Guest Speaker’s Background
Co-Founder & CEO
Nando is Co-Founder & CEO of HempConnect, a Software Startup from Hamburg, Germany, that develops a carbon-management platform for hemp. Born & raised in Hamburg, he obtained a B.Sc. and M.Sc. from Hamburg University, the largest and most renowned educational institution in northern Germany. He spent a year at Kyoto University in Japan, where he served as an Assistant to the Chair of Global Social Entrepreneurship and deepened his understanding of business ethics and inclusive economies. His Master Thesis was an econometric analysis of Hemp as an agricultural commodity. Nando joined the Hemp Industry in early 2019 with the vision to fully utilize Hemp to fight Global Warming. Today, he is on the mission to turn the crop’s ecological benefits into monetary value to set macroeconomic incentives for a worldwide adaptation of this game-changing crop. Meanwhile, after having founded HempConnect in April 2021, the company received a grant from the City of Hamburg to start the development of its services.
Tim is the Co-Founder & COO of HempConnect, a Software Startup from Hamburg, Germany, that develops a carbon-management platform for hemp. Growing up in Hamburg, he worked as an optician in the family business. After finishing the training, he obtained a B.Sc. in Business-Psychology. Afterward, he started his M.Sc. studies in Organizational Psychology with additional training as a “Systemic Coach”. Due to the founding of HempConnect and the associated workload, a paused semester will be taken from 01.04.2021. For the past 3 years, he has been working on various projects within the commercial hemp industry – from cultivation, consulting and data collection to pilot projects in regenerative agriculture and CO2 sequestration. Meanwhile, after having founded HempConnect in April 2021, the company received a grant from the city of Hamburg to start the development of its services.
- Difficulties of Life Cycle Assessment in Agriculture
- Examples of Environmental Footprint of Hemp Goods
- Carbon Farming Strategies with Hemp
- Hemp & Carbon Credits
Nando Knodel introduced himself and he said they found Hemp Connect on World Cannabis Day on the 20th day of April 2021 in Hamburg, Germany. He introduced himself and said he’s been in the hemp industry for 3 and a half years. Started off with CBD then discovered all the opportunities and the sustainability potential. He always had the desire to do something sustainable and entrepreneurship, fortunately, gives him freedom. So along the journey, he met Kunzel, who was involved in farming around Hamburg, and they teamed up and brought hemp sustainability to the next level.
Tim Kunzel said he’s the second half of the Hemp Connect, working in the hemp industry in Germany for three years, starting with farming operations that Nando Knodel and then last year they had the shift of sustainability and carbon and all that area. Currently, he’s the one working a lot with biochar pyrolysis and the potential he brings to the table and then combining these negative technologies. And he hopes they can contribute something useful, something new to the meeting.
Difficulties of Life Cycle Assessment in Agriculture
Nando Knodel said Life Cycle Assessment LCA is a structured, comprehensive, and internationally standardized, standardized method. It quantifies all relevant emissions and resources consumed and the related environmental and health impacts and resource depletion issues that are associated with the entire lifecycle of any goods or services. Life cycle assessment is a vital and powerful decision support tool complementing other methods which are necessary to help effectively and efficiently make consumption and production more sustainable.
The Chapter of Difficulties of LCA and Agriculture.
So structured is every LCA and this is the basic framework. This is taken from the JRC EU Commission. There’s even a handbook about it. And it is based on international standards. This is a pretty standard framework to conduct any LCA you define a goal and according to that goal, you have a scope on which basis you collect an inventory. And the inventory is usually the streams of emissions, the processes, the also tiny parts used in any goods put together, and in the end, you assess The whole impact of that list. This can be done basically with XLR already. But of course, there are also programs that do that some of those look nicer some of them don’t really. But this is basically what you get. If you go to any sustainability consulting and ask for an LCA, it’s going to be according to this framework, the applications, of course, marketing, public policymaking, and importantly, strategic planning, which is also very relevant for carbon farming. This is just the process broken down.
The basic framework is then broken down into many individual steps that require a lot of reviews. The critical review is what I highlighted at the bottom. There is what is subject to every LCA, we need to critically assess how these studies have been done.
