Could you tell us about your company and your mission? What’s the innovation behind Carbonfuture?
The Carbonfuture platform provides a tracking system and trading service for carbon offset credits in a simple, reliable and scalable way. We approach guarantees unparalleled precision in tracking, documentation and measurement. We offer access to high-quality carbon removal credits and participation in the world’s most cutting-edge carbon community, enabling companies and govermens to reach their climate goals in a transparent, reliable and verifiable way.
The carbon market is built on trust, and as a result, we are building an infrastructure that we believe will be essential to the lasting success of our customers and, ultimately, to solving the climate crisis we face as a society.
One of the things that distinguish Carbonfuture is their transparent carbon sink modeling, could you please elaborate on that?
Accurate carbon sink or carbon removal simulation is of utmost importance to the success of the carbon credit market and to climate mitigation. Why? Simple, we need to know that the right amount of carbon has been removed for the right amount of time, and we need to know where that carbon is at the most critical points along its path. Carbonfuture has established the only comprehensive carbon removal tracking system in the world, providing a digital view of the entire cycle, based on the scientifically determined permanence of each individual removal.
Distinctive features of our approach focus on carbon removal, independent standards, end-to-end tracking and blockchain technology. A representative example of these features is the example of biochar or “PyCCs” (Pyrogenic Carbon Capture and Storage), this carbon sequestration technology mitigates climate change and improves soil fertility.
For a carbon removal credit based on biochar technology, Carbonfuture documents each carbon sink which is the natural carbon cycle that is exchanged between the atmosphere and the biosphere in an individual “cf certificate”. The complete life cycle of biochar is traced from the production process to its final use in, for example, the soil. The corresponding test records (complete audit trail) are stored immutably, and each project is recorded and made public in Carbon Standard International’s Independent Carbon Sink Registry.
Each of the credits generated finances the removal of one ton of CO2 from the atmosphere. We store the equivalent of 1.16 t of CO2 at the beginning of the credit duration (after deducting all relevant emissions) to ensure an average removal of 1 tonne over 100 years. Thanks to this standard, Carbonfuture sink credits are always positive for the climate. You can access the sequestration curve (i.e. a graphical representation of the amount of carbon stored at a given point in time) for each individual project. This curve shows the minimum number of tons of CO2 equivalent sequestered over time (always based on conservative calculations to ensure that we deliver what we promise).
The carbon market is built on trust
“[…] we are building an infrastructure that we believe will be essential to the lasting success of our customers and, ultimately, to solving the climate crisis we face as a society.
How do you select a project and what are your top criteria to assess a project’s quality?
The quality of Carbonfuture’s credits comes, among other things, from its carefully selected projects. As the only platform that requires third-party methodologies, certification, auditing and digital tracking, we can guarantee immediate and permanent carbon removal. Credits can only be issued on the Carbonfuture platform if all basic requirements are met.
In the case of biochar, both the production facility and its characteristics must be independently audited and verified prior to credit certification. Carbonfuture accepts both the European Biochar Certification (EBC), developed by the Ithaka Institute and assured by Carbon Standards International (CSI) and the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).
Our carbon sink credits can help finance multiple carbon sequestration projects, such as PyCCS/biochar-based carbon sinks or recycled concrete. In the case of PyCCS technology, the independent EBC certificate quantifies the net climate benefit of the biochar produced, taking into account the emissions from production. In addition, the EBC guarantees that the biomass used is from sustainable sources and does not contribute to any detrimental changes in land use.
When it comes to assessing the climate impact of a carbon sink, its durability represents a key factor. Therefore, the ECB sink standard requires that biochar can only be used in specific ways (e.g. added to agricultural substrates such as feed, compost, manure and fertilizers, or to durable materials such as concrete and resins). The reliable calculation of the positive effect of biochar on the climate is based on the latest scientific knowledge, assuming a conservative average degradation rate. In addition to the EBC standard for biochar credits, Carbonfuture’s recycled concrete credits follow the quantification methodology developed within the framework of the Gold Standard.
What is the role that climate tech startups currently hold towards net-zero targets?
Climate technology start-ups currently play a key and pioneering role, as the entire industry surrounding net zero targets is still in its early days, yet the need to grow big and fast. Achieving net zero targets involves understanding, calculating, reducing and then eliminating (waste) emissions. All of these steps require innovative, agile and impactful solutions, provided by climate tech startups around the world, who are truly at the forefront of those breakthrough technologies needed to participate in mitigating the climate crisis.
In the case of Carbonfuture, the role we can play in the carbon removal space is of particular importance to us. Companies that have calculated and reduced their footprint should look to carbon removal credits for any historical or current emissions. However, the market currently lacks confidence, so Carbonfuture’s approach aims to solve this critical problem by providing credits that transparently deliver on the promises they claim to make: the irreversible and traceable removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. With a near-term goal of reaching 1 gigatonne (of carbon removed) by the end of 2024 alone, our climate technology already plays a direct role in achieving global zero emissions targets.
”One of the biggest challenges we face is the lack of clarity in country-specific rules and policies for carbon removal projects and their use.
Today, what should be done to better support this dynamic technology ecosystem?
First, the ecosystem should be supported and given a greater and more consistent presence in the media to raise climate awareness. In addition, another aspect that is a big obstacle is legislation, for example, if we consider the PyCCS negative emissions technology, a smart move by the government would be to subsidize the resulting biochar so that farmers can use it in their fields at a very low price or even for free. In this way, they would achieve not only a better climate impact, but also an improvement in yields and soils.
In addition, it would be important to establish a set of globally uniform standards for the use and certification of carbon removal projects, tailored to specific regions, thus achieving a highly recognized and valid international standard (perspective: compliance market).
In terms of government involvement, it would be useful if they were more open to new technologies, carbon removal methods and raw materials (source material for certain carbon removal technologies). Finally, funding and talent are components that drive any emerging movement. Both capital and the right people will help support this dynamic technology ecosystem.
What challenges do climate tech startups like Carbonfuture face?
One of the biggest challenges we face is the lack of clarity in country-specific rules and policies for carbon removal projects and their use. In addition, due to a certain “gold rush” environment, many double-counted or certified credits (i.e., double claiming or double counting of a climate service) have entered the market in recent years, as well as credits based on dubious standards (e.g., a promise of permanence of a credit that is not kept), leaving an appearance of distrust in the long run. Until it can enter the compliance market, the industry faces a lack of regulation and will therefore act accordingly.
In summary, the main challenge we face is the lack of clarity and explanation when describing products such as carbon credits. Although this is an issue that is becoming increasingly important, it is necessary for both companies and governments to sit down together to establish some basic guidelines.