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New Zealand Company Locks Away CO2 in Charcoal

Carbonscape, a company based in Marlborough, New Zealand, has found a new use for microwaves – sequestering carbon dioxide.  They have recently developed a way to nuke things like wood chips (and other useless biological wastes) into charcoal.  By doing so, carbon dioxide that would otherwise leak into the atmosphere is where can i buy real cialis effectively locked into the charcoal.  This charcoal, or “biochar”, is then buried into soil.  The benefits of canadian generic levitra online biochar-infused soil include improved soil fertility, fewer soil emissions of greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide, and the improved ability of soil-dwelling microbes to extract carbon dioxide from the air.

Carbonscape has tested its technology, and is moving to initial batch scale production at its South Island, NZ facility.  Once fed with wood debris, each oven can turn 40-50% of it into charcoal, or one ton of charcoal per day, says the company.  Of course, the microwave ovens themselves require electricity… which in turn has a carbon dioxide price tag.  But Carbonscape claims that, given the tramadol without perscription amount of carbon sequestered in the charcoal, the overall balance is carbon-negative.

“The application of microwaves to charcoal making is new,” Tim Flannery of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia - an expert on climate change who is not associated with the company - told New Scientist. “If it increases efficiency in the charcoal-making process it could prove to be a real winner.”

Via New Scientists, New Zealand Herald
Image via Carbonscape


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Comments (15)Add Comment
written by Karkus, October 03, 2008
So what happens to the other 50-60% of the wood or waste? Does it get burned and turned into CO2?
This one really makes me ponder.
written by green_grrl, October 03, 2008
> wood chips (and other useless biological wastes)

*flail* What? Conventional agriculture is currently dependent upon fossil-fuel based fertilizers. Biological waste should be used for compost, or mulch. Yes, it will release its stored CO2, but it will be supporting the growth of levitra superactive new plants that will consume CO2. You know, the way the ecosystem WORKS.
written by Bob, October 03, 2008
Biochar can be made using the buy propecia generic energy embedded in the materials being converted. And usable bio-oils can be captured during the process.

Until we have surplus electricity from renewable sources I'm not sure that I can see a reason to use this process.

Biochar does seem to be an important issue to further research. It appears that biochar could greatly decrease our need for fossil fuel based fertilizers and increase our agricultural productivity. It seems to be more valuable than compost as it remains working in the soil long, long after compost has been used up.

So take our wood/plant waste, extract some usable oil, sequester carbon, and improve our crop land.

Idea works for me. (Now let's see if the research confirms.)

Microwave Pyrolysis isn't New
written by Carl, October 03, 2008
This isn't a new application for microwaves-- pyrolysis (making charcoal) has been around for some time now (google it). Both external heat or microwaves have been used, it's a matter of what is more practical. The Carbonscape web site says nothing about why thier technology is buy now online viagra better-- it's mostly fluff about CO2 sequestration, only a small part of the story.

What about the other 50-60%? It condenses into pyrolysis fuel oil ($.50-$1/gal) that can be burned, or by adding H2, upgraded to on line pharmacy automotive or aviation fuel.

It's been shown that adding pyrolysis char to soil makes plants flourish and improves the health of the soil. So you can convert plant waste into liquid fuel and raw carbon (not CO2) that stays in the ground.

Pyrolysis works on almost any kind of hydrocarbon-- sewage, plastic, tires, cellulose, etc. It's one of the 2 technologies for cellulistic fuel-- pyrolysis (e.g. Range Fuels) or digestion (e.g. Mascoma).
written by bbm, October 03, 2008
... is a great way to sequester CO2, and it is easily scalable to huge numbers.

As pointed out above, pyrolysis is actually a spontaneous reaction, so there's not really a need for energy inputs, although the microwaves may be useful for practical purposes.

As far as why only 40-50%, recall that biomass is only about 50%-60% carbon. The rest is nitrogen, hydrogen, phosphorous, and oxygen. That becomes ash or gases.

The process is strongly exothermic and so could be used to run a turbine and look there cheap viagra online prescription create electricity for the microwaves... it should create a surplus of electricity as well.

The charcoal could then be buried or used for other purposes.

Charcoal helps soil hold onto micronutrients that greatly enrich the cialis professional no prescription soil. Google "terra preta".
On second glance...
written by bbm, October 03, 2008
it looks like most other pyrolysis techniques convert about 50% of the carbon in biomass into charcoal (carbon is about 50% of the biomass)or 25-30% by weight).

