Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) and Maine Technology Institute (MTI) also Participate to Bring Biochar Production, a New High Growth, Clean, Sustainable Industry to Maine
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PORTLAND, Maine, October 21, 2021 /CSRwire/ – Standard Biocarbon (SBC) announced today that it secured $2 million in financing from three Maine-based institutions to purchase equipment for producing high quality biochar at the former site of the Great Northern Paper mill in East Millinocket. Biochar is a near pure form of carbon that is made by processing biomass at high temperatures with very little oxygen. SBC will supply biochar for use in agriculture, environmental remediation, and emerging applications in composite building materials and asphalt. Studies have shown biochar to be effective for remediation of PFAS “forever chemicals” and heavy metals. Biochar is also a recognized pathway for atmospheric carbon removal. Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) is serving as the lead lender at $800,000 with an $800,000 participation from the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) and a $400,000 participation from Maine Technology Institute (MTI).
When operational in early 2022, SBC will initially produce about 18,000 cubic yards of biocharper year with plans for phased expansion in East Millinocket and other sites. Biochar does not degrade in nature, so carbon content is captured for thousands of years where biomass, whether burned or left to rot, soon releases all of the carbon back to the atmosphere. Therefore, biochar has emerged as a highly efficient, durable, economical and scalable atmospheri carbon dioxide removal technology. Standard Biocarbon will supply certified carbon removal credits to emerging private carbon markets such as puro.earth and carbon-future.earth, which offer corporations and individuals the opportunity to “buy back” their emissions. Markets for both biochar and carbon removal have enormous potential for scale and Maine has an abundant supply of woody biomass, the key ingredient for biochar.
The loan funds from the Maine institutions will be used to purchase two advanced carbonization machines that can continuously process biomass at precisely controlled high temperatures to create a consistent carbon-rich biochar. The machines will run 24/7 and process about 500 tons/month of locally sourced mill residuals. The machines are made by Germany’s Pyreg GmbH who have over thirty similar machines in operation throughout Europe and Asia. Standard Biocarbon also acts as a distributor for the Pyreg technology in North America.
“It’s not often that all the pieces come together in one place to meaningfully change the world,” said Fred Horton, Co- Founder, President and CEO. “We are using innovative technology to produce a commodity that can improve climate resiliency and clean up environmental contamination while building valuable long term carbon removal capacity. Maine has the right human capital, infrastructure, and natural resources to make this happen with a lot of room to grow. The support from CEI, FAME, and MTI, together with investment and encouragement from the broader Maine community, officials and local forest products industry, has been instrumental in bringing this new business to Maine,” added Horton.
“Standard Biocarbon is creating a new market for local and sustainable wood products to produce high-quality biochar, driving investment in Maine’s forestry industry, benefiting farmers, and delivering on Maine’s climate goals to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045,” said Daniel Wallace, Senior Vice President of Lending and Investment at CEI. “The technology that SBC brings to the East Millinocket site is revolutionary in both scope and size for the Northeast. We are pleased to partner with FAME and MTI to make a project like this happen in our home state.”
“FAME is pleased to support this project, which promotes utilization of Maine’s natural resources and value-adding to produce biochar. It also will help to reduce Maine’s carbon footprint. The unemployment rate in the Millinocket region is three times higher than the rest of the state, and this project will help to create jobs in advanced technology in the region. These jobs are expected to increase as the company grows. Indirect jobs may also occur through construction, transportation, and the wood products industry,” stated David Daigler, FAME Board Chair. “SBC’s stellar team embodies the innovative initiative that will enable Maine’s heritage industries to adapt and thrive in the ever-evolving global economy,” said Brian Whitney, MTI’s President. “MTI is pleased to partner with CEI & FAME to continue supporting SBC’s growth in East Millinocket and surrounding communities.”
Biochar is produced by thermo-chemical conversion (pyrolysis) of biomass, yielding a stable, porous material that is near pure carbon. During pyrolysis, biomass is heated in an oxygen limited chamber to release volatile gasses, which in the SBC process are burned to maintain the process; about 50% of the carbon in the original biomass remains in the charcoal like material, biochar. Biochar degrades very slowly in nature and is believed to keep carbon out of the atmosphere for at least 1000 years. SBC expects this Phase 1 facility to remove 4,500 tons per year of atmospheric carbon by producing biochar.
About Standard Biocarbon
Standard Biocarbon Corporation (SBC) is a Maine based clean-tech startup producing biochar at industrial scale to supply demand in agriculture, remediation and materials and to generate carbon removal credits. Situated on the former site of the Great Northern Paper Company’s mill in East Millinocket, SBC will use low-grade wood which has experienced declining demand due to closures of biomass power plants and paper mills, helping sustain a complex local and regional forest products economy. To learn more, visit standardbiocarbon.com.
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