Written by Logan Smith

On June 27, 2022

BiocharNow | Proton June #BetterBlockchain

Hello again, Proton family!

We’re delighted to introduce the second project for this month’s campaign, Proton June #BetterBlockchain. Our goal is to introduce the incredibly talented developers behind the projects you know and love.

As part of the campaign, we will publish a ‘Meet The Builders’ interview, alongside their giveaway, so you can find out more about their project, the inspiration behind their vision, what’s next for them, and why they chose Proton.

Please meet the team from this innovative project, BiocharNow!

Meet The Builders – BiocharNow

 

To start, can you briefly introduce BiocharNow?

BiocharNow is a Berthoud, CO-based company specializing in converting dead trees and other waste woods through a multi-patented process into a pure carbon known as biochar.  The resulting BiocharNow biochar can be used to improve soils for agriculture by binding to nutrients and water which are slowly released over time.  This application results in less fertilizer and irrigation required for crops.  Our product also aids in the cleanup of polluted lands and waterways through our biochar’s unique electrostatic charge which binds the biochar to toxins in the environment.  Due to BiocharNow’s very efficient and effective process in removing CO2, for every ton of biochar produced, nearly 3 carbon credits are created. 

 

What problem is Biochar Now trying to solve? 

The Rocky Mountains’ forests have been hugely impacted by the mountain pine beetle and spruce beetle killing off large swaths of lodgepole pine and Engelmann spruce throughout the region.  Through BiocharNow’s multi-patented process using pyrolysis, a very controlled kiln-contained burn in an oxygen-free environment at temperatures exceeding 1250 degrees F for 10 hours at a time, the dead trees are converted into a pure carbon known as biochar.  BiocharNow produces biochar in a way that passes the air emission requirements of all the States, which means the controlled, high temperature conversion yields nearly no off-gassing of harmful pollutants, unlike many other producers of biochar.  In addition, BiocharNow follows ISO standards in their processes to allow for an easily auditable trail.  No other biochar producers are currently checking all these boxes.

In the process of creating BiocharNow biochar, dead trees are removed from forests and taken to the processing plant where they are shredded prior to being put into the patented kilns for conversion to biochar.  If these trees were allowed to lie in the forest and rot, they would produce significant amounts of the harmful greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) through their decomposition, thereby releasing their carbon to the atmosphere and contributing to climate change.  If the trees were buried, the even more destructive greenhouse gas, methane (CH4) may be created.  By converting these trees into biochar and sequestering the resulting char back into the earth, we are creating a carbon sink and removing the greenhouse gasses from the environment.

 

How does BiocharNow make the blockchain experience more user friendly?

The carbon credit world is largely unregulated, so you have producers of carbon credits, many using dubious means of production and resulting quality, all vying for the attention of large corporations to purchase their credits.  In addition to the minimal quality controls, the credits are bought and sold largely by moving around paper contracts and PDFs.  This process has led to the re-use multiple times of the same credit by unscrupulous buyers and sellers of credits.  By bringing the creation and sale of carbon credits to the blockchain, we can account for not only where the source material (the waste wood) of the credit originated, but the purchase, ownership, and potential transfer of the credits, all the way through to where the credit was finally put back into the ground (i.e. agricultural use, pollution remediation, industrial use, etc).

By partnering with Proton, we’ve found a blockchain provider that is as environmentally conscious as we are.  We are creating NFTs through Proton’s marketplace and the Webauth.com wallet.  The NFT represents the initial purchase agreement of the carbon credits tied to the contract we establish between BiocharNow and the corporations that buy from us.  Then the credits are retired in smaller increments through a token that can be burned which represents the carbon being sequestered in the ground.  

As you can imagine, large corporations are buying millions of carbon credits at a time to help offset their carbon footprint.  We needed a blockchain with minimal gas fees, or the process would carry with it unreasonable expenses.  Proton’s zero gas fee platform was the perfect solution for us and our customers.

 

Can you tell us a bit more about the BiocharNow management team and their background? 

