Carbon Sequestering with biochar

The Net-Zero target require carbon sequestration projects

As part of their long-term climate strategy, many countries decided to make a contribution to limiting global warming to well below 2 ° C. In order to meet this goal, the EU, as well as the Swiss Federal Council set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050. This target can only be reached, if all emissions are reduced as much as possible and those remaining are sequestered into carbon sinks.


Biochar is a carbon-rich product that is produced through the pyrolytic carbonization of raw biomass. The biomass is pyrolyzed in a gasifier under oxygen deficiency at temperatures between 380°C und 1000°C. During the process of pyrolysis, the organic compounds within the biomass are thermochemically split.

Alongside biochar, individual products left by the process are water, heat, a flammable gas mixture of H2, CO, CO2, CH4 and other hydrocarbons.
These by-products are, however, not wasted; burning the pyrolysis gases covers the energy required for the production of biochar.

The heat produced can be fed into district heating networks, used for the drying of raw materials or used to generate electricity through an exhaust gas turbine.

Benefits to the agricultural sector

In agriculture, biochar is applied to soils, which leads to an improvement in the soil’s capacity to retain water, to an increase in soil fertility and lastly to an increase in the build-up of humus. The biochar absorbs nutrients, retaining them in the soil and preventing them from being washed out. This keeps the nutrients available for plants. Another benefit is the reduction of methane and nitrous oxide emissions that are often released through the soil’s microbial degradation processes.

Before biochar is applied, it needs to be loaded with nutrients. This can either be done by directly mixing the biochar with compost or liquid manure, or as part of what is known as cascade use. With cascade use, the advantages of biochar can be used in several stages. For example, the biochar can be fed to livestock, which has a positive effect on their health. The manure produced as a result of the biochar is much more fluid and the biochar holds onto nutrients in the manure. These nutrients are then stored for longer when the manure is spread onto soil.

The program

Biochar is only used in agriculture by a few pioneers in Europe since it currently has a high sales price. The aim of the carbon sink program is to promote the production of biochar as a long-term form of carbon storage and to increase its usage. This is done with the help of revenues generated by carbon certificates.

This significantly reduces the cost for farmers. At the same time, a sufficient return is guaranteed to Swiss biochar producers. As buyers of the product, farmers are the main target market for these products; other customers, however, can include horticulture or the construction industry, whereby biochar is incorporated into building materials as a stable carbon store.

First Climate developed this climate protection project in accordance with the ISO 14064-2 standard, and had it validated by renowned Verico test centre.

Are you interested in carbon certificates that are “Made in Switzerland” or “Made in Germany” by this project, through which you will be supporting the producers of biochar?

Get in touch!


Dr. Jochen Gassner
  +49 6101 55 658 55

TÜV-Zertifikat "Geprüfte Kompensation"

Claudio Kummli
  +41 44 298 28 00

Nikolaus Wohlgemuth
  +41 44 298 28 00