Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Scaling up biochar and pyrolysis for energy and agriculture

Pyrolysis means heating biomass in an oxygen-deprived environment. The result is pyrolysis oil, syngas (can be burned to make electricity) and biochar (a promising fertilizer). If it can be sacaled up, it could be an important solution for food production, greenhouse gas reduction, and clean energy production.
Carbon Sequestration, Agriculture, and Charcoal - Can Biochar Stop Global Warming? - Popular Mechanics: "Biochar goes beyond this, directly removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by stimulating plant growth as well as storing the carbon from decomposing plants in the soil as well as those that were burned to make it for as long as 5,000 years."


Joel said...

We have done it. We will be manufacturing the first 50 ton per day pyrolysis system for delivery in June of 2009. It will utilize various waste materials as fuel and produce 2 MW of power, 2,400 gallons per day of pyro-oil and 15 tons per day of pyro-char.

Jeff Goettemoeller said...

That's Great to hear. One good thing about Pyrolysis is that it appears to be feasible at small scales. This means it can be used for localized biomass waste streams such as municipal and farm wastes without the need for expensive long-distance hauling of feedstock.