Microsoft has signed a large deal to pay for biochar production in Bolivia, which will remove carbon from the atmosphere.

Exomad Green, the world's largest producer of biochar, will create the inert carbon residue at its facility in Concepción, Bolivia. Microsoft is paying for 32,000 tons of carbon dioxide removal credits to be delivered by June 2024. They will be verified and managed by the Carbonfuture carbon credit marketplace.

exomad green biochar facility concepcion bolivia crop
– Exomad Green

Biochar is a stable form of carbon produced by heating biomass in the absence of oxygen. It can be produced with minimal emissions, and the biochar is then plowed back into the soil, where it will remain for thousands of years.

The addition of biochar also improves soils, by increasing drainage and allowing nutrients to flow better.

Microsoft's deal is the biggest biochar removal (BCR) agreement to date, and is seen as an endorsement of the technique as a way to meet corporate sustainability goals. Microsoft has promised to be carbon negative by 2030.

The company signed a deal earlier this year with Carbon Streaming to remove 10,000 tons of carbon at Carbon Streaming's Waverley facility in Virginia.

The Exomad Green facility in Concepción, Bolivia, transforms forestry waste into biochar. The company explains in its release that this waste would otherwise have been burned, so the project delivered benefits alongside capturing and storing carbon, including the reduction of health and fire risks from the burning process

The facility is part of a sustainable timber management program and also contributes its biochar to indigenous farming communities.

Each biochar batch at the Exomad facility is identified and tracked by Carbonfuture's MRV+ platform, so the carbon removal is verifiable. The project will meet the Puro carbon removal standard

“The Exomad Green project with Carbonfuture and Microsoft is more than just a carbon removal initiative; it's a testament to our commitment to environmental sustainability and community empowerment. We're proud to contribute to a solution that not only addresses global carbon challenges but also tangibly enhances the lives of local communities in Bolivia while contributing to the reduction in deforestation linked to soil degradation,” said Diego Justiniano, CEO of Exomad Green.

"Carbonfuture’s approach, rooted in transparency and quality, ensures high-integrity carbon removal. With this collaboration, we are not just removing carbon; we are contributing to environmental responsibility and societal impact," said Hannes Junginger-Gestrich, CEO of Carbonfuture.

“With the Exomad project, we are able to realize carbon removal with important co-benefits to local communities and ecosystems,” said Brian Marrs, Senior Director, Energy and Carbon Removal at Microsoft.

Microsoft has invested heavily in a diverse range of carbon removal techniques. Its largest is a 300,000 ton deal with Heirloom signed earlier this year, which will remove carbon directly from the air onto sheets of calcium oxide.

Other Microsoft carbon removal products include a 10,000 ton deal with Climeworks, an electrical direct capture company, and an undisclosed amount captured in Wyoming by Carbon Capture.