GECA Environnement (GECA Design Inc)
Biochar in Soil Application, Pyrolysis, Biomass
Background: Puerto Rico has a history of being strongly affected by tropical storms, and will continue being affected by climate change as sea levels rise and adverse weather events become more frequent. In parallel, invasive and rapid-growing bamboo has been causing issues for local authorities to clean up when it breaks and falls, leaving waterways and roads blocked and causing floods around the island. Activities: The BioRestorative Ideas (BRi) project in Puerto Rico will manage bamboo clean ups and transform the waste material into biochar through pyrolysis. It is located on a former sugar mill site in the South West of the island, an area that has seen economic activity decrease since the mill closure. It was primordial for the developers to put together a project that created value from what has been seen until today as problems. It is hoped that through this project, locals see bamboo waste as a resource and not garbage. The project’s team will collect the bamboo, process it and sequester carbon through its transformation right on the island. The resulting biochar will be used in different applications, including to better soils, in materials and in agriculture. This will allow the population to generate energy, producing biochar which can help with degraded soils, while cleaning up the local environment. The generated revenue through credit sales allows the project’s expansion into neighboring areas of Puerto Rico and, in the future, neighboring islands, to achieve their mission of relieving islands from waste generated by invasive bamboo and damaging weather events. General facts: The project is in the verification process with Puro.earth and registered as a ‘pre-CORC’ (CO2 removal certificates) under the Puro Standard. It will become a verified ‘CORC’ once the construction of the biochar facility is completed and biochar production has started. It is estimated to transform about 7000 million tons of bamboo into 3000 million tons of biochar annually while creating 15-20 high-quality local jobs. Monitoring: Verification is conducted on a quarterly basis, through volume, invoice, projected supply and general project health checks by GECA. Regular annual monitoring and auditing of successful biochar production are implemented through direct on-site sample checks of actual production volumes and invoices. Additional audits are performed in case of significant changes in output operations. Monitoring and verification is based on the Puro methodology. GECA ensures that the project stays compliant with the standard and methodology chosen. Public documentation of the monitoring is not required by the methodology. Additionality: This project’s implementation relies heavily on credit sales to provide the necessary income for the project to be financially feasible. Sales of the produced physical biochar provide an additional stream of financing, but are by far not sufficient to sustain and scale project activities. For this reason, carbon credit sales provide a necessary source of financing for the project. Climate co-benefit: The project will exclusively rely on the use of waste bamboo (no plantation bamboo) and provides a second life to waste biomass. Without the project, the waste bamboo would most likely be burnt or left to decompose, leading to excess carbon emissions. Bamboo is an invasive species in Puerto Rico, blocking rivers and waterways. There is a strong need to find solutions against a species that is causing damage on the ecosystem’s island. The physical biochar will be used as a soil improver for island crops such as coffee and fruit, with the potential for exports to the U.S. market and partnerships for other applications such as carbonized building materials to sequester the carbon on a permanent basis. Social co-benefit: The project also contributes to local communities, such as creating 15-20 local green jobs in rural regions where quality employment is scarce. As the waterways, roads, and land affected by storms will be cleared by the project, it supports the local authorities in clean-up efforts. Furthermore, the biochar created by the project will be used in soils locally to promote local agriculture, soil health, sustainable practices, and resilience of communities to adverse events. Additional information: This project aims to achieve several SDGs (non-certified), which potentially include (2) Zero Hunger, (7) Affordable and Clean Energy, (8) Decent Work and Economic Growth, (9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, (11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, (12) Responsible Consumption and Production, (13) Climate Action. Site visits are possible for those who are interested.