Long Term Carbon Sequestration Using Charcoal

Tom Miles

Long Term Carbon Sequestration Using Charcoal
Amrith S. Gunasekara1, Victor P. Claassen2, Thomas Young3, and Ronald Tjeerdema1, 2005

Long term carbon sequestration is highly dependent on the recalcitrance of organic matter in soils. If the carbon to be sequestered is not recalcitrant in the soil, microbial decomposition of the organic matter will reintroduce the carbon into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Thus, a molecular level examination of the contribution of newly formed organic carbon into soils, in terms of recalcitrance, and the mechanismand potential for their sequestration is required.

We examined the potential for charcoal, a very recalcitrant substance in soils, to complex with newly formed organic substances, like compost, and sequester a fraction of non-recalcitrant materials on a long term basis and produce a new recalcitrant substance suitable for carbon sequestration (Figure 1).

Department of Environmental Toxicology1, Soils and Biogeochemistry2, and Civil and Environmental Engineering3 at the University of California, Davis 2005