BECCS & biochar

This methodology, tailored to processes including pyrolysis and gasification, focuses on projects creating energy while simultaneously sequestering carbon in biochar (or bio-oil). Projects are usually optimized for producing one or the other, and either setup is eligible.

Eligible technologies

Eligible technologies for BECCS (Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage) primarily include gasification and pyrolysis processes, with a focus on generating co-products like syngas, bio-oil, and biochar.

These technologies are adept at handling various feedstocks, including biomass and organic waste.

Pyrolysis, a process of thermal decomposition in an oxygen-free environment, involves multiple steps:

  • drying the biomass feedstock,
  • conducting the pyrolysis reaction,
  • cleaning and upgrading the resulting syngas and bio-oil.

On the other hand, gasification operates at high temperatures with controlled oxygen or air introduction (or using a gasification agent like steam or CO2). It involves:

  • drying the feedstock,
  • pyrolysis,
  • gasification,
  • cleaning and upgrading of the produced syngas.

These technologies are integral to BECCS, offering sustainable pathways to convert organic materials into energy while capturing carbon emissions.

Bio-oil and syngas can be upgraded to a number of products and uses, which are eligible for avoidance credits from replacing more carbon-intensive sourced products. A selection of these possible products is presented in Table 1.

European context

Bioenergy makes up about 10% of total energy consumed in the European Union (EU), and 60% of the renewable energy. Liquid biofuels and biogas make up about 20% of bioenergy supply. Numerous EU initiatives and net-zero plans promote bioenergy as a way to decarbonize electricity, heating, and transportation sectors


In BECCS projects that focus on biochar production and seek carbon removal credits, permanence is a key criterion. This criterion, however, does not apply to projects targeting avoidance credits through the production of syngas and bio-oil.

Currently, the methodology recognizes the application of biochar to agricultural soils as the primary means of carbon sequestration. For biochar to be considered a viable tool for long-term carbon storage, and hence eligible for carbon removal credits, it must demonstrate the ability to sequester carbon for over 100 years.

The stability and permanence of carbon in biochar are verified through laboratory chemical analyses, focusing on the biochar's organic carbon and hydrogen content. A critical measure of this stability is the ratio of molar hydrogen to organic carbon in the biochar, which must be less than 0.7 to ensure adequate long-term carbon storage.

This stringent assessment ensures that biochar used in BECCS projects meets the high standards required for effective and lasting carbon sequestration.

Access the full methodology here