At ECOERA, the company behind Millennium Biochar, our missions are:
1: to remove carbon from the atmosphere at an industrial level with the aim to reach pre-industrial levels of 350 ppm CO2 before the end of the century.
2: Making the agricultural land fertile enough to feed 10 billion people on this planet.
Solving our climate and food challenge
ECOERA has an industrial symbiosis solution starting with using agricultural residues rich in carbon and creating a balanced pellet out of them. The pellets are then carbonized where heat is released and utilized. After carbonization, the result is a carbon-rich substance; biochar. The biochar is, in essence, embodied carbon dioxide and used as a soil enhancement providing better nutrient-holding capacity for agricultural soils – creating a climate positive food production.
The food challenge – degraded soils
Soil quality is decreasing globally. The amount of carbon in present soils have lost up to 75% of the bound carbon. This has an impact on soil productivity and crop yield. This can be solved by adding a biochar – a certain type of charcoal – to agricultural soils. As this carbon is bound into the soil, it remains stable and therefore acts as a carbon sink and a holding matrix for nutrients and microbes.
The climate challenge – getting to 350ppm.
Usually, biofuels from biomass are carbon dioxide neutral as the CO2 taken up by the plants is released upon combustion of the plant matter or the biofuel thereof derived. Natures most efficient way of extracting CO2 from the atmosphere is by photosynthesis. The CO2 is converted into biomass. By using a low-oxygen pyrolysing process, the biomass is converted into syngas (mainly methane, carbon monoxide and hydrogen) this syngas can be combusted for heating or power generation or reformed into biofuels. In the process, another fraction is formed; biochar. The carbon atoms in the biochar, hence are bound from the atmospheric CO2, which in effect is historical and therefore partly from fossil sources. The biochar is extremely stable has a half-life of 100+ years. This is verified, by the research around ”Terra Preta” the soil enhancement technique used e.g. the Amazon 2000 years B.C. Deposits of charcoal up to 9500 years old have been found in wet tropical forest soils in Guyana (Hammond et al, 2007), up to 6000 years old in Amazonia (Soubies 1979), and up to 23,000 years old in Costa Rica (Titiz & Sanford, 2007). The carbon bound in Amazonian Terra Preta soils is still stable and the soils still have a high fertility.
The process includes a pyrolysis step of pelletized unique biomass blends with specified mineral composition, producing syngas, heat and biochar. The syngas is used for heating and the biochar is returned to the fields as a soil enhancer and carbon sink. ECOERA has created a platform with complete carbon audit trail for following the carbon from biomass to soil and its exact location on the planet and amount including analysis data. This is realized within the SKÅNEFRÖ BIOAGRO Energy facility, with 100% biomass source traceability.