Black Bull Biochar Wins £3m Government Contract

Published on Jul 11, 2022
…Start-up's Platform Aims to Deliver at Least 50,000t CO2 Carbon Storage Annually by 2030 in UK alone…

London, UK, July 11, 2022 – Today, Black Bull Biochar (BBB), a British start-up with a mission to establish a sustainable, circular biochar market within the UK, has been awarded a £3m government contract. BBB will use the funds to pilot a B2B digital platform which unites agricultural, industrial, and research partners in order to scale the use of biochar, enabling the rapid removal of carbon from the environment. The contract award follows BBB's success in the final round of the Direct Air Capture (DAC) & Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) technology competition, run by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), with funding provided through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP).

In the UK alone, BBB's platform aims to deliver at least 50,000t CO2 of carbon storage per year by 2030. This is equivalent to removing the CO2 emissions from heating over 17,800 average UK homes each year*. BBB will take the lead among its partners in a pilot of the platform, which will develop the value chain for biochar by connecting suppliers and users of biochar to buy, sell, and learn about the impacts of their GGR solution. The platform will also measure and verify the efficacy of biochar and the impact it has on emissions reductions and carbon storage.

Alex Clarke, co-founder, and CEO, of Black Bull Biochar said, "The government's programme enables Black Bull Biochar to build a new pathway that scales carbon removal rapidly. It will unite partners from industry, agriculture, and academia on a pioneering platform to overcome barriers to creating and scaling a sustainable, effective biochar network. Biochar is one of the few GGR technologies ready to become a key pillar in our transition to Net Zero. It can help restore our environment, remove carbon, regenerate depleted soils and thereby enrich our industrial and agricultural systems."

The project is supported by some of the most respected industrial and research bodies in the UK and Germany. Partners include Arla Foods, which has 2,100 farmer owners based in the UK, and BSW; one of the UK's largest forestry and sawmilling businesses; and Biomacon, a leading pyrolysis manufacturer. Participating research institutes include the University of Edinburgh, the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH), and Scotland's Rural College (SRUC).

Energy and Climate Change Minister, Greg Hands stated, "This is part of a £54 million government investment which will help establish a greenhouse gas removal industry in the UK, and could be worth billions to our economy, bringing in private investment and supporting the creation of new green jobs."

BBB is the first spin-off from dss+, a global operations consulting firm with a purpose of saving lives and creating a sustainable future. "Biochar is an extremely promising and financially viable GGR technology, yet difficulty with scalability has hampered wider uptake," says Melissa Barrett, global head of sustainability and corporate impact at dss+. "The innovative platform that BBB has developed will facilitate systems engagement and connect the value chain. This has the potential to go far beyond the UK, providing a powerful tool in the fight against climate change. We are very proud to be part of their journey."

As its digital platform is developed, BBB will also search for new partners to collaborate with from around the world. Alex Clarke adds, "We encourage other pioneers from agriculture, industry, and technology to join and invest in a world-class biochar network so we can accelerate carbon removal globally."


What is Biochar?

Biochar is an effective carbon storage technology, which stabilises the carbon contained in biomass, rather than it returning to the atmosphere through biomass decomposition. It is produced by heating biomass in a low-oxygen environment through a process called pyrolysis. The application of biochar to the soil can rapidly increase soil carbon stocks, without the need to maintain soil carbon through altering farm management practices. Biochar is highly resistant to decomposition and can remain stored in the soil for hundreds to thousands of years, essentially becoming an effective carbon sink that benefits agricultural production.

*Based on 2020 ONS data (COVID-19 restrictions cut household emissions)

About Black Bull Biochar

Black Bull Biochar (BBB) is a start-up with a mission to scale up the use of biochar – a leading greenhouse gas removal technology – by creating a first-of-a-kind platform and network that helps key stakeholders within academia, industry, agriculture, and government overcome the systemic barriers to widespread adoption of biochar. By helping to increase the production and application of biochar, BBB actively contributes to the mitigation of climate change and the enrichment of agricultural systems. Additional information is available at

About dss+

dss+ is a leading provider of operations management consulting services with a purpose of saving lives and creating a sustainable future. dss+ enables companies to build organisational and human capabilities, manage risk, improve operations, achieve sustainability goals and operate more responsibly.

By leveraging its DuPont heritage, deep industry and management expertise, and diverse team, dss+ consultants are on the ground and in the boardroom helping clients work safer, smarter and with purpose. Additional information is available at

About BEIS

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

This funding has been made available from the government's £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, which aims to provide funding for developing technologies that enable the removal of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere in the UK. This programme will support the design and feasibility of these technologies through to the demonstration of fully functioning pre-commercial units.