Now in terms of agriculture, the Comprehensiveness of an LCA is quite the challenge. There are several greenhouse gases that are continuously being emitted in agricultural processes. For example, in the back, you can see the burning of crop residues, which is something nobody should really do. And that also emits methane and cows emit a lot of methane to the vein, for example, has an emission factor that is, 25 times of co2. So methane is actually a greenhouse gas, that is much worse for global warming than co2, nitrous oxide even much worse than the fact that it goes above 200. And many processes in agriculture are included in an LCA. So for example, fertilizer, the process of using fertilizer on the field, is depending on whether it’s mineral fertilizer, or organic fertilizer manure slurry, is also due to the application of the fertilizer and the production. So in a comprehensive LCA, you go downstream and upstream and try to account for every associated emission. Sometimes that scope is too intensive, and also, well, kind of makes it impractical. So breaking down the emissions of the maintenance of an attractor is, for example, a task that is quite difficult. And that’s a word. It’s a trade-off. The emission categories commonly applied in agriculture, are global warming, potential, eutrophication, potential acidification, terrestrial ecotoxicity, and energy use, of course, global warming potential comprises greenhouse gases, Eutrophication, for example, is about sort of the overflow of macronutrients into aquatic and terrestrial systems. So let’s say the nitrogen we put on the fields is not exactly natural rights, we give it into that ecosystem. So too good if something can also be damaging. Acidification and Ecotoxicity. It is mostly about the Entire Lifecycle, which is exactly why agriculture is often not so easy because we’re dealing with raw material extraction primarily. And going down the whole supply chain involves many, many different players in many supply chains, and in a globalized world, that is not so easy. So in agriculture, specifically, a lot of LCA is done on raw material extraction, only you would then call that cradle to gate approach, and it has meant the gate of the farm. It’s such a cradle-to-gate analysis that it can look like this. This is taken from a study that analyzed hemp pulp. And the different stages here would be for example, in the agricultural stage on top of plowing herring fertilizing, then the sowing, growing, and development of the plants, which don’t really include any emissions. Then, of course, the harvesting and the post-treatment below is the reading which of course emits again through the decomposers decomposition of the dry matter. And sketching is also an energy-intensive process. Any Good or Service, Ideally yes and hemp. There are many there in all these categories here, certainly not covered in LCA literature. It’s even that LCA studies and rather scars. And at least my feeling is that the industry is much looking for studies that shout out the word that is actually a low-impact crop. So most studies focus on the raw materials, their studies about the textiles to yarn, for example, hemp oil, I have the study awesome the example later on, but mostly the goods that LCA studies should focus on the raw materials at the moment, it also makes studies more comparable, because if we compare, for example, the hemp seeds to other protein seeds, then the LCA has a more purpose, so to say we can compare and make our decisions better. And if it’s a highly manufactured product, like for example, a personal hygiene product that contains hemp seed oil, but also contains, let’s say 10 to 20 other ingredients, then comparing this to other products of the same categories, it’s quite difficult. And those comparisons we need as mentioned for Decision Support. Some of those questions if we stay on the agricultural level, where we need decision support is for example, which variety to choose. There are some varieties that of course are better for dual cropping, maybe need less nitrogen per hectare, also have a consistently lower footprint, mineral fertilizer, or slurry. I mentioned before that the production of fertilizer is quite a greenhouse gas-intensive. How much nitrogen per hectare has a huge impact on eutrophication. Wonderful dual cropping is one of those questions, of course, I could answer that with ideally always doing a cropping. Sowing density is also relevant due to the expected yield in the end, and if we yield more on the hectare, the hectare itself, taken as a functional unit of study, would consistently have less footprint per kilogram.
Key takeaways from LCA in agriculture
Specifically with hemp, in agriculture LCA is structurally given that field practices and variables change most often only valid for one growth cycle. It’s rare that every year is exactly as homogenous as the previous year. So primary data is key. The level of comprehensiveness is definitely a trade-off between validity and practicability. If we want to make an LCA practical, and we want people to find out about their degree of sustainability, it also needs to be easy to use honestly. On the other hand, what comes out needs to be valid. So there’s no help in creating a very practical tool that in the end reports something we can’t use. And since agriculture is about raw material extraction, a cradle-to-gate approach is often chosen, as mentioned before. And finally, LCA is ideally consecutive, and gradually improves the impact of the assessed good so in terms of agriculture, it is good to repeat an LCA every year or after every growth cycle and try to improve on those results.
- Kayla Heard asked a question and said.
One of the topics that you mentioned is one of the questions to ask would be mono-cropping versus dual cropping. And I’ve really been an advocate forever and even more so now for whole plant use. And I wonder if that’s something that you guys have looked at and taken into consideration even including leaving the roots in the ground and letting that continue to rebuild the soil as it degrades?
Nando Knodel replied and said
Yeah, roots in the ground are definitely something for below ground sequestration in terms of carbon farming strategies. I guess this will be answered already later, but I can already tell you, there’s definitely nothing bad about it. Dual cropping well, see like that, if you account for we’re also talking carbon accounting, right? If one hectare of hemp farming has a certain emission associated with a certain amount of emissions impact whatsoever. And we only have a seat then all those emissions and all those impacts will be accounted for on the seed only. If we harvest seed and straw, then there is an allocation in LCA. So you can usually, depending on the goal of the study, and goal definitions, that one right, you will choose between economic allocation or mass allocation. So if you harvest seed and straw mass allocation makes sense, not only because most of the embedded carbon and the uptake, co2 uptake of hemp isn’t strong in the herd, right. But also because an economic allocation often distorts the actual picture of what we’re harvesting. So an economic allocation makes sense for CBD harvesting because the CBD as a compound in the flower is worth much more than the straw for example. compact in kilograms. So if you have three components, it is considered to talk about an economic allocation of the impacts, so that it’s equally distributed. But in terms of harvest, one would definitely go for a mass allocation of the impacts.
