EBI is working towards the success of biochar on different levels, particularly on a European scale. On this site, updates on the developments of interest for the Biochar Industry will continuously be provided.
BEES 360: Biochar in the 2020s
Some of the European biochar industry stalwarts, earliest pioneers and newest enablers provide a broad overview of this “in the spotlight” topic, being one of the six IPCC recognized Negative Emission Technology pathways. Whilst the application of biochar as a soil enhancer is believed to date back around 2 millennia, it’s its future that particularly interests us. So, looking into the 2020s and beyond, underpinning and fundamental to the role that biochar can play in sequestrating atmospheric carbon is sustainably sourced biomass whereby traceability is the watch word. We also look at gasification and pyrolysis as pathways to producing biochar as well as achieving the biochar-based carbon sink market and some frontier research work that points to new and novel applications for biochar.
Sampling of Biochar
Training according to the EBC Guidelines
24.03.2021 in English
17.03.2021 in German
EBC certification requires specific sampling of biochar.
In order to transmit the basics of sampling in compliance with the EBC guidelines, Eurofins is offering a training on sampling in two parts.
New EBI report available now
European Biochar Market Report 2020
EBI has just released the first report on the European Biochar Market. The comprehensive report covers biochar production in Europe over the last decade. It shows that the growth of the European biochar market has strongly accelerated since 2017. The publicly available part is now accessible.
Find it HERE.
The EBC was developed to minimise risks in the use of biochar, especially in agricultural applications, and to avoid negative environmental impacts of its production. It is a voluntary industry standard, compliance with which is a mandatory part of the state approval of biochar for use in agriculture in Switzerland. Since 2020, the EBC has also certified the carbon sink potential of biochar. This means that the climate service of carbon storage by biochar can now be traded and remunerated separately. In this web seminar, Hans-Peter Schmidt and Nikolas Hagemann will talk about the importance of certification, the principles of the European Biochar Certificate and its recent adaptations and further developments, as well as the perspective of the C-sink markets. Heike Renner will present the EBC control and certification programme.
02.03.2021, 13:00-15:00 CET
More details and registration on our EVENTS site.
Possibility to comment on Draft Act 2019/1009:
Biochar in EU agriculture
“The updated EU rules on fertilisers (Regulation 2019/1009) will apply from 16 July 2022. They have been extended to cover all types of fertilisers, including organic ones such as those derived from pyrolysis and gasification processes.”
The comment period is open until 15 February 2021. EBI has drafted a comment based on expert statements and the inputs from our members that we have received so far. It is in review and will be published before the end of the comments period.
Whitepaper release: English version
Mitigating Climate Change with Biochar
The urgency of the ongoing climate change is increasing. There is no doubt that emissions must be drastically reduced at all levels, but that is not enough. To prevent the worst consequences of climate change, additional carbon sinks, so-called negative emissions, are needed. A recently published whitepaper clearly and scientifically substantiates that biochar is a key technology in this fight against climate change.
Reports of droughts and crop failures, devastating forest fires, but also of heavy rainfall and erosion accompany our daily lives. Many of us are already affected by this directly.
A “business as usual” is no longer justifiable. Even with a drastic reduction in our emissions, we can no longer comply with the Paris Climate Agreement (2015), which aims to limit global warming to well below 2°. This requires, in addition to the reduction of emissions, an active removal of carbon from the atmosphere the creation of carbon sinks.
This is where biochar can make a crucial contribution as a nature-based solution: in addition to forestry and humus creation, it represents a currently available and scalable key technology in the fight for climate protection. When plant material is carbonized through the process of pyrolysis, the carbon it contains remains captured in the form of biochar. This can be used, for example, to improve the soil. In this way, the CO2 remains sequestered from the atmosphere over the long term.
In addition to its function as a carbon store, biochar can help to reduce emissions from agriculture, support soil regeneration, promote animal welfare and reduce nitrogen losses.
