We answer all your most frequently asked questions about our industry decarbonisation service.
What is biomass pyrolysis?
Pyrolysis is a thermochemical reaction in partial combustion, which converts biomass residues into synthesis gas and biochar. It refers to the thermal decomposition of organic matter between 300°C and 900°C in an oxygen-poor environment. The synthesis gas produced undergoes several washing stages and is then:
either used directly as renewable gas, or purified to produce hydrogen.
Carbonloop uses a patented technology from its equipment manufacturer Haffner Energy to perform pyrolysis in the complete absence of oxygen (thermolysis).
Does Carbonloop provide better energy cost stability for an industrial company?
In an environment of great uncertainty where gas and electricity prices are more volatile than ever before, Carbonloop offers a more stable solution and greater visibility through a long-term contract in which prices are not directly indexed to the wholesale energy markets. In addition, the Carbonloop solution also guarantees you fixed-price carbon credits, given a very significant increase in the price of credits is expected in the market in the coming years, as well as potential supply shortages.
Are there any grants available to finance the installation?
There are many funding levers at regional, national and European levels. Carbonloop can help its clients find this financing, from identifying the schemes to completing the specifications and submitting the applications.
What does "carbon negative" energy mean?
Our equipment produces energy from biomass residues. Because biomass has captured carbon during its growth, burning it only releases what it has already captured into the atmosphere. ADEME considers that energy produced from biomass is carbon neutral in the use phase and that it emits between 2.29 and 24.4 kgCO2/MWh in the life cycle analysis calculation (i.e. taking into account the emissions from cutting, transport, possible processing, etc., up to our module).
Instead of releasing all of the carbon from the biomass into the atmosphere during combustion, Like in conventional cogeneration, our process releases only a portion of it. The majority is captured in solid form in the biochar. So, our solution captured more carbon in solid form than it emitted.
Because we have high-standards, in this calculation we include the emissions of the entire life cycle of our solution. For example, we account for emissions related to the transport of biomass or the construction of our equipment.
What is the difference between a carbon credit and a carbon certificate?
A carbon credit is an electronic document certifying that a ton of CO2 has been avoided or sequestered (taken from the atmosphere) through a project. The term “credit” is used when the project is labelled by an internationally recognised standard and “certificate” when it is not. A credit therefore theoretically gives more guarantees on the quality of the project as it is regularly audited to ensure that it is avoiding or sequestering CO2 as intended.
Why choose Carbonloop's carbon credits?
We plan to have our projects audited by several international labels at all stages of production. In concrete terms:
We fill in a complex application to be eligible for the labels, which is checked by experts and submitted to a public consultation.
Auditors visit every year to check that our production process complies with the requirements of the label, while the carbon content of our biochar is verified in the laboratory.
We trace the biochar to prove that it will be used in a way that maintains its carbon sink qualities, so every year we check that our buyers have used it for agricultural purposes.
So, our biochar will be given the European Biochar Certificate label for its quality, and our credits will be labelled by an international label ensuring the reliability of the carbon sequestration.
How is the traceability of biochar managed to generate carbon credits?
Within the framework of the European Biochar Certificate (EBC), the eponymous organisation will assess the quality of our biochar each year, in particular its capacity to sequester carbon according to the envisaged opportunities. In addition, one of our specialist partners will regularly conduct clinical and field tests on our biochar.
What type of biomass is used? Is there not a risk of competition with other uses?
The biomass residues we use are residues from forest maintenance or the wood industry (branches, bark, chips, etc.), so-called forest chips (class A), which are produced by chipping these unused woods.
This type of biomass, forestry chips, does not compete with other uses such as human food.
On the contrary, it provides income for forest maintenance or for industrial sectors such as construction or carpentry, as this wood represents an outlet for off-cuts not used by other industries or not valued locally.
How much plant biomass is available in France? Do you fear that a shortage in wood supply could lead to a sharp increase in prices?
Our production modules (cogeneration or H2 production) consume between 3,000 and 3,500 t of biomass per year (moisture content 20% to 40%).
The biological growth of the French forest is 135 million cubic metres each year, less than half of this growth, 60 million cubic metres, is harvested each year. It is estimated that an additional harvest of between 7.5 and 10 million tons per year could be made for wood energy without compromising sustainable forest management policy. This is enough to supply the equivalent of 2,200 production units every year.
Can we control the supply of biomass?
The type and quality of biomass used in our production process is a key factor in the particle size and carbon content of the biochar.
The quality of the biochar (chemical composition, carbon content, etc.) for its labelling and the generation of carbon credits is therefore intrinsically linked to the quality of the biomass.
We can use the biomass supplied by the customer if it meets predefined criteria to ensure energy yields, the production of a ‘quality’ biochar and the generation of carbon credits.
The secure biomass supply plan is included in Carbonloop’s value proposition. Through its partners, Carbonloop prepares and conditions the biomass specifically to achieve optimum yields.
What is biochar ?
Biochar is a plant-based charcoal produced by pyrolysis of biomass residues, giving it a carbon storage potential and many applications. Not only does it sequester some of the carbon contained in the biomass, but it also retains it in the long term if it is used in ways that sustain its carbon sink function.
For example, it can be used as a soil improver or fertiliser mix, in agriculture or horticulture, in long-life materials or in anaerobic digestion to improve biogas production and digestate quality.
What is the impact of biochar use on soils?
Because of its porosity and micro-cavities, biochar allows for better water and nutrient retention, while increasing the microbial activity of the soil. It therefore limits soil leaching, reduces water stress for plants and fertiliser requirements, while maintaining a living soil. The stability of biochar in soils can reach several hundred years.
The use of biochar can thus improve soil conditions and increase crop yields.
How do you monitor the sequestration capacity of biochar?
For each project, we measure the level of CO2 in the biochar produced in the laboratory. The carbon content of the biochar and its stability over time are certified by the European Biochar Certificate, the European reference organisation for the analysis and certification of biochar.
Audits are carried out every 2 years and whenever our biomass input changes by more than 20%, to ensure that the biochar quality does not change. These studies are essential for the creation of carbon credits. Traceability allows us to check that the biochar has not been used in a way that would degrade its carbon sink properties.