If the website of uk cialis sales Carbonscape is order cialis online canada correct, then their process converts more of the carbon in the biomass into charcoal... they seem to be saying that their process converts 40-50% of the total biomass weight into charcoal.

This is important if your primary goal is CO2 sequestration, because you pull more CO2 out per unit biomass.

However, I doubt it produces as much surplus energy as traditional pyrolysis since the energy inputs are likely to be pretty high because of the microwaves and there's be less energy out.
written by Ingo Ratsdorf, October 05, 2008
When I first read the article I thought what a nonsense. Okay, there seem to be some advantages of using biochar over compost.
But I am wondering whether this is just another one-way street considering the energy input. NZ has a shortage in power, new power plant being built using gas. The regenerative percentage is about 70% and shrinking.
Has onyone done an LCA on power input, benefits and the real gains at the end?
Using scarce electricity (that releases CO2 during its generation) to convert biomass into charcoal to use it as fertilizer, being eaten up by the plants just to convert that mass back into charcoal....? So effectively we are using electricity to levitra canada overnight generate crops and corn?
We have to develop a way that we achieve at least CO2 neutrality in the circle, otherwise it will be all useless.
As I said, just wondering whether someone has done an assessment on that with the appropriate boundaries.
Use electricity to promote carbon seques
written by Alex, October 07, 2008
Why not use a solar furnace? A system that uses simple parabolic reflectors as a heat source and then collects and stores the resulting volatile gases (to be used when the levitra online switzerland sun intensity isn't sufficient) seems like a much more sensible, "closed-loop" plan.
I agree with Ingo Ratstorf
written by frisbee, October 18, 2008
I too don't see how this can be beneficial to the environment.
Charcoal isn't the fertiliser
written by ben, November 24, 2008
in response to ingo ratsdorf. Charcoal isnt the fertiliser, it just adds properties to the soil which enables it to hold more fertiliser requiring less fertiliser input AND decreases leaching having a hugely beneficial effect on the environment as agricultural leaching is a huge issue on waterway ecosystems. That should answer green grrl too, alot more beneficial to the growth of plants than compost!!! its all about finding an efficient sustainable way to meet consumer needs, otherwise it will never work!
Thumbs up in my opinion. Also in response to carl they are not saying pyrolisis is new technology they have mearly found a more efficient way of performing the microwave proceedure! Putting it into commercial practice is generic levitra a huge step forward. Of course they aren't going to disclose the exact proceedure! :'( :'( :'( :'( :'(
PHD plantology
written by Howard, January 12, 2009
Hello. Your biochar is interesting. We have also an ecco friendly product that incorp. co2. Its called Increase, and its a charged plant and crop enrichment,. Yes a man made enrichment. We use CO2 infused into our patented Organic Nutrient, to deliver (via foliant) the World most powerfull foliant known to click here buy viagra us man, with over 30 trace elements to boot! We can grow a plant to 100% of its potential. We will start marketing now that we just recieved our patent. Good luck with your biochar! H. Wendel
written by russ, March 22, 2009
All is wonderful! I do not know the CO2 balance in using microwaves for coke generation - meaning from energy consumption vs waste generation from start to finish for different methods.

İ do know that coke plants are the start in a line of chemical processes necessary to utilize all the viagra pfizer 50 mg byproducts of coking. This is not a 'one off' process but the first in a long chain.
written by Woody Woodruff, May 02, 2009
A good example of a process that can work best integrated with other recovery options (the solar furnace is good). This could also be co-located with wind or solar installations for when the actual demand drops and overnight viagra there's excess juice.
written by Ian, November 24, 2009
I don't get it. Why are they wasting wood just to sequester CO2? Seems a bit counter productive to me; fixing one problem by adding to another. What I gathered from this article was that this company is microwaving wood chips for the sole purpose of sequestering CO2 and then burying that charcoal in the ground. Either the author left out quite a bit of crucial information, i.e. where the wood chips are coming from (is it recycled wood? new wood?) and what happens to the other 50-60% of the wood, or this company really is just goofy.
carbondioxide sequestration techniques.
written by Chief Akaogu nduka emmanuel., December 19, 2009
The technical and feasibility evaluation of carbon dioxide sequestration techniques should be discussed.

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