We’re always fans of turning waste into something useful. Biochar fits that bill perfectly. It's a well understood process and using it for carbon removal has a high technology readiness level, meaning it's ready to go. Putting waste agricultural biomass from through pyrolysis in a low oxygen environment produces biochar and stablizes the carbon so it can’t escape back into the atmosphere.
Biochar has a range of uses, from improving soil health and crops when spread on farmland, to replacing fossil fuel based materials in products or construction, or generating clean energy. It has so much potential to scale up to the size we need from the carbon removal industry!
Soooo, we’re thrilled to include MASH Makes in our .
Permanence of carbon removal: 100+ years
Location: Denmark, India
MASH Makes is a biochar producer based in Denmark and India. Their uniquely designed and assembled thermochemical platform pyrolyzes crop residues in containerised machines that produce high-quality, European Biochar Certification (EBC) certified biochar, with a low oxygen content and a high fixed carbon content of 87%.
This makes it an ideal product for permanent carbon sequestration applications. Additionally, it also works towards maximising the additional soil benefits that come along with the use of biochar, such as water and nutrient retention to improve soils and increased crop yield.
Their machine also produces high quality bio-oil that is currently being upgraded for use as an alternative to fossil-based fuel in hard to abate sectors.
As far as engineered carbon solutions go, biochar has a lot to offer beyond just locking away CO2. MASH has developed an innovative model that is ideal for scaling carbon removal to the gigatonne levels required to address the climate crisis.
By applying biochar primarily in arid and semi-arid soils across India (and further afield in future), where biomass is sparse and it is challenging to cultivate crops, MASH aims to have a major positive environmental and social impact where they operate.
Their model will improve the quality of arid soils, creating new biomass systems that promote biodiversity, create new food / material / energy sources - all while lifting regional economic prospects. A key benefit of their model is that it uses agricultural waste that would otherwise be burnt, to create an attractive carbon negative product – the wonderful biochar we know and love!
MASH Makes is a spin-off from the Technical University of Denmark. It combines the 30+ years of research related to advanced thermo-technical processes like gasification and pyrolysis, with the practicality of manufacturing efficient solutions for the developing world.
The company was founded in 2015 by two PhDs and has been supported on several rounds of public and private funding from organisations such as EUDP, Climate-KIC, Innovation Fund Denmark, the Danish Maritime Fund and others. The company has focused its commercial efforts on the global market, with a spotlight on South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
MASH Makes employs over 50 people in India and Denmark and they are verified under the European Biochar Certification for quality with Carbonfuture ensuring their Measurement, Verification and Reporting (MRV) for their biochar projects.
It's more permanent than storing carbon in trees. In the right conditions, biochar has the potential to safely sequester carbon for 100-1000 years or more.
MASH use crop residues that are left over from agriculture in India. They have developed a mobile container unit to take the biochar production facility to where the feedstocks are located, to limit transportation emissions.
They pyrolyze the crop residues to produce high-quality, EBC compliant biochar with a low oxygen content and a high fixed carbon content of 87%. This makes it an ideal product for permanent carbon sequestration applications.
Their aim is to apply biochar primarily in arid and semi-arid soils across India, where it would be otherwise challenging to grow crops. MASH will also use their biochar in afforestation and reforestation projects in partnership with local NGOs.
MASH Makes’ equipment has been built on one simple philosophy – easy to deploy and scale. This enables highly attractive business cases to be developed around a range of types of agricultural residues, and other waste streams anywhere in the world.
Their highly scalable model has been adopted using an innovative type of financing. They take a biomass-to-energy products business case and deploy it in the form of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs). These SPVs are essentially funded via a mix of equity and debt – and operated under a separate franchise. MASH plans to set up at least 50 such SPVs over the next 5 years, primarily located in India and South East Asia.
The first such SPV is currently being set up in India close to Udupi in the state of Karnataka.
Their goal is to have the capacity to effectively sequester 1 Million tons of CO2 per year by 2028
We love MASH's work in the Global South and approach of getting the absolute most out of what many would consider waste. They’re sequestering carbon for hundreds of years, replacing fossil materials, generating green energy all from something that would have otherwise been left to rot or burnt, releasing CO₂ back into the atmosphere where it would have contributed to climate change.
We’re also inspired by the pollution and air quality co-benefits of preventing the burning of such large quantities of biomass in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
To achieve Net Zero (& beyond) we need to grow global carbon removal capacity to somewhere between 5 to 10 gigatonnes per year by 2050. Biochar has the potential - from a carbon storage permanence, additionality and scaling potential - to contribute a significant proportion of the total we need to develop and deploy.
Zopeful's Carbon Removal Portfolios primarily look at solutions that are as-permanent-as-possible-for-the-$, combined with additionality and verifiability. As you may know from our climate courses, we're very conscious of climate justice issues as well. There can be no full transition to a zero emissions world that isn't just. We're including carbon removal partners in the portfolios that engage and include local communities in the countries they operate in.
MASH Makes’ focus is on the Global South and supporting local communities in the regions they work. Their model aims to improve semi-arid soils in India to rejuvenate them so they can be used for agriculture, thereby enriching the livelihoods of the local community by creating employment and addressing food security, while also safely sequestering carbon in the soil.
Carbon removal is not the only aim of the project. Through this project, MASH aims to achieve the following triple bottom line:
- Sequestering carbon into the soil: Using biochar as a soil conditioner enabling the sequestration of carbon into the soil for hundreds, if not thousands of years
- Valorising crop residues : MASH aims to create supply chains for agricultural and agro-industrial waste that would otherwise have been burnt in an uncontrolled environment
- Improving Soil Quality : Remediating semi-arid and arid lands and to convert them into future cereal/cash crop baskets essential for an increased agricultural throughput for the growing population is a major long term goal of MASH
To reach the gigaton range, a successful model has to balance this on-size-fits-all idea with the intent to have a positive role in local communities and ecosystems. This is what Net Zero and green transition is about.
Chief Impact Officer, MASH Makes
Slowing and reversing climate change not only requires us to drastically reduce emissions from current levels, we also need to take out hundreds of billions of tonnes we’ve already added to the atmosphere over the last 200 years.
To achieve Net Zero (& beyond) we need to grow global carbon removal capacity to somewhere between 5 to 10 gigatonnes per year by 2050.
Biochar produced purely from waste agricultural biomass - there’s a huge amount of it around the world - has a high level of readiness to scale-up to millions of tonnes that can grow as quickly as we want it to. It also has a range of other co-benefits and use cases we're excited to see further developed.
MASH Makes is doing inspiring work in making this a reality and we can’t wait to see what they do next as they continue to research, develop and deploy their solutions!
Read more about Biochar and why we include it in our Carbon Removal Portfolio 👇
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