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SUEZ, Airex Energy join forces to industrialise biochar production

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SUEZ Group and Airex Energy have partnered to industrialise the recovery of biomass residues into biochar.

The two companies will combine their expertise to provide solutions to regions and industries on their path towards carbon neutrality. The biochar – a stable form of organic carbon – produced will be essential to the resilience, vitality, and fertility of urban and agricultural soils.

With specialist knowledge in the fields of organic residues, soil amendments, agricultural biofertilisers and smart irrigation, SUEZ will use the CarbonFX™ torrefaction technology created by Airex Energy for the global development of industrial-scale production plants that transform residual lignocellulosic biomass (bark, sawdust, waste wood) into a stable carbon with high technical and environmental added value (biochar).

The conversion of waste wood residues, from silviculture to the lumber and wood processing industries, into biochar enables the extension of the ‘carbon sink’ effect of natural plant photosynthesis, which captures a quarter of global CO2 emissions annually.

Biochar is a viable solution to remove carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it in soils for several centuries. When used as a soil amendment, biochar improves plant growth and yields of urban and agricultural soils by enhancing water and nutrient retention, soil aeration and micro-organisms activity.

The industrial production of biochar from forest residues, resulting from increasingly frequent natural accidents, is part of the fight against climate change, said the companies. Biochar provides new opportunities to the biomass segment by delivering a credible and perennial energy recovery alternative. It constitutes a certified carbon capture usage and storage solution while generating significant benefits in agriculture.

“Thanks to this new partnership with Airex Energy, we will provide customers with access to high-quality carbon credits while helping the agriculture industry to strengthen soil resilience and food security,” said Diane Galbe, SUEZ’s group SEVP, smart & environmental solutions BU and strategy.

“The properties of biochar, in terms of carbon capture, but also fertilisation of agricultural soils and optimisation of water supply to crops, make it one of the most popular CO2 sequestration solutions on the market.

“Its development is fully in line with our strategy aimed at providing our customers with 100% sustainable solutions and thus contributing to the achievement of carbon neutrality.”

Sylvain Bertrand, CEO of Airex Energy, commented: “We are very pleased to partner with the SUEZ Group to accelerate the deployment of CarbonFX technology on a global scale.

“SUEZ Group is recognised for its expertise in the management, treatment, and recovery of residual organic materials and is a leading partner to develop the industrial production of biochar.

“Through this partnership, our goal is to have a sustainable impact on climate by producing hundreds of thousands of biochar in the years ahead.”