Though public awareness is low, some scientists believe “biochar” is quietly becoming the world’s first major carbon removal success story.
The waste coffee husks that come out of Synergie Nord Sud (SNS), Cameroon’s largest coffee-processing plant, are no longer left to gradually decompose in a landfill.
Instead, these tons of biomass are now transported to a nearby facility where they are turned into a wonder material that could be key to mitigating climate change. It’s called biochar, and its multitude of climate benefits — improving soil fertility, producing green energy, reducing waste, and, most significantly, sequestering carbon from the atmosphere — have many scientists describing it as the most advanced, mature method of CO2 removal we have today.
“It has all these co-benefits,” says Axel Reinaud, founder and CEO of NetZero , which runs the facility. “They are really complementary and it’s interdependent… . When it comes to carbon removal, it will be the first solution to reach scale.”