Microsoft selects Carbonity carbon credits

One year of progress for Canada’s first biochar production site

Port-Cartier, Quebec, May 23, 2024 – One year after the groundbreaking in Port-Cartier for Canada’s first biochar plant, Microsoft today announced that it has selected the project to buy 36,000 carbon credits over the next three years. The construction of plant, a partnership between Airex Énergie, SUEZ and Groupe Rémabec, was officially launched last summer. By 2026, its annual production will make it the biggest biochar plant in North America and among the largest globally.

Microsoft aims for a negative carbon footprint by 2030 and is committed to removing all direct and indirect carbon emissions from its operations by 2050, including carbon emitted since its founding. With biochar production from agricultural or forestry residues being the most mature carbon sequestration solution available on the market, Carbonity has emerged as a natural choice for the tech giant.

“On behalf of the whole team, I’m pleased that a world-renowned company like Microsoft has selected our project for its carbon credits. Microsoft has been vocal about its plan to decarbonize its operations. Their choice is welcome news, as it showcases our strong biochar production capacity and solidifies our position as a carbon sequestration and reduction leader,” said Michel Gagnon, CEO of Airex Energy and Chair of Carbonity, the equal-share joint venture of Airex Energy, SUEZ, and Groupe Rémabec.

The announcement marks a year of progress on the Port-Cartier site. Equipped with Airex Energie's technological innovations, as well as new mechanical and electrical installations, the biochar plant will be running without cost overruns and as planned, by the end of 2024. The plant will initially produce annually 10,000 tonnes of biochar, increasing to 30,000 tonnes per year, positioning it as one of the world's largest producers of biochar, a carbon-sequestering material recognized by the IPCC as one of five key negative emission solutions.

“We’re thrilled with the progress made this year at our Port-Cartier plant, and eager to see its ability to supply target markets with the most suitable biochars. To date, Carbonity has already landed an important client for horticultural and soil amendment applications and continues to respond to growing interest in Quebec and worldwide” stated Dominique Helaine, Director on the Carbonity Board of Directors and Director of Carbon Solutions at SUEZ.

State-of-the-Art Technology

The plant will feature DryFX™ and CarbonFX™ technologies developed by Airex Energy. DryFX™ is a unique concept used to dry biomass residue that uses residual energy from CarbonFX™, eliminating the use of fossil fuels for biomass preconditioning. The biochar produced will be certified for carbon credits. In addition to dry the residual biomass at the process inlet, excess energy generated during the process will be valorized in the form of pyrolytic oil, used as a substitute for fuel oil or diesel for certain industrial applications dependent on fossil fuels. As a result, Carbonity offers three major co-benefits: biochar, carbon credits and local energy recovery. The project, which will ultimately create 75 jobs in the region, will begin hiring management, operations and maintenance staff in June.

About Airex Energy

An innovative leader, Airex Energy develops and delivers world-class decarbonization solutions with the capacity to significantly reduce GHG emissions. Thanks to its CarbonFX™ technology, Airex Energy transforms biomass into high value-added ecological products such as biochar, biocarbon and biocoal. Since 2016, the company has operated Canada's first and only industrial biochar production plant. Today, the company exports its solutions to the four corners of the globe, including the United States, Europe and Asia.

About SUEZ

Faced with growing environmental challenges, SUEZ has been delivering essential services that protect and improve our quality of life for more than 160 years. SUEZ provides its customers with innovative and resilient solutions for water and waste services. With 40000 employees across 40 countries, the Group works with customers to create value over the full lifecycle of their assets and services, and to drive their low carbon transition. In 2022, SUEZ provided drinking water for 68 million people worldwide and sanitation services for more than 37 million people. The Group generated 3.7 TWh of energy from waste and wastewater, and avoided 4 million tons of CO2 emissions. In 2022, SUEZ has generated revenues of 8.8 billion euros*. For more information: / Twitter @suez

About Groupe Rémabec

Founded in 1988, Groupe Rémabec is proud to be the largest private forestry contractor in Quebec and one of the most important sawyers in the province, which allows it to provide direct quality employment to nearly 2 000 people. Firmly established in three forest regions of Quebec with the seven factories of its Arbec lumber division, which work in fields such as sawing, planning and finger jointing of softwood. With the operation of three other hardwood species wood processing plants and one plant in the green energy sector, the Rémabec Group has eleven plants in total. Groupe Rémabec is owned by two groups of investors. The founders and management in place, as well as Produits Forestiers Arbec Inc., one of the main players in Quebec's forest industry specializing in OSB panels.

Read the SUEZ press release to find out more.