Biochar for carbon removal

High-permanence carbon removal

The IPCC estimates that 10 to 20% of current GHG emissions cannot be avoided in the medium term, meaning that even with massive efforts to reduce emissions at the source, humanity will continue to emit 5 to 10 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent every year by 2050, mainly from agriculture, transport, and some industrial processes. Removing an equivalent amount of carbon from the atmosphere will thus be necessary to reach climate-neutrality by mid-century.

Natural carbon removal solutions such as trees can play a significant part in this effort, but will not be enough given that:

  1. they carry intrinsic physical limitations such as land availability for reforestation programmes;
  2. they come with a non-negligeable risk of reversal, mainly because of wildfires, deforestation, and droughts.

Engineered carbon removal solutions are therefore necessary as a complement, and need to feature guaranteed high-permanence removal. Biochar is one of only a handful of such solutions. It allows for hundreds of years of guaranteed carbon removal, has a global sustainable removal capacity of up to 2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year, and is to date the most mature solution to be brought at scale, with already-available technology and very strong scientific backing.

Biochar is one of only a few long-term sequestration technologies, and the one at highest technology readiness level.

Highest level of certification

NetZero projects are certified by the ICROA-endorsed Puro Standard, the world's leading certification standard for high-permanence carbon removal. Its methodology builds on the learnings of thousands of scientific publications on biochar.

Puro's certification methodology notably ensures that:

  • the feedstock is sourced sustainably;
  • the reactor's heat is self-sustained by reusing the syngas from the production process;
  • the biochar is only used for agricultural purposes;
  • only the stable share of carbon (100+ year lifetime) is accounted for;
  • all value chain emissions are deducted.

NetZero has decided to go beyond methodology requirements at each stage of its value chain, adopting a very conservative approach on biomass type selection and on the quantification of emissions from equipment manufacturing, overall transport operations, energy consumption, and more.

Numerous co-benefits

By operating its end-to-end model in tropical developing countries, NetZero maximises environmental and social impact on top of carbon removal. As carbon credits are what enables NetZero's model, buying them allows to:

  • create qualified, well-paid industrial jobs in rural areas;
  • subsidise the selling price of biochar for farmers, making it affordable and for subsequent income increase for farmers by using the biochar in their fields;
  • generate 24/7 stable and renewable electric power for local use.

High-quality credits for high-quality clients

Carbon credits have too long been associated to greenwashing. We want to make sure that priority is always given to reducing emissions at the source, and that carbon credits are only used to neutralise hard-to-abate, unavoidable emissions.

Therefore, our policy is to provide carbon credits only to companies with very credible net-zero roadmaps. For example, BCG — our first client — has SBTi-validated goals, is taking strong and rapid action to reduce its emissions at the source, and has committed to reach net-zero emissions across all scopes by 2030. Additionally, the high selling price of our carbon credits ensures that only very hard-to-abate emissions are neutralised using this method.

Learn about biochar for sustainable agriculture