French greentech NetZero raises €18 million from impact fund STOA to accelerate the industrialization of its biochar model

Visuel CP NetZero
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NetZero - Membre de l'Alliance mondiale

Paris (France) and São Paulo (Brazil), 27 March 2024 – As part of the state visit of French President Emmanuel Macron in Brazil, NetZero, a French industrial company specializing in the large-scale rollout of biochar in the tropics, has signed today an investment agreement of 18 million euros with STOA, a French infrastructure and impact fund specializing in emerging countries. By leveraging biochar in a unique way, NetZero’s model allows to perform high-permanence carbon removal from the atmosphere while providing a scalable solution for regenerative agriculture in the tropics.

NetZero is a French company operating in the tropics and specializing in the large-scale roll-out of biochar as a sustainable solution for carbon removal and regenerative agriculture.

After raising €11 million last year, NetZero closes a new funding round of €18 million with STOA, an infrastructure impact fund held by the French sovereign fund (Caisse des Dépôts) and the French Development Agency (AFD), to accelerate the industrialization of its innovative model.

The first investment of STOA’s carbon strategy, this transaction is also one of the largest in the biochar space and the first major deal aiming to scale carbon removal in emerging countries.

NetZero – a pioneer of biochar

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the European Union have identified atmospheric carbon removal as an essential lever for reaching net-zero emissions worldwide, in combination with massive emission reduction efforts. Among the list of technical solutions validated by the IPCC, biochar is one of the few with proven ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it in soils for millennia.

With a highly innovative model based on mid-size, circular projects, NetZero is bringing at scale biochar by combining replicable industrial modules with fully local use of the product in tropical areas. The process consists in extracting the carbon contained in crop residues and generating a very stable form of porous carbon that can be buried in the soil, also bringing major co-benefits for agriculture.

NetZero’s biochar thus addresses three major challenges at the same time:

  • Climate change, by removing atmospheric carbon for millennia through biochar production;
  • Sustainable agriculture, by using this biochar as a soil amendment that improves soil quality and crop productivity;
  • Social impact, by allowing to improve farmers’ standard of living and creating well-paid industrial jobs in rural areas of developing countries.

A milestone capital raise

This major deal will allow NetZero to industrialize its technology and deploy its production sites at scale in the tropics, with the aim to have cumulatively removed over 5 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere by 2030. As one of the largest agricultural countries in the world and its commitment to decarbonization, Brazil represents a key market for NetZero, who already operates there and plans to deploy hundreds of production sites in the coming years. More generally, NetZero aims to become the reference player for biochar roll-out in agricultural supply chains.

STOA – a catalytic impact investor

As an impact fund, STOA has been investing since its foundation in mature carbon mitigation technologies, such as renewable energies. By supporting NetZero, STOA accelerates its efforts in the fight against climate change, investing for the first time in one of the only scalable technologies for high permanence carbon removal to help it grow faster.

This investment will also favor an overall better economic resilience of rural areas and will promote regenerative agriculture practices, in line with STOA’s mission to fund climate change adaptation initiatives and projects bringing numerous co-benefits for people and the planet.

Axel Reinaud, Co-founder & CEO of NetZero, said: “We are happy to welcome STOA among our shareholders and to see an infrastructure fund committing to the large-scale deployment of biochar. This transaction is an important step towards the concretization of several of our objectives and, together, we will bring solutions to address some of the major stakes that developing countries currently face.”

Marie-Laure Mazaud, Managing Director of STOA, said: “This investment in NetZero opens a new chapter for STOA. As the first infrastructure support a biochar company in emerging countries, we are proud to be able to support a promising technology with major decarbonization potential as well as numerous co-benefits.


About NetZero

Founded by Axel Reinaud, Dr. Jean Jouzel, Aimé Njiakin, Olivier Reinaud, and Pedro de Figueiredo, NetZero is an award winner of Musk Foundation’s XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition, a recipient of the ‘Efficient Solution’ label from Solar Impulse Foundation, a Green Tech prize winner of the Tech for Good Awards, and is certified by the Puro Standard. NetZero aims to cumulatively remove over 5 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030 while improving the standard of living of tens of thousands of farmers.

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About STOA

Founded in 2017 by the Caisse des Dépôts (CDC) and the French Development Agency (AFD), STOA is a leading impact investor for infrastructure and energy in emerging countries. Our objective: fund and support the development of sustainable and resilient infrastructures for the generations to come in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

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