In our guest’s corner of the geoscience field, inertinites are well-known to be stable forms of carbon. So Hamed Sanei was surprised to learn that there was significant debate over the stability of CO2 storage in biochar, which is an inertinite. In his view, the science of that question has been settled for a long time, and the answer is clear: biochar is durable carbon removal.
Biochar represented 92% of permanent carbon removal sales in the first part of 2023.
It is technologically ready and accessible by a larger share of businesses and populations than other ‘permanent methods’ due to its relatively low-tech production. A recent report found it could one day deliver three gigatons of CDR annually. More investment money is flowing to companies doing biochar, and it has become a staple of CDR portfolios among buyers who are diversifying.
Not only that, but it is thousands of years old and works as a soil amendment that helps crop productivity. It can be made from various biomass types, and the potential uses are just as numerous.
However, a major question has hovered over the reputation of biochar: Is the carbon removed from the atmosphere by biochar stored permanently, or will it quickly seep back into the air?
However, recent research has drawn some optimistic conclusions.
Hamed walks us through why there has been debate, what his research has found, and why he thinks the debate over carbon storage permanence needs to be closed so that the biochar community can focus on improving and scaling the use of biochar.
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