Agricultural bio-char production, renewable energy generation and farm carbon sequestration in Western Australia
Agricultural bio-char production, renewable energy generation and farm carbon sequestration in Western Australia: Certainty, uncertainty and risk
Mark P. McHenry, Murdock University, Western Australia, January 2009
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, www.elsevier.com/locate/agee
Reducing the vulnerability of agriculture to climate change while increasing primary productivity requires mitigation and adaptation activities to generate profitable co-benefits to farms. The conversion of woody-wastes by pyrolysis to produce bio-char (biologically derived charcoal) is one potential option that can enhance natural rates of carbon sequestration in soils, reduce farm waste, and substitute renewable energy sources for fossil-derived fuel inputs. Bio-char has the potential to increase conventional agricultural productivity and enhance the ability of farmers to participate in carbon markets beyond traditional approach by directly applying carbon into soil. This paper provides an overview of the pyrolysis process and products and quantifies the amount of renewable energy generation and net carbon sequestration possible when using farm bio-waste to produce bio-char as a primary product. While this research provides approximate bio-char and energy production yields, costs, uses and risks, there is a need for additional research on the value of bio-char in conventional crop yields and adaptation and mitigation options.
Keywords: Bio-char; Charcoal; Soil; Carbon; Renewable; Biomass; Western Australia
Received 22 June 2008; revised 31 July 2008; accepted 5 August 2008. Available online 25 September 2008.
2. Bio-char production and feedstock
3. Bio-char and agricultural suitability
4. Bio-char and alternative biomass products and services
5. Bio-char production and greenhouse gas emissions