BiocharNow is a family-run business headed up by James Gaspard with his daughter Jordan as second in command.  James has his B.S. from Texas A&M and his split JD/MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.  He has decades of experience across multiple disciplines within the public transit and transport industries, plus extensive sales and marketing experience all of which have served him well in the creation and management of BiocharNow.

Jordan has her MBA from Colorado State University, with strong experience in Energy Services and Supply Chain Management  sectors.  Together they lead a team of about 30 employees that help keep BiocharNow running smoothly.

 

Can you tell us more about BiocharNow’s vision? 

For now, the main clients of BiocharNow are the farms that use our biochar for improving their land, as well as the municipalities and states using our biochar to clean up waterways and polluted lands from things like old mining tailings.  We are working with several Native American tribes to improve the quality of their lands and waters.

Going forward, there are numerous additional applications for our biochar such as adding biochar to steel (known as “green steel”).  BiocharNow biochar can be added to livestock feed which has been shown to bind toxins from the animal’s digestive system which decreases the methane produced.  BiocharNow biochar can also be added to non-wood based building material and rubber products which increases strength, reduces the weight, and drastically reduces the petroleum needed in the production of those products.

Most of our carbon credits are currently being purchased by large, multinational corporations looking to offset their carbon footprint.  In the future, we see opportunities to expand into the general population where individuals conscious of their carbon footprint can purchase credits from BiocharNow to offset their carbon production.  Carbon credits will end up trading much like any other commodity and we’ll begin to see some standardization of quality and pricing of carbon credits instead of the loose system in place now.

 

Tell us about what led up to building BiocharNow. Why did you start this?

The beetle kill that is ravaging our forests in Colorado and all of the Rocky Mountains created a serious blight on the landscape.  Once pristine areas now contain huge sections of dead and dying trees.  There’s a massive need to remove these trees not only to reduce the CO2 created from their decay, but also to reduce what has essentially become kindling for forest fires.  By building BiocharNow we are able to both solve the aftermath of the beetle kill, but also turn that into a net positive by sequestering the carbon in beneficial ways like improving agricultural lands and remediating polluted lands and waters.

 

Why did you choose the Proton Blockchain to build BiocharNow?

The team is great and have been super helpful in planning out our strategy.  As a carbon credit producer, we obviously had to go with a blockchain company mindful of their environmental impact.  No gas fees are huge for the buyers of our credits, and the minting of NFTs and transferring to our client’s wallets is simple via Webauth.com.  We love the heads down approach of Marshall and his team to introduce new, meaningful functionality with little flash or hype.  It’s clear that this company is going to be a great success and we’re thrilled to be part of the group!

 

Can you tell us a bit more about what’s coming next for BiocharNow?

In order to meet the demand for BiocharNow biochar and associated carbon credits, as well as to reduce the massive amounts of dead trees from our forests, we are expanding our kiln production dramatically.  Our plan is to put our kilns and production facilities close to the source material to minimize the distance traveled in delivering the waste wood.  This process reduces the carbon footprint of our own production and increases the value of the carbon credits that we generate.  We are currently negotiating with several states and even foreign governments to place kilns and production facilities close to the areas where they have excessive waste wood. 

We are also in the process of building out, with our development partner Epik (https://epik.ai), a very robust platform for tracking our carbon credits from “source to sequestration.”  That means we’ll know exactly where the source waste wood material originated, the owner of the credit futures and carbon credits, and finally when the credits are retired and sequestered back into the land – all written to the Proton blockchain as an immutable record of the transaction.    

Additionally, we are working with a very large insurance company experienced in the agricultural industry who has agreed to insure our carbon credits.  We’ll have the only carbon credits that are created following ISO guidelines, adhering to EPA standards for all 50 states, and that are insured to provide the ultimate security to our buyers.  We see very exciting things ahead for BiocharNow!

 

Project Details

Main Website | https://biocharnow.com

Email for general inquiries and investor relations | info@biocharnow.com 

Twitter | https://twitter.com/BiocharL 

 

 

 

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