BeZero Carbon, a carbon credit rating platform, has awarded its first-ever “A” rating to a biochar project. This distinction is held by only 21 out of the 350+ projects rated on the platform. The “A” rating is based on a comprehensive analysis of publicly available data and assesses the project against various risk factors, including additionality, carbon accounting, and non-permanence risks. This rating signifies the maturation of the Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) sector, particularly biochar, which accounts for over 90% of all CDR deliveries.
The engineered carbon removal sector has long faced challenges due to a lack of transparency and public information. However, with the recognition of the biochar project’s “A” rating, the sector is set to change. Puro.Earth, a company in the CDR sector, expects the supply of CDR to grow significantly in the next 18 months. The U.S. Department of Energy also plans to purchase up to $35 million worth of CDR credits from a portfolio of CDR pathways consistent with the objectives of the Carbon Negative Shot.
Engineered Carbon Removal is becoming increasingly crucial in addressing the climate crisis. Projections indicate that by 2030, the annual demand for durable engineered carbon removal could range from 40 to 200 million tCO2. To enhance transparency and integrity in the market, it is essential to rate the quality of carbon credits, including biochar. Currently, the top five carbon dioxide removal technologies available are Direct Air Capture (DAC), Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), Enhanced Weathering, Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement, and Biochar.
Biochar is a form of charcoal produced from the pyrolysis of organic matter, such as wood, crop residues, or manure. It undergoes a molecular change during the pyrolysis process, making it more stable and capable of storing carbon for hundreds to thousands of years. In addition to carbon storage, biochar offers advantages such as improving soil fertility, utilizing agricultural and forestry waste, and co-producing energy through the pyrolysis process.
BeZero Carbon’s assessment earlier this year found that biochar has fewer obstacles to scaling compared to other carbon removal methods. It benefits from third-party verified methodologies, cost-effectiveness, well-developed ancillary value chains, and the potential for energy production. As a result, biochar is currently the market leader in the ex post technological carbon removal market.
BeZero’s “A” carbon rating is based on a thorough analysis of publicly available information. Carbon credits that receive an “A” rating have a high likelihood of achieving 1 tonne of avoided or removed CO₂e. The biochar project was assessed against BeZero’s risk factors to determine its rating. In the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM), third-party verification is crucial for carbon credits. Verification can be done through developing an internal methodology verified by an external auditing service or adopting methodologies established by third-party standards-issuing organizations. Some of the key third-party methodologies available for biochar include the European Biochar Certificate, Puro.Earth, and the Verified Carbon Standard.
Biochar’s stability and its ability to store carbon for extended periods make it a key solution for long-term carbon sequestration and soil improvement. BeZero Carbon’s “A” rating for a biochar project highlights the growing importance and effectiveness of engineered carbon removal in addressing climate change.