Inside Charm Industrial’s big bet on corn stalks for carbon removal

Reinhardt says Charm will only pick up half of the farm material in a given field, noting that putting the resulting biochar and ash in the fields will improve soil health. He adds that the competitive uses of corn scrap depend on the region, but that much of it is not sold or plowed, leaving it to rot and release carbon dioxide.

But he stresses that Charm will properly consider alternative uses, land use changes, and these other factors.

The company’s internal carbon math estimates that when the company uses its own pyrolyzers, the process will generally eliminate the equivalent of 0.85 tonnes of carbon dioxide per tonne of biomass. Reinhardt says Charm will improve those numbers over time by switching to carbon-neutral synthesis gas instead of diesel to start the pyrolysis process, optimizing its pyrolysers to convert plant matter into bio-oil, and eventually switching to electric trucks. .

The role of government

Robert Höglund of Marginal Carbon AB, a consultancy firm specializing in carbon sequestration and climate policy, says Charm customers today pay $ 600 per tonne to help “start” the approach, betting that the company will be able to reduce costs. . But he says it’s unclear whether the Charm method will prove to be among the most effective, scalable, or affordable over time, or the best use of this biomass as the need for renewable energy sources grows.

Corporations are also unlikely to continue to buy enough carbon offsets to reach the billions of tons they could need each year, both to stabilize global temperatures and to keep emerging companies from removing greenhouse gases from the planet. ‘air.

Indeed, investors and startups are betting that governments will enact laws that subsidize, encourage, or enforce such practices. Reinhardt, for example, acknowledges that government policy will be crucial in building carbon markets that will allow your business and others to thrive.

He says Charm is working to educate lawmakers in California and Washington, DC, calling for greater support for the nascent sector, as well as rules that are technologically neutral as researchers and companies explore a variety of paths.

“Corporate buyers like Microsoft, Stripe and Shopify will only come in such a large scale, and then regulation will have to intervene,” Reinhardt said in an email, adding: “So much innovation has happened in space and we just need to unlock it. -lo “.

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