The use of biochar in agriculture is therefore a climate service that is already remunerated as such. A carbon sink economy is needed to ensure that carbon sinks are created to the necessary extent. The European Biochar Industry Consortium (EBI) has now published a Whitepaper on how this can be implemented and how great the potential is for biochar-based carbon sinks.
Find the Whitepaper on our “Why” site.
First Green Asphalt implemented in Europe
The importance of charred biomass for the creation of carbon sinks and thus for climate protection was recently outlined in a Whitepaper of the European Biochar Association EBI. Further uses of biochar outside of agriculture were only touched upon. A concrete example of implementation is currently taking place in the Austrian province of Vorarlberg, where biochar makes road construction climate-positive: Green Asphalt.
Since its creation, the European Biochar Industry Consortium (EBI) has sought to implement new applications for biochar that will improve products while mitigating climate change. Biochar is a very versatile material, which consists largely of carbon (C). It can become the basis for a carbon-based economy of the post-fossile future.
It is already widely used in various agricultural applications, for example as a feed additive, stable bedding, soil conditioner or for manure treatment. In the industrial and construction sectors, there is an even greater potential to sequester (permanently bind) carbon. “Thanks to innovative and visionary actors, this potential is now also being exploited. The industrial application also allows biochar from residual materials (e.g. waste wood), which are excluded for food production”, says Marcel Huber, CEO of Syncraft.
One example of this use of biochar is as an aggregate in asphalt. A cooperation between the energy and biochar producer EnergieWerk Ilg, the road construction company MIGU and the system supplier Syncraft shows that the addition of biochar to asphalt can make it climate-neutral, even climate-positive. In the case of this project, which is being implemented in the Austrian province of Vorarlberg, road construction actually helps to remove carbon from the atmosphere and bind it profitably for a long time.
Each kilogram of biochar stores the carbon from about 3kg of CO2, which the plants have absorbed from the atmosphere during their life. Even at a low dosage of only 2% biochar-addition, the annual production of MIGU of about 100’000t asphalt, would sequester 6000t of CO2 every year. According to MIGU, “The biochar becomes part of the matrix of the asphalt and is permanently preserved”. In the coming months, the composition will be further improved and the carbon storage increased.
If this model is transferred to the European market, over 9 million tons of CO2 could be bound annually in road construction alone. “We have already started with this, now municipalities are called upon to continue on this path”, says Tobias Ilg, Managing Director of EnergieWerk Ilg.
This climate service is exactly calculated by the European Biochar Certificate (EBC) under the certificate “EBC Sink” and can therefore also be remunerated in monetary terms. The company Carbonfuture, a trading platform for carbon sinks, has already agreed to trade certificates from the green asphalt. “The prices for these stable sinks will probably be in the range of 100 euros per ton of CO2 equivalent. The users of the biochar, who provide the climate service, will benefit in particular from this,” says its Managing Director Hannes Junginger.
Mit Pflanzenkohle der Klimakrise entgegenwirken
Die Brisanz des fortschreitenden Klimawandels nimmt zu. Zweifellos müssen Emissionen auf allen Ebenen drastisch reduziert werden, aber damit ist es noch nicht getan. Um die schlimmsten Folgen des Klimawandels zu verhindern, braucht es zusätzlich Kohlenstoff-Senken, so genannte Negative Emissionen. Ein nun veröffentlichtes Whitepaper stellt übersichtlich und wissenschaftlich fundiert dar, dass Pflanzenkohle in diesem Kampf gegen den Klimawandel eine Schlüsseltechnologie ist.
Meldungen zu Dürren und Ernteausfällen, verheerenden Waldbränden, aber auch Starkregen und Erosionen begleiten unseren Alltag. Viele von uns bekommen dies bereits ganz unmittelbar zu spüren.
Ein „Weiter wie bisher“ ist längst nicht mehr verantwortbar. Selbst mit einer drastischen Reduktion unserer Emissionen kann das Pariser Klimaabkommen (2015) mit dem Ziel, die Erderwärmung auf deutlich unter 2° zu begrenzen, nicht mehr eingehalten werden. Dafür braucht es zusätzlich zur Emissionsreduktion einen aktiven Entzug von Kohlenstoff aus der Atmosphäre, die Schaffung von Kohlenstoff- Senken.
