Sustaining Future

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Carbon Negative Energy Source

Can we have energy source which actually is carbon negative, i.e. carbon sequestration while producing energy?

Is such sequestrated carbon stable? Any possibility of sudden disruption resulting in large releases back to the atmosphere?

Is such sequestrated cost negative, i.e. producing a positive economical value other than just the value associated to the carbon sequestration?

If I tell there is a solution which answers all the above question 'YES', can you believe it?

By a process called pyrolysis (cooked without oxygen), biomass is converted into a gas fuel (syngas, a combination of Carbon Monoxide and Hydrogen) with biochar as a by-product. Biochar can act as a carbon sequestration. Answer to the first question is 'YES'.

In the rainforests of central Amazon, the yellow soils has been turned black by locals thousands of years ago by mixing biochar with the soil. That proves that biochar in soil is extremely stable - as proved by this special soil known as terra preta. Answer to the second question is 'YES'.

Can the Biochar be sold to someone? Not exactly, but all farmers would welcome spreading the biochar to their farm land because of the potential improvement of soil quality by biochar. The use of biochar has been shown to increase water retention, microbial activity, uptake of minerals by plants, as well as continued deposition of healthy soil. Answer to the third question is a probable 'yes'.

Too good to be true? Well it looks like a win-win solution.



Source: Interview of Tim Flannery, 2007 Australian of the Year, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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1 Comments:

Blogger Erich said...

The best Win Win Win solution is Biochar.

the current news and links on Terra Preta (TP) soils and closed-loop pyrolysis of Biomass, this integrated virtuous cycle could sequester 100s of Billions of tons of carbon to the soils.

This technology represents the most comprehensive, low cost, and productive approach to long term stewardship and sustainability.Terra Preta Soils a process for Carbon Negative Bio fuels, massive Carbon sequestration, 1/3 Lower CH4 & N2O soil emissions, and 3X Fertility Too.

UN Climate Change Conference: Biochar present at the Bali Conference

http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/steinerbalinov2107

SCIAM Article May 15 07;

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=5670236C-E7F2-99DF-3E2163B9FB144E40

After many years of reviewing solutions to anthropogenic global warming (AGW) I believe this technology can manage Carbon for the greatest collective benefit at the lowest economic price, on vast scales. It just needs to be seen by ethical globally minded companies.

Could you please consider looking for a champion for this orphaned Terra Preta Carbon Soil Technology.

The main hurtle now is to change the current perspective held that the soil carbon cycle is a wash, to one in which soil can be used as a massive and ubiquitous Carbon sink via Charcoal Below are the first concrete steps in that direction;

S.1884 – The Salazar Harvesting Energy Act of 2007

A Summary of Biochar Provisions in S.1884:

Carbon-Negative Biomass Energy and Soil Quality Initiative

for the 2007 Farm Bill

Bolstering Biomass and Biochar development: In the 2007 Farm Bill, Senator Salazar was able to include $500 million for biomass research and development and for competitive grants to develop the technologies and processes necessary for the commercial production of biofuels and bio-based products. Biomass is an organic material, usually referring to plant matter or animal waste. Using biomass for energy can reduce waste and air pollution. Biochar is a byproduct of producing energy from biomass. As a soil treatment, it enhances the ability of soil to capture and retain carbon dioxide.
http://www.biochar-international.org/newinformationevents/newlegislation.html



There are 24 billion tons of carbon controlled by man in his agriculture and waste stream, all that farm & cellulose waste which is now dumped to rot or digested or combusted and ultimately returned to the atmosphere as GHG should be returned to the Soil.

If you have any other questions please feel free to call me or visit the TP web site I've been drafted to co-administer. http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/?q=node

It has been immensely gratifying to see all the major players join the mail list , Cornell folks, T. Beer of Kings Ford Charcoal (Clorox), Novozyne the M-Roots guys(fungus), chemical engineers, Dr. Danny Day of EPRIDA , Dr. Antal of U. of H., Virginia Tech folks and probably many others who's back round I don't know have joined.

The International Biochar Initiative (IBI) conference held at Terrigal, NSW, Australia in 2007. The papers from this conference are posted at their home page; http://www.biochar-international.org/home.html


.Nature article, Aug 06: Putting the carbon back Black is the new green:
http://bestenergies.com/downloads/naturemag_200604.pdf

Here's the Cornell page for an over view:
http://www.css.cornell.edu/faculty/lehmann/biochar/Biochar_home.htm

University of Beyreuth TP Program, Germany http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/?q=taxonomy/term/118

This Earth Science Forum thread on these soils contains further links, and has been viewed by 19,000 self-selected folks. ( I post everything I find on Amazon Dark Soils, ADS here):
http://forums.hypography.com/earth-science/3451-terra-preta.html


Terra Preta creates a terrestrial carbon reef at a microscopic level. These nanoscale structures provide safe haven to the microbes and fungus that facilitate fertile soil creation, while sequestering carbon for many hundred if not thousands of years. The combination of these two forms of sequestration would also increase the growth rate and natural sequestration effort of growing plants.

All the Biochar Companies and equipment manufactures I've found:

Carbon Diversion
http://www.carbondiversion.com/

Eprida: Sustainable Solutions for Global Concerns
http://www.eprida.com/home/index.php4

BEST Pyrolysis, Inc. | Slow Pyrolysis - Biomass - Clean Energy - Renewable Ene
http://www.bestenergies.com/companies/bestpyrolysis.html

Dynamotive Energy Systems | The Evolution of Energy
http://www.dynamotive.com/

Ensyn - Environmentally Friendly Energy and Chemicals
http://www.ensyn.com/who/ensyn.htm

Agri-Therm, developing bio oils from agricultural waste
http://www.agri-therm.com/

Advanced BioRefinery Inc.
http://www.advbiorefineryinc.ca/

Technology Review: Turning Slash into Cash
http://www.technologyreview.com/Energy/17298/

3R Environmental Technologies Ltd. (Edward Someus)
WEB: http://www.terrenum.net/

The company has Swedish origin and developing/designing medium and large scale carbonization units. The company is the licensor and technology provider to NviroClean Tech Ltd British American organization WEB: http://www.nvirocleantech.com and VERTUS Ltd.
http://www.vertustechnologies.com

Genesis Industries, licensee of Eprida technology, provides carbon-negative EPRIDA energy machines at the same cost as going direct to Eprida. Our technical support staff also provide information to obtain the best use of biochar produced by the machine. Recent research has shown that EPRIDA charcoal (biochar) increases plant productivity as it sequesters carbon in soil, thus reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

http://www.egenindustries.com/


If pre-Columbian Kayopo Indians could produce these soils up to 6 feet deep over 15% of the Amazon basin using "Slash & CHAR" verses "Slash & Burn", it seems that our energy and agricultural industries could also product them at scale.

Harnessing the work of this vast number of microbes and fungi changes the whole equation of energy return over energy input (EROEI) for food and Bio fuels. I see this as the only sustainable agricultural strategy if we no longer have cheap fossil fuels for fertilizer.

We need this super community of wee beasties to work in concert with us by populating them into their proper Soil horizon Carbon Condos.


Erich J. Knight
Shenandoah Gardens
1047 Dave Berry Rd.
McGaheysville, VA. 22840
(540) 289-9750
shengar@aol.com

6:16 am  

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