Through the production of biochar, a byproduct of its Scotia, Ca., cogeneration plant, Humboldt Sawmill has obtained a European Biochar Certificate, the first U.S. based company to do so.
The Scotia cogeneration plant produces biochar as a byproduct of energy production. Biochar is a charcoal-like substance that is a stable form of carbon.
According to NASA, mitigation—or reducing emissions of and stabilizing the levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere—is achieved either by reducing sources of these gases or enhancing the “sinks” that accumulate and store them. Reduction efforts often emphasize fossil fuels. Enhancing “sinks” usually centers on the largest carbon sinks on earth, namely forests, oceans, and soils.
While globally recognized entities including The Ocean Conservancy and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC C013133) have focused on the health of oceans and forests over many decades, focus on soils has been slower to develop. Fortunately, over the last 10 years, understanding has accelerated in terms of how the health of soils can help mitigate greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
As a stable form of carbon, biochar has an important role to play. Biochar is a charcoal-like substance that is a byproduct of burning organic materials like sawdust and other forestry residuals in a controlled process called pyrolysis. Once produced, biochar can be added to soils by farmers and other landowners to aid in water retention, nutrient conservation, beneficial microbial composition, and overall quantity of stable organic matter.
To bring its biochar to market, Humboldt Sawmill has partnered with Pacific Biochar Benefit Corp. (PBBC), which provides raw and processed biochar products to agricultural and other users. PBBC purchases Humboldt Sawmill’s certified biochar, mixing it into compost and selling it to farmers.
The European certificate provides one of the two necessary links to marketable Climate Credits via carbonfuture, the organization leading monetization opportunities for carbon sequestration through biochar. The second link to Climate Credits is certification from the user of the biochar that such use ensures stable sequestration of the carbon over a long period of time. One such use case is application of biochar directly to soil by a farmer.
Climate Credits are available on the carbon future market for purchase by emitters.