Biochar is a carbon-rich, porous, and stable material produced by heating organic matter (such as plant residues, wood, or manure) in a low-oxygen environment through a process called pyrolysis. This process prevents the organic matter from fully decomposing and converts the organic matter into a more stable form of carbon, which can be stored in the soil for hundreds or even thousands of years.
Biochar has gained attention in recent years due to its potential to mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration, soil improvement, and other environmental benefits.
One of the primary ways biochar can help mitigate climate change is via Biomass Carbon Removal and Storage (BiCRS) technology. In contrast to the conventional Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology, BiCRS technology lets plants do the hard work of scrubbing CO₂ out of the atmosphere through photosynthesis and turns biomass into biochar or CO₂ that can be sequestered permanently, thereby removing CO₂ from the air.
By converting organic matter into a stable form of carbon, biochar effectively locks away carbon that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere as CO₂ during decomposition. This reduces the overall amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, which in turn helps to slow down global warming.
In this article, we introduce some companies who specialize in biochar production for carbon removal.
Arbor Energy, an American climate tech company founded in 2022, develops a modular, compact system that converts biomass into carbon-negative electricity and clean water, while also permanently removing CO₂ from the atmosphere via a process known as Biomass Carbon Removal and Storage (BiCRS). Arbor’s modular and compact carbon removal system has an inherent carbon capture efficiency of nearly 100%, making it a promising method for reversing humanity’s climate footprint.
Carba, an American climate tech company founded in 2021, develops carbon removal technology using low-temperature pyrolysis (torrefaction) to convert biomass waste into biochar, which can then be buried to seal carbon in place for generations. This process is energy neutral, requiring near zero additional power.
Carbofex, a Finnish company founded in 2016, is one of Europe’s largest EBC-certified biochar producers. The company has developed a thermal pyrolysis technology that produces non-energent biochar from biomass while permanently removing CO₂ from the natural carbon cycle. One ton of Carbofex biochar removes 3.2 equivalent tons of CO₂ from the atmosphere. Since 2019, Carbofex’s solution has captured over 3,000 tons of CO₂. Carbofex was selected as one of the top 15 teams to receive a $1M Milestone Prize in the XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition.
Carbo Culture, a Finnish climate tech company founded in 2018, has developed a carbon removal technology known as Carbolysis™, which uses a pyrolysis reactor operating at high temperature and pressure to convert biomass waste into stable biochar, thereby locking carbon safely away for centuries. Additionally, the process produces syngas that can be used to generate clean electricity. Carbo Culture believes that its technology is the most efficient method for converting biomass into biochar. Carbo Culture’s mission is to remove one billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The BiCRS market is a niche segment of the carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) market. The CCUS global market was valued at approximately $2.1 billion in 2020. It is expected to reach $4.25 billion by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.2%. This growth is driven by increasing awareness of climate change, supportive government policies, technological advancements, and industry collaboration.
The majority of the CCUS market is currently focused on carbon capture technologies for fossil fuel-based power plants and industrial processes. However, the interest in BiCRS is growing due to its potential to remove CO₂ directly from the atmosphere and store it in a more sustainable manner. As the technology matures and gains wider acceptance, the BiCRS market is expected to experience significant growth in the coming years.