Explocom is a family-owned business that has been producing BBQ charcoal since 1992. The company is now transitioning from BBQ charcoal to biochar for soil amendment and construction materials. In addition, Explocom produces liquid pyrolytic bio-condensate or wood vinegar. The company recently received the EBC certificate for sustainable biochar production.
Explocom uses the retort method of pyrolysis. The heat from the syngas combustion is used in the pyrolysis process and for drying incoming feedstock. Excess syngas can be captured and stored for renewable electricity production onsite. During pyrolysis, the biochar reaches a 600°C temperature and after the process is finished it is left for 24 hours to cool down and afterwards it is pulverized. Explocom sells biochar both in powder and in granular form under the brand name Gekka Biochar. They have plans to install additional machinery that will increase the biochar production capacity threefold.
The biochar has a carbon content of 78%. A lifecycle assessment (LCA) of Explocom’s production process was carried out by Accend in 2022. The LCA accounts for all process emissions from harvesting of the wood, transport to the production site, and the manufacturing of the biochar on-site and confirms that 2.47 tonnes of CO2 are removed by every 1 ton of biochar.
3rd party verification against the Puro Standard is currently ongoing. CORCs are expected to be issued by the end of Q2 2022.
Soil improvement for agriculture. Customers are farmers in Romania, and central Europe, distributors and construction companies.
Harvesting and forestry management sustainably decreases the risk of forest fires, insect damage and diseases.
Biochar is deployed directly or indirectly for soil improvement. It dramatically increases water and nutrient retention in the soil leading to yield increases.
Biochar reduces nutrient leaching, which has caused damage to waterways and seas.
Green jobs: The production of biochar creates green jobs throughout the value chain from harvesting to distribution and usage.
The baseline scenario for the usage of waste wood is combustion, typically domestically. In other words, in the absence of Explocom's production, the waste used as feedstock would be burnt resulting in the release of CO2 and short-lived climate pollutants including soot, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds such as methane, thus contributing to global warming. The use of biochar reduces the need for fertilizers, which are typically carbon-intensive.
The income from CORCs will allow Explocom to develop and grow the business and acts as a strong incentive to increase and focus exclusively on biochar production. Revenue from the sales of CORCs is an important part of their business case for future investment and to scale up the production technology.