5. March 2021
Henriette zu Doha
Biochar | CCS | Co2-Footprint | Pyrolysis

Biochar as Nega­tive Emis­sion Tech­no­logy (NET)

The strict requi­re­ments of the EBC

In order to achieve climate neutra­lity by 2050, as called for by the EU, two funda­ment­ally diffe­rent strands of action are required: on the one hand, the reduc­tion of carbon emis­sions, and on the other, the crea­tion of carbon sinks.

(source: Glen peters @ https://www.cicero.oslo.no/en/posts/climate-news/stylised-pathways-to-well-below-2c)

In the EU, this would require seques­te­ring a carbon quan­tity on the order of 15% of 1990 emis­sions, or about 850 million metric tons of CO2 equi­va­lent. Without carbon sinks, also known as nega­tive emis­sions, climate neutra­lity and thus the Paris climate goals cannot be achieved.

There are a number of viable methods for crea­ting carbon sinks, also known as Nega­tive Emis­sion Tech­no­lo­gies (NET), that actively remove CO2 from the atmo­s­phere. The key to carbon effi­ci­ency is sequestra­tion (i.e., storage) over as long a period of time as possible.

Source: Peters_Glen

(source: EBI White Paper adjusted from MCC)

The Euro­pean Biochar Certi­fi­cate (EBC) for quality control was supple­mented in June 2020 with a new stan­dard for carbon sink certi­fi­ca­tion (EBC, 2020). This provided a scien­ti­fi­cally sound basis for quan­ti­fying the overall carbon sink perfor­mance of biochar appli­ca­tions. Key elements include:

  1. Biomass produc­tion must be carbon neutral, i.e., it must not impact exis­ting carbon sinks.
  2. Emis­sions from the entire char­ring process (pyro­lysis) must be subtracted. In parti­cular, this includes emis­sions asso­ciated with the trans­port and proces­sing of the biomass, any post-treat­ment, and the energy required to start the pyro­lysis process.
  3. Emis­sions from trans­por­ting the biochar to the point of use and, if appli­cable, emis­sions from further proces­sing of the biochar must also be subtracted.
  4. The final use of the biochar deter­mines the dura­bi­lity of the carbon sink. For example, for soil appli­ca­tions, a scien­ti­fi­cally based annual decay must be assumed. However, if the biochar is used as a sand repla­ce­ment in concrete, for example, this is not necessary because the biochar cannot oxidize in the absence of air.

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