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Karbon-X, Laconic to develop biochar verification system

Calgary-based Karbon-X to hold a 65% ownership stake in the methodology

IMAGE: Karbo-X and Laconic logos for their biochar methodology
Courtesy Karbon-X Corp.

Calgary-based carbon marketing company Karbon-X Corp. has signed a letter of intent with environmental intelligence services provider Laconic Infrastructure Partners Inc. to develop a biochar verification methodology.

Karbon-X will hold a 65 per cent stake in the developed methodology, while Laconic will own the remaining 35 per cent. The partnership combines Laconic's geospatial informatics SADAR Environmental Intelligence Platform with Karbon-X's expertise and technology.

Karbon-X, founded in 2022, also helps develop projects aided by insights from clients of its self-titled carbon offset app on iOS and Android. App users can assign portions of their membership fees to benefit carbon offset projects.

“We do things a little bit differently. We're a sustainable charcoal production company, we don't just build biochar. We don't just build charcoal for water filtration. We’re building sustainable charcoal from bio-waste that we have available from tree planting that we own,” Chad Clovis, Karbon-X’s CEO, told SustainableBiz.

“Nothing really seemed to encompass what we were trying to do at all. Each methodology had one or two pieces, but they didn't have the full wrap.”

The methodology will be registered through BioCarbon Registry, which is headquartered in Bogotá, Colombia and operates in Brazil, Ecuador and Turkey.

Karbon-X and Laconic

Founded in 2019, Laconic is headquartered in Chicago with offices in Toronto, San Diego and Bali.

According to a release, the methodology will be used in Karbon-X’s reforestation project in the Chiquitania region of Bolivia, followed by other biochar projects.

Co-owned by Silviculture Systems Corp. and Karbon-X, the Chiquitania project aims to plant five million baru nut trees native to the region by 2025. The tree husks, typically a waste product, will be used to produce charcoal and biochar.

In November 2022, Karbon-X acquired an 80 per cent interest in Toronto-based Silviculture Systems.

Clovis discovered Laconic in January, when he saw an announcement about its 10-year, US$357-million contract with Perusda Bali. The government-owned enterprise in Bali is utilizing Laconic's SADAR platform.

“I was actually looking for a way to become better at measurement. Every tree we plant in Bolivia gets a GIS (geographic information system) map and number. We do everything concurrent, in order to be able to certify as a carbon offsetting company,” Clovis explained.

“But I was always on the lookout for something tech-based for measurement of sequestration, availability (and) biodiversity, some way to make it less manual.”

It took about four months of conversation between the companies to reach the letter of intent.

Karbon-X will also contribute what Clovis called a biodiversity calculator, although he did not provide details due to a confidentiality agreement.

“But between SADAR and our biodiversity calculator, it's going to make the methodologies on biochar and sustainable charcoal just so much easier,” he said. “It's going to make the project more efficient, and it's going to make them easier to expand.

"There's not going to be as much physical monitoring with the way we're building.”

Karbon-X’s future plans

According to Clovis, the methodology is to be ready for review by the BioCarbon Registry by September 2024. The company will likely also submit it for a third-party review prior to that.

Karbon-X is currently only focused on its biochar methodology, though there could be iterative versions down the line.

“We're leaving a way to go to integrate new technologies in and to modify and evaluate. So there is a new technology that comes forward that's much more efficient than another technology,” Clovis said. “We want to be able to basically administer the system so that we can get up and running quicker.”

Once complete, the methodology – as well as access to SADAR and the biodiversity calculator – will also be made available to other interested companies, although Karbon-X is still figuring out the exact framework.

Outside of the methodology, Karbon-X aims to acquire a 20 per cent stake in London-based reverse ocean acidification and carbon-capture firm Heimdal within the next 90 days. It is already a partner with Heimdal.

Clovis also said Karbon-X plans to open a European office in the next 90 days – growth that would mean 25 new employees in both Calgary and Europe by mid-December. The Karbon-X app is ready for launch in Europe and Australia as well.

There are also plans to eventually take the company public.

"We have some really great options that we are exploring diligently so that we end up with the right financing partner on the right exchange," Chris Mulgrew, Karbon-X's chief financial officer, explained via email. 

"Our key focus right now is to get great traction on the app and secure a pipeline of highly profitable projects.”

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