Examples of Environmental Footprint of Hemp Goods
You can see the word functional units. So every lifecycle study has a functional unit. That is basically the product system that you’re observing. And the three studies that I brought were one hectare of fiber hemp, so a functional unit can also be one hectare. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a material or a product. I’ve read one study, for example, that had a functional unit of the consumption of biodiesel, so they were comparing the consumption. So it was when one lorry truck was driving in city traffic of Madrid, for one hour constantly, and the consumption of the fuel and they compared hemp biodiesel against conventional diesel. So even that can be the functional unit one-hour drive of a truck. Now, in this case, we’re going to take a look at one hectare of fiber hemp, one cubic meter of food oil, and one square meter hemp-lime wall, 300 millimeters thick. This is a little bit technical. So this is a study by French plant scientists founded in 2004. That is one of the basic studies that was quoted many times, more than 100 times on Google Scholar, is that study on which the new skill comes back that hemp. The low-impact crop. Of course, this has been around before. But this was one of the fundamental studies that highlighted the comparison towards the other crops on the top, you can see rapeseed, for example, sunflower, maize wheat. Now on the left side, you can see the inputs that were examined here, and how the farming was conducted. In comparison to the other crops too. You can see that there is a set around the middle of the top table, grain dry matter yields. That’s why I was earlier saying dual cropping or mono-cropping. So this scenario, that was also a French study and French traditionally have been doing fiber hemp., there is no grain dry matter yield accounted for in the study. Nevertheless, the impacts are in comparison lower to most of the other crops on one hectare of the functional unit. At the very bottom, you can see the impact categories. And for example, for climate change, it is still saying that there is an emission that’s 2.330 kilograms of co2 EQ, it’s saying that stands for equivalent. So it accounts for the other greenhouse gases too. So the category climate change is expressed in co2. But as mentioned before methane or nitrous oxide, also have emission factors, so we can summarize them in co2 equivalent. Now that this number is positive, there is a footprint that is due to the emission of the co2 uptake. So in this study, the uptake of the hemp crop was not considered because most of the other crops don’t necessarily have such an uptake. Of course, also other plants sequester and have in their driving dry matter and uptake. But it was just omitted in this study. And this is also why looking deeper into these studies is very crucial and critically reflecting them as mentioned before, so that we can put into perspective what we’re actually looking at, however, the study asserted that hemp is a low impact crop in comparison to all these other crops, Now, a rather recent study actually from last year is from the Czech Republic, and this is a study that did not assert such a good impact of hemp fruit oil. For example, the input category is freshwater ecotoxicity, the green bar, that is hemp oil. So the high impact, in this case, is not something bad, it’s not that it’s as much higher as the number is the better the impact it’s that impact in this particular case. For example, we can also check at the very bottom that climate change is still very fine. Sunflower is also set to be a very climate-efficient crop so it makes perfect sense that those are in a similar category. But this is a study that critically reviews hemp oil and does not really assert a good impact as mentioned. Now, looking deeper into this makes exactly sense because then we will see on the top right here I highlighted the yields that were accounted for in the study and they add seed yield output of 500 kilograms and a straw output of 909,000 kilograms. So it is likely to assume that this was fiber genetic and not full genetic, so probably not a Finola. We had an hour test trial in Lower Saxony with similar yields and there was a Futura 75 That you would probably not use for hemp oil production. Now the data that they took in the study, the study is still fine. It was conducted, according to all the standards and everything, just the data taken was not really practical. They just use that from the Czech agricultural standards database. Now I’m not so familiar with that database, but from the looks of it, I can tell already that this database might not distinguish between hemp for food or hemp for fiber, the different uses of hemp are probably not covered. So primary data at this point, I want to say, is very crucial in an agricultural LCA. Because if we take globalized data, for example, from census databases from a whole country, or even Food and Agricultural Organization data, the data is really not granular. And with an LCA, we want to have true results is what I said before practicability versus validity in this case. It could be more valid in terms of primary data. You can see that there is a second sentence from the cradle to farm gate approach. So in this study, it was not the production in the press, the manufacturing was not considered. It’s only about the foreign gate. And then we have the wall study headline wall in the UK. You can see that this study only used the fuel consumption of associated processes in agriculture. So it’s a study that considers only the greenhouse gas impact category and not the other impact categories. Exactly because of that, they also accounted for the absorption of the sequestration. You can see in the bottom middle, that they asserted, net GHG emissions of minus 36, which is in this case, the minus are something good as a little language twist always, so something is carbon negative, it’s actually not negative, right? It’s something positive that is carbon negative. So if we have negative emissions, that’s good, it means it’s sequestering. So if we take a deeper look, on the left, on the inputs, lower table, there’s the first lamb in a binder and then hemp shift. So the hemp shifts, if we then in that, and that line, go to the very right. In the category absorption sequestration, there’s an amount of kilogram of co2 embedded in the ham Schiff per kilogram and the percentage of that line wall that the ham Schiff while sorting of sequesters. So here we can see that in one hemp-lime wall of one square meter and 300-meter thickness 55.4% of the embedded carbon comes from the hemp shift And in the end, we can assert negative greenhouse gas emissions. Now, if they would have put the other impact categories into the assessment, I’m sure that this value of minus 36 kilograms would be a little bit worse in terms of so it would go up a little bit closer to zero, but nonetheless probably still be negative. On top of that, this is also the I think not the usage phase of the LCA included. So there’s a calcination process with hemp-lime walls and they sequester over time.
- Kayla Heard asked a question and said. Another thing that was brought up and maybe this is better suited towards the end, but I’ll bring it up just in case and you can be the judge was including the land-use change in the LCA, and that they didn’t see the land-use change accounted for. And so I’d like for you to comment on that if you think it’s appropriate at this time?