Hier kann die Pflanzenkohle als naturnahe Lösung einen entscheidenden Beitrag leisten: Neben der Forstwirtschaft und dem Humusaufbau stellt sie eine aktuell verfügbare und skalierbare Schlüsseltechnologie im Kampf für den Klimaschutz dar. Wenn pflanzliches Material über den Prozess der Pyrolyse verkohlt wird, bleibt der darin enthaltene Kohlenstoff in Form von Pflanzenkohle gebunden. Diese kann zum Beispiel zur Bodenverbesserung eingesetzt werden. Das CO2 bleibt so langfristig der Atmosphäre entzogen.
Neben der Funktion als Kohlenstoffspeicher kann die Pflanzenkohle helfen, Emissionen aus der Landwirtschaft zu reduzieren, den Bodenaufbau unterstützen, das Tierwohl fördern und Stickstoffverluste vermindern
Die Nutzung von Pflanzenkohle in der Landwirtschaft ist also eine Klimadienstleistung, die als solche auch bereits vergütet wird. Damit Kohlenstoffsenken auch im notwendigen Umfang geschaffen werden, braucht es eine Kohlenstoffsenken-Ökonomie. Wie diese umgesetzt werden kann, und wie groß das Potenzial für Pflanzenkohle-basierte Kohlenstoffsenken ist, hat „The European Biochar Industry Consortium“ (EBI) jetzt in einem Whitepaper publiziert, das unter HIER abrufbar ist.
Eine Englische Version ist in Arbeit und wird in den kommenden Tagen hier verfügbar sein.
BioChar goes REACH
A cooperation of REACHECK Solutions, the Leading Registrant of Charcoal, and EBI has brought a breakthrough for BioChar in Europe. Soon BioChar can be registered under the existing REACH dossier of Charcoal. Known inter-European trade barriers for BioChar will therewith become history.
REACH (Registration, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) has long created uncertainties within the biochar industry. Therefore, since its foundation, the European Biochar Industry Consortium (EBI) has put a lot of effort into clarifying the situation and bringing a clear legal status to BioChar traded in Europe.
Biochar is a chemically modified product from organic compounds, therefore REACH registration as an UVCB substance is mandatory for every producer placing biochar on the market.
There are existing REACH dossiers for charcoal made from wood (EC# 240-383-3) and coconut shells (EC# 271-974-4). Biochar from other types of feedstock are not registered yet, but, according to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), it is the producers’ duty to do so: „Companies need to register their substances and to do this they need to work together with other companies who are registering the same substance“. This means that either biochar producers have to join together to register their product, or they’d have to join an existing registry.
Fortunately, the BioChar Industry, due to the achievements of REACHECK Solutions and EBI, will not be forced to create its own REACH dossier, which would involve costs several 100.000 EUR, but will be allowed to join the existing charcoal dossier: https://echa.europa.eu/de/registration-dossier/-/registered-dossier/15550. The reason making this possible is a toxicological report initiated by REACHECK Solutions, that showed that BioChar and Charcoal from wood ends up in a very similar product and therefore suggests to allow BioChar to enter the Charcoal dossier. This report will be annexed to the Inquiry Dossiers of the individual Registrants. That being said, the final decision on the validity of the above described procedure lies within the responsibility of the European Chemicals Agency
(ECHA) in Helsinki.
This is great news as the Biochar Industry can now have legal certainty on their products without having to go through the very resource-intensive process of creating a separate Registration. As a result of our cooperation with REACHECK Solutions, EBI members are also entitled to certain discounts on the costs for the registration. However, the letter of access fee (depending on the tonnage produced per year) cannot be discounted.
Commercial buyers do not need to register but will soon face the obligation to only buy REACH registered BioChars. Producers with an annual production below one metric ton are exempted from the registration
obligations of REACH.
For further questions, please contact REACHECK Solutions directly or the EBI office under the contact data below.