Climate Now Episode 82

January 16, 2023

Farm to stable CO2 storage


Featured Experts

Peter Reinhardt
Founder and CEO, Charm Industrial


Peter Reinhardt

Founder and CEO, Charm Industrial

Peter Reinhardt is the founder and CEO of Charm Industrial, a fast-growing company that is working to convert the leftover organic matter of forestry and farming operations to carbon-rich bio-oil to either be stored in the ground or sold as an alternative fuel. He previously co-founded and was the CEO for a customer data platform called Segment which was sold to Twilio for $3.2B in 2020.

In this Episode

The agricultural sector produces about a tenth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and while most of that comes from livestock (about 2/3), emissions from crop production still total about 2.2 billion metric tons of CO2-equivalent. Interestingly, we only actually use about half of what we grow: this is not because of food waste (its own issue), but because more than half of any crop is residue: the stems, shells, husks and anything else left behind at the end of a crop harvest.

Charm Industrial is a new company with a plan to convert those crop residues (~ half a billion tons in the US alone) from a source of greenhouse gas emissions to a sink. Crop residues are usually left on harvested fields to decompose (or are burned), partially restoring the soils, and partially returning all the CO2 they absorbed during the growing season to the atmosphere. Charm plans to harvest those residues and convert them into bio-oil and biochar. The biochar returns to the soils for restoration; the bio-oil can be buried for CO2 sequestration or replace fossil-derived fuels. Climate Now sat down with Charm CEO and Co-founder Peter Reinhardt, to discuss how their technology works, and why interest is growing in this approach to carbon removal.

Key Questions:

  1. Is there a market for Charm’s technology, which converts plant waste to bio-oil and then buries it?
  2. How does Charm’s method of carbon removal work, and how would it scale up?
  3. How does this approach for carbon removal compare to other approaches, like direct air capture or reforestation?

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