Nando Knodel replied and said, I think in these three studies that I just mentioned, land-use change was not accounted for now, under the assumption that this was farmland or cropland before, so the land-use change would only be included in the LCA if the land was in the changed for the purpose of whatever was conducted. So let’s say um, I don’t know I’m landowner, I have a farm, I have a forest and I’m burning down a hectare of forests to plant hemp there, then the This land has changed definitely has to be accounted for in the LCA of that hectare of freshly grown hemp after one growth cycle. If I am using cropland that has been properly and just before, then there is no land-use change.
Carbon Farming Strategies with Hemp
Nando Knodel said. Scratch the surface of carbon farming and how hemp is relevant in it and what is in general, where hemp is not different from other crops too. So there are four points I considered. Important to talk about. First of all, I think it’s just great to show that also, companies like McKinsey are after calculations for how valuable or not valuable what the value of those markets is going to be. That is a pretty rough estimation, also five to 5 billion, pretty broad. But one thing that this graph shows, and that’s the blue part of the graph, it’s saying negative permissions are required for a 1.5 degrees pathway. So actually, that is already starting. Soon, we really really need to sequester carbon actively and it’s not only about the production, it’s not enough we need to remove carbon from the air and store it long term 100 years plus ideally 1000 years. And hemp is, of course, a magnificent crop for that in many perspectives. So directly associated with green to agriculture are 2.2 Gigatons of carbon removal that we need by 20-30 quite a big number. And hotspots are very interesting instruments to understand the footprint of the farming operation. So it’s saying that the process that contributes more than 10% to impact categories flowed. And here’s saying in the hemp fiber system, fiber hemp system, that’s a study that compared non-wood pulp from flax versus hemp. It’s because of the hemp fiber system here. However, taking a closer look at these hotspots here. We can see that the first category fertilizer uses that as the input category of global warming potential. And that accounts for 36.2%. The main contributor is a nitrous oxide with 98.8% pretty heavy now fertilizer use. We’re using it anyway. I guess how this can be reduced is only to reduce the fertilizer but then again, we need fertilizer too. grow the crop, except for there’s a lot of nutrients left from the previous crop, then reduction might be sinful. But what this is more about is that the second one is saying ammonium nitrate production. So this is really about mineral fertilizer production. In the top category fertilizer use, there is not a huge difference between, for example, this, the pig slurry, or the miracle of fertilizers, in terms of usage. But in terms of production, there is a big difference. Now, the production of both ammonium nitrate and triple superphosphate causes a lot of emissions. Those are chemical factories that are not that far that they work with negative emission technologies like biocarbon capture, bioenergy, carbon capture storage, or something. So a lot of emissions are associated with the production of fertilizers. And in the bottom category, sketching, we can see there’s actually the main contributor, uranium. So one might wonder what uranium is doing here, but the underlying assumption in this study is the energy mix. So in terms of scope, three emissions, are also the emissions associated with energy usage. That’s the input category, ie That’s Exactly 70 17% of the discussion process, yeah, because of uranium. So, it is also wise to use renewable energies, which will then have fewer emissions in the process and also fewer emissions that can be accounted for in the functional unit. In this case, this functional unit was one tonne of hemp fiber. So, if the sketching process was used with electricity from nuclear power, then, of course, this emission is accounted for in the functional unit of one tonne of hemp fiber. So, these are hotspots, also important for the decision making, important for the consecutive nature of LCA to every year every growth cycle, so to say, try to improve on that footprint by hotspot analysis. And then sensitivity analysis is the other important tool that is being used for the sin scenario analysis. So this is how strategies can be built. And that’s why it’s an important part of strategy building in carbon farming. Having scenarios going through scenarios by sensitivity analysis, I think there are a few tools meanwhile that offer that too. The problem so far with the life cycle assessment software is just really, really expensive. Licenses usually cost several 1000s of euros. But should anybody want to conduct a lifecycle study with their operation sensitivity analysis is definitely a crucial instrument? So I’m going to explain now that I’m here. four scenarios from left to right is just a reduction of the mineral fertilizer into compost. So the scenario on the right is mostly using compost and on the left is mostly using mineral fertilizer. And here we can see the different footprints and the different energy footprints on the top the carbon footprint on the bottom of the energy footprint. So scenario number three has the lowest footprints. Here also the energy footprint, because the production of those fertilizers requires a lot of energy too. And if there is an underlying assumption of an energy mix, and not entirely renewables, then, of course, there’s the uranium again. In terms of carbon footprint, what’s very interesting here is also that they accounted for the co2 uptake. And that is a study done by Italian scientists from 2020. Actually, they had pretty solid data from the French International Association, which was also primary data from I think 30 Plus farmers. So not only one farm, but I’m taking into account several farmers which is great because synthesizing 30 and higher always tells us that it’s more valid. What comes out. And here we can see that their LCA came to the result, that the functional unit here was one kilogram of hurt. And it’s carbon negative, even if you deduct all the emissions, as you balance the co2 uptake. Now ground sequestration is something where general principles of regenerative agriculture apply. Those are pretty easily summarized. Of course, there’s more depth into the whole topic, but I’m trying to kind of shorten tillage, of course, the village is really bad for the soil and destroys microbiological life. Those synthetics, ideally, the good old manure, or slurries, as well enough, crop rotations, very, very important, increasing the biodiversity and the resilience of the soil, catch crops and also to avoid the irrigation and winter and the use of biochar, and new methods, or practically random renaissance of that method, and apparently the my I’ve already done that 1000 years ago, a little bit similar like with hemp.
