If we turn crop residues into biochar, can we scale both carbon removal and sustainable agriculture in the tropics?
NetZero aims to bring at scale the production and use of biochar in tropical developing countries, with the objective to massively remove carbon from the atmosphere while making agriculture more sustainable through improved soil quality and lower fertilizer use.
Biochar is essentially solid atmospheric carbon that we bury in the soil. It is produced through pyrolysis of agricultural residues. This process of heating at very high temperature in the absence of oxygen allows to extract the carbon contained in the biomass. Biochar has a very high stability (over centuries), allowing to durably store in soils carbon that was initially captured in the atmosphere by plants through photosynthesis. On top of carbon removal, biochar acts as a soil amendment, improving water and nutrient retention, correcting soil acidity and supporting the development of microbial life in soils. Using biochar in agriculture allows to reduce - and sometimes even eliminate - the need for fertilizers, while improving yields and crop resilience.
NetZero's model brings multiple positive impacts to local communities.
Biochar improves Farmers' standard of living through higher yields, lower expenses in fertilizers and higher selling prices.
NetZero’s production process generates extra renewable energy, which is converted into electricity, improving access to energy in rural areas.
Turning crop residues into biochar, rather than burning them or leaving them to rot in the fields, helps reduce air pollution and methane emissions.
Additionally, biochar allows to durably remove carbon from the atmosphere, helping fight climate change.
NetZero’s project has technology development at its core, with the aim to develop a containerized solution for pyrolysis of agricultural residues. This involves significant hardware development, requiring design (CATIA) and simulation (SIMULIA) capabilities.
Once designed, NetZero will need to industrialize the manufacturing of the equipment, leveraging DELMIA.
NetZero's production systems also rely on data capabilities (NETVIBES) for remote monitoring and optimization.
And, given the decentralized nature of its production system, NetZero will leverage the remote capabilities of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform (3DEXCITE and CentricPLM).
NetZero is collaborating with a broad range of institutions, in particular:
Universities, with two main focuses: first on agronomic research, to optimize the impact of biochar on a variety of crops and soils. NetZero has already signed several such partnerships with leading universities. Second on pyrolysis technology, to help improve the core processes as well as the product quality.
Players of the agri value chain: NetZero is forging partnerships to deploy its end-to-end model in a broad range of supply chains (coffee, cocoa, sugarcane, palm etc), in order to optimize yields and decarbonize crop production through lower use of fertilizers and carbon removal.
Industial corporations: NetZero is building partnerships with world-class industrial groups to industrialize its solution and support its roll-out at scale.
Companies with strong climate ambitions: NetZero has already established several long term partnerships with leading global companies willing to move rapidly to net-zero emissions. Such partnerships give these companies access to NetZero's high quality carbon removal credits to neutralize their GHG emissions.
Financial institutions: NetZero is partnering with such players to fund the production units and provide financing solutions to farmers buying the biochar, in order to facilitate the technology and product adoption by a broad range of potential users (cooperatives, large farms, etc.)
If we can create a Pipeline in the Sky™ for transporting hydrogen from where it’s produced to where it’s most needed and transport freight 100% carbon-free for less than the cost of today’s air freight, can we ensure that we achieve CO2-reduction targets by 2050?
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