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Demio, a growing participant in the biochar market

While Carbonapp's mission is to implement virtuous projects with the Low Carbon label, it is equally interesting to discover its sister company: Demio. Founded in 2018 by Gaultier Bernard, Demio is a start-up specialised in the production of biochar, a more than promising product with diverse applications, for which demand is constantly growing.

But what is biochar?

Praised by the IPCC as a "negative emission technology" and yet still unknown to the general public, biochar, through its many uses and its tremendous capacity as a carbon sink, provides concrete answers to the essential questions of our time. Made by pyrolysis from forest or agricultural residues, its manufacturing process allows the creation of a gaseous flow for energy purposes, but also to extract the carbon stored in the plants. What do you get? A black powder similar to disintegrated coal, but that can improve soil health, store CO2 for several centuries and even purify water.

It may sound too good to believe, but the results are there. When spread on soils, biochar improves their aeration, their capacity to retain water and nutrients and reduces leaching losses. With its multiple pores, this product also has excellent de-polluting properties. As a result, it secures crop yields while reducing the input of polluting minerals in favour of organic matter and lowering water demand. Finally, due to its carbon-rich composition and carbon-negative manufacturing process, biochar is recognised as a revolutionary CO2 sink, which is extremely stable once buried in the soil.

Develop the production and sale of this coal with miraculous properties, contribute to the efforts in reducing greenhouse gases emissions, such is the bet taken by Demio, and more precisely its founder Gaultier Bernard. However, although the company was officially founded in 2018, its history goes back further.

It was in 2014, after several years of living in Russia, that Mr. Bernard first decided to look into pyrolysis. After discovering its use for used tyres, he launched Demio's first project on the re-use of waste for energy purposes. The company then turned to biochar, which not only provides a cleaner raw material, but also a more respectful and controlled manufacturing process.

Today, as the Normandy plant is being assembled, Demio can already consider the development of two additional sites for 2023, given the state of its order book. The market's enthusiasm for biochar and its virtuous applications is undeniable, both on the buyer and producer sides.

At a time when energy prices are soaring and Europe is seeking to break away from Russian imports, pyrolysis holds out the promise of autonomy, food sovereignty and economic development for both territories and manufacturers. As for biochar, between the IPCC's recommendations and the support provided by the carbon credit market, it is experiencing an equally formidable growth that could reach 85% by 2022. Nearly 40,000 tonnes of biochar would have been produced over the year, which is equivalent to 100,000 tonnes of CO2eq that can be sustainably stored while ensuring better soil health. Enough to make decarbonation companies dream as the price per tonne of CO2 continues to rise and the urgency to reduce and offset our emissions is ever greater.

Through its production of biochar, Demio therefore provides an answer to several essential challenges, whether it be preserving soils that are often already depleted or generating a stable carbon sink.

Article written by Axelle Rimpot


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