Agritech start up secures backing from Innovate UK and Angel Investors

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East Lothian-based Biochar Innovations has secured funding to support its ongoing research and development project to develop a suite of unique carbon negative solutions.

The company has won a grant totalling £319,000 from Defra through Innovate UK’s Farming Innovation Programme, and funding of £116,000 from Edinburgh investment syndicate, Apollo Informal Investments. They aim to develop solutions based on Biochar that could transform the sectors’ CO2 emissions and help farmers achieve their 2040 net zero target.

Mike Highley, CEO of Biochar Innovations said: “Our solution will sequester (capture) the Carbon content of agricultural residues by creating Biochar. This captures and locks away the Carbon for generations and is consequently Carbon negative, not just Carbon neutral, hence our “positively negative” strapline. Our products will have a long lasting benefit to soil health and sustainability as well as creating a truly circular economy by returning the nutrients in farmers’ residues back to them bringing long term benefit. The IPCC recognise the role Biochar has to play in fighting Climate Change and we are determined to bring our product to market.”

In giving feedback on the Company’s funding application, Innovate UK’s assessors said the Company’s product “Is likely to disrupt the market and may become the new gold standard.“

John Hall, chair of Biochar Innovations said: “That feedback and the support from both Innovate UK and Apollo validates our proposition and confirms we are working on a truly ground breaking solution. It is particularly apposite as Biochar has been described as “the new black gold”! Once we start commercial production, we intend to quickly become the UK’s largest producer of Biochar and will offer consumers and companies the opportunity to buy ISO approved certificates demonstrating the production of sufficient Biochar to completely offset their Carbon footprints.”

Dr Saran Sohi from the UK Biochar Research Centre, at the University of Edinburgh, commented: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Biochar Innovations on this exciting project. Biochar is a transformational material with the potential to have a huge impact on CO2 emissions and climate change. My passion is to take it from the academic environment and see its widespread commercial adoption, which aligns perfectly with the aims of Biochar Innovations”.

Chair of Apollo Informal Investments, Michiel Smith added: ”Apollo loves investing in companies that tackle complex problems like climate change. It is our firm belief that by investing in innovative companies like Biochar we can really change the world.”

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