Re: Forests: Carbon sequestration, biomass energy, or both? - New paper #carbonsequestration

Geoff Thomas

Hi Paul, to the degree we can compare apples with apples, In the International System of Units, the prefix “giga” means 109, or one billion (1,000,000,000). Hence terms like “gigawatt” or “gigahertz.” Thus, a gigaton is equivalent to a billion metric tons. 
So my figure of 110 billion tons is not far off, and there are some new elements to consider.
Back at 2007, the knowledge of the quantity of carbon held in the soil by the “wee Beasties” was not appreciated, - nobody back then was talking about there being 4 times the weight of a tree underground as it has overground, for instance, and only now are such matters being more comprehensively addressed, -  (and more exactly measured).

So logging, particularly clear felling, is now being understood as far more serious than heretofore, yet the rate of such clearing has increased quite alarmingly, as from the super rich point of view, it is easy money, eg the Amazon situashe.

Then there is an arguable increase in take up of carbon dioxide, - where there was a restriction in growth from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, - rather than enough water, or sunlight or minerals, - so basically mainly in crop growing using ‘modern' agriculture methods, as water and nutrients are fully supplied and no shade. 
On the other side of that one, most of that extra carbon will return to the atmosphere so the Turnover figure will be greater, at least in appearance, yet that agricultural waste is very suitable for charring, so that is a very positive thing to work for, - no tree need be felled..
Not that trees are often felled for Biochar in the normal case, - but you know what I mean. 

A discussion could be held about how to best extract carbon from agricultural waste, - of many different varieties, and some may argue that it is a poorer sort of Char, compared to Tree charcoal, but it should be ideal for feeding to cattle, - probably may not need crushing either, with many crops.
Also farms may have, or decide to have, both cattle (or other farm animals) and food crops, so several synergies may develop, including using the ’smoke’.

Hopefully, Paul, I have answered the first part of your query, - the carbon exchange/turnover, if not succinctly, but my second assertion,  - that the land plants hold a reserve of 750 Billion tons you did not seem to challenge.
Whatever, I suspect that that figure has changed significantly, - not only due to the issues I mentioned above, but also the difficulty of calculating such a thing, including, where climate change is altering the balance of our various Biomes, - eg the Bushfires in Australia recently, - and in America also, and what can we do about them?

- I immediately thought of ramping up the feeding cattle charcoal publicity, if only for the increased water holding of the soil with the Biochar being added year after year, - and I would appreciate any helpful additions to my understanding on that one, - but also resurrecting an invention I made 30 or so years ago of an Electric Pump Firetruck, the which the local Lion’s club has committed to helping me fund and build a demo unit, as going through the bureaucracy is a life’s work, despite my many years of service in fighting bushfires. - eg to bring in a new idea there are four separate processes to say no, each containing an enormous amount of forms, meetings,  much of it duplicationary and requiring meetings which may happen only annually, before you can get to a possible yes, then 5 more stages before actual work on a demo unit could start.
Meanwhile there will be more years of worsening situation. - btw I am not asking for assistance on this project, merely giving an eg.

Geoff Thomas.


On 4 Apr 2020, at 11:26 pm, Paul S Anderson <psanders@...> wrote:

How well do these numbers fit with your calculations (in your message below)
“Every year, plants convert 4,500 EJ of solar energy and  120 Giga Tonnes of carbon [= 439 Gt CO2] from the atmosphere into [ ~240 Gt of new] biomass – eight times as much as the global energy need.” ( , 2016).  That same document identified the global composition of annual biomass supply in 2012 to be 56 EJ of biomass energy [about 29 Gt of biomass], with an expected near- tripling to 150 EJ by 2035 [~85 Gt of biomass].
The above is from the WBA (World Bioenergy Association) in 2016.  
Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:
         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud
         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434
Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to:  
Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See
Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at
         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.
From: <> On Behalf Of Geoff Thomas via
Sent: Saturday, April 4, 2020 12:55 AM
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Forests: Carbon sequestration, biomass energy, or both? - New paper #carbonsequestration
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Hi David, research I did in 2007 claimed these figures,  - "Approximately 100 billion tons of carbon circulates between the atmosphere and the approximately 750 billion ton reservoir in Land plants” .
Later I came across a claim that it was 110 billion tons, so I thought well, that’s in the ball park.
So that gives us a pretty good margin, - we don’t have to pyrolize every skerrick. 
Last I could bear to look we are throwing about 15 billion tons into the atmosphere  every  year, but of course not at this moment thanks to Coronavirus.
Nothing like getting back to Base Principles Eh.
Geoff Thomas.
On 3 Apr 2020, at 10:46 pm, Roger Faulkner via <roger_rethinker@...> wrote:
Something that I have puzzled about 4 years is how much of the total carbon taken in by plants during a growing season is shed in there dying deciduous leaves? If one had a forest in which the Dead leaves were converted to biochar how much of a difference would that make in terms of permits permanent sequestration

On Thu, Apr 2, 2020 at 3:18 PM, David R Derbowka
If every farmer made a three or so hedge row deep of "hard working" (trees, or hemp, or bamboo...whatever) along side the usual food production area of land available, an Earthly "balance" might be achieved at each location of "carbon farming" participants.  A professional cooker outfit could cook the year's production for the farmer.   OR, the farmer would possibly choose to do kon-tiki or whatever for themselves.  But a cooker machine portable, may commence trade deals for those who choose.
But education has to happen.      I know that here in Canada a portable unit is now available. (Expensive) In the meanwhile, I focus on building products privately.  There are a gargantuan batch of opportunities existing, certainly if one considers "organic" building products.
I say this to get us out of the forest. (logistics and tfl [tree farm licence] owners really don't want us in their faces.) I say this too, to protect farm lands.  I say this to share with everyone a perhaps doable, shared opportunity.
The big picture regarding climate change translates to me, that farmers have the ball in their court.   And we all agree; "biochar could help save the world".   Starting at the ground; the sun needs greenery to shine upon, so, observations are what leads me to say what I share.  
David R Derbowka


Passive Remediation Systems Ltd.
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