Category Archives: Biochar


Haiti: A char briquette entrepreneur’s perspective

“Our approach is not to disrupt traditions.  If people don’t want to change from charcoal, then as an outsider you won’t be able to convince them.  As a cheaper, “drop-in” replacement for traditional charcoal, green charcoal is an elegant compromise,” says Haiti-based social entrepreneur, Eric Sorensen

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Once-Lowly Charcoal Emerges as ‘Major Tool’ for Curbing Carbon

From Greenwire/ NYT By Paul Voosen of Greenwire Published: September 7th, 2010 …Inspired by ancient Amazonian soils, researchers have found that buried charcoal resists bacteria’s attempts to break it down. And thanks to its porous geometry, it has a knack for improving land in ways still being revealed. “Once we get serious about climate change, this information is available now,” said James Amonette, an environmental geochemist at the Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. “[Biochar] is one of the major tools we can use to fight climate change, if we decide to do so.” Charcoal’s status may be comparable to … Continue reading

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Tanzania: Charcoal-making in five easy pieces

We published last month an interview with Dennis Tessier of ARTI-TZ, a Tanzania-based non-profit working to promote the manufacturing and marketing of briquettes made from the char produced in improved charcoal kilns. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Tanzania’s forests are disappearing at a whopping rate of 4,200 square kilometers (1,620 sq. miles) annually. That’s about four times the size of New York City or  half the size of Virunga National Park in the DRC. In our Q&A with Dennis he mentioned ARTI-Tanzania’s Waste to Wealth (W2W) project and we wanted to find out more. Below … Continue reading


Biochar: Panacea or peril?

The problem stems not so much from the science as from the business model for biochar. Bringing biochar into the market for trading carbon credits – which is being considered by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)  for inclusion in UN Certified Emission Reductions (CER) and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – would kickstart biochar production on an industrial scale. It would create a market for biochar carbon offsets that polluters would buy. That means biochar companies would need enough biomass to fuel their furnaces – and their bottom lines. That could mean more than a billion hectares worldwide devoted to biochar.

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