The Australia New Zealand Biochar Industry has welcomed the inaugural mention of Pyrogenic Carbon Capture & Storage (PyCCS) – which produces biochar – as a viable Negative Emissions Technology (NET) for carbon dioxide removal (CDR) in the 2018 IPCC Report.
NET’s are being championed to help meet climate targets and keep temperatures below the critical 1.5 degree increase determined by stakeholders.
Biochar has been grouped with other NETs such as biomass carbon (tree planting), building soil carbon through regenerative agriculture and Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), a GHG mitigation technology which produces negative carbon dioxide emissions by combining biomass use with geologic carbon capture and storage.
PyCSS and biochar has now been given credibility as a viable NET for CDR because biomass carbon is easily degraded and returned to atmosphere as GHG’s through the continual work of microbes (the natural carbon cycle).
If biomass is pyrolysed, it is thermally turned into solid biochar, liquid bio-oils and permanent gas that can all be stored in the biosphere, helping to cool the planet. This makes sense as the balancing practice to mining fossil fuel carbon and releasing it straight into the atmosphere. PyCCS and biochar help repair both the carbon and nitrogen cycles.
Pyrolysis currently captures and stores between 30-50% yields of soild biochar but with the liquid and gaseous recovery this figure moves up to >70%, according to a paper released on the topic in August last year.
This increase in carbon sequestration is via the use of biochar in regenerative agriculture, bio-based materials used in water filtration, building and road construction as well as suitable geological deposits. The first two applications are value added economic products requiring no further government incentive and this is what has attracted the attention of the IPCC. The other reason PyCCS and biochar is now taking hold in the mainstream market place is that it is a well established and environmentally safe technology that can be taken up globally.
The Australia New Zealand Biochar Initiative Inc (ANZBI) is a not-for-profit organisation and assists the mainstreaming of biochar in an ANZ context.