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Turning waste into wealth: The story behind Wakefield’s biochar boom



Photo Credit: Wakefield BioChar

In the heart of Georgia, United States, a visionary family-run enterprise, Wakefield BioChar, is making strides with a concept as ingenious as it is simple: transforming waste into a resource that not only captures CO2 but also bolsters soil health and stimulates the local economy.

Established in 2014 with the guiding principle of "Better Soil, Better World," and founded by descendants of Venezuelan immigrants, Wakefield is committed not only to soil vitality but also “protecting the land” and giving back to the community.

At the heart of Wakefield's operations is the biochar production, a process that upcycles waste biomass, from pulp, paper, and sawmills, into a carbon-dense agent that enhances soil fertility. Indeed, biochar is not merely effective in sequestering atmospheric carbon: it also revitalizes soil, thus supporting farmers in their quest to bolster crop productivity and diminish dependence on chemical fertilizers and soil additives. Wakefield BioChar supplies this transformative substance to farmers for use in croplands and pastures, and for land restoration projects, as well as retail purposes via both online and physical storefronts.

Over the years, Wakefield has established itself as a prominent player in the carbon removal industry, with several facilities awarded CO2 removal certificates through the registry. According to January 2024 data from, it even ranks as the world's second-largest supplier of delivered tons of carbon dioxide removal.

Recently, Wakefield's collaborative venture with a prominent timber group, bore fruit with the recent certification of the Fitzgerald sawmill. This new venture is transforming sawdust from waste to wealth by converting it to biochar. This not only sequesters carbon but also mitigates the pollution traditionally associated with sawdust disposal through incineration, further amplifying the project's environmental benefits.

The Magic Ingredient: Carbon Revenues

Carbon revenues were a crucial element to make the venture economically viable. These earnings were indeed pivotal in offsetting costs and subsidizing the distribution of biochar to the local farmers.

This in turn not only empowers farmers economically but also brings substantial agronomic advantages, such as enhanced water and nutrient retention, improved drought resilience, and crop vitality.

From Soil to Society: Wakefield’s Local Impact

Wakefield’s operations are located in Valdosta, one of the least affluent city of the state of Georgia.

Beyond its environmental merits, Wakefield's biochar has created direct employment for around 50 individuals within its operations and delivered indirect economic advantages to the local underprivileged communities. The company's commitment to education, training, and research and development, fueled by carbon revenue, together with its involvement in social initiatives for young people and educational institutions, demonstrates a comprehensive approach to community support.


The Road Ahead

Wakefield's biochar projects are a prime example of how environmental protection and community support can interact. It is a model that shows the promise of green tech to spark positive change in communities everywhere. As Wakefield grows, their story is a reminder of how caring for the earth and each other go hand in hand, while underscoring the importance of carbon revenue support.