Re: Natural Climate Solutions for the US--Major New Paper Endorses Bioch


I am delighted to hear you articulate this. I have been arguing the same
for several years, but have found no one interested in listening. Here I
find you preaching the same message.

What is especially important here, I think, are two observations

- The often quoted notion that "the price is not right" and
- There is no business model.

Both are simply wrong, and you say so clearly. The price may not be right
if we benchmark by the US, but as you point out, if we benchmark by
developing world costs, prices and existing VER prices then the incentives
work just fine for the 2.5 billion poor farmers of the world. As for the
business model, it may be that American biochar entrepreneurs have still
not figured out how to make money, but the circular processes that you
describe are, in fact, not only good for the environment, but highly
profitable around here.

For example, even where I am in costly Thailand, local farmers produce
biochar for 5 b per kg (about $0.16 or $0.08/lb). It costs another 5 b per
kg to process the char into briquettes. These briquettes, that do not
smoke, do no smell, light faster and burn hotter and longer than regular
charcoal, are made from crop waste, not trees, and do not emit NOx, CH4 or
SOx, sell for 20 b in the market. People love them for all of their good
properties and buy them by preference over wood and traditional charcoal.
In other words, a social enterprise making biochar briquettes can make 100%
and pay farmers to make the char and pay the unemployed to make the

Would we prefer to make soil amendments and sequester CO2? Yes, but they
have a small margin and are a bitch to sell. Their time will come, but for
now, we are happy to reduce eCO2, smog precursor and PM2.5 emissions. (And,
as you note, eCO2 emissions exceed CO2 actually sequestered, so stopping
emissions is no small thing.)


Michael Shafer

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On Sun, Nov 25, 2018 at 6:22 PM 'Tomaso Bertoli'
[biochar] <> wrote:

We should also focus on scalability and appropriateness of technology and
massive horizontal scalability

This video is quite long but shows very well
a small sized operation of circular bioeconomy based on sustainable
plantations, biomass, biochar, tar, wood vinegar cycled back in the soil
and farming operations

If you are in a hurry just skip the introduction and look the Bioenergy
with Carbon Capture and Storage part of the story

At any scale piro-gassification can improve the wellbeing of a community

1. Earth troughs, kon-tikis, … flame cap / flame curtain (FC) > reduce
emission – produce biochar
2. Community and home Stoves 10-100 Kg per day > produce energy -
reduce emission – produce biochar
3. Batch units – such as the one in the video 500 - 1000 Kg per day >
produce energy - reduce emission – produce biochar
4. Continuous units (such as the one produced by BiokW, carbofex,
pyreg ) – 100-1000 Kg per hour > produce energy - reduce emission – produce
5. Larger plants 1000 – 10000 Kg per hour > produce energy - reduce
emission – produce biochar – biorefinery

All these processes are self-sustainable without compensation for the
positive externalities they generate on the Global Climate

1. reduced emissions from decomposing &#92; or infield burning of biomass
(estimated at 1550 ton of CO2eq for each 1000 ton of biomass that is
gasified or burned rather than rotten&#92;decomposed on the ground)
2. substitution of carbon emissions from fossil fuels displaced by the
bioenergy generated in the process
3. sequestration of carbon in the form of biochar (3 times of CO2eq
the dry weight of the biochar to stay on the safe side)

Nevertheless the positive externalities are produced through the avoided
emissions of CO2eq and the sequestration of CO2eq therefore they should be
compensated like any other externality at market price

No one will move only for the compensation, I’ll quote the recent email
from Tom to challenge the reasoning

*Can we afford to sequester carbon with biochar? The recent study assumed
costs of $10, $50 and $100/Mg CO2. If it takes 400 kg of biochar to
sequester a tonne of CO2 then $100 puts the value of the biochar at about
$0.25/kg or $0.12/lb ($240/ton, $30/CY). That’s 30%-40% of the current US
market value or about $80-$100/CY. Tom *

No one should make biochar just to sequester CO2 … it make no economic

Yet anyone making and using biochar should be able to certify the process
and participate in the CO2 emissions market currently trading around 15-20
euro / ton

If a volunteer organization or a farmers community engages people that
manually &#92; physically ollect 1000 ton of waste biomass from the local Urban
and Perurban Forests (parks, rivers, … ) generating 1550 ton of avoided

They should be able to trade those avoided emissions and gain what ever
the value like any other market operator earning little over 23’000 euro

If a farmer purchases or home produces 350 tons of biochar to use in her
fields permanently sequestering 1000 ton of CO2 earning something like
15’000 euro

For the farmer the reason to put the biochar in the soil is not the CO2
credit … she will look at water retention, pH, SOM, … but nevertheless she
should be compensated at market price for the Sequestration externality

This, in my opinion, is what you should explain and ask at COP24


*Da:* <>
*Inviato:* domenica 25 novembre 2018 00:29
*A:* biochar <>; Tom Miles <>
*Cc:* Albert Bates <>
*Oggetto:* Re: [biochar] Natural Climate Solutions for the US--Major New
Paper Endorses Bioch [2 Attachments]

*[**Attachment(s)* <#m_8488253309682660272_TopText>* from Ronal W. Larson
included below]*

Tom cc List and Albert

This to respond to your query below *"What should we pitch*?"
(at COP24).

