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26: BiCRS - Biomass as carbon removal tech with Stephanie Bischof, Managing Director of AirFix

With a background in business and education, Stephanie worked for more than 10 years in finance for large international companies, focusing on performance management. A movie about soil health led her to move into the climate field. Since the spring of 2022, she has led a subsidiary of South Pole in the field of biomass carbon removal and storage with the goal of creating markets for negative emission technologies.

Managing Director of Airfix, a business in the newly emerging carbon removal industry focused on Biomass Carbon Removal and Storage (BiCRS) in Switzerland, and Europe. Activities include investing in carbon capture infrastructure, complex value chain management and market shaping.


10+ years experience in corporate finance, finance business partnering and performance management in various industries including consumer goods and public sector in international and national companies. Degrees in business/education from University of Innsbruck with further education in leading transformation, mediation and finance.


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What are Biogenic CO2 Emitters:

Biogenic CO2 includes all carbon emissions stemming from the combustion and processing of biologically based materials. Unlike fossil fuels which add more carbon to the atmosphere when combusted, biogenic CO2 is already existing in the atmosphere and is part of the current carbon cycle. This means that the capture and removal of biogenic CO2 results in a net negative effect on the atmospheric CO2 levels and greenhouse gas levels. This makes it a key action area in fighting carbon emissions.


Some of main industries currently using biogenic CO2 include alcohol and sugar production, paper mills, cement plants, biomass power plants, and waste-to-power plants. (Source: https://www.capturemap.no/the-biogenic-co2-breakdown/)


What are CDR Credits and how do they work:

Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) credits are one of the current approaches used to aid in the removal of carbon in the atmosphere. With new market regulations and pressures on sustainability companies are being encouraged to reduce carbon emissions. In cases where that is not possible, companies can purchase CDR credits to help offset the unavoidable carbon emissions they produce, thereby meeting sustainability targets while still operating at a competitive level. (Source: https://www.airfixcarbon.com/solutions/solutions-for-cdr-credit-buyers/ )


What services is AirFix offering?

Airfix aims to facilitate the capture and removal of biogenic carbon, by advising emitters on the best way to meet their sustainability goals. They organize and arrange the process, connecting emitters to carbon removal specialists and aiding in carbon removal supply chain. (Source: https://www.airfixcarbon.com/about-airfix/)


Airfix has two main aims:

  1. Accelerate the emergence of a Biomass Carbon Removal and Storage (BiCRS) market in Europe.

  2. Facilitate the removal of 5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 10 years.


Airfix is currently embarking on their first official project in partnership, which aims to see 21,800 tonnes of CO2 removed over 5 years.



In this episode we address the following questions:

  • How did someone with your background in finance get involved with carbon removal? 2:15

  • Was there one specific moment that made you switch? 2:45

  • Who is AirFix Carbon and what are you trying to do? 4:40

  • How does Airfix work? 6:45

  • What is so complex to capture CO2 and why is it so difficult? 8:15

  • Why are we not just storing CO2 in Switzerland? 10:40

  • Is it easier to transport oil/gas than CO2? 12:00

  • How much does it cost to capture and store CO2? 13:00

  • What is ETS? 13:40

  • Are there any gold standards/certifications for carbon removal? 17:10

  • How big is the carbon removal market? 19:15

  • Should governments own the carbon removal infrastructure? 23:00

  • What challenges exist in scaling up the CDR industry? 24:15

  • How big is Airfix carbon and how are you financed? 29:00

  • What will Airfix Carbon look like in 5 years? 29:45

  • How do you measure your own CO2 goals? 31:10

  • If you look back on the last year, what did you learn the most? 33:00

  • How can people get in contact with you? 36:00

  • What makes you confident that we will solve the climate crisis? 36:30

Memorable quotes from the episode by Stephanie:

"We have only about 60 years to produce food if we don’t change the way that we do things. I realized that something needed to change, and probably I needed to change too."


"I think one of the challenges is that nobody has to pay for it at the moment, there is no regulation to pay for these negative emissions so it comes down to the voluntary market."

"It always start with an idea, but as I learned, this initial idea won’t always be your business model. You need to take the time every couple of months to re-look at the idea and understand if it really is the best idea and if it is what the market needs at this moment."

"There is more and more people joining this space and they all come with a lot of motivation, skills, energy. I believe the more people joining the climate space the more likely it will be that we find the solutions that we need to solve this crisis."




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Transcript based on AI and beta- status:

Narrator:0:01

You are listening to Sustain Now. In this podcast, you will learn from successful entrepreneurs and scientists about the newest climate change solutions to address the climate crisis, from food and agri-tech over energy material innovation to circular economy. This nonprofit podcast is hosted by Frederica. She is a tech entrepreneur and climate enthusiast. You can find show notes and background information on wwwSustainNowch. Enjoy the show.

Friederike:0:35

In today's episode, I am speaking with Stefanie Bischoff, managing Director of Airfix. Stefanie worked for more than 10 years in finance for large international companies like Coca-Cola and Swarovski. A movie about soil health led her to move into the climate field. Since the spring of 2022, she has led a subsidiary of South Pole in the field of biomass carbon removal and storage, with the goal of creating markets for negative emission technologies. Airfix is a consulting and co-developing business in a newly emerging carbon removal industry focused on biomass carbon removal and storage in short, bi-crs. In Switzerland and Europe, activities include investing in carbon capture infrastructure, complex value chain management and market shaping. In this episode, you will learn about the carbon removal and storage market and its challenge to scale up to an industry which needs to match the gas and oil industry market. Please join me at my next deep talk chat with Stefanie. Stefanie, thank you so much for joining my podcast, sustainnow. I am very excited to have you here, especially because we are both in the same country, in Switzerland. So very excited to have you here.

Stephanie:1:58

I am also very excited. Thank you for the invitation.

Friederike:2:01

Just to give you a little bit of background. I was very surprised when I looked at your CV etc. It was a very interesting background. How can someone with a finance background, formally working at SVB, swarovski, coca-cola, end up in capturing carbon and storing it into the ground?

Stephanie:2:19

That's indeed a very good question. After about 10, 11 years in different finance departments of large companies, I decided that I want to take a move and go to something that is relevant to climate change mitigation, because that is a topic that is very close to my heart and obviously there is a huge urgency, and this is why I decided to change.

Friederike:2:40

Fantastic. Can you remember a moment when you decided yourself to change your career? Is there one moment of truth you are thinking at all? I really need to jump into and help out in the climate tech space.

Stephanie:2:53

Yes, there is indeed that moment. I was looking at the topic for a number of years, visiting lectures, podiums, discussions but then I was invited and quite randomly, to be honest by a friend at the Allianz Cinema in Zürich. It's an open air cinema that is there in the summer at the lake, super beautiful and I was invited to a movie about the health of the soil. It was called Kiss the Ground and I learned in this movie that we have only about 60 years to produce food if we don't change the way of agriculture in the US. In that moment I realized, if you extrapolate that within 10 years we will have issues. Within 15 years we have even bigger issues. And then I sat there and I was like something needs to change and probably I need to change as well. I think after that movie my journey really began, that I was talking to people understanding what are the options, how could I get into the space, not necessarily into the agricultural space, but more in the space of contributing to mitigate climate change?

Friederike:3:55

consequences. Basically, I really liked that movie too Kiss the Ground. I think it's a really cool movie. Oh, you saw it too. Yes, I saw it too, and it's really inspiring, and I think there is a lot more to learn under the soil that we can imagine. I just been to a conference about regenerative agriculture and talked a lot about soil, soil health, and I think one of the scientists said that right now they're assuming 60% of all biodiversity is actually in the soil, so it's super interesting. Maybe just to explain a little bit more, can you talk us through? Who is airfix carbon? What are you doing? What's the process? What's the end goal of airfix carbon? We understand a little bit more about the concept, what you're trying to solve.

Stephanie:4:42

In that journey of finding opportunity to work in this climate space, I met a group of people who had this idea of starting a business in biomass carbon removal and storage. This is producing negative emissions from biomass. They haven't set up the company yet, so they were looking for leadership team. I was discussing with them and decided to join, since the topic is also very finance heavy, very stakeholder management heavy, and I thought it could fit my profile very well. Then we cooked the idea for a couple of months more after I joined actually South Pole, the climate company that is based in Zurich. Then, at the beginning of this year, 2023, we set up airfix, the company that has the vision of building a market around the topic of biomass carbon removal and storage. Maybe I take you at the beginning through the process, because it's not that obvious. Biomass is processed in plants like waste to energy plants or biogas plants or biomass plants. What happens there typically is the biomass is incinerated. According to the IPCC report, the report of the UN, this is defined as a hard to abate emission. The IPCC report recommends to capture this emission and then store it permanently in the ground. That is exactly what we are aiming for in co-developing projects To capture the emissions from these plants then transport it to a place where you can store it permanently in the ground so that it doesn't go into the atmosphere anymore, because that is what causes global warming. These places are not so easy to reach if you are in a country like Switzerland, because typically storage happens today in basalt soils, like we find them in Iceland, or in depleted oil and gas fields, like we find them in Denmark or Norway. You can imagine that if you capture carbon in Switzerland, you have to take a long way until you reach those storage areas, which is part of the challenge.

Friederike:6:35

So I can just you know, to my youth I grew up in and the bavarian alps and we had a lot of farmers there who are actually biogas factories, like small factories in that sense, like so they cutting the grass and then either use it as hay or, you know, they use it in the biogas factory. So just is that, for example, like a possibility where you can say, hey, we are helping to capture. When they creating that biogas, I assume that's also producing CO2 while they're doing that, and you capture that CO2 which would get emitted to the atmosphere and you help them to transport it and then you know to store it permanently is that, for example, one of the use case.

Stephanie:7:20

Yes, absolutely so. This is a. This is a great example. Biogas plants, especially the ones that are, let's call it, upgraded. Biogas plants that are upgraded produce methane. So what biogas that goes back into the grid and then they have a waste product, which is CO2. This is pretty much pure CO2, and this can be captured then from the plant and then it needs to find a place where it can be stored. As said, one option is depleted oil and gas fields or basalt oil, so in the ground. But then there is also other options. Today, like you can store it in concrete, still in quite low quantities, but that can be something that, in the future, has quite a potential as well okay, yeah, that's.

Friederike:8:00

For example, neustark is doing that.

Stephanie:8:03

That's where there's a couple of companies in Switzerland that are okay okay, got it.

Friederike:8:07

So what is so complex to to, to capture CO2? How do you capture CO2 in that sense? Is it a filter system? And how do you? I guess you liquidize it, so you make it liquid, and then how do you transport that? What's so difficult about that?

Stephanie:8:24

well, it is quite a challenge capturing CO2. It is depending on the plant. It is complicated or not so complicated. In a biogas plant it is quite pure, so it's not that complicated as if you would capture CO2 from waste to energy plant, where the smoke that comes out of the chimney if I use simple terms it's a very complicated smoke, so that there's a lot of different things in it and you need to separate the CO2 from the rest, usually through chemical processes, and at the moment there are all kinds of other processes that can be used or could be used in the future that are being developed. However, then, as you said, you liquefy it so that it can be transported, and we don't have this transport infrastructure at the moment that could transport a large quantities of CO2. So what it means is that there is one option where the plant has an access to the, to the train, so an array access, and there is the other option where this is not the case, and then you have to first transport it via truck to the next train station a cargo train station and then you have to transport it until you come to a port where you then probably transported via with a ship to the area where you can store it. So you can see, it's quite complex and, I guess, expensive and it is very expensive. Yes, it is being done today because in Switzerland we are already using CO2 in different processes, like producing fizzy water or the chemical industry. So, a limited quantity, this is also possible. But, as you're saying, it is related to cost and these costs are significant today. So in Switzerland we have a road map, a target road map that says that we want to store, or to capture and store a couple of millions of tons of CO2 per year as of 2050, and so this means that until we come to that millions quantity, we need to find out what is a more efficient way of transporting, because we will most probably not be able to bear the cost, but also the current system, how it is being transported, it is not feasible for a very large quantity.

Friederike:10:25

Okay, got it. And what about? Why we're not storing it in Switzerland? Why are we not just making a big hole into it and, as well, store it in in Switzerland? Why do we need to transport it to the sea or, you know, very high up that?

Stephanie:10:38

is a great question. In fact, we are talking also in Switzerland about storing CO2 in the ground and currently there are some investigations going on to understand where we could store it, and there is already a couple of studies from the ETH Sörich which indicates where and how much could be stored. But now there are a couple of pilot projects starting which really find out if that is actually feasible and how it is feasible. The thing is, in Switzerland we have relatively little information about the ground, at least about how deep in the ground the CO2 needs to be stored, because we didn't have investigation for oil and gas here, which is different in other countries. So, for instance, in Denmark or in Norway, where a lot of fossil fuel production has been going on there, they are very clear about where can it be stored and also it can be stored in pretty high quantities. In fact, countries like these they are positioning themselves of being a service provider for CO2 that comes from from abroad. And if you think of the other way around, it also makes sense, because where do we actually take today the fossil fuels from that we are using in Switzerland? These are countries that are very far away. So if you compare them with the storage sites that I have just mentioned before. The distances might be much smaller because we might get currently the oil and gas from the Middle East or from other countries that are very far away, right, so is it easier to transport oil and gas to us than CO2 in a liquid form to another country?

Friederike:12:09

Like just to understand that better.

Stephanie:12:12

Yes, it is easier in the sense that we have the infrastructure to transport oil and gas. As we know, we have pipelines that are going from, for instance, the Middle East or other countries to Europe that transport oil and gas in pretty efficient ways. We don't have that for CO2. There are CO2 pipelines that you can find in the US some of them and we are talking now really actively about CO2 pipelines in the future in Europe, for instance, in Germany. These discussions are. There are some quite active discussions Also in Switzerland. The discussions have started and this could be a more efficient way of transporting CO2. Okay, understood.

Friederike:12:52

And how much do you have like a calculation? How much does it cost to capture it and to store it per CO2 ton? Are there numbers about it? Just to get a feeling for it, there are numbers yes, that's always the very interesting part, right?

Stephanie:13:08

How much does it cost? And it is not so easy to answer, because it's, of course, different for every country. It depends on a lot of factors, but I like to quote the study from ETH as well. I think it was led by Pauline Övre, and there it said that the early movers have to calculate about 490 francs per ton. This is a very big number. If you compare it, for instance, to the current ETH price, which is a bit below 100, that is a long way to go and, as we just talked, indeed a large part of that price are transport costs.

Friederike:13:41

Just to explain from Alisson knows ETH.

Stephanie:13:43

The initial trading system in the European Union. So that is basically where the fossil emissions are being regulated. It's like the emissions from cement plants or from steel plants Biogenic emissions. They are not falling under the ETS so far, okay.

Friederike:13:59

And you know, but the voluntary market, I think, is a little bit higher than the 100 right now. For a carbon removal it's definitely higher. How high is right now there at the price? So what are the strides in the Microsoft of this world right now paying for carbon removal? Co2? Right?

Stephanie:14:18

Yes. So yeah, there is indeed the difference in situation between the regulated market, as I was explaining just now, and then the voluntary market. And there has been for a long time a voluntary market, mainly for nature-based solutions, and these prices have been in the lower two digits numbers. Now the voluntary market for the technical carbon removal. So this can be bikers or biomass carbon removal and storage, but this can also be direct air capture or other forms of carbon removal, technical carbon removal, and this market is actually just starting. So there are a couple of larger cases where companies like Microsoft have said hey, we are supporting this project and we will. We are buying significant amounts of CDRs, so carbon credits from projects. One example is in Denmark, the Orsted plant, a large biker's project, where Microsoft has committed to buy several million 2.7 million carbon credits, and this price is not known as far as I know. But you can assume that there is no real price mechanism in this market today. There are some carbon credits, like direct air capture, that are being sold for around 1000 francs per ton. You might sell a bit lower quantities and there are other credits that are being sold for, let's call it, 200, 250 might be a bit higher quantities. So there is a very nice website, cdrsyi, which tracks the purchases and the commitments that the companies make, and also there you can see that there is not one price for everything and the truth is that also the cost is not the same for everything. So if you capture a ton of CO2 of this direct air capture so what Kleinbergs would be doing this causes different costs than if you capture it at the biogas plant and you store it in concrete or you store it in the ground. That has a different cost tag to it, and what I observe is that usually in projects you try to cover the cost and so far we don't see that this price mechanism that you usually see in a very developed market is happening. Mm-hmm understood.

Friederike:16:34

So it's like right now it's project based, like how much you actually need to charge for covering the cost you're producing to actually capturing carbon. Are there any you know you have this gold standards in other areas. How about like standards, certifications etc. To really make sure that these carbon removal? You know we heard a lot about the nature part. What has been like difficulties to really measure how much CO2 getting captured? There has been a lot of discussions about it. What about, like you know, the technical part of carbon removal? I can imagine that it's easier to prove how much CO2 you actually captured. Are there any certification standards developing where you can say, hey, this makes sense to give that price indication or at least that quality indication.

Stephanie:17:23

Yes, indeed, there are standards being developed and that is a very important part of the puzzle because otherwise it gets, you know, the wild west, gets even wilder. So this certification is really important. Climate West so there's one large initiative that a lot of companies, large and small ones, are part of, which is developed or which is coordinated by Southpoll, which is called the CCS Plus initiative. That is connected to the standard Vera. But then there are also other standards that have already and that are developing methodologies to certify, like the poorer standard. And is it easier than the nature-based solutions? I would say yes, because if you look at bikers, the process that I have explained before, you will have quite easily trackable. The whole supply chain is much easier trackable than for nature-based solutions. Typically, you would have sensors, probably in the plant. You would know the way of transport and then how it is transported. So it's much easier versus tracking how much CO2 forest would sequester and therefore, yeah, I believe this will be a bit less complicated. But of course, we are at the very beginning and now all of these MRV spaces developing, there are a couple of very active players, like there is Carbon Future, which is developing a digital platform to collect all of this data that it will be easier to process.

Friederike:18:56

Let's say, and that is really important so now we talk through, I think, the classical more like the carbon removal, how it works, where do you capture it, how do you transport it, how do you store it, what are the price mechanism and how big is the carbon removal market Like if you take millions of euros, like, how big is this market right now in Europe? Just to get a quantification? In the end, I think it was like IPCC said I think 10 to 20% of the remaining CO2 in the atmosphere needs to get distracted out of the atmosphere and then, in the end, store, because we're always going to have production processes which are going to emit and we can't change that in the end, that we're going to have CO2 emitting into the atmosphere. And we said, like, in the end it's going to be 10, 20% of what we have to reduce, that we have to take out of the atmosphere and store it to really get to carbon neutral. How big is that market then right now and how it's going to be in future? Just to get a feeling for it. Is it going to be capped? Is it going to be? Is it a million market, a billion market?

Stephanie:20:05

So the target is that it's even a trillion market, not only a billion market, if we assume that it's going to be true, what the IPCC report asks for. What IPCC report asks for, would be a market that is comparable to today's oil and gas industries, or something really, really substantial. However, we are in the very early stage today, as I was mentioning, and the whole voluntary market, including the nature-based solutions, are at around $2 billion, and the technical market is only a fraction of that. So you can assume it's a couple of hundred million US dollars today, and I think one of the challenges is today, first of all, the price per ton that we were talking before. It is much more expensive to buy a ton of technical CDR versus nature-based solution certificates, and the other thing is that nobody has to pay for it actually at the moment. So there is no regulation that says that anybody needs to pay for these negative emissions, and so the voluntary market is, at the moment, a very important catalyst to start building this market. But what we will need in the future is something that goes also beyond this voluntary market. So there needs to be regulation in place that says who needs to pay for capturing carbon at the waste to energy plant or at the biomass plant. But if you say with the voluntary market, there are very different predictions of what it will be in the future. You can probably read the reports of most of the consulting companies and they have numbers that could be 30 billion dollars or so. I've seen a number of different predictions and I wouldn't be able to judge which one of them is the truth. But if we want to make this a thing, then it needs to grow substantially.

Friederike:21:55

I really like the comparison. So you're saying these carbon removal part, which is IPC report, talking about that actually size. So it's like I think we are mid right now 35 million gigatons of CO2 plus methane and everything else would be 55 if it's an equivalent and in the end you have to take these 10, 20% as a carbon removal and the storage. I really like the comparison that you said. This is actually the size of the current gas and oil industry, Because probably you need the same infrastructure as we just talked at the beginning of our talk. You need to have these pipelines, you need to have the infrastructure in place to capture it, to transport it and to store it. If it as big as a gas and oil industry.

Stephanie:22:48

Yeah, and maybe there you can also see one of the challenges, because you need to invest a lot into infrastructure and at the same time, you don't have anybody that needs to pay for this today, so your investment security in general is not that high, you understand what I mean.

Friederike:23:05

So in the end it would be also a question, because a lot of critical infrastructure is owned by government right now in the electricity space. Would you then assume a thesis that that infrastructure in future should be also owned partly by government?

Stephanie:23:21

I mean, this is not for me to answer, but my guess would be rather no, because, for instance, the pipelines, the pipelines today they are also not all owned by the government, right? And if you look at the supply chain of producing a negative emission from biomass, you could see as a service cost. So if you have enough gas that goes through those pipelines and if the ones that are producing the negative emissions would pay a service cost, it could be a very attractive business model for somebody who operates gas pipelines. And the same is true for the capture facilities at the plants. So I don't see the government owning a capture facility at a waste or energy plant or at a biomass plant. This could be potentially the emitter himself, or it could be also a group that goes together to finance it together, but it doesn't have to be the government. I think the government is more in the position of maybe building a framework and conditions that make it possible for these projects to emerge.

Friederike:24:21

Yeah, so more the policy side than actually the owning side. Okay, got it. So we just talked about like one challenge, about, you know, building that infrastructure to actually make it possible to scale up that industry. Is there any other challenges you see to?

Stephanie:24:35

scale up that industry? Yes, and I think I also mentioned it already, but let's make it very explicit there is nobody who has to pay for it today, so the business models are still a bit shaky. You have to imagine that even for a small project, you would have to invest a couple of millions only in the capture facility at the plant, and then you have to pay all the cost of operations or the operation at the plants, transport, the storage, and very few emitters will be in the position that they can just do this all by themselves, so they will need help from somebody that pays for it could be the corporations that buy the certificates through the voluntary market, but there could also be other ways. So, for instance, our first project, which in fact is a biogas plant in the canton of Arga, which is not too far from Zurich, it has got commitments from foundation which is called Klima Rappen, which basically collects money from fossil fuel imports and re channels it into climate projects. That can be a way how to do this right.

Friederike:25:40

Yeah, so you just said before, it's like you know, the voluntary market right now actually pays kind of for it or like at least has has a starting point of paying for that. So, just coming back to airfix carbon, so what is exactly your role in that whole process? What are you facilitating what? So you just said before you actually don't do the transport. You're actually, you know, organizing it. So what is exactly airfix carbon's role in that whole process?

Stephanie:26:11

Right. So in the supply chain, airfix supports the emitters with actually setting up the project and usually what happens are in the plant. We are not involved because we are no technical experts and we don't aim to build that expertise, but we have a very good network along the supply chain. So in the transport, storage, certification and monetization space, and so, for instance, for the first project, we are organizing the transport contracts to transport the CO2 from Switzerland to the storage destination. We are also organizing the storage contracts for the emitter, which needs to be in place a couple of years before you actually start storing, and then we do the certification. There we are cooperating with our mother company, with South Pole, and we also support the emitters with monetization. So in the first project this was more about applying for the funding with this foundation, but it can also be to sell the carbon credits to corporate buyers. So this is how we basically co-develop the projects. At the moment we are also advising companies that are looking into the possibility of doing bikers eventually in the future, and there are quite a lot of companies these days that see this as an interesting opportunity for them in the future, probably to be able to fulfill their sustainability targets, but also they see it as a business opportunity for the future.

Friederike:27:41

Okay, so you do it like project by project, so it's like a project consulting that you say, tailored to each of these individual problems you're solving, helping to solve the transportation, the storage, etc.

Stephanie:27:56

And at the same time you're doing the it can be a consulting, but it goes even into the co-development I would call it.

Friederike:28:05

Okay, and then you're helping to finance that because you have access through South Pole, I guess to the carbon credit selling part.

Stephanie:28:15

In that sense, yes, so definitely, the expertise of South Pole helped us big time to get into this thinking and develop how we want to do this, but it is somehow different than the core business of South Pole, which is the nature-based solutions. So we have actually now started to work with a new head of business development and she has a very good experience from the South Pole side and now she is actually using that experience to build up the capabilities for the technical carbon removals bit, because it is a bit different to sell a credit for, let's call it, 20 francs versus to sell a credit for 400 francs. Of course, this is yeah requires probably different conversations, a different type of knowledge.

Friederike:29:00

How big is Airfix Carbazoo, how many people are working right now there and how are you financed?

Stephanie:29:05

So we are five people right now, so we are a rather small organization still, and we started with funding from the Migra Pioneer Fund. The Migra Pioneer Fund is an institution of Migra, the retailer, and it aims to enable companies that are in a purposeful space. So this can be social, environmental, and we have been working with them since beginning of 2022. It has been a very fruitful collaboration so far, with a lot of support from them, so we are very grateful that we could start with that Cool.

Friederike:29:36

And what's the end goal? So if you look forward in five years, how does Airfix Carbazoo will look like?

Stephanie:29:43

How does it look like? Yes, that's a very interesting question and it doesn't only depend on us, but of course our goal is to build this market. Here in Switzerland we have started. In Germany and France we are part of different associations that also have to aim to build conditions in those markets to enable more and more CDR projects. So, for instance, in Switzerland we are part of the Swiss carbon removal platform, or in Germany we are in the board of the Deutsche Verband für negative Emissionen that has been just funded now in the summer. In France we are part of the Club CO2 and all of these associations have as a target to enable the creation of markets around CDR, so not only bikers but CDR in general. And our goal is of course to enable as many projects as possible, so to set up some projects in Switzerland, in Germany, in France, in our target countries. And so far we have one official project. I would say in five years from now we need to be a more too handful of projects or even more.

Friederike:30:48

And I think that nicely shows how difficult that scaling is. In that part it's just a very case by case, project-based, long term how you can actually build these capacities to actually do carbon removal and storage. Okay, so if you Absolutely yeah, if you. You know how do you measure your own CO2 goals, you as a person or as a company? So do you have any CO2 goals in your company or you personally?

Stephanie:31:17

We don't have numbers for it, but as a person, I'm. Of course I'm not going on vacation with my plane, for instance. In fact, I don't fly at all since a couple of years. Yeah, we are using the heating that is sustainable. I'm not eating a lot of meat I haven't fully stopped but quite a low level. So, of course, I'm doing the usual things that lead to a handful of tons of you know if, in the best case, of savings, but I wouldn't say this is the main impact that I can have as a person. But the main impact is really to work in a field of climate change mitigation and talking with friends and family and everybody else about the topic, so that we can bring more and more people into this space. As a company, since we are few people, we don't have a lot of CO2 emissions per, say, except for, you know, the laptops and so on that we use. We are traveling a bit, of course, but, for instance, in November 2022, we were invited in Norway for a conference that was led by the Swiss government and my business partner. He's so strict that he even made me take the train all the way up to Oslo, so I have to admit that I took a flight back. He actually took the train back. So you can see that the mindset in our group is also really to keep the CO2 emissions of ourselves as low as possible. But again, that is also not the main impact that we can make. The main impact that we can make is really to set up these projects and show that it's actually possible to execute these projects and scale them up.

Friederike:32:52

So you started. Like this year, right Like at the beginning of this year, you incorporated this year.

Stephanie:32:58

So we incorporated it at the beginning of this year. We already worked on the idea for the last year.

Friederike:33:03

Yes. So if you look back on this year, what did you learn the most and why?

Stephanie:33:08

Yeah, there is a lot to learn. Definitely, when you start something like this, it always starts with an idea, and I think the first thing that I had to learn is that this initial idea will not always be your final business model, and you really need to take the time every couple of months to relook at the idea and understand if it's really still the best idea and if this is what this market needs at the moment. So at the beginning, we thought that we would just invest into projects, but we understood that these projects need much more than investment. Investment is actually in Switzerland here, probably priority number two or even three. So we understood that this co-development along the supply chain is much more important, and so we changed the full business model of Airfix in 2022. And then, of course, you look at the first possible projects and you're like, yes, this is going to be the project that we will do, and after a couple of months, you understand maybe not. There are several obstacles that make it very difficult, so there might be another project that is better suited, and so you always have to adjust, and then this can be sometimes a bit difficult. The humans are not that prone to change, and so that was really a learning for me that you always have to go back to what is your business model, what is your goal, and is this still the right thing to progress, to actually fulfill your vision of building this biomass carbon removal and storage market. And then what I also learned the second thing I find really important I'm coming from the corporate sector, and in the corporate sector, you have a lot of stakeholders, and they are usually internal stakeholders. Especially if you work in a support function like finance, you will talk to a lot of people and they are all working inside the company. But to achieve something like we want to achieve with AirFix, you need to talk to people outside of the company. So it is very, very important to build a network and to work on the obstacles and challenges that you need to solve with people outside of your company and, I think, in general in this climate space. To find solutions for complex problems, it always requires working together with all kinds of other organizations, be it other startups, be it other companies, be it associations, be it government. You know there's a lot of stakeholders that you need to know and you need to collaborate with. Okay, great, yeah. And then the third thing probably is that it's really key with whom you work. I have a very good business partner, emre, and we have been complimenting each other with our skills and with that. You know, it was very motivating for me to work with him and I think that is also a very important part, like the team that you're working in now. We got a couple of new people and they are really, you know, coming in with a lot of energy, a great spirit, and then it's fun to develop something that is a bit more difficult than a normal job.

Friederike:36:02

Okay, so we're already at the end. I think we can talk probably a little bit more about that. So if someone wants to reach out to you, how can people contact you?

Stephanie:36:11

The easiest might be on LinkedIn. That is a tool that a lot of people in CDR use very actively, by the way. Also, if you want to learn about it, there is lots of people that blog very interesting stuff on LinkedIn, and that is also the easiest way to reach out Fantastic.

Friederike:36:26

One last question what makes you confident that we will solve the climate crisis?

Stephanie:36:30

One sentence there is more and more people joining this space, and they all come with a lot of knowledge, skills, motivation, energy, and I believe the more people are joining the space, the more probably it will be that we find the solutions that are needed to solve this situation Great.

Friederike:36:49

So more people in the climate tech boat Fantastic. So thank you so much for joining my podcast. It was really interesting to learn more about the carbon removal market and to learn more about airfix carbon.

Stephanie:37:01

Thank you for inviting. It has been fun to have this conversation with you. Best of luck with this great podcast. Thank you.

Friederike:37:10

Thank you for joining today's episode. You can find the show notes, background materials and contact details of our guests on our website. So stay nowch, follow and share our podcast on any platform available. Do you have a comment or interesting solution to take a deep dive? Please don't hesitate to go to our website. So stay nowch and write us an email.

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