Ahlstrom, UK start-up Black Bull Biochar partner to pilot production of biochar for agricultural use; renewable heat generated by BBB's biochar pyrolysis machine at Ahlstrom's Radcliffe, UK, Abaca pulp mill will be used in pulping manufacturing operations

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June 29, 2023 (press release) –


A global sustainable specialty materials leader Ahlstrom and Black Bull Biochar, a start-up based in the United Kingdom, are entering a partnership to help pilot the production of biochar, a greenhouse gas removal technology, for agricultural use.

Black Bull Biochar (BBB) intends to launch and promote a sustainable and circular biochar market within the UK. The primary focus of BBB’s project is to assess the viability of commercial biochar usage in agriculture which could lead to significant carbon removal from the atmosphere, storing it in farm soils for centuries while improving soil quality.

“We aim to establish a pioneering business-to-business platform that overcomes barriers to building and expanding a sustainable and effective biochar network,” says Alex Clarke, co-founder and CEO of BBB. “We believe Biochar can contribute to environmental restoration, carbon removal, soil regeneration, and the circularity of industrial and agricultural systems.” Clarke further explained.

BBB utilizes a process called pyrolysis to produce biochar. The generated biochar can be applied to farms by mixing it with slurry prior to field application or through bedding systems.

Ahlstrom will house the pyrolysis machine in its Radcliffe, UK facility that produces Abaca pulp for the Beverage & Casing Business Unit. The renewable heat generated by the pyrolysis process will be utilized for the pulping manufacturing operations, therefore reducing their carbon footprint while helping BBB take steps to produce biochar on a large scale.

“This approach to climate solutions will be vital in scaling up future working practices that promote circular economy and large-scale removal of carbon and other greenhouse gases,” comments Stuart Nixon, Head of Projects at Ahlstrom. “Through this innovative project, our objective is to simultaneously generate environmental benefits and enhance the economic sustainability of our site, ensuring long-term success for this type of practices,” Nixon concludes.

“Biochar is circular economy in action and ready to support the transition to a low-carbon economy through its greenhouse gas removal technology, and as a company, Ahlstrom is deeply committed to playing a role in those advancements,” says Natasha Chorlton, Circular economy & Recyclability Manager at Ahlstrom. “This forward-thinking initiative exemplifies the company's commitment to environmental stewardship and dedication to achieving sustainability goals in a mutually beneficial manner.”

BBB secured funding through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) after achieving success in the final round of the Direct Air Capture (DAC) & Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) innovation competition.

For further information on Ahlstrom, please contact:

Véronique van Zyl, Head of Marketing & Communications Parchment, Beverage & Casing, parchment@ahlstrom.com

For further information on Black Bull Biochar, please contact:

Alex Clarke, co-founder and CEO of BBB,  alex@blackbullbiochar.com

Ahlstrom in brief  
Ahlstrom is a global leader in combining fibers into sustainable specialty materials. Our purpose is to Purify and Protect, with Every Fiber, for a Sustainable World. Our vision is to be the Preferred Sustainable Specialty Materials Company for all our stakeholders. We serve five growing and distinctive end markets, which form the basis for our five divisions: Filtration, Food & Consumer Packaging, Healthcare, Building Materials, and Technical Materials. Our net sales in 2022 for continuing operations amounted to EUR 3.3 billion and we employ some 7,000 people. Read more at www.ahlstrom.com  

Black Bull Biochar in brief
Black Bull Biochar (BBB) is a start-up with a mission to scale up the use of biochar – a leading greenhouse gas removal technology – by creating a first-of-a-kind platform and network that helps key stakeholders within academia, industry, agriculture, and government to overcome the systemic barriers to widespread adoption of biochar. By helping to increase the production and application of biochar, BBB actively contributes to the mitigation of climate change and the enrichment of agricultural systems. Additional information is available at www.blackbullbiochar.com




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