When engineering our business, we have always put main focus on the social and environmental impact. What unites us is the drive to change the status quo and work on solutions for a grandchild-friendly economy.
When a plant dies at the end of its life cycle, its biological decomposition begins and the absorbed carbon returns to the atmosphere. To prevent this, the biomass can be pyrolysed - a thermal treatment at a minimum of 400 °C and the absence of oxygen. The application of nutrition-enriched biochar to the soil further creates benefits like increase of crop yields, reduction of fertiliser use as well as greenhouse gas emissions from cultivation, supports the humus formation, water holding capacity and nutrient buffering.
Hemp is the ideal candidate to be implemented in global crop rotations, and its cultivation bears regenerative potential. Its extraordinary ecological properties are widely recognised. The seed has a superb nutrition profile that make it a superfood for human consumption - a plant-based protein substitute. Simultaneously, the carbon-rich stalk can be utilised as a carbon sink, but, in food production, is most often a by-product. The resource-use efficiency, environmental friendliness and circular character make hemp an outstanding crop for the bioeconomy, which even the EU commission and the UNCTAD recognise.
We believe in network economy and the necessity of everyone having to work together. Things as eternal growth, vertical integration and super competitive thinking are relics of the type of linear capitalism that caused the problems that we address.
Working in environmental sectors is a marathon, not a sprint. We do what we do because we love to do it, and working hard is part of that. But, we also love to take a break, care for ourselves, think, reflect, and comprehend the bigger picture of our doing.
Everything we do primarily serves the purpose of exercising positive impact. However, we are a for-profit company and have accepted the challenge of having the best possible impact within the boundaries of capitalism. Every income we earn is directly linked to an amount of CO₂ taken out of the atmosphere.
Since climate change is a human-made problem, we also see it as the responsibility of humankind to solve this problem. We want to bring everyone who is passionate about something similar along with us. To follow this path steadily requires inclusivity, close cooperation, trust and mindful presence. That's what we strive for everyday - both within our team and in our work with external partners.
Two like-minded and long-haired idealists from Hamburg, Germany, who don't like the words “entrepreneur” and “start-up” but are still pretty good at running a company together. If Carbon Removal were already as developed and sexy as AI Software or dating apps, we'd surely be in Series A by now. But also more unhappy. We're grateful for the milestones we've achieved so far, and it's our goal to build a company that can change the status quo and still function without investor money. For us, that is the bigger success than overhyped unicorn stories of no-impact-products and -services that make good profits, but nobody really needs after all.
We drink Lammsbräu (German bio beer) almost exclusively, have a special place for Japanese culture in our hearts, and love things to be orderly and structured.
According to the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, "the deployment of CDR to counterbalance hard-to-abate emissions is unavoidable if net-zero CO₂ or greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions are to be achieved". In other words, we are out of budget and all efforts to reduce or avoid emissions will not be enough. We need to incorporate net-negative-emissions activities into our economy to remove, depending on the scenario we will face in the future, up to 21 gigatons of CO₂ per year by 2050. This poses an enormous challenge which can only be mastered collectively.
As the emerging carbon market struggles to find uniformed definitions, the boundaries between the two concepts are often blurry and misunderstood. However, they are clearly to be distinguished. Offsets most commonly refer to emissions reductions or avoidance. Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) principles allow to only sell the net-negative emissions and generally undergo more strict quality measures to ensure the highest integrity:
Permanence: How long will the CO₂ be safely removed from the atmosphere?
Additionality: Does the CDR activity cause new climate benefits, or would the carbon removal have happened anyway?
Carbon leakage: Are emissions shifted elsewhere because of the CDR activity?
Negativity: How emission-intensive is the CDR process relative to its carbon removal potential?
Verifiability: How is the CO₂ removal monitored and verified?
Co-benefits/risks: What are the consequences for ecosystems, biodiversity, food security, etc.?
Usually, in developed countries only industrial size equipment will be feasible and requires upfront investment into machinery and operational setup, which starts at a few hundred thousand EUR and can easily go up to several million EUR for sophisticated carbon removal parks.
Biochar kilns, on the other hand, are eligible for developing countries that need rural development and the upfront investment can be as low as only a few thousand EUR to get going.
Either way, we assist with scouting adequate project finance for any type of project.
This strongly depends on the complexity and level of sophistication of the project. If the circumstances are favouring, a low-tech project takes a minimum of 3 months time to plan and execute. Building a high-tech project from the ground will take at least 18 months until project kick-off.
The peculiarity about Industrial Hemp is its resource-use-efficiency and the environmental friendliness. Utilizing the maximum potential of the plant will yield food or feed, natural fibres and the Hurd as biochar feedstock. Hemp requires comparably fewer fertilisers, no pesticides, is drought resistant, can cleanse the soil of pollutants, increase soil organic carbon, and can easily mature to a height of 4 meters in only 90 days. The seed have a well-balanced Omega-3 to Omega-6 unsaturated fatty acids profile and protein content of around 22%, making it a viable plant-based protein source that can be farmed in various climatic zones. The fibre, depending on quality, finds various applications such as for building material or textiles. Utilizing the Hurd for biochar will allow circular application and further improve the soil, adding benefits such as water-holding capacity.
Yes, and no. We are aware of the debate of biochar versus building material and believe that the discussion is senseless, because we need both as much as possible! There are some methodological and quality parameter differences between the carbon removal methods of biochar and building material, which determine varying prices per ton of CO₂ removed. Besides the profit structure, whether the available stalk material better suits a biochar, or a building material project, depends on many more variables. Most importantly, the economic and social circumstances of the project location. In some cases, it may provide much more benefit to a rural community to produce biochar from leftover stalk. In other cases, for example, on a larger scale, it could significantly aid the decarbonization of construction in industrial countries. The biochar carbon removal methodologies, measurement, reporting, verification, and demand market is currently more developed than for building material. However, we also work on a solution to push hemp carbon removal based on building materials, so feel free to reach out!