Biochar really could fix global warming!

Hi all,
This is from a review of a book on biochar which explores some of the potential benefits, and also very great RISKS, of using biochar. Biochar seems to be one of those technologies that could be really very good, or really very, very bad… depending on how we use it. It can produce food, fuel, fertiliser, soil remediation AND carbon sequestration if we do it right… or focus more on the fuel, less on the food, with the risk of raising world food prices (again).

However, these quotes are truly amazing.

Remember, biochar is light, easy to spread off the back of a truck, and if done right can produce the syngas to fuel the truck that spreads the biochar (and a bunch of other things!)

Currently half the syngas is wasted cooking up the next batch of biochar. I imagine in a post-peak world biochar cookers might use Concentrated Solar Power to provide the heat to cook the biomass up, so that they could then save ALL the syngas (or synfuel) for running local agriculture.

…. giving a mere 2.5 percent of the world’s productive land over to biochar production would bring CO2 to pre-industrial levels by 2050.

…. Bruges shows that the second scenario is easily doable, in light of a recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showing that an additional 4 billion acres could be added to the world’s existing 3.5 billion acres of cropland.

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3 Responses to Biochar really could fix global warming!

  1. The same is true for products made from algea/plankton.
    There is a Book “Die Plakton Revolution” that describes a complete economy on algea.
    Dr. Bernd Kroon is the German mastermind in algea. They are cultivating open sea water algea for food and energy.
    Most of this technology is only used by food and cosmetics industry right now.

    Everything is there. We just need to do it.

    • Bernd Kroon says:

      Allow me to correct the title of the book, it is ‘Das Plankton Manifest’. It is possible to grow phytoplankton in closed system at costs that allow commercial application of the biomass.

      But one should spent a few minutes to realize what it means to produce a new resource if that resource happens to be a feed or food product….the relevant scale op production is large, very large. Similar to the scale of agricultural enterprises. But, agriculture has had 10,000 years time to evolve and improve (admittedly 90% of the progression took place in the last 60 years), and enjoys an unquestioned advantage by either governmental subventions and/or taking place behind ‘safe’ trade barriers,…while all this is true, no help and sincere support is given to the development of innovative alternative agricultural production of marine phytoplankton.

      Heavyweather0 is right: Everything is there. We just need to do it.

      Added to that, any bio-based, large scale alternative to make feed/food/bioenergy will require concomitant adjustments in economic boundary conditions to be successful.

      More on this topic can be found on the blog site ‘’, a site, where I don’t have access to add more posts until August.

  2. eclipsenow says:

    I’m no scientist, especially a micro-biologist, but from the many reports I’ve read on it I thought there were significant problems with commercialisation, fertiliser and nutrient mixing, scale, and that one advance ‘here’ means a compromise over ‘there’.

    EG: Valcent were telling us all that their bioreactors were going to change the world, but now I can’t find the bioreactor on their site! Gone, vanished, finito.

    The bioreactor was a series of plastic sheets designed to:-
    * Minimise water loss through evaporation… a major problem with the open ponds
    * Help with mixing nutrients
    * control weed aglae, also a big problem.

    All sounded good, but is apparently VERY expensive.

    I remain dubious of my ability to evaluate claims in these advanced areas that XYZ breakthrough has finally made XYZ gizmo work… and am mainly starting to ask a series of questions here that I hope the real experts can answer.

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