Now, the question is, how do we measure that because carbon farming can be pretty much split in below ground sequestration. And Above ground sequestration Below ground sequestration is pretty difficult to measure the satellites that were startups that work with models to evaluate satellite pictures, there’s of course, field sensors. There are drones and laboratory analyses. What we figured out is that a combination of all of them is the best to get the most valid results. But that’s, of course, also very expensive. And there’s lots of effort behind it. Now, we tried ourselves, we wanted to know, at the bottom, you can see a mobile measurement device that was using infrared sensors. We tried that on the organic chem field where we were doing tests in Lower Saxony. And that’s unfortunately in German, but the relevant thing is at the bottom co2. Now, this software that was provided in this tool to spit out a co2 value, so apparently, in those five hectares here, on the top left, you can see the points, but we measured that there were 2455 tons of co2 embedded in the soil. But when you dig deeper, you realize that these are all mathematical models. And there is almost no company that is using this kind of technology that has like a really, really 100% accuracy. That’s pretty impossible. So it’s always Yeah, in estimation, and there are definitely arrows behind that. Now, if you get into that topic a little bit more, and you realize the challenges, that’s probably how you’re going to feel. That’s at least how we felt when we realized below-ground sequestration. And the magnitude of this. That’s why we shifted to above-ground sequestration as in hemp, there is great potential in the straw. And just as a study before, Said, there’s a solid co2 uptake in the straw in the hurd already.
- George Sullivan: What (Clean Development Mechanisms) CDMs are you using to determine your sequestration?
Nando Knodel said
no, admittedly, we did not get any further in the below-ground sequestration. I will talk about that more right after in the next chapter about carbon credits. Our focus really, really lies on the above-ground sequestration. And the reasons are mostly that the compliance markets and states are pretty much setting the rules for those, just the EU papers, 150 pages. And this is just the first paper on below-ground sequestration. So we thought, as a young startup with limited resources, we better don’t bother and focus on something that we can grasp better. And yeah, where we can put in our energy more efficiently to move more and get higher impact results quicker. Because of the app, the really big questions will be answered on a compliance level.
- Mahdi Al-Kaisi: Did you use Eddy Covariance to measure CO2 profile in Hemp?
Nando Knodel: No
Above Ground Sequestration
Nando Knode said it turns off above ground sequestration. This is the same graph from before from the study that uses the French association data. And, I mean, continuing from the question, we just figured the case of above-ground sequestration with tempers is much clear, it’s much easier to grasp because we have X amount of biomass that has Y amount of carbon. And if we can manage to sequester that in the long term, then we have a win and we took co2 out of the air into the plant. And if ideally, the whole farming operation has excess carbon, so to say a carbon budget, we think that’s where the music takes place. So in this particular example, this operation hemp hurd production, resulted in one kilogram of hemp hurds being minus point five, so it’s like half a kilo co2 sequestered after the net. So here’s the calculation to that, per hectare, they had a dry matter yield indeed of nine tons to so dry they had after the decortication in all processes involved, just the hurd, were 4.4 tons per hectare, and that had then gross sequestration of 5.6 Tons co2 per hectare, and net, deducting the emissions upstream. So cradle to gate in that sense, assuming that the processing happened on the farm to was a net of 2.4 Tons co2 per hectare, which is, I know that there are numbers out there that hemp has much, much higher volumes of co2 sequestration. Now, this particular number is really only associated with the heart. This is only what they said according to the study, and admittedly, from all the studies that I’ve read, this was a pretty solid one, especially because they also had the association’s data. Also how they conducted it was pretty solid. So this is only the heart. There are, of course, other ways to sequester CO2 in the ground below, such as the other low impact of hemp on the farm and the increase in soil health from farming, etc. not accounted for in this particular number. It’s only large. So key takeaways from carbon farming strategies.
Carbon Farming implies identifying hotspots and minimizing avoidable emissions first, and then you would see how you increase the sequestration. For example, crop yield whatsoever. But before you would try to increase your crop yield and have more straw in your Harvest, harvest more straw through, for example, increasing the nitrogen per hectare for mineral fertilizer, you would rather try to get the same yield with pick slurry or other organic slurry and stop using the mineral fertilizer. So first hotspots and avoid emissions first. Carbon Farming is a long process that requires analysis, planning scenarios, and holistic strategy. And especially the below-ground sequestration programs that are, for example, soon anticipated by the EU. There’s also a program that’s coming from the US Department of Agriculture. Actually, if I’m not mistaken, they’re just now launching an application period. At least I found a link that I’m happy to share right after and Yeah, that’s exactly why the governmental bodies are already involved in this. It’s a pretty tough process long-term that requires much discipline because if soil health is regenerated again, then it can be destroyed in the matter of mountain growth cycles. Again, the above-ground sequestration is technologically much easier yet than below ground sequestration. The reasons I explained. And below ground sequestration is, though ecologically much more significant due to the soil health effects.
