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Bio-char / Terra preta

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James Lovelock (he who ‘discovered’ the ozone hole and is famous for being the first to prdict that the earth is in it’s ow way a single living organism) has said of terra preta- “There is one way we could save ourselves and that is through the massive burial of charcoal. It would mean farmers turning all their agricultural waste — which contains carbon that the plants have spent the summer sequestering — into non-biodegradable charcoal, and burying it in the soil. Then you can start shifting really hefty quantities of carbon out of the system and pull the CO2 down quite fast.”. Note; Peter

For National Geographic video click HERE

farm field photo
Through application to soil in farmer’s fields, biochar both can help increase soil fertility and store carbon emissions. Photo:  Feral Arts via flickr.

Original Article; HERE

Maximizing Biochar’s Potential Requires Large Societal Commitment
In the study, researchers examined three different scenarios for levels biochar production: A maximum one, a minimum, and a middle scenario. All of these require “significant commitments from the general public and government” in the way we value carbon in biomass, notes study co-author Jim Amonette, from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. In other words, it won’t be easy.

In all scenarios, it was assumed that no agricultural or previous unmanaged lands would be converted to plantations for biomass production. Furthermore, the authors calculations included other sustainability criteria, such as ensuring enough biomass remained on the soil to prevent erosion, not using crop residue currently used for livestock feed, not applying biochar from treated building materials to soils, and more.

Which is all shorthand for the researchers tried to account for many common objections to using biochar due to unintended negative consequences.

1-1.8 Billion Metric Tons a Year Offset Possible
Here are the results, summed up in Science Daily:

Amonette and his colleagues found that the maximum scenario could offset up to the equivalent of 1.8 petagrams — or 1.8 billion metric tons — of carbon emissions annually and a total of 130 billion metric tons throughout in the first 100 years. Avoided emissions include the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. The estimated annual maximum offset is 12 percent of the 15.4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions that human activity adds to the atmosphere each year. Researchers also calculated that the minimal scenario could sequester just under 1 billion metric tons annually and 65 billion metric tons during the same period.

When they looked at the impact of using the same amount of biomass to produce energy, substituting for fossil fuels, the researchers found that in the maximum scenario at most 107 billion metric tons of carbon could be offset in the first 100 years of use. The benefits to carbon storage in soil of applying biochar was attributed as the cause of the difference.

sustainable biochar model image
Overview of the study’s vision of how biochar can be deployed sustainably. View larger: Nature Communications

Efficient Pyrolysis Needed to Make Most of Biochar’s Potential Jim Amonette again: “Roughly half of biochar’s climate-mitigation potential is due to its carbon storage abilities. The rest depends on the efficient recovery of the energy created during pyrolysis and the positive feedback achieved when biochar is added to soil. All of these are needed for biochar to reach its full potential.”
Read the original article: Sustainable biochar to mitigate global climate change

More on Biochar:
Jason Aramburu on the Promise of Biochar
Haiti’s Rebuild May Be Biochar’s Big Breakthrough
Reforestation & Biochar: Two Geoengineering Methods That Won’t Cause More Harm Than Good
Biochar Reduces Nitrous Oxide Emissions From Soil by Three Quarters: Study


About pfiddle

Fiddle teacher - mostly Irish trad. Fiddle, mandolin and concertina. Eco-warrior, won E.U. Green Flower Award for Eco Accommodation. Also Irish (Gold) GHA. Green Hospitality Award. Mad keen on self-build - especially straw-bale and cob. 55 with a full head of (slightly) graying hair. No tattoos or piercings. Fond of animals - but legally so. Fond of food - I eat nothing else. Vegetarian by choice, Irish by the grace of birth, Munster by force of (rugby) arms.

2 responses »

  1. new_biochar_land

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