Ahlstrom partners with UK start-up on biochar project

Ahlstrom is collaborating with the UK start-up Black Bull Biochar to help pilot the production of biochar, a greenhouse gas removal technology, for agricultural use.

Image © lemanieh - Adobe Stock.

Black Bull Biochar intends to launch and promote a sustainable and circular biochar market within the UK.

The primary focus of the Black Bull Biochar project is to assess the viability of commercial biochar usage in agriculture which could lead to significant carbon removal from the atmosphere, storing it in farm soils for centuries while improving soil quality.

“We aim to establish a pioneering business-to-business platform that overcomes barriers to building and expanding a sustainable and effective biochar network,” says Alex Clarke, co-founder and CEO of Black Bull Biochar. “We believe biochar can contribute to environmental restoration, carbon removal, soil regeneration, and the circularity of industrial and agricultural systems.”

Black Bull Biochar uses pyrolysis to produce biochar. The generated biochar can be applied to farms by mixing it with slurry prior to field application or through bedding systems.

Ahlstrom will house the pyrolysis machine in its Radcliffe, UK facility that produces Abaca pulp for its Beverage & Casing Business Unit. The renewable heat generated by the pyrolysis process will be used for the pulping manufacturing operations.

“This approach to climate solutions will be vital in scaling up future working practices that promote circular economy and large-scale removal of carbon and other greenhouse gases,” says Stuart Nixon, Head of Projects at Ahlstrom. “Through this innovative project, our objective is to simultaneously generate environmental benefits and enhance the economic sustainability of our site, ensuring long-term success for this type of practices.”

“Biochar is circular economy in action and ready to support the transition to a low-carbon economy through its greenhouse gas removal technology, and as a company, Ahlstrom is deeply committed to playing a role in those advancements,” says Natasha Chorlton, Circular economy & Recyclability Manager at Ahlstrom. “This forward-thinking initiative exemplifies the company's commitment to environmental stewardship and dedication to achieving sustainability goals in a mutually beneficial manner.”

Black Bull Biochar secured funding through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) from the UK’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) after achieving success in the final round of the Direct Air Capture (DAC) & Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) innovation competition.