the plants sequester more CO2, but 40% of the plant’s carbon stayed in the mycelium matrix in the soil even after the plant died.

2.) The mycelium also outcompeted N2O producing microbes. That is significant because N2O has 298 times the heat trapping capacity of CO2.

3.) The process also worked on sites other than green roofs including community gardens, meadows and vacant urban lots.

Because there was no economic driver for CO2 sequestration at that time, the project died on the vine. HiveMind’s focus switched to bioremediation and the company spent the next four years successfully cleaning up low-level radioactive sites in the Southwest using mycelium. 

In 2015, we were approached by Marcella Naverro of Business Cubed to work with Fortune Two Hundred companies that wanted to meet their carbon budgets. The first client to come onboard was Cummins Diesel who is the world’s seventh largest CO2 emitter. They asked us to help them mitigate 16.5 million tons of CO2 by 2025.

We completed the pilot project for Cummins in Huddersfield, UK on a green roof sequestering hundreds of metric tons of CO2. Cummins then had Europe’s number one industrial processor certifier called EEVS (Europe’s Number One Industrial Process Verifier: verify all our data.