Biochar Challenge
Team Biochar Challenge is among the world's 60 best teams out of 1132 competitors of the XPRIZE Milestone Award.

Funded by Elon Musk XPRIZE Carbon Removal is the largest incentive prize in history, aimed at scaling carbon removal to the gigatonne level. Learn More
Meet the Team

Founded in 2005, REG has its roots in the real estate business. In recent years, the 100% family-owned company has specialized in investing in innovative green and climate tech companies. REG also structures attractive business models in the prop and climate tech sector as a business incubator for start-ups. The focus is on the topic of biochar.

For the DACH region, a Biochar and Terra Preta drop shipping webshop is being set up under the domain, offering producers and customers a central, digital trading platform. The international implementation of biochar projects is carried out by the subsidiary PyroCCS GmbH.

The CEO of REG, Timo Herbrand, together with the Co-Founder of PyroCCS, Carlos Arrufat, developed the strategy for a fast scaling of the negative emission technology, which is the basis for the submission of the Biochar Challenge Team. REG is leading the team on XPRIZE Carbon Removal.

Timo Herbrand
CEO co- founder REG

PyroCCS GmbH was founded in February 2022 and is managed by Carlos Arrufat and Timo Herbrand. The purpose of the company comprises the development, planning and implementation of business models in the field of environmental technology and negative emission technology, in particular the permanent sequestration of atmospheric CO2 by pyrolysis of biomass (Pyrogenic Carbon Capture and Storage - PyCCS). For this purpose, the company implements its own projects or participates in project companies in Germany and abroad. Learn More

Carlos Arrufat
CEO and co- founder of PyroCCS

For the implementation of Biochar projects in Nambia, a subsidiary of PyroCCS was established under the brand PyroNam. The proposed 1,000 t/y CDR project of the Biochar Challenge Team was implemented in March 2022 together with a Namibian farmer in a pilot project. Two additional pilot projects will be launched during 2022. Scaling up towards the 1Mt project will start in early 2023. PyroNam will supply the pyrolysis plants including periphery as well as the necessary know-how for the certification according to EBC standard. Furthermore, together with governmental and non-governmental institutions, the necessary capacity building will be advanced, e.g. laboratory capacities and training opportunities. Learn More

Henrike Geldmacher
Managing Director
PyroNAM Namibia

As a management consultancy, we support rapidly scaling ventures in fundraising, transaction and growth processes with CFO-As-A-Service. We are the point of contact for financial issues and support our clients in all phases of the company lifecycle.

Trustventure was founded in 2019 and is based in Cologne, Germany. Today our team consists of eight consultants with backgrounds in venture capital, law, economics, finance and management.

Our Services include the execution of financing and fundraising processes as well as transaction processes, implementing and managing Investor relations, business modelling and controlling, identification and implementation of value enhancing measures as well as professionalization of financial operations.

The goals of the cooperation with our clients are financial transparency, long-term increase in company values and the creation of trust by reducing information asymmetries between founders and investors or lenders. Learn More

Marlon Hüttebreuker
Founder Consult Trustventure
Lasse Hüttebreuker
Founder Consult Trustventure

The objective of abc solution is the practical implementation of projects in the field of recycling and renewable energies, with a focus on the use of wastes and residues, biomass and solar energy. Furthermore, we support companies in the introduction of new and innovative products in the market and their distribution worldwide.

The team currently includes around 20 engineers, environmental scientists and economists who have a long experience in finding and implementing applied technical solutions.

abc offers clear and individually developed solutions which are highly innovative and that are always one step ahead of the market and its surrounding conditions. Our mission is to offer our partners tailor made solutions that are economically successful and sustainable for all the parts involved. True to the motto: "See what everybody has seen and implement what no one would have thought possible." Learn More

Alexander Schank
CEO abc
Oleg Vilver
Projekleiter Energie und Umwelttechnik abc

About Carbonfuture

Carbonfuture helps companies and organizations worldwide on their path to true net zero. As a marketplace and fully digital platform for high-quality and effective carbon removal credits, the company offers certificates that not only avoid CO2 emissions, but actively remove them out of the atmosphere.

