Carboneers India Biochar

Biochar Biomass


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For as long as fire and plant life have coexisted, biochar has played a role in the fertility of topsoil, having been used by Amazon farmers over 2000 years ago to improve soil health and plant growth. That's because it’s effective in retaining water and nutrients in the root zone where it's later made available to plants, increasing soil tilth and supporting microbial communities.
Nowadays, biochar production can be optimized through million dollar installations—a substantial investment that’s not often feasible in the global south. In addition to the initial costs, these installations also require great amounts of centralized biomass, which rural infrastructures do not support and whose transport in such a context would be detrimental from a carbon footprint standpoint.
Carboneers focuses on decentralized project development, in which biomass owners benefit from the presence of biochar in their soils. The company provides local farmers with technology and training to become certified carbon-sink biochar creators. By selling carbon credits on the voluntary carbon credit market, Carboneers provides these farmers with greater economic stability while improving their soils and effectively storing carbon for over a thousand years. In later phases, Carboneers will move towards more robust technology solutions that will require logistical infrastructure improvements.
Every project under the Global Artisan C-Sink Guidelines, developed and published by Carbon Standards International, is certified by CERES CERT. Each project carries modifications, as local practicalities differ from one geographical region to the next.
From a carbon sink perspective, the training of the farmers who will be making the biochar is by far the most important. If the biomass is too wet, for example, it does not provide enough energy to maintain a steady fire. This causes it to smoke with subsequent methane emissions, which is of course the very opposite of a carbon sink. By training farmers to skillfully store and dry the biomass, as well as to properly control the fire by adding biomass in a timely and precise manner, methane emissions can be really low. It's worth noting that the Global Artisan C-Sink Guidelines establish a rather high methane-emission average to err on the side of caution. It also conducted its research with relatively wet biomass, leading to high methane emissions. In the future, Carboneers aims to chart methane emissions from different biomass sources at varying moisture levels for a more representative average.
Because of the decentralized set up, transparency and traceability are important. To track every step in the entire process, Carboneers has developed a closed mobile application through which all farmers trained to produce biochar are registered. In addition, local supervisors will be trained and certified. Supervisors will receive a notification once the farmer wants to make a batch of biochar, in order to physically supervise the entire production. They will then upload critical information to the mobile application to provide evidence for biomass presence, biochar production, produced volumes, and biochar end application.
To lower the initial investment costs and speed up the project's launch, the initial phase of the project will see the digging of soil pits. Traditionally, this is the way biochar is crated. In the next phase, soil pits will be replaced by Kon-tiki kilns to give farmers better tools and to improve production comfort. The Kon-tiki kilns will be financed through the income of carbon credit sales. In a following phase, Carboneers will look into other small/mid-size technology options. By offering different solutions, Carboneers aims to make sure that it doesn't force a project into a specific direction of biochar production, thus maintaining independence in solving for a project's structure.