Singapore-based renewable energy and carbon developer Alcom has launched the first biochar production facility in the Philippines and registered the associated carbon credits for sale, according to their announcement on Tuesday. The Nueva Ecija rice husk biochar project has completed the necessary paperwork and is now registered under the Finnish standard Puro.earth.
Alcom has repurposed a previously decommissioned gasifier located at a grain-handling facility operated by the provincial government of Nueva Ecija on Luzon Island. Excess heat generated during the process is redirected to four grain drying units, and Alcom has stated that they are offering the biochar at a discounted rate to local farmers.
Support from the Nueva Ecija local government is pivotal in turning the project into a success. Initially, the project will be supported by subsidies from Nueva Ecija and the sale of carbon credits, but the company hopes that in the future, farmers will be more willing to invest in biochar.
Alcom’s vision is to expand biochar production facilities through collaboration with various stakeholders such as farmers, universities, governments, and local communities. The company has a pipeline of 60 similar projects that will sequester 2.7 million tonnes of CO2 during their lifecycle, with the first ten expected to be commissioned by 2024. Alcom has reported an 18% to 20% increase in the yield of paddy, onion, and corn after the application of biochar, making it beneficial for farmers. However, awareness of biochar remains limited in the country.
Alcom is selling carbon credits from the process at EUR 200/tCO2e (USD 217) and plans to use the proceeds to further adapt its technology to rice husks, straw, and the specific requirements of the rice industry in the Philippines. The company also has intentions to develop rice methane capture projects under the Gold Standard.
Rice husk biochar is known for its higher silicate content, which makes it suitable for applications in the construction industry while being gentle on soils. Biochar is produced by processing biomass in a heat-intensive pyrolysis plant, resulting in a carbon-rich material added to soil to enhance its quality and serve as an organic, low-carbon fertilizer.
(Source: Quantum Commodity Intelligence)