How safe is biochar production for the planet?

In one of the last articles, we talked about the CINCIA research and found out that biochar is the main ingredient in reforestation. However, what about making biochar, what is its carbon footprint?

Of course, during the production of biochar, carbon dioxide is emitted, but the energy costs for it pay off, throughout the entire process more carbon is captured than released.

The most harmful stage in the creation of a reforestation site is the emission of greenhouse gases. Lefebvre explains: “Biochar is resistant to degradation and can remain in the soil for a very long time. For this reason, it is considered a carbon removal technology. ”For each of the 1,111 seedlings, CINCIA experts add about a kilogram of biochar.

Lefebvre found that while producing enough biochar for a reforestation site produces about 0.3 metric tons of carbon, planting it with seedlings absorbs three times as much. That’s enough to tip the carbon balance. The point is, without biochar, replanting a hectare of forest is a net carbon-based process. Growing seedlings only cover their carbon debt and begin to bind carbon about two months after planting.

Many companies try to appear “green” just because they planted a lot of trees. But the very fact of planting a tree is only carbon emissions, the tree begins to pay for itself over time. Usually, when calculating the planting of a forest, it is assumed that each tree planted captures 100 kg of carbon. According to CINCIA estimates, this is only achievable in 4 years, provided the trees remain alive.

“The most amazing thing I’ve learned from this process is that while trees do capture carbon, the questions of how much, how long, at what rate, and how to represent and monetize it are far from clear and simple answer. It was surprising to realize how little we [scientists] agree, despite huge investments in reforestation / afforestation and claims of its importance for achieving zero carbon emissions, ”says Lefebvre.

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