HomeCarbon CreditsBiochar Makes the Grade: Unlocking The Potential of Engineered Carbon Removals

Biochar Makes the Grade: Unlocking The Potential of Engineered Carbon Removals

BeZero Carbon has given its first Biochar project the rare “A” rating, only 21 projects of the 350+ projects rated on their platform have an A or an AA rating. This rating is based on a comprehensive analysis of publicly available data and assesses the project against various risk factors, including additionality, carbon accounting, and non-permanence risks.

This pivotal move signifies the maturation of the Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) sector and particularly biochar which accounts for over 90% of all CDR deliveries.

The engineered carbon removal sector has been hindered by a lack of transparency and public information and that is set to change.

  • Puro.Earth expects the supply of CDR in the next 18 months to grow by an “order of magnitude”.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy has plans to purchase up to $35M of CDR credits from a portfolio of CDR pathways consistent with the objectives of the Carbon Negative Shot.

What is Engineered Carbon Removal?

As the world grapples with the climate crisis, there is a growing consensus that large-scale engineered carbon removal is indispensable.

In fact, projections indicate that by 2030, the annual demand for durable engineered carbon removal could range from 40 to 200 million tCO2. Rating the quality of these carbon credits including biochar will help enhance transparency and integrity in the market.

Currently, here are the top 5 carbon dioxide removal technologies available:

Direct Air Capture (DAC)

  • Captures CO2 directly from ambient air using chemical processes.
  • Suitable for long-term storage or utilization in various industries.

Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS)

  • Combines biomass energy production with carbon capture technology.
  • Captured CO2 is stored underground.

Enhanced Weathering

  • Spreads crushed minerals on land or in the ocean to react with CO2.
  • Forms stable carbonates, storing CO2 in a solid form.

Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement

  • Increases the ocean’s capacity to absorb CO2 by adding alkaline substances.
  • Also helps to mitigate ocean acidification.

Biochar

  • Involves the pyrolysis of biomass to create a stable form of carbon.
  • Can be added to soil to improve its quality and store carbon long-term.

What is Biochar?

Biochar is a form of charcoal produced from the pyrolysis of organic matter, usually plant-based materials like wood, crop residues, or manure. Its molecular structure changes to a more stable form, thus storing carbon much longer than biomass feedstock.

what is biochar

Key Advantages

Stable Carbon Storage: Biochar is highly stable and can remain in the soil for hundreds to thousands of years, effectively sequestering carbon.

Soil Fertility: When added to soil, biochar can improve water retention, nutrient availability, and microbial activity, thereby enhancing agricultural productivity.

Waste Utilization: Biochar can be produced from agricultural and forestry waste, providing a way to utilize these materials while reducing methane emissions from decomposition.

Energy Co-Production: The pyrolysis process also generates heat and syngas, which can be an input for energy.

Earlier this year BeZero Carbon found that biochar encounters fewer obstacles to scaling compared to other methods under consideration. 

Notable advantages for biochar include third-party verified methodologies, cost-effectiveness, well-developed ancillary value chains, and the potential for energy production. 

biochar advantages

Biochar: The Market Leader

Biochar is at the forefront of the ex post technological carbon removal market; it is furthest along the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of all carbon removal methods.

technology readiness level of CDR methodsAs a product of pyrolysis, a high-temperature, low-oxygen process, biochar has the ability to store carbon for extended periods, far surpassing its original biomass feedstocks. 

The process also generates waste gasses that can be useful as waste heat in district heating networks. Biochar’s versatility extends to its use as a soil amendment, a feed additive, and even as an input in concrete production.

‘A’ Rating: A Benchmark for Excellence

BeZero Carbon rating frameworkBeZero’s ‘A’ carbon rating is based on the rating analysis of publicly available information. Carbon credits rated ‘A’ have a high likelihood of achieving 1 tonne of avoided or removed CO₂e. This biochar rating assesses the project against BeZero’s risk factors.

Carbon Credit 3rd-Party Verification

In the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM), third-party verification is a fundamental aspect of the carbon credit process. It serves as the initial step in confirming that a carbon removal activity has occurred. 

There are two ways to perform verification:

  1. Developing an internal methodology that is subsequently verified by an external auditing service
  2. Adopting methodologies established by third-party standards-issuing organizations.

Currently, key third-party methodologies available for Biochar include the European Biochar Certificate, Puro.Earth, and the Verified Carbon Standard.

third-party methodologies verification for biocharA lower hydrogen to carbon and lower oxygen to carbon ratio generally means the Biochar is more stable and less likely to break down, making it better for long-term carbon storage

As the CDR sector gains momentum, biochar stands out as a key solution for long-term carbon sequestration and soil improvement. BeZero Carbon’s ‘A’ rating for a biochar project underscores the growing importance and effectiveness of engineered carbon removal in addressing climate change.

Most Popular
LATEST CARBON NEWS

CORSIA Carbon Credit Demand To Be 14x Larger Than Supply

The surplus of CORSIA-eligible carbon credits is projected to turn negative by 2030 unless new supplies become available, according to an analysis by Abatable. Currently,...

Wired for Change: AI, Energy, and the Decarbonization Dilemma

AI is a powerful force driving innovation across industries in today's rapidly evolving technological landscape. However, as AI capabilities expand, so does its appetite for...

U.S. Raises Tariffs on $8B China Imports: EVs, Batteries, and Solar Cells Included

The Biden-Harris Administration's Investing in America agenda has successfully spurred more than $860 billion in business investments. In line with this, the White House...

Yara Clean Ammonia Signs Historic Deal with India’s Greenko ZeroC to Ramp Up Green Ammonia Supply

Yara Clean Ammonia, the world’s largest trader and distributor of ammonia, has forged a long-term deal with India-based Greenko ZeroC (formerly known as AM...
CARBON INVESTOR EDUCATION

What Is COP28? Key Issues to Watch Out at 2023 Climate Summit

After a record-breaking year of devastating effects of climate change, from record wildfires in Greece and Canada to floods in Libya, the United Nations...

Climate Disclosure: New Corporate Standards for a Net Zero World

As part of the world’s continued efforts to combat climate change and transition towards net zero, one important piece of the puzzle is new...

Carbon Pricing: Understanding The Economics and Trends of Fighting Climate Change

As global temperatures continue to rise, the urgency surrounding climate policies has intensified, thrusting carbon pricing into the limelight of climate discussions. The race to...

The EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD): Key Things to Know

Companies operating in the European Union will have to deal with new non-financial and sustainability reporting requirements starting January 2024 with the EU's Corporate...