Biochar can remove 6% of global emissions with waste

Use of the material for carbon capture and sequestration shows implementation would cost one-third the price of direct air capture, and the solution is ‘shovel ready’. 

green leaf on brown soil

A new report, published in the Biochar journal, has outlined the latest research on biochar, which is made up of various waste that would otherwise have been sent to landfill, where it would emit carbon. Forest trimmings, animal manure, and food waste can all be used in the process, which are combined before being buried, at which point a regenerative process begins. 

The material is proven to lock carbon into the ground for up to 1,000 years, meanwhile it is also adept at improving soil health and replenishing degraded land with vital nutrients for biodiversity recovery and agriculture. According to the work, this approach could have huge impact on national emissions, with countries including Malawi, Argentina, and Ghana capable of reducing greenhouse gas output by 10%. Major emitters, such as China, the United States and Brazil, have most to gain from implementation, and should this be adopted worldwide it could cut carbon output equivalent to 803 coal-fired power stations. 

‘This is the first research to quantify the significant role biochar can play in worldwide climate action and carbon removal strategies, at the level of individual countries. To scale biochar to its full potential, we now have a starting point of what is possible at the country level. By considering the climate impact of co-benefits such as fossil fuel displacement, improved crop yields, and healthier soil, we can also go farther, getting a better picture of biochar’s complete climate solution potential,’ said Dr. Thomas Trabold, co-author and research professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability. 

You can read the full report here


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