With an uncompromisingly scientific approach as well as seamless, tamper-proof supply chain tracking, precise sink modeling, and flexible credit management, Carbonfuture sets the standard for effective and trustworthy climate action. Carbonfuture’s mission is to drive real climate impact by catalyzing an industry of high quality, persistent and trustworthy carbon removal at gigatonnes scale. Learn More
Marcel Eichler
Supply Manager Carbonfuture

NOVOCARBOs goal is to remove 100 Mio t of carbon out of the atmosphere. To make that happen, we take that carbon and turn it into valuable products. As a leading operator of pyrolysis plants and an international trading platform for biochar and its derivatives we are constantly striving to generate new vital knowledge in regard to biochar products, market dynamics and development.

Our biochar solutions can be used across a number of industries, in peatfree fertile soil, blue-green infrastructure to substituting fossil carbons in textiles or sustainable building materials. As such we provide biochar solutions to various green city projects and construction sites throughout Europe. We put atmospheric carbon to use. Learn More
Caspar von Ziegner
The Project
According to the requirements given by XPRIZE, the Biochar Challenge Team's CDR project can be differentiated as follows:

Demonstration of the key technology

The key technology in our CDR proposal is the pyrolysis of biomass into biochar. This involves pyrolyzing crop residues and invasive plants into biochar in an environmentally friendly manner. The resulting char, which keeps the carbon contained in the biomass stable for centuries, is sequestered by incorporation into soils.

To establish biomass pyrolysis and subsequent sequestration of carbon by incorporating biochar into soils as a negative emissions technology, the Biochar Challenge Team is using an ongoing project in Germany. In this project, biomass in the form of woodchips is carbonized in a pyrolysis reactor operated by the German company NOVOCARBO. The biochar was then placed in various C-sinks where the carbon is permanently stored. All processes from biomass harvesting, through the pyrolysis process, to sequestration in C-sinks, are accurately documented and audited by independent third parties. The amount of CO2 permanently sequestered via this process is determined and certified according to the European Biochar Certificate standard. The resulting C-sink entitlements were sold via platforms specializing in the trading of negative emission certificates.

Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) project of the Team Biochar Challenge
The CDR project involves permanently removing CO2 from the atmosphere by harvesting and pyrolyzing invasive and FSC-certified scrub in Namibia and sequestering the carbon contained in the biochar in local soils. The pyrolysis plants are operated in a decentralized manner by farmers whose farms are affected by bush encroachment. Both the biomass extraction site and the sequestration site are located within a few kilometers of the plant.
Invasive thorn bushes harm the environment of Namibia

Currently, the invasive thorn bushes are harvested from the farms and pyrolyzed into barbecue charcoal in old oil drums. This process is extremely harmful to the environment because the pyrolysis process releases GHGs such as methane and carbon monoxide on a large scale. Consequently, the production and use of barbecue charcoal from Namibia is not climate-neutral, but climate-damaging.
Climate damaging production of grill-charcoal

Furthermore, the barbecue coal produced in Namibia is mainly exported to Europe. The long transport from southern Africa is carried out by environmentally harmful transport ships.

In the future, the invasive thorn bushes will be pyrolyzed into biochar in an environmentally friendly process. Instead of transporting the biochar to Europe, it will be charged with nutrients in Namibia and incorporated into local soils. The C-sink entitlements thus created will be sold as so-called negative emission certificates to individuals and companies wishing to reduce their carbon footprint.

The result is that no raw material is exported, but negative emission certificates are. The valuable biochar remains in the country and improves local soils.

There will be a massive application of biochar on agricultural land. This improves chemical and physical
properties of sandy and acidic soils in particular, such as ferralsols. Yield increases of over 400% can be
expected here in the medium term. The buffering capacity of all soil parameters increases. Especially
the N-capacities increase considerably, which leads to significantly reduced NH4 leaching and N2O
emissions. As a consequence, 50% less N fertilization can be roughly assumed, which leads to a
significant reduction of ammonia synthesis. The exorbitant increase in soil life and biodiversity due to
the electron storage and exchange capacity of biochar ensures steadily increasing permanent humus
levels. The ability of biochar to form humus complexes replaces the clay fraction and provides soils
with higher humus fraction capacities. All in all, the permanent humus accumulation brought about by
biochar is a gigantic lever for C fixation in soils.

Field study. In the back with charged Biochar, in the front without. Both without fertilizer and watering.

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REG Rheinische Eigengrund GmbH
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REG Rheinische Eigengrund GmbH, vertreten durch die Geschäftsführer: Gero Boetzel und Timo Herbrand


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