With the last chapter happened carbon credits, of course. Very interesting. Additional economic incentive hopefully for everybody, for every farmer in the near future. As mentioned before, there are compliance markets and voluntary markets. Compliance markets, as far as I understand. More focusing on below ground sequestration, those are real soil health strategies, soil as one of the big carbon sinks on our earth. I don’t know if all of you guys watched that movie, but it is very recommendable. Kiss the ground, can just really recommend them. It’s yeah, explaining Well, why everything is so important. So in compliance with the EU, I also mentioned before the European Commission put out a program already in the US Department of Agriculture, I’m going to share the link to what I found on that, of course, as sitting in Germany, we focus more on the whole European Union aspects. But the voluntary markets, which we also have with our business, focus on much more. Those are names like gold standard or Verra. We also have national companies, startups in Europe, and there’s Poor Earth and Finland or Carbon Future in Germany, all working out their own standards. So the voluntary markets pretty much have their own ideas of how these carbon credits should be standardized, for example, very recently rolled out a biochar standard. And gold standard also has projects with baseline scenarios like cooking stoves in Africa, where they try to improve the status quo, a baseline scenario that is always called with a new approach. So these kinds of voluntary credits happen with what changes the new project changing in comparison to a baseline scenario. This is also a greenhouse gas protocol standard, that you start with the baseline scenario. Now, with them, there are two options on how to approach this. I mentioned it before slightly. It depends on the case whether you have a primary straw case and your farm for straw or fiber, or hurt depending on what’s being produced, like the Building Material may be or if the primary received and the straw is a byproduct. Some say waste. I like that, because it’s, of course, not really a waste. But according to the terminology. It is considered a waste product, if it would just remain on the field and emit all the carbon sequestered again, through decomposition. We’re also in the case of marching, but more to that after. So I’ll go through two cases. Two examples are also here. First, a potential cause for building material. So if we’re assuming that there is m straw as the primary good, of course, that requires a baseline scenario. And an LCA because it is only one good that we’re looking at, it’s not that we’re using a waste stream or something, as mentioned before, or any byproduct. So in this particular case of building material and a block for construction that is being produced from hemp hurd I use the example of the study before. So there’s of course, a raw material extraction that emits greenhouse gases before we had the carbon footprint of that study with co2 uptake. So there is sort of a carbon budget to stay in, if that whole product should stay carbon neutral, then the manufacturing is emitting, and of course, the distribution, depending on how far that is being distributed. And in the end, hopefully, that product has still a negative footprint, that will be the baseline scenario. That would be the LCA. Now, the baseline scenario, I don’t really have in these calculations, what you can see down their value per hectare, is really just the production of the good and the LCA. So the value of the embedded carbon in the product itself. So I’m assuming that. e values from the previous study are valid for such a product so that the hurt is being pressed into the block. So we would have per hectare, still Gross The 5.6 tons of co2, and then after the emissions deducted from the manufacturing and distributions, I’m this is an apathetic calculation, assuming that there’s 1.3 tons net co2 sequestration per employee per hectare in hemp blocks. And that would be currently on a voluntary market value of 40 US dollars. Of course, this is, again, hypothetical. There’s also the baseline scenario to compare this to. So in the use phase of such hemp block, you would also have co2 potential, and this can also be accounted for.
- Mahdi Al-Kaisi: What is the carbon content of Hur in these calculations?
Nando Knodel replied and said
The carbon content in the herd? That is a very good question. I think it is about 40 to 45% what they were assuming. But please also don’t nail me down on that. I am actually working on a little literature, an overview of sequestration potential of hemp, dry biomass, pretty much the heart, and straw. So stay tuned. Over the next few weeks. There might be a little report. And yeah. But yeah, there was a section in the paper where they needed to explain how they calculate the uptake.
Coming to biochar which is our area of expertise. Where Tim is not only researching a lot at the moment but also technologically, we’re finding the pathways to have a concept at scale with hemp and biochar in a circular way. So these were tests we’ve done with one of the leading biochar manufacturers in Germany, and we also used them. The hurd to anti-straw actually made two different tests to paralyze it into biochar and the conversion rate was roughly 30%. So, the biochar itself has 70% Pure carbon. And at the bottom right, you can see an EBC sign. That is the certificate standard we use in Europe. In the US, there is the IDI biochar certificate standard, if I’m not mistaken. So those standards are important to consider because those standards again, function for the marketplaces. Now, Baross is pretty complex. You can’t just paralyze hemp hurd with any machine or paralysis factory. So to say, technologically, there are a lot of different individual characteristics of those facilities to account for, so that in the end air comes out and is homogenous. Biochar can be applied with the highest grade as well. The biochar that we tested is actually eligible as feed. So fat to cows could be made into carbon tablets or something for human consumption, or as additives for any fertilizer. So the stream looks a bit different than with the primary usage, because we farm primarily for seed, the straw is considered waste. So the underlying assumption in this scenario is that we’re actually doing something good by taking the straw from the field and doing something with it that renders the carbon stable, so that we can put it into something where it stays forever, ideally, or at least more than 100 years or 1000 years. In this case, we have a utilization of waste and no footprint needs to be put on the straw. So in terms of carbon accounting carbon is accounted for in the seed, because the agricultural practices were all done for food production. So all the emissions associated are accounted for by the seeds. The straw then is being manufactured through the pyrolysis, a tiny picture there of the machine that we conducted. Our paralysis with paralysis is really a magnificent process because it also generates a lot of energy. So there’s an extra if you run it all the time for one year, there’s an extra 5,250,000 kilowatt-hours per