I am partly responding also after visiting this site:

which is devoted to improved selling of climate change policy. They make
one main point - have people in your photos. Unfortunately, that site has
few pictures of biochar. So trying to kill 2 birds with one stone, here
is a start - based on my perceptions about biochar of the likely biases of
COP24 attendees.. I am also emphasizing that IBI should send anything on
biochar we like for any reason to this group

In my initial priority order

1. Terra Preta (photos from Rio conference - in Manaus) - this would be
my first choice to emphasize

2. Stockholm (From webinar - emphasizing total energy - CHP)

3. New Chinese aggressive 5-year biochar plan - smoke avoidance

4. Japanese work (for a century?) on saving older dying trees (before and

also trip photos on char from rice husks seen during Kyoto

5. Any field showing different plant heights with and without biochar;
this is an example that is great but would be better with more of the 2007

I found this on Google, but is also at:

[image: cid:image001.png@01D484AF.DBECF5F0]

This next one tells a great story, but might be improved with a human
person in photo as well. Also found in Google search. Cite is

[image: cid:image002.png@01D484AF.DBECF5F0]

*Other: *

We should probably use the Google image list with specific words like
"Stockholm" or "China" or "Japan". Google looks better than Yahoo.

Also emphasize low-cost approaches in developing countries (TLUD stove in
Bangladesh and India; Hans-Peter work in Nepal)

Also policies (Colorado bill - on forest health; recent Governor Jerry
Brown on California reaching net carbon zero by 2045)

Some way to show huge number of biochar peer-reviewed papers

Review biochar company websites - all trying to sell biochar; emphasize
any that have been IBI (or USBI et al) supporters

Also try to show massive growth of biochar companies - must be 10X
other CDR approaches.

Also show range of energy-production options with biochar (Cool
Planet on biofuels; cook stoves for thermal energy; electricity is
easiest, but can add combined heat and power

More on non-soil biochar


Willing to spend more time on this, if this is what you are looking for.
What do we know is possible way to present this at this meeting? (A
table?, video?, handouts?)

See few more inserts below.


On Nov 21, 2018, at 1:45 PM, [biochar] <> wrote:

We have 8 International Biochar Initiative delegates going to COP24 in
Poland next month (who know more about climate change than I do). What
should we pitch? Can we put these estimates in perspective? Please correct
the math and express it in terms that we can understand.

The Vision of the International Biochar Initiative is to produce 1 billion
tonnes (1,000 Tg) of biochar per year in 50 years. That vision was derived
from the Griscom study that Albert cites. How does it compare with the
various estimates of potential? It looks like this study estimates US
biochar mitigation potential to be 95 Tg CO2e/yr (95 million tonnes) which
would require about 38 million tonnes of biochar (2.5 kg CO2e/kg biochar),
or about 200 million tonnes of biomass, of the 1 billion tonnes of biomass
available in the US.

*[RWL: The group called HCA is attending and will be
pushing for something about 10X larger.*

What are the potential benefits of 1 billion tons of biochar per year?

*[RWL: I think this conference will believe the benefits
are there. They will generally not believe that biochar can have the least
costs or a large scale.*

At 10 t/ha 1 billion tonnes could treat or restore 100 million ha of
farmland which could potentially benefit 50 million (2 ha) smallholder
farmers per year.

*[RWL: I think we could justify a 10X factor here -
including idle waste land and some pasture land.*

It would require about 5 billion tons of biomass at typical conversion
efficiencies (20%) but heat energy recovered (33%) could displace 22.5
billion GJ of fossil fuels or about 500 million tons of oil equivalent (42

*[RWL: A big issue will be whether biochar can use ocean
resources - also another 50-60 Gt C/yr of annual productivity.*

*It will take many years to prove biochar can get to these
10X numbers - but the majority of the COP24 group will be pushing for their
non-biochar preferences - and they will have positive costs, much in excess
of biochar's negative costs.*

*I think I am supporting Albert here. I need to look at
the new Griscom material.*



*From:* <>
*Sent:* Wednesday, November 21, 2018 5:00 AM
*Subject:* [biochar] Re: Natural Climate Solutions for the US--Major New
Paper Endorses Bioch

This paper narrows the scope of the Nature Conservancy study published
in PNAS in 2017. That paper was global, while this one focuses on the
USA. We (Global Ecovillage Network) invited the lead author of the first
paper, Bronson Griscom, to make a presentation and be part of the panel
at our side event at COP23 in Bonn. I was also on that panel, presenting
on the potential of biochar when not limited to crop residues or
agricultural applications.

Griscom told our audience that the maximum drawdown potential of all
natural pathways, over and above what they already accomplish, could be
as much as 37.4 gigatons of CO2-equivalent at a 2030 reference year. All
human activity today releases about 35 gigatons, so Griscom said,
essentially, we can neutralize that with biochar, forests, and wetlands.
Combined with emission reductions we can return the atmosphere to the
way it was before fossil fuels destabilized our future.

The original PNAS paper is: Griscom, Bronson W., Justin Adams, Peter W.
Ellis, Richard A.. Houghton, Guy Lomax, Daniela A. Miteva, William H.
Schlesinger et al. "Natural climate solutions." Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences 114, no. 44 (2017): 11645-11650..


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