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Talk:Biochar

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I might as well say right off that I am not a believer in anthropogenic global warming. The ice core evidenc and basic scientific fact (solubility of carbon dioxide in water particularly) led me to the belief that CO2 is a climate follower - a symptom - rather than a driver - and that was before the East Anglia scandal. I am sure that most of the project participants are true believers, so I have not tried to edit the wiki in this sense; I have only added references, pertaining purely to ropeways.

But even if you accept the belief that human-mediated CO2 releases will cause a warming trend in the climate, returning char to the soil is a wasteful and senseless process. The char represents a source of energy and a valuable industrial product useful for small-scale, high quality metallurgy. Putting it in the ground only means that an equivalent (in BTU) quantity of fossil fuel will be burnt. According to Global Warming doctrine, this is worse because long-sequestered fossil carbon is then released into the atmosphere, raising the overall carbon inventory of the atmosphere. As I've mentioned, I don't believe this matters at all, but I do regret the waste of a high-quality product.

Granted that the char can contribute to the fertility of shallow, low fertility soils like some rainforest soils (look up "terra preta do indio"), so it might have some value in the humid Tropics, but in temperate, deciduous forests the char should be put to other uses.

- Marc de Piolenc


Setting aside the settled science question of the scientific basis for anthropogenic global warming / climate change and the supposed "East Anglia scandal," let's address this matter:

Marc de Piolenc said, "Putting it in the ground only means that an equivalent (in BTU) quantity of fossil fuel will be burnt. According to Global Warming doctrine, this is worse because long-sequestered fossil carbon is then released into the atmosphere, raising the overall carbon inventory of the atmosphere."

Concentrated solar thermal energy technology - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concentrated_solar_power - may be able to drastically reduce carbon emissions in biochar production. I say "drastically reduce" because much depends on the energy inputs (embodied energy) into the manufacture and placement of the concentrated solar thermal apparatus.

- James R. Martin