Positive Charcoal=Negative Carbon?
Why adding charcoal to the Earth's soils will also address climate change.
Ron Larson. Chair, American Solar Energy Society, Solar Today, November-December 2006
"We clearly are making progress on global warming education. Scientific American magazine’s special September-issue theme, “Energy’s Future Beyond Carbon,” focused on ways to achieve a reduced-carbon future, which
experts say is far behind schedule. But like most everything I read on the subject, the articles offered little hope that we can take any of the existing carbon dioxide (CO2), the major contributor to climate change, out of the atmosphere. However, as evidenced by an article in the Aug. 10 issue of Nature (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v442/n7103/full/442624a.html), one “negative carbon” possibility seems to be getting another look from scientists: the positive impacts of putting charcoal back into the ground.
In brief, I am talking here of a threestep process: growing biomass material like corn stalks, turning as much of it as possible into charcoal (a heating process called pyrolysis), and mixing the charcoal into the earth’s soil. I look at this process as one represented by the acronym “ChAr” and having two equal parts: Ch = Climate healing (i.e., “negative carbon”)and Ar = Agricultural recovery (i.e., “positive charcoal”). “Ch” works because charcoal in the soil has a very long life. Those converted carbon atoms starting out as CO2 molecules will stay in the soil as part of a small grain of charcoal for thousands
of years. “Ar” denotes that the charcoal greatly improves the quality of the soil."