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Michael, I believe that the major unique benefit of biochar in soil is to induce carbon sequestration. For that you need incentives.
There are other benefits in soil of course, but in most cases they can be achieved by other low cost means
- Biochar has a high pH. So if your soil is acidic it can help. Neutral pH frees up nutrients.
has high air filled porosity. So if you have a soil with little aeration or low
infiltration it can help by providing oxygen and water to microbes that facilitate
- If your soil is low in labile organic matter – you can use pyrolysis
char with has organic matter that can feed the microbiome.
biochar are high in potassium, particularly gasifier chars, which is a critical nutrient helping the
microbiome convert potassium to plant usable forms
- Some biochar helps compost get to maturity sooner. But you can also just move your compost pile off site and let it mature
Most of what you see biochar does in soil in practice can be explained by these simple effects. Biochar has its greatest value when it can address multiple of these soil challenges.
If you start with a soil analysis, and do the right tests, and also analyze the biochar as a soil, you can quickly see if biochar can help.
In the end, biochar can not cost much more than compost for it to go to scale. (If that were not the case, it would have happened by now)
On Aug 3, 2020, at 11:30 AM, Michael Woelk <mike@...
In addition to what others are saying, I suggest the concept of “additionality” is wrongheaded. It penalizes business models, like biochar production, that deliver co-linear benefits to customers unlike direct air capture & storage that deliver ZERO co-linear benefits to customers. From the paper - additionality requires that “a project would not take place in the absence of the incentives provided through the existence of carbon market mechanisms, e.g. revenues from carbon credits.”
Imagine pitching investors and customers, “Here’s the good part. Our value proposition is so low. In fact, it’s zero! We’d have no customers without carbon markets,”? To significantly scale carbon drawdown markets (any market for that matter) incentives/benefits should be bundled to maximize customer value!
The graphic appears to assume that biochar is being made by harvesting perfectly good forests. Otherwise it would be shown as a derivative of biomass.
As a product of biomass, biochar should have a node after "Capture from biomass" and be shown to be longer-term than underground storage. Who is considering underground storage of biomass anyway? Is that compost?
They seem to think that sequestering captured CO2 can be done with the same methods as sequestering biomass.
That's just from looking at the graphic which, IMHO, is seriously flawed and prejudicial toward biochar.