Image

North America’s largest biochar plant takes shape

7 July 2023

A group of Canadian and French companies will build a $80 million plant in Quebec to turn forestry waste into biochar, a black substance which can store carbon for hundreds of years and improve soil quality at the same time.

The facility in Port-Cartier — about 850 kilometres northeast of Montreal — will be completed next year with an initial annual capacity of 10,000 tons per year, which will be tripled by 2026, making it North America’s largest biochar plant. The plan was announced in a joint statement by Canadian cleantech startup Airex Energy Inc., lumber producer Groupe Remabec and French waste-treatment group Suez SA.

The project will sequester 75,000 tons of carbon per year — equivalent to over 400 railcars worth of burned coal — and generate certified carbon credits that will be sold by First Climate AG. The nascent market for biochar could grow if more farmers use it as a soil additive, or if it’s integrated into building materials as companies seek new ways to reduce emissions.

Biochar is produced by heating wood residues and other biomass in a low-oxygen chamber that limits emissions, in a process known as pyrolysis. As the biomass heats, bio-oils and gas are also produced, which can be used for power generation.

“There’s much more demand for biochar than supply,” Yves Rannou, the head of the Recycling and Recovery at Suez, said in an interview. The cost of building the three production lines at the Port-Cartier plant by 2026 will amount to $80 million, he said.

Suez and Airex aims to produce 350,000 tons of biochar by 2035. The French company has identified areas in Europe and Africa where it would have access to feedstock to produce the carbon sink, as well as potential buyers, Rannou said, without providing details because the projects are still at “very early stages.”

Airex, which will provide the pyrolysis technology, is backed by investors such as Cycle Capital, Investissement Quebec, Desjardins Group and Export Development Canada. Groupe Remabec is owned by its founders and managers as well as Produits Forestiers Arbec Inc.

Further coverage.

Source: financialpost, newswire

Read More
Image

Earlybird rates end TODAY

Earlybird rates end this Friday for Environmental Forestry Conference On 25-26 June, ourFIEA Annual Environmental Forestry Conference is running. Registrations are going very well. We bring practical foresters together with local regulators and national policy-makers to debate and bring constructive ...
Read more
Image

Decarbonising transport & logistics

New Zealand environmental specialist, Toitū, recently held a panel to discuss how New Zealand’s transportation and logistics industry, the nation’s second-largest emissions source, can take effective climate action. They shed light on the critical pressures facing supply chains and how to respond ...
Read more
Image

FIEA wood residues conference: time for action

Low carbon economies, extreme weather events, and building resilient domestic supply chains are critical issues in 2024 and beyond. In New Zealand, this has created opportunities for the forestry sector, including significant investments in forest residues. Harvesting regulations are mandating more wood be collected from the forest ...
Read more
Image

Calling all NZ loader operators – be part of this study

Driven by mechanisation, traditional career pathways in forestry crews are evolving. As part of the Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme, ‘Te Mahi Ngahere i te Ao Hurihuri – Forestry Work in the Modern Age’, the Scion Human Factors research group ...
Read more
Image

Kiwi bird surprises at Rosvall Sawmill

Workers at Rosvall Sawmill near Whangārei, New Zealand, had an unexpected visitor, a fully grown kiwi bird. The bird casually strolled into the mill early one Monday morning, and spent a few hours exploring the premises before it found a ...
Read more
Image

Every second counts

During hot and dry periods, there is a serious risk of wildfires. Moreover, a single spark can be enough to start one, in which case every second counts. Having fire extinguishing equipment close at hand can make all the difference ...
Read more
Image

Superhuman AI – smarter than every human by 2025

Billionaire tech boss Elon Musk has recently predicted that superhuman artificial intelligence (AI), surpassing human intellect, could become a reality as soon as next year. If this kind of prediction becomes true, are humans ready to embrace that machines can ...
Read more
Image

Swiss develop drone to explore forest canopy

Inspired by cockroaches, Swiss researchers have developed a new drone which can push away obstacles and move past them. In the future, it will be used to measure biodiversity in remote areas. Environmental monitoring in areas with dense vegetation is ...
Read more
Image

NZ forestry H&S statistics updated – March 2024

Safetree NZ has released their H&S stats dashboard for March 2024. WorkSafe provides statistics on forestry fatalities and workplace incidents. These investigations help inform us of any key issues or trends as they come to light. Overall, there is a downward trend ...
Read more