Blog Archives

BBF Launch UK biochar Accreditation Scheme – The Low Carbon Economy Starts Today!

Press Release –  First Accredited Biochar Product Achieved in the UK Market

11th May 2016

Today the UK’s first accredited biochar product is launched at the Low Carbon Swansea event.  Biochar is a soil amendment that improves soil structure, fertility, health and biodiversity.  Biochar also stores carbon in the soil for centuries, helping to reduce the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere that cause climate change.  Biochar is produced from wood and other organic matter.  The accreditation is through the Biochar Quality Mandate (BQM), a rigorous health, safety and sustainability assessment process, which is managed by the British Biochar Foundation (BBF).

To gain accreditation, the product has been carefully analysed in independent testing laboratories to ensure that it contains no contaminants and so is a safe material to add to the soil. The accreditation also requires that the production of biochar is clean and that there are no dangerous environmental emissions.  Finally, the accreditation also guarantees that the biochar is produced from wood sourced from sustainably managed forestry.  Common Vision’s product EarthChar has been awarded High Quality Biochar status as a result of its exceptional quality.

The accreditation gives the purchaser the confidence to know that what they are buying is a high quality, clean and safe product, the manufacture of which has been done to the highest environmental standards and which has not involved the use of any unsustainable wood.

Sion Brackenbury, Director of Commons Vision said “It has taken us five years of extensive, collaborative research to get here.  All of our partners, funders and supporters are thrilled that we have achieved this exacting standard.  We look forward to working with our new brand EarthChar.  With a range of new, exciting and truly sustainable products for the UK market”

Darren Hopkins and Dr. Simon Shackley of the British Biochar Foundation are just as pleased.
“This is a massive step forward for the low carbon economy the Government so desperately needs and will help provide a sustainable future for us all. We are so proud to have worked with Commons Vision to get their first EarthChar product through the UK’s biochar accreditation scheme and hope that this is just the start of great things to come.” said Darren Hopkins.

Professor Alayne Street-Perrott, Swansea University Biochar Research Team, said “Our research, published in Nature Communications in 2010, showed that production and deployment of sustainable biochar could play a significant role in slowing global warming. Our team has worked very hard in partnership with Commons Vision to demonstrate the practical value of this approach, and we congratulate the company on this tremendous achievement.”

Notes to Editors

(i) Commons Vision was established in 2008 and provides ecological and environmental services to common land managers, farmers, local authorities, third sector and voluntary groups.  The ethos of the company is to develop complete life cycle solutions to the many and varied challenges facing the wider environment and as such works in close collaboration with many partners organisations to achieve this.  In particular, the Biochar Research Team at Swansea University, led by Professor Alayne Street-Perrott and Natural Resources Wales.  With generous support from the European Social Fund (KESS and ATM Post Graduate Studentships Scheme), R H Southern Trust, Soil Fertility Project, Technology Strategy Board and Natural Resources Wales.

(ii) The British Biochar Foundation (BBF) is a membership-based community-interest company (SC447026) which was established in 2013 to serve the interests of the UK biochar community through information sharing, facilitating networking and assisting in regulatory development. The Biochar Quality Mandate was developed in 2012-2014 with the generous support of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

(iii) Low Carbon Swansea is a network of public, private and voluntary organisations in south west Wales working together to reduce carbon emissions and energy costs. It facilitates quarterly training and networking events and encourages knowledge sharing and collaboration between members. The May event is hosted by the award-winning Down to Earth Project and focuses on the links between carbon management and green infrastructure.

(iv) Swansea University is a world-class, research-led, dual campus university.  The results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 showed the University has achieved its ambition to be a top 30 research University, soaring up the league table to 26th in the UK, with the ‘biggest leap among research-intensive institutions’ (Times Higher Education, December 2014) in the UK.   The University has ambitious expansion plans as it moves towards its centenary in 2020, as it continues to extend its global reach and moves closer to realising its ambition of being a top 200 Global University.  Swansea University is a registered charity. No.1138342. Visit www.swansea.ac.uk

(v) Biochar is a solid material obtained from the thermochemical conversion of sustainably sourced biomass in an oxygen-limited environment, using clean production processes and which is used for any purpose that does not involve its rapid mineralisation to CO2.

(vi) Contact Details

British Biochar Foundation:   Dr Simon Shackley:   07920 066830 simon@britishbiocharfoundation.org

Darren Hopkins:       07598 332498  darren@britishbiocharfoundation.org

Commons Vision:  www.EarthChar.co.uk / www.commonsvision.com

Siôn Brackenbury: 07879 557740       info@earthchar.co.uk

Swansea University Biochar Research Team: Professor Alayne Street-Perrott 01267-290268  07816 308013   f.a.street-perrott@swansea.ac.uk

The Final Frontier for Biochar. Carbon Credits.

British Biochar Foundation is Pleased to Announce
The Final Frontier for Biochar,
CARBON CREDITS.

The British Biochar Foundation would like to draw your attention to the following approved CDM methodology, which was approved in June 2012. The methodology wasn’t submitted by the British Biochar Foundation, only located by it, ACM0021.

This is the first methodology approved by the UNFCCC that could allow carbon credits to be generated from the biochar arena. The approved CDM methodology will help to clean up charcoal production in developing countries – and for existing biochar projects that are using traditional technologies, will also help the biochar arena

The CDM approved methodology is based on methane reduction rather than carbon storage – so is applicable to both charcoal and biochar production. At present, there is no methodology by which to measure the unique stable carbon storage in biochar that will satisfy the CDM Executive Board, but this is being actively investigated by the International Biochar Initiative (IBI).

At present the CDM methodology is quite limited in its scope and focuses on small scale, community-based clean charcoal production but it is possible that in the future it could be developed and refined further, as well as other methodologies along similar principles

The CDM is the Clean Development Mechanism that was established under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol (KP). It allows project developers based in already industrialised countries to invest in clean development projects in industrialising countries and to acquire some of the carbon credits associated with those projects (compared to a baseline case of ‘what would have happened without the project’) for use back in the domestic market. A capped percentage of the EU Emission Trading Scheme CO2 emission allowances can be ‘brought into’ the scheme from industrialising countries and contribute to European companies and countries meeting their emission reduction targets.  In order to qualify as a CDM project, however, a well-developed methodology must be submitted and approved by a panel of experts. This is necessary to ensure that claimed CO2 reductions from the promotion of clean development are genuine..

If you are interested in working with us on realising the value of stored carbon, in any capacity, please do get in touch.

If you’re also interested in funding the work at the BBF, please get in touch.  With your help we can perform wondrous things!

A copy of the methodology can be found  here.

And the cdm.unfccc.int web site for more  information about the CDM and  approved methodologies