Adelaide Hills Biochar Initiative


by Brian Lewis - May 6th, 2010.
Filed under: Articles.


When it comes to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions the solar and wind technologies get a lot of coverage in the media. But the “greener” technology of carbon capture and storage is usually seen as only relevant to forestry and future large coal-fired power station CO2 capture and storage schemes.

On the other hand small-scale carbon capture and storage technology exists now and if adopted on a household basis could lead to significant reductions in total CO2 emissions.

Wherever there is waste wood available there is the potential to simultaneously create biochar for soil enhancement and carbon credits. This ought to be of interest to all households, farmers, market gardeners, orchardists, vignerons, botanical gardens, national parks, schools, golf courses, eco-villages and eco-cooperatives.

The technology is simple, safe and clean and with time every household will be able to afford to install one in their backyard and be able to make a real contribution to reducing CO2 emissions.

For example if just one household produced just 25kg a week of biochar from garden waste and used it in the garden or just buried it and did that for 50 weeks a year that household would be diverting nearly 5 tonnes (4.575 T to be exact) of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Multiply that by say 5 million households in Australia and we could potentially achieve an annual reduction by households alone of 25 million tonnes of GHG emissions,

ALSO: Where an individual seeks to offset the GHG emissions of his/her motor vehicle on a weekly basis the production and capture of 25kg of biochar will typically offset about 40 litres of petrol. The calculation is as follows:

If heating value of petrol = 47 Megajoules/kg;
and petrol emits when burned 67 grams of CO2/Megajoule;
and 1 litre of petrol weighs 0.7 kg
then 40 litres of petrol will generate about 47 x 40 x 0.7 Megajoules
which produces about 47 x 40 x 0.7 x 67/1000 kg (or 88 kg) of CO2.
This amount of CO2 can be captured by 88/3.66 kg (or 24kg) of biochar.

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