year, that’s roughly 190 households of energy. Yeah, then, of course, the biochar that comes out of the product is being distributed, ideally, to a farm, or to biochar which is our area of expertise. Where Tim is not only researching a lot at the moment but also technologically, we’re finding the pathways to have a concept at scale with hemp and biochar in a circular way. So these were tests we’ve done with one of the leading biochar manufacturers in Germany, and we also used them. The hurd to anti-straw actually made two different tests to paralyze it into biochar and the conversion rate was roughly 30%. So, the biochar itself has 70% Pure carbon. And at the bottom right, you can see an EBC sign. That is the certificate standard we use in Europe. In the US, there is the IDI biochar certificate standard, if I’m not mistaken. So those standards are important to consider because those standards again, function for the marketplaces. Now, Baross is pretty complex. You can’t just paralyze hemp hurd with any machine or paralysis factory. So to say, technologically, there are a lot of different individual characteristics of those facilities to account for, so that in the end air comes out and is homogenous. Biochar can be applied with the highest grade as well. The biochar that we tested is actually eligible as feed. So fat to cows could be made into carbon tablets or something for human consumption, or as additives for any fertilizer. So the stream looks a bit different than with the primary usage, because we farm primarily for seed, the straw is considered waste. So the underlying assumption in this scenario is that we’re actually doing something good by taking the straw from the field and doing something with it that renders the carbon stable, so that we can put it into something where it stays forever, ideally, or at least more than 100 years or 1000 years. In this case, we have a utilization of waste and no footprint needs to be put on the straw. So in terms of carbon accounting carbon is accounted for in the seed, because the agricultural practices were all done for food production. So all the emissions associated are accounted for by the seeds. The straw then is being manufactured through the pyrolysis, a tiny picture there of the machine that we conducted. Our paralysis with paralysis is really a magnificent process because it also generates a lot of energy. So there’s an extra if you run it all the time for one year, there’s an extra 5,250,000 kilowatt-hours per year, that’s roughly 190 households of energy. Of course, the biochar that comes out of the product is being distributed, ideally, to a farm, or to an agricultural outlet where a farmer can buy that biochar and then apply it to the soil. And the magnificent thing about this is versus, for example, the building material, nobody is going to take the carbon out of the soil again, once it’s in the soil, it’s there. You can also add nutrients to the biochar so that you have a regeneration process. I think there was a meeting about biochar here two, three months ago. So, assuming that I don’t need to dig deeper into the effects of biochar on soil health and so on. an agricultural outlet where a farmer can buy that biochar and then apply it in the soil. And the magnificent thing about this is versus, for example, the building material, nobody is going to take the carbon out of the soil again, once it’s in the soil, it’s there. You can also add nutrients to the biochar so that you have a regeneration process. I think there was a meeting about biochar here two, three months ago. So, assuming that I don’t need to dig deeper into the effects of biochar on soil health and so on.
Europe with advanced biochar industry
I can only say that in Europe. Fortunately, we have a quite advanced biochar industry, not advanced in terms of market volume, but advanced in terms of technology. So we’ve great machines here that hopefully will also go all around the world very soon. Anyway, the value per year in this case, not per hectare, was difficult to compare those cases. But yeah, in this case, value per year because the biochar machine the process machine runs all year long ideally, as you often wanted in any manufacturing. So here we calculated 202,200 tons of hemp straw, five tons per hectare, which is still in yield that can be assumed even in food crops scenario 440 hectares resulting from that, and that would make 8850 tons of co2 sequestered in the form of biochar and the certificates for hemp. Biochar is currently on voluntary marketplaces, trading 120 euros and more. So, those are by far the most expensive carbon credits, which is due to the safe and stable methodology. It’s a pretty easy pitch. There is an organic material with X amount of carbon embedded, it’s being paralyzed. After that, it’s being analyzed. The analysis says there’s so much carbon in it, you put it in the ground, and that’s pretty much it. So carbon converts 3.67 times to co2. And one ton of co2 is considered one co2 removal certificate in short cork. So yeah, one of these machines creates 1050 corks per year at a value of additional 250,000 US dollars. Now, there’s a so-called cascade usage. This would increase if one of these things would be done with those certificates. Or let’s say in this scenario with biochar application, the biochar can be added to fertilizer and can be fed to cows. So I’m talking again about a baseline scenario. Let’s say farm with cattle, cattle to farm Sam brings that to biochar facility gets back the biochar and brings the hemp straw there is what I’m saying and gets back the biochar is best great feasible to the cattle feeds to the cow farts less emits less methane and that is in comparison to the baseline scenario better right. So, also then the carbon is in the manure, and if that is again being used as fertilizer or being put into the biogas facility made to substrate altogether the carbon eventually is being put out on the field as fertilizer goes to the ground again. So in such a scenario, the carbon credit can be sold for an even higher value and 140-150 euros per cork, because there are co-benefits attached and more emissions can be sequestered in the circular.
In this chapter. The credit value strangle depends on the baseline scenario as just explained, almost every credit is an individual project that requires individual assessment. So being that strong for primary production definitely requires an LCA or be that biochar, also the application of the biochar. It is necessary to know how it’s being used and what needs to be assessed. Also, marketplaces have tough standards. Different marketplaces have different requirements. And ideally, food first, than materials. So I’m not saying that one or the other is so much better. It’s just an idea, we of course need to fit the world too. So for example, the biochar industry doesn’t want to have renewable resources to the ground just for pyrolysis, there is enough waste material around and also hemp is a crop that yields both. So of course, the productions and businesses that focus on fiber or straw, mainly, and then biochar is probably not a good case, to obtain credits, but rather building materials or other products that this is being produced into.
