NetZero convinces the founder of Tesla and SpaceX. The French startup is one of the fifteen young shoots selected around the world by the Elon Musk foundation to participate in a competition of decarbonization projects, endowed with a total of 100 million dollars.
The selection allows him to pocket a million dollars now, according to a statement from the Elon Musk Foundation. It is also in the running to win the capital grants of respectively 50, 20, and 10 million dollars, which will be granted in 2025 to the three most promising projects.
NetZero, which has a handful of employees, was co-founded by a former Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Axel Reinaud, and a Cameroonian entrepreneur, Aimé Njiakin, active in particular in coffee production. Its project consists of deploying large-scale production of biochar, a charcoal for agricultural use produced from plant residues, in the tropics.
The economic model is based half on the sale of carbon credits to large companies, according to the company NetZero. The production of biochar (by combustion at high temperature, without oxygen) prevents this waste from being burned conventionally and releasing carbon into the atmosphere. The company therefore finds itself the holder of carbon credits that it can sell.
NetZero started production of biochar in November 2021 in Cameroon, and is about to open ” very soon “ a new factory in Brazil, she said in her press release. Paleoclimatologist Jean Jouzel, a scientific figure in the fight against global warming, is also among the co-founders of NetZero. The Elon Musk Foundation is organizing this competition with X Prize, an American specialist in organizing challenges “beneficial to humanity”.