Established forestry product experts A.W. Jenkinson Forest Products and Black Bull Biochar, a climate technology start-up, attended AgriExpo last Friday in Carlisle to meet the farming community and share their partnership in a beacon project for greenhouse gas removal in the United Kingdom.

A.W. Jenkinson Forest Products began in the mid-1960s, when founder Allan Jenkinson, took the initiative to collect unwanted sawdust and wood shavings from the sawmills around Cumbria and the Borders using a single tractor and trailer. He then transported the timber co-product to the area’s farms.

The firm says an innovative approach and positive environmental drive remain important characteristics of the business today, making A.W. Jenkinson Forest Products a natural companion to leading biochar B2B, Black Bull Biochar.

Black Bull Biochar intends to launch and promote a sustainable and circular biochar market within the UK, a greenhouse gas removal technology for agricultural use. They are scaling the technology's adoption in agriculture across Cumbria and the southwest of Scotland, utilising local supply chains.

Biochar can contribute to environmental restoration, carbon removal, soil regeneration, and the circularity of industrial and agricultural systems. It is a carbon-rich soil improver made from plant material. It has many functions in soil and manure which are determined by the physical and chemical properties. These properties can be tailored to address specific soil functions.

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Hamish Creber, Co-founder & CTO at Black Bull Biochar explains “Through the production of Biochar, we can add value to timber products and produce an effective soil and livestock bedding conditioner. Biochar can decrease ammonia and greenhouse gas emissions from soil, manure, and housing by enhancing nitrogen retention of organic fertilisers. Biochar effectively delivers nutrients to crops and improves plant root development. At Black Bull Biochar we provide tailored biochar products and use cases for farmers that can maximise improvements to crop resilience and crop productivity.”

The primary focus of BBB’s project is to assess the viability of commercial biochar usage in agriculture which could lead to significant carbon removal from the atmosphere, storing it in farm soils for centuries while improving soil quality and reducing on-farm emissions.

Biochar production utilizes a process called pyrolysis to carbonize biomass, enabling the storage of C02. A.W. Jenkinson’s commitment to environmentally responsible forestry, sawmilling, and wood processing, will ensure the supply of high-quality biomass for BBB to convert into a stable biochar product for agricultural purposes. Simultaneously, renewable heat generated by the pyrolysis process will be utilized to help decarbonise industrial operations in the North of England.

A.W. Jenkinson’s integrated services also enable assistance with logistics. Their growing fleet of trucks will ensure BBB biochar reaches participating farmers. These farmers apply the biochar through existing farm practices, by mixing it with slurry prior to field application or through bedding systems.

As part of the project, A.W. Jenkinson Forest Products will host a pyrolysis unit in Cumbria, where together with BBB, further biochar will be produced and co-products dried with renewable heat derived from this process. The industrial locality poses real benefits to the environment, economy, and farmers.

BBB secured funding through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) after achieving success in the final round of the Direct Air Capture (DAC) & Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) innovation competition.