Green district heating with biochar: Novocarbo cooperates with Stadtwerke Bochum

The German climate tech start-up Novocarbo has partnered with the municipal utility of Bochum (Germany) for the newest site of its net-zero solution. The Carbon Removal Park Bochum will not only make district heating in Bochum greener but will also produce a special type of coal that can help in the fight against climate change.

Hamburg/Bochum (Germany). The German climate tech company Novocarbo has announced the kick-off for its largest Carbon Removal Park (CDR-Park) in Germany to date. The latest site of the Hamburg-based start-up, which uses a special net-zero technology to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, produce biochar, and generate renewable energy, is being built in Bochum in collaboration with the municipal utility of the city. Stadtwerke Bochum is the first municipal utility in a major German city to use climate-neutral heat from biochar production to make its district heating network greener.

Climate-friendly coal that accelerates decarbonisation

Novocarbo’s climate solution, Biochar Carbon Removal (BCR), uses pyrolysis to process regional, biogenic waste materials into biochar and regenerative heat. The biochar permanently stores the carbon from the biomass and can be used as a soil conditioner in agriculture or as a climate-neutral additive in the construction industry, among other applications. The surplus energy generated during the pyrolysis process can be fed into district heating grids as green heat. “We can’t think of a better location for our new Carbon Removal Park: coal mining has shaped the Ruhr region for centuries and we are delighted to now be producing a future-oriented, climate-friendly coal here that can help decarbonise the former industrial region,” says Caspar von Ziegner, CEO of Novocarbo.

Climate-neutral heat for 26,000 households

Stadtwerke Bochum will source regenerative heat from the Carbon Removal Park Bochum all year round, thereby making the district heating supply in Bochum with currently around 26,000 connected households greener. “We very much welcome Novocarbo’s involvement in Bochum and are happy to support innovative, pioneering companies and technologies as part of our partnerships. Novocarbo offers us the opportunity to broaden our heat generation portfolio and make it greener. The surplus energy generated in the pyrolysis process is fed directly into our district heating network. The project is therefore an important building block for the decarbonisation of district heating in Bochum,” explains Elke Temme, Managing Director of Stadtwerke Bochum Holding GmbH.

New CDR-Park Bochum combines several climate protection measures

Novocarbo has been building and operating several Carbon Removal Parks in Germany since it was founded in 2017 and has already been honoured with the ZfK Sustainability Award 2023 for its heating cooperation with Stadtwerke Grevesmühlen. With Stadtwerke Bochum, the start-up is now collaborating with a municipal utility in a major German city for the first time.

The Carbon Removal Park in Bochum will be built from the end of 2024 on a site belonging to USB Bochum GmbH (USB) in Markstraße. By using four PX1500 pyrolysis plants from the German company PYREG, around 6,000 tonnes of CO2 will be removed from the atmosphere, 15,000 MWh of climate-neutral heat will be generated, and 3,300 tonnes of biochar will be produced on an area of 4,500 m² from mid-2025. Novocarbo is investing around 14 million euros in the new site in Bochum. The start-up plans to open around 200 Carbon Removal Parks by 2033.

Caspar von Ziegner, CEO Novocarbo: “Our goal is to accelerate the economy‘s transition to Net Zero and to support companies in decarbonising with our green heat solution. Together with Stadtwerke Bochum, we can make a valuable contribution to climate neutrality in Germany in one of its most densely populated metropolitan regions.”

About Stadtwerke Bochum

Customer-orientated, innovative and always full of energy – Stadtwerke Bochum is Bochum’s all-round supplier. In addition to electricity, gas, water and district heating, the product portfolio also includes telecommunications products with the highest bandwidths thanks to fibre optic technology and charging stations and wall boxes for electric cars.

About Novocarbo

Novocarbo is driving decarbonization with a unique concept: The German company operates Carbon Removal Parks that will enable it to remove up to 1 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere by 2030. Using modern pyrolysis technology, Novocarbo processes plant residues into biochar. The carbon present in the biomass is bound and stored in the biochar. The biochar has a variety of positive effects in agriculture, in the construction or textile industry. The pyrolysis process also produces regenerative, climate-neutral excess energy. This can be offered to companies or municipal utilities in the form of “heat-as-a-service” partnerships. As a pioneer in the trading of carbon removal certificates, Novocarbo plays a leading role in the development of Biochar Carbon Removal solutions in Europe.


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