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CARBONITY Project Marks Milestone for Carbon Removals

Canada based joint venture unveils large-scale biochar production site / First Climate is partner for the management and marketing of carbon assets


Once it reaches full production capacity in 2026, the new CARBONITY biochar production site in Port Cartier, Quebec, is projected to be the largest biochar plant in North America and will count amongst the largest biochar projects to generate carbon credits globally. The construction site was now officially unveiled in the presence of representatives from the regional government of Quebec, as well as from the joint venture partners SUEZ, Airex Energy, and Groupe Rémabec. Representing First Climate as a project partner, Nino Berta, Head of the Technical Removals Team, joined the ceremony.


Biochar: a carbon removal technology with climate action potential

Biochar production at the CARBONITY plant will begin in 2024, with an initial production capacity of 10,000 tons of biochar per year, which will triple by 2026, and result in a projected 75,000 tonnes of CO2 removed annually. With its production capacity, the project is set to majorly impact the development of removal credit supply from the usage of biochar.


Responsible for the commercialisation of the project's carbon credits, First Climate offers a unique opportunity for its clients to invest in an exciting and forward-thinking climate technology.


“We are delighted to be partnering with First Climate, who will sell guaranteed and certified carbon credits on the voluntary market for our project, which we estimate will capture 75,000 tonnes of CO2 per year from biochar production. So, in addition to its environmental benefits, our biochar production will enable companies to address their greenhouse gas emissions,” says Michel Gagnon, CEO of Airex Energy.


Yves Rannou, Chief Operating Officer Recycling & Recovery, Executive Vice-President of SUEZ, adds, "SUEZ will leverage its expertise in constructing and operating industrial facilities to enable the global deployment of this groundbreaking decarbonization solution."


Biochar’s Climate Potential


The increased market availability could also be groundbreaking for boosting biochar’s climate impact. With its capacity to store CO2 securely for over hundreds of years, biochar has an enormous sequestration and climate change mitigation potential which has also been recognized in recent reports by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Biochar is made using a special pyrolysis process: a biomass feedstock, such as wood residue, straw or nut shells is heated in the absence of oxygen. During this process, the carbon contained in the biomass is permanently bound in the biochar. High quality biochar can contain a proportion of up to 85% high-purity carbon. Once applied into soil, or long-lasting materials like concrete, biochar can bind and sequester carbon for the long-term. Beyond its carbon sequestration abilities, it can absorb up to five times its own weight in water and nutrients. This presents other unique possibilities to utilize biochar in both agriculture and cities to make them more resilient to the effects of climate change (See the sponge city concept).


"Biochar can contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in so many ways. Depending on the application, the focus could be on improving soil quality, binding pollutants or contributing to the creation of a circular economy,” explains Nino Berta, Head of Technical Removal Solutions at First Climate.



Pioneers in Carbon Removals


Despite their potential, various barriers have previously hindered carbon removals from entering markets on a large scale, particularly the steep costs of developing and implementing such technologies. An active pioneer in the carbon removals field since 2018, First Climate is pushing the development of biochar production worldwide by making the technology eligible for carbon finance. To this end, the company has developed a science-based methodology that makes it possible for biochar projects to be certified as official carbon removals projects with the relevant registries and standards. These are the prerequisites to bring in additional funding from the sale of removal credits which are needed to make projects like CARBONITY financially viable.


In its role as carbon asset manager, First Climate ensures that the project meets international carbon sequestration standards and manages the entire lifecycle of the project’s carbon credits, from registration with a carbon standard, project monitoring, reporting, and third-party auditing to marketing, sale, and retirement.


“This is a big step for both First Climate and for carbon removals worldwide,” states Nino Berta. "The CARBONITY project demonstrates that carbon credits can make large scale, long-term carbon removal projects financially viable. This is a crucial aspect to driving the development of carbon removals forward for the achievement of international climate goals.”


 

CARBONITY is a joint venture of:


Airex Energy

Airex Energy is a world leader in the development of climate solutions, providing its expertise and technology to customers wishing to reduce their carbon footprint. Through its innovative CarbonFX™ torrefaction technology, Airex transforms all types of biomass into high-value carbonized products, such as biochar.


Groupe Rémabec

Founded in 1988, Groupe Rémabec is proud to be the largest private forestry contractor in Quebec and one of the province's leading lumber millers, providing quality direct employment to nearly 2,000 people. Solidly established in several regions of Quebec, Groupe Rémabec is one of the few forestry companies of its size to have its head office in the heart of a forestry community, in La Tuque.


SUEZ

Suez has been providing essential services for 160 years, to protect and improve the quality of life in the face of growing environmental challenges. The Group enables its customers to provide access to water and waste services through innovative and resilient solutions. Present in 40 countries with more than 44,000 employees, the Group also enables its customers to create value over the entire life cycle of their infrastructures and services, and to drive their ecological transition by involving their users.



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