By rethinking our relationship to carbon and green waste.
Earth has a natural way of regulating carbon — plants. Plants take up atmospheric carbon (CO2) and convert it into food and oxygen. When plants die, the remaining carbon in their structure decomposes and is stored in Earth’s soil. Time, heat, and pressure fossilizes decayed plant (and animal) matter into what we refer to as fossil fuels (coal or oil). This is Earth’s long-term carbon storage system.
The mining of these fossil fuels for energy has disrupted this process. Every time we mine fossil fuels, we are extracting millennia’s worth of trapped carbon from the soil. When we burn these fossil fuels for energy, we are emitting millennia’s worth of trapped carbon into the air as CO2. Due to our reliance on the fossil fuel industry, we are extracting and burning a record amount of fossil fuels everyday, releasing CO2 faster than Earth’s natural cycles are able to keep up. According to the IPCC our rate our CO2 emission has caused a 1 degree global increase in temperature, .5 degrees away from long-lasting or irreversible changes. Needless to say, we must do everything we can to slow down our rate of CO2 emission.
At Local Carbon Network, we are turning to waste as the solution.
By bringing together people, plants, and machines we can re-fossilize and trap CO2 back into the soil, preventing it from being released into the sky. We do this via a process called gasification which is high heat with no oxygen. This process effectively re-fossilizes 50% of the CO2 into wood-charcoal, commonly known as biochar. Co-composting this biochar effectively traps carbon into the soil for millennia.
What is a Local Carbon Network?
local green waste – biochar making technology – community gardens – sponsors
We source local woody biomass waste that would otherwise go to municipal burn facility and convert it into Biochar using technology that allows the simultaneous production of electricity and heat. We find sponsor funding to purchase a supply of the biochar to donate to the local community gardens. We supply the gardens and teach them how to co-compost with the Biochar (and reintroduce it back into the soil, effectively trapping carbon into the soil and regenerating soil health)
Why does it work?
Because we create a win-win scenario for green-waste recycling projects, for community gardens/regenerative agriculture specialists and for the environment.
Benefits for composting activities and agriculture:
- Biochar causes compost to reach higher decomposition temperatures, causing it to mature faster; higher composting temperatures kill pathogens and weed seeds, and result in a more stable, higher quality product.
- Biochar suppresses the emission of odors from compost, especially ammonia, and makes composting much more forgiving.
- Biochar matures in the compost by adsorbing a functional coating from compost which gives it much greater water holding capacity and nutrient exchange capacity, behaving like permanent compost, since biochar itself is extremely long-lived in the soil.
- Biochar stimulates the production of plant exudates and fungal mycelia which increases the soil aggregate stability, making the soil more resilient, more water permeable, and resistant to compaction.
- Biochar captures and retains a tremendous amount of water-soluble nitrates which would otherwise be lost during composting, and stimulates plant growth by providing the plant access to abundant nitrogen.
- Plants exhibit a stronger immune response against pathogens due to the support and soil services of the soil microbiome fostered by co-composted biochar.
- The enhanced nutrient exchange capacity afforded by co-composted biochar reduces the loss of water-soluble nutrients, reducing the pressure to use fertilizer. Any fertilizer that is applied ends up being used more efficiently.
Benefits for the environment:
- For every kg of composted Biochar produced in conjunction with electricity generation by gasification of biomass waste, we have up to 40kg of climate impact.
- Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Sequestration (BECCS), and Pyrolysis Carbon Capture and Sequestration (PyCCS), are scientifically recognized methods for drawing down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in the soil for the long term, leveraging plants to capture carbon dioxide, which is already happening worldwide.
- Nitrous oxide and methane emissions can be reduced by up to 90% in the compost pile with the addition of biochar. (Nitrous oxide, N2O, is 300x more potent than CO2, and methane is about 80-100x worse than CO2 in the first 20 years after it is emitted.)
- Biochar continues to abate nitrous-oxide emissions from the soil.
- Biochar binds and immobilizes many pollutants, including pesticides and heavy metals, making it a useful tool for remediating contaminated soils.
- The production of biochar in the course of gasification prevents particulate matter from being released into the atmosphere compared to open combustion.
- The production of biochar in the course of gasification for power generation and heating offsets fossil fuel use.
Benefits of producing biochar as a part of green waste recycling projects:
- Avoid trucking green waste over long distances burning diesel.
- Get electricity and heat out of the green waste instead of just letting that value go up in smoke.
- The production of biochar converts a waste stream into a value stream.
How can I get involved?
If you are interested in composting – become a Climate Steward – you could support the project by signing up for a yearly composting subscription and receive an insulated tumbling composter as well as a yearly supply of biochar. We reinvest the profit into sponsoring other projects. Alternatively you could involve your local community garden and apply for a sponsorship.
If you are producing woody biomass – become a Biochar Producer – our equipment converts 6 tons of woody waste biomass each month, producing 60mw/h of renewable electricity, 120 mW/h of heat and 300kg of Biochar (enough for 3 tons of compost) – you can become a biochar producer if you produce 6 tons of woody green waste per month or can form a community project to reach that amount.
If you are a local business – become a Sponsor – instead of investing only on advertising you can associate your brand to Climate Impact and really enable Carbon Drawdown in your area. In exchange we will talk about you to local press, put you on our newsletter, have your company name visible at the community garden we provide the biochar to and even give you visibility for a year on our website. We will also give you a certificate displaying your yearly drawdown achievement. Relatively small donations can be fully enabling to the project!
If you have a following – become an LCN Advocate – activists, associations, journalists, thought leaders and communicators we would love for you to help us spread the word by interviewing us or talking about us on your blog, newsletter or social media. We will return the courtesy by speaking about your brand.
Join the Local Carbon Network today and help your community be a part of the climate solution.
LCN has sequestered: