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19 Mar 2024

CrystalTrade and the Green Ledger Approach to Carbon Tracking - CarbonWire

Crystalchain Stand: B92
CrystalTrade and the Green Ledger Approach to Carbon Tracking - CarbonWire
CrystalTrade conducts a complete life cycle analysis (LCA) of biochar projects with its proprietary LCA and traceability methodology to ensure the quality and integrity of the carbon credits.

Clément Gourrierec is a leader in environmental engineering and sustainable development. Through CrystalTrade, he spearheads innovative solutions for carbon removal monitoring. With expertise in life cycle analysis and carbon markets, Clément is dedicated to driving impactful change in the fight against climate change. Passionate about sustainability, he advocates for transparent and effective environmental practices, inspiring others to join the movement towards a greener future.

CW: Can you give us an overview of CrystalTrade?

Clement: CrystalTrade is part of CRYSTALCHAIN, a company focused on traceability and data aggregation to quantify corporate emissions and the origins of products. I joined CRYSTALCHAIN around a year and a half ago, recognizing the need for businesses to diminish their overall emissions by thoroughly monitoring their supply chains through  traceability.

Another leverage that companies can use to reach net-zero is the contribution in projects. The challenge in the contribution is avoiding greenwashing and guaranteeing that carbon credits were legitimately tied to authentic projects. Leveraging our expertise in traceability, we created CrystalTrade to accurately calculate the carbon credits that can be issued for each project, with a particular emphasis on carbon removal and biochar projects.

We’ve developed a platform that conducts a complete life cycle analysis (LCA) of projects, from inception to final use. This LCA, which is standardized and compatible with peer-reviewed works, calculates emissions from every stage, including feedstock, machinery during production, usage, and all subsequent processes.

Our software links to traceability tools that monitor biochar production monthly, noting batch IDs and chemical details to compute actual emission values and carbon capture.      Following the production of a batch, the related data is sent to a certification body for auditing, and, upon validation, carbon credits are awarded.

CW: What is the process of working with CrystalTrade?

Clement: The initial step involves assessing the status of a potential project. If a project is in its early stages without any carbon credits, our role begins with a consultancy phase where we evaluate its eligibility for carbon credits. This involves analysing if the project meets the necessary criteria.

Once eligibility is confirmed, we guide them through the registration process with certification bodies like PURO Earth or the European Biochar Certificate. A crucial part of this registration is conducting a life cycle analysis (LCA). Projects have the option to use our software to build their LCA independently and then have it verified by an auditor.

Alternatively, we can manage the LCA process with our in-house experts. Our consultants are specialized in LCA and assist projects in conducting their analyses. After the LCA is complete and the project is registered and accredited, we implement our tracking and tracing systems for the biochar production. This enables the project to receive carbon credits, which can then be sold on our carbon credit marketplace.

CW: Could you explain the traceability function of CrystalTrade?

Clement: Traceability in CrystalTrade is a vital feature that ensures transparency and accountability in the biochar supply chain. Biochar producers register their projects on our platform and provide updates at each production batch. They report the quantity produced, batch ID, and distribute the biochar across various locations, inputting data to track the movement of each batch.

The goal of our traceability software is to prevent the biochar from being used as fuel since its burning would disqualify it from being eligible for carbon credits.

To strengthen traceability, producers are required to submit geolocation data (latitude and longitude) of the final use photographic evidence of biochar application on the land (or any document proving it), and documentation to confirm the farmers’ receipt of biochar. This detailed tracking continues until the biochar’s final use is recorded.

While satellite imagery can be a tool for tracing some environmental projects, it’s not practical for biochar due to its application method and scale. Instead, we rely on data consistency checks, balancing the amount of biochar produced with the number reported as distributed. If there is a discrepancy, such as too much biochar produced and not enough spread, it flags a potential issue, which we then investigate further.

CW: How do you facilitate the transactions?

Clement: Our trading platform,, operates in conjunction with brokers through API connections thus enabling the retirement of carbon credits. When credits are generated, they aren’t sold directly on our platform. Instead, our platform acts as a facilitator for peer-to-peer transactions. Sellers and buyers agree to trade, and our system relays the transaction details to the relevant crediting program to retire the specified quantity of credits.

In addition to facilitating transactions, we add a layer of traceability by keeping track of all buyers and the number of credits issued, thus ensuring that the theoretical value of credits available for a project matches the actual transactions. This traceability extends to knowing the vintage of the credits including those due for retirement and this information is communicated to registries like Puro Earth.

For both parts (project developers and buyers), the platform aggregates data from the LCA and the traceability. This enhances the value of the carbon credits sold. 

CW: How do you differentiate your platform from other solutions in the CDR environment?

Clement: Our platform aggregates data which provides a lot of trust to buyers. Sellers appreciate this because there is a lack of trust in the market, and our platform’s data visibility, traceability, and the net impact are highly valued by buyers.

The differentiation lies in the precise traceability of biochar at the batch level and the standardization of lifecycle analysis across platforms like Puro, EBI, and Verra. This standardization saves time and increases precision in calculations, which is the core of carbon projects, based on data model we developed.

CW: Given that you’ve launched just a few months ago, how has the progress been so far?

Clement: We are at the stage where we’re engaging with both buyers and sellers. Projects are onboarding, and we’re in the process of certifying with Puro. We have buyers onboarding and they like our unique offering and our vision.

As the market moves forward, with corporate buyers showing more interest in biochar due to its co-benefits and wider acceptability, we are confident of rapidly scaling up our operations and facilitating bigger trades with transparency and trust.

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