We are going net0

13. October 2021

or why building Net systems alone is not enough!

In addition to electricity, heat and biochar, our climate-positive energy systems also produce tradable carbon credits via the biochar produced. Carbon credits are generated when CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and no longer released. In the case of biochar, this is CO2 stored by the plant or tree. By charring, the CO2 is virtually conserved - and if this charcoal is then worked into the soil, for example, it will not be released again for thousands of years: a carbon credit is born.
In order for such carbon credits to have value for potential buyers, the production chain and the system that produces them must be certified. The European Biochar Certificate (EBC) provides such a certification system for charcoal or biochar. If you go through such a procedure, you will quickly notice that our climate-positive wood-fired power plant emits mainly CO2 until it is switched on. So it comes to the customer with a backpack of CO2 debt. Similar to a photovoltaic plant, our energy system must first work off this "inherited debt". In concrete terms, the carbon credits are charged with this inherited debt, which then earns our customers less income in trading with the certificates.
So much for the initial situation. To compensate for this disadvantage, we have set ourselves the goal of making ourselves and our energy systems CO2-neutral, thus leaving the customer with an energy system free of inherited debt. The plan: We go net zero!
As it is with resolutions or ideas: It is still quite easy to have them, because one does not yet suspect what is actually hidden behind them. Well, setting SynCraft as a company with its directly caused emissions to zero initially seemed to be a manageable task. Moreover, our flying hours dropped significantly in 2020... Surely that must be doable?! In the end, we would then pay off our inherited debt with carbon credits from www.carbonfuture.earth, where our customers already sell their credits.
However, if you look into this in detail, you will quickly come to the "Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol" (https://ghgprotocol.org), and you will learn right away that it is not enough to pay your own debt - because we as companies also buy products and services with a CO2 debt. This is where the so-called scopes come into play, as this illustration shows:
Figure: emissions from the value chain and the scopes of the GHG Protocol. Source: https://ghgprotocol.org/
Scope 1 relates to the directly caused footprint, i.e. company vehicles, heating, production machinery and the like. Scope 2 refers to the ballast we purchase through our electricity consumption. While these two scopes are relatively easy to collect, a meaningful scope 3 analysis is a mammoth task, as it turns out, and no one can actually do it alone. It involves all the emissions that occur in the course of product manufacture, as well as those that occur during operation. Well, we are happy to leave the operation to our customers, but at least Scope 3 in procurement and production would then be our part. But what does that mean in concrete terms? Let's take the example of sheet steel that we use: First of all, we have to know exactly where the sheet comes from, and this steel mill has to have determined the footprint per ton in accordance with the GHG Protocol and make this data available; then there is the transport and processing up to the point of final use. As long as not every company provides this data, the only option is to use calculation tools and databases - but these do not take live data into account. In other words, if the steel mill also goes Net Zero or reduces its footprint by 30 percent, this is not taken into account in our own analysis. This shows: If all products and services do not officially report their carbon footprint soon, this analysis will never be accurate.
But that is no reason not to start now. On the contrary: a resolution is a resolution, and we are now embarking on this path. We go net zero! And in 2021, we will report to you again and again on our progress, but also on special features along the way. As step 1, we will analyze Scope 1 and 2 for 2020 by mid-year and then offset them with carbon credits from www.carbonfuture.earth. Carbon Future will actively support us in this process. We are very excited to see what will come out of this and how much such an offset with reasonable carbon credit prices will cost. By the end of the year, it is planned to levy Scope 3 as well - although we are not yet quite sure whether this is feasible within a year. We'll see. In any case, we will keep you up to date if you like. Gladly via newsletter, but also via our homepage and our LinkedIn account.
We only have a few years left in which we must succeed in achieving a significant turnaround. It is now up to each and every one of us to do what we can, not to put it off any longer. And even if we are already good, that must not stop us from wanting to become even better. The challenge can be met, but only together. Fortunately, we are not alone in this opinion:
"I'm a fundamental optimist because I've seen what technology can achieve - and I've seen what people can achieve." Bill Gates (Source: Marketwatch)