The biochar industry is beginning to scale and its first large production facility will be constructed in Canada. A joint venture called CARBONITY will construct a C$80 million ($60 million) plant in Port-Cartier, Quebec with an initial capacity of 10,000 tons of biochar per year.
The project is a joint venture between Airex Énergie, SUEZ and Groupe Rémabec, and will receive C$10.5 million ($7.9 million) in funding from the Ministry of Natural Resources and C$7.5 million ($5.6 million) from the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) for its new project to transform wood residues into value-added biochar products that sequester carbon.
“On behalf of CARBONITY, I would like to thank the federal government for its support in this project, which positions Canada at the forefront of the biochar market, a high-potential decarbonization solution,” said Michel Gagnon, CARBONITY representative and CEO of Airex Energy.
The facility will become operational in 2024 and is set to triple its production capacity by 2026, making it North America and Europe’s largest biochar plant.
“Canada’s forest sector has been an economic driver for communities across Canada, providing livelihoods and opportunity for workers and families. By investing in innovative technologies and practices, such as CARBONITY, we are creating pathways to lower emissions and good jobs for workers in this key sector,” stated The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources.
The project will turn biomass from plants and wood waste into value-added biochar, which can be used as a soil amendment while also acting as a carbon sequestration vehicle. One of the possible benefits of more widespread adoption of biochar is that it can speed up the phase out of mettalurgical coal, one of the chief contributors to emissions in steel manufacturing.
Suez and Airex have previously announced ambitious plans for biochar production, with demand outstripping supply at the moment.