Charm Industrial Detailed Assessment

Plant-captured carbon is turned into bio-oil and stored safely underground

Charm operates a biomass-based CO2 removal process that holds several advantages over the well-known Biomass Energy with CO2 Capture and Storage (BECCS). Charm’s process leverages existing agricultural and potentially forestry wastes, thus operating on the mantra of ‘do no harm’. They avoid issues of low fuel value that plague BECCS by converting biomass into bio-oil instead of trying to recover energy. This has the additional advantage of producing a high carbon-density liquid that can be pumped underground yielding a default stable storage of carbon.

The concept does not involve any fundamentally new science, which helps simplify its implementation. Biomass is turned into bio-oil through pyrolysis (which is a known technology) and stored underground.

Charm has the usual challenge of biomass based solutions around identifying the boundaries of the system being assessed, but the amount of carbon removed from the biosphere can be measured and is unambiguous.

Scale-up appears to be largely an engineering and logistical challenge. The roadmap for scale-up was very clear, as was the detailed analysis they had performed around global available biomass and capacity for bio-oil injection.

Additionality → 3/3

Negativity → 0.77

Permanence → 1000+years

Source: CarbonPlan, 2020

Written in collaboration with Dr. Corey Myers and Dr. Martin Chan