Green business start-up to grow workforce with VTP grant

April 26, 2019

Department of Economic Development’s Vermont Training Program (VTP) has granted $9,760 to Green State Biochar. The three-person startup produces biochar, a hard carbon made from local waste wood, which is used in a myriad of applications including the production of energy.

In 2015, Green State Biochar owners designed, engineered, and built an innovative, working prototype pyrolysis unit (kiln) which produces biochar. The VTP grant will allow them to onboard new employees to increase operational capacity and grow the business over the next three years. It will also support the development of a biochar injection system and assembly of new production equipment.

“Having trained employees to operate our biochar kiln is essential to our continued growth. The Vermont Training Program provided us with the funds needed to bring on new employees so that they could be trained on the efficient operation of the kiln,” said Green State Biochar General Manager Donna Pion. “Teaching employees how to work the kiln was critical; previously, the founders of the prototype were the only ones who understood how to operate it. Knowing that we were subsidized through the training period for the two new employees truly helped us to move ahead. We look forward to continuing to build our workforce in the future.”

Biochar can absorb minerals, toxins, and fertilizers, reducing biomass waste. It is known to improve soil health resulting in improved plant growth and resilience. Biochar contributes to reducing carbon emissions and mitigates the challenges of runoff into Vermont’s waterways.

The company is currently working with dairy farms to ensure best management practices which utilize filtration systems for manure pits and cleaning waters.

“Green State Biochar is a small Vermont company with a big mission striving to do good for the environment. We are pleased that the training program was able to support this growth phase as they push to meet increasing demand,” said Department of Economic Development Commissioner Joan Goldstein.

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