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NAPECA Project

Converting Municipal Solid Waste to Biochar in North America

Organization: The Climate Foundation

Country: United States
Other Organizations Involved:

Gates Foundation, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, USA

Download Final Report

Completed Biochar


There is a strong need in North America to recycle municipal solid waste in a sustainable way for local agriculture so that our streams and estuaries are not loaded with excess macronutrients. Today, the phosphate cycle is broken; phosphate from Florida and other locations is being mined unsustainably to create high-dose fertilizers for use throughout North America.

These fertilizers wash into streams and watersheds, and eventually into rivers, lakes and estuaries, where the nutrient loading results in marine dead zones with low oxygen levels due to over nutrification. Restoring the phosphate cycle is critical to sustainable practices.


The goal of the Climate Foundation bio-hybrid pyrolyzer project is to develop a pyrolyzer capable of processing up to two metric tons per day of biosolids and biomass greenwaste into safe and sanitary biochar for use in agriculture. This biochar can, in turn, reduce water use, reduce use of petrochemical fertilizer, and dramatically reduce runoff into watersheds across North America.

Main activities

The Climate Foundation will develop an ISO cargo container pyrolyzer capable of processing up to two metric tons per day of biosolids and biomass green-waste into biochar. This system can be tested in Palo Alto, California, and tailored to requirements for communities throughout North America.


The Climate Foundation bio-hybrid pyrolyzer restores such nutrient cycling in a sustainable way so that more nutrients are kept within local communities, enriching these communities by increasing agricultural productivity, adding clean jobs and reducing runoff in our communities throughout North America.