What they are doing
Very short outlook, what we’re doing. In the end, there is a four m framework that we figured is measure footprints, mitigate emissions, monetize co2, budget, and manage the communication of this, of course. So the three letters are forthcoming. Currently, we’re working a lot on measuring the footprints, as hopefully, you could see throughout this presentation, and we’d like to encourage you to sign up also on our website for a GHG greenhouse gas calculator that we’re working on. That is probably coming out in Q2 this year, where we will try to synthesize everything, all the difficulties that I just mentioned. Yeah, into a system that is valid enough to promote. And at the same time, practical enough, I can’t promise on the technology behind this yet might be that we start with easy questionnaires. But I can vouch for that once it goes online, the calculations behind us will be according to international standards, like IPCC Cetera. And yeah, hopefully, give us a good grasp of hemp operations and a first start in the whole area of standardized LCA. And yeah, low footprint, low impact farming practices in this industry. Yeah, for any other projects, really feel free to reach out to us. We’re happy to see what we can do, and how we can get into the project, answer your questions whatsoever. And consult if there’s a bigger project at hand.
- Bill Althouse: Is the off-gas from the reactor captured or flared?
Tim Künzel answered and said
I think that’s my part right now, so I already read a few of those questions. I’m only speaking about use standards because, to be honest, I’m not quite not sure how it’s like not in the ABI standards in the US. But in the EU standard. If you want an EBC certificate and you want to trade a carbon credit, you have to catch the pyrolysis gas and can’t emit, otherwise, you won’t be able to get the certificate down and hear the other question I’ve seen there already is what they’re doing with the gases. I talked to a lot of pyrolysis companies, mainly focusing on the co2 certificate generation, a lot of them have no use for them. I think pyrolysis guests are very useful in the chemical industry. Yeah, but to be honest, I’m still scanning the market. There are a lot of companies coming out of the ground here in Germany. And it’s pretty hard to scan all of it. And we have a lot of technical difficulties with our hands. Like always, Everybody knows the problems we have with hemp straw, all the machines will stop when you put hemp straw in it, and no one’s prepared for that. So we have a few problems in the whole pyrolysis system as well. And we have to, yeah, make sure how to work them out. But you have to capture the pyrolysis gas, and because otherwise, you won’t be able to create a credit.
- Mahdi Al-Kaisi: Should not you use Byproduct in your LCA to offset any C positive feedback?
Nando Knodel answered and said.
Assuming that all the carbon is accounted for in the seed. And of course, a question of the producer. I mean, let’s assume you’re a big enough hemp farming operation that you produce, for food, and seed. And you can put such a facility on your farm. And it’s kind of up to you whether you want to promote that you have a carbon-neutral seed or seed oil, ideally, because that will then, of course, be deducted off the value that you could make on the voluntary market. So, to answer that, yeah, of course, it should. I’m absolutely Pro. But that is up to the individual. scenario. So ecology versus economy.
- About the whole, gas progress beyond the pyrolysis
Tim Künzel commented and said a lot of them, in the cases, we work, the pyrolysis plants we work with a lot of them, they don’t have them while the pyrolysis gas in that business model, so they don’t really care about it. But it might be a very interesting idea. And I just copied the comment. So it was just like gas Fischer drops to white diesel. I can’t comment on this, to be honest.
- Robert Tinder: Did you look at the energy balance of pyrolysis? Net+ or neg?
Nando Knodel answered and said.
It’s a net plus. So the process generates more energy than it takes.
Tim Künzel added and said
I think it depends, I think it’s some kind of certification you need. I’m not sure if every pyrolysis plant has the certification. But it should be possible. Definitely,
Kayla Heard told them it was just a comment that biomass to biochar electrical generation is considered renewable and is a carbon offset project. Have you guys heard that before?
Tim Kunzel said.
I heard about the possibility of also using the whole process for electrical generation. That’s also a big point. I talked to a company here. I think they are sitting in Finland as well. It’s always dependent on what you want to do. With pyrolysis, there are so many uses for biochar, and it’s all depending on the soil process. So we are currently not focusing on it, but I already heard about it. Yeah, it’s definitely possible. And it’s also an approach to really focus on the whole electrical generation for the pyrolysis and might be a good approach as well. We always have to see what we’re able to achieve, like 24 hours a day, but it’s very well hidden. I think it’s definitely possible.
Kayla Heard said How can people get ahold of you?
Nando Knode said
First of all, of course, our website. So there’s also on the About Us section, there is a very brief contact form, where you can also shoot us a message that’s linked to Slack. So those notifications only stopped if I’m sleeping from midnight to eight in the morning. Other than that, we’re always available. We read it, and we’ll get back to you at least within a week. And for anybody interested in what I say there are our emails. Besides that, I said that there was about below ground sequestration us the announcement that I just wanted to share because you guys are in the US. That’s what I found from the USDA Farm Service Agency might be relevant. Admittedly, I didn’t dig too deep into it, but I thought it might be relevant. And anybody who wants to get into that. And if anybody is keen on signing up for our calculator, of course, there’s also here and type form to sign up for that.