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Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change (2006) 11: 429–444 

C Springer 2006
DOI: 10.1007/s11027-005-9007-4




1 Osaka Institute of Technology, 5-16-1 Omiya, Asahi-ku, Osaka, 535-8585 Japan; 2 The General
Environmental Technos Co., Ltd., 8-4 Ujimatafuri, Uji, 611-0021 Japan
(∗ Author for correspondence: E-mail: okimori yasuyuki@kanso.co.jp)

(Received 6 January 2005; accepted in final form 24 June 2005)

Abstract. We proposed the carbon sink project called “Carbon Sequestration by Forestation and
Carbonization (CFC),” which involves biomass utilization and land conservation by incorporating the
products of biomass carbonization into the agents for soil improvement, water purification, etc. Our
purpose was to demonstrate the potential of the CFC scheme for carbon sequestration, particularly
carbon storage in soil. Case studies were conducted in both developing and developed countries. 1.
In southern Sumatra, Indonesia, 88,369 Mg-C year−1 of wood residue from a plantation forest and
excess bark from a pulp mill would be converted into 15,571 Mg-C year−1 of the net carbon sink by
biochar∗ for soil improvement. The fixed carbon recovery of the system is 21.0%. 2. In a semiarid
region in western Australia, the carbonization of wood residue was incorporated with multipurpose
projects of a mallee eucalyptus plantation that involved the function of salinity prevention. During
the project period of 35 years, the total carbon sink would reach 1,035,450 Mg-C with 14.0% by
aboveground biomass, 33.1% by belowground biomass and 52.8% by biochar in soil. 3. In southern
Kyushu, Japan, the study was focused on the effective use of surplus heat from a garbage incinerator
for carbonizing woody materials. Sawdust of 936.0 Mg-C year−1 would be converted into the net
carbon sink of 298.5 Mg-C year−1 by carbonization, with the fixed carbon recovery of the system
being 31.9%. Consequently, the CFC project could encourage the creation of a carbon sink in soil.
However, we recognize that the quality standard of biochar, the stability of biochar in soil, and the
methods for monitoring biochar utilization must be clarified before incorporating biochar carbon into
the carbon credit system.

Keywords: biochar, biomass utilization, carbonization, carbon sequestration, carbon sink

1. Introduction

Plantation forestry is considered to be a powerful means of removing CO2 from the

atmosphere and sequestering it in the biosphere through photosynthesis by fixing
carbon aboveground and belowground. However, plantation forestry is generally
utilized for timber production and faces a variety of risks, such as forest fire, natural
disaster, disease, etc.
Ogawa (1999) proposed the “Carbon Sequestration by Carbonization and
Forestation” (CFC, hereafter) project, the objectives of which are to maintain the
∗ Throughout this article (except for diagrams and in citation details) carbonized biomass is, with
the authors’agreement, called ‘biochar’ in lieu of the commonly used but misleading word ‘charcoal’

high CO2 fixing ability of trees, utilize the products, and inactivate massive amounts
of fixed CO2 simultaneously. The CFC project deals with biomass utilization and
land conservation by carbonizing biomass from tree plantations and wood indus-
tries for use in soil improvement in agriculture, water purification, livestock de-
odorization, etc., in order to promote the long-term retention of carbon in biochar.
Subsequently, the biochar production in the CFC project could lead to the estab-
lishment of new businesses related to the biochar industry, thereby creating job
opportunities and raising the income of people in the local community (Okimori
et al. 2003). The CFC project aims at sequestering and confining CO2 from the
atmosphere in the terrestrial ecosystem, by means of converting organic carbon in
biomass into stable carbon in biochar. The non-fuel use of the biochar is due to
the various sizes of minute porous structures, the large surface area, the reducing
action of carbon, etc. (Abe 1994).
Rosenberg and Izaurralde (2001) have pointed out that although the potential of
carbon in managed soil is large, much of the soil carbon is lost; hence, it is necessary
to find ways to effect greater, more rapid and longer lasting sequestration. In this
study, we focused on the function of biochar as an agent for soil improvement in
the CFC scheme. The effect of biochar application to agricultural soil was reviewed
by Glaser et al. (2002), who pointed out the relationship of biochar to increased
nutrient availability, nutrient retention, and water retention. The porous structure of
biochar provides an appropriate habitat for fostering useful symbiotic relationships
between microorganisms and plants, which essentially produce a synergetic effect
on soil amelioration (Ogawa 1994).
The purpose of this study was to investigate the feasibility of the CFC scheme
as a measure for carbon sequestration in three countries with different natural and
economic conditions. The study sites were southern Sumatra in Indonesia, western
Australia in Australia, and Miyakonojo in southern Kyushu, Japan.

2. Case Study 1 in Indonesia for a CDM Project

The first case study was performed in southern Sumatra, Indonesia in cooperation
with a tree plantation company called PT. Musi Hutan Persada (MHP, hereafter),
a pulp plant called PT. Tanjung Enim Lestari Pulp & Paper (TELPP), and The
Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. The scheme is shown in Figure 1. MHP has been
planting the fast-growing tree species Acacia mangium, harvesting the main trunks
and leaving massive wood residue (A1.1 in Figure 1). The logs are transported to the
pulp mill where a large amount of bark is discharged in the initial material process
(A1.2). Although a large portion of the bark is consumed by the power boiler (A2.2),
a massive bulk of the bark, called excess bark, is left unused. The wood residue in
the forest and the excess bark in the pulp mill are used as fuelwood for carbonization
(A2.1). Subsequently, the wood biochar is utilized for soil improvement in forests
and arable land (A3.1), for water purification (A3.2), and as fuel (A3.3). The biochar

Figure 1. CFC scheme for wood industry in south Sumatra, Indonesia. (A1) Biomass residue: (A1.1)
Small stems, branches, (A1.2) Bark, wood particles, (A1.3) Rice husk, residue of oil palm and
rubber. (A2) Resource for conversion: for carbonization (A2.1), for power generation (A2.2). (A3)
Charcoal production and utilization: for water purification (A3.1), fuel (A3.2) and soil improvement
(A3.3, A3.4, and A3.5). (B1) Fuel of yarding and transportation; (B2) Wood consumption for heating

used for soil improvement and water purification is considered to contribute to the
function of a carbon sink.


In the above case study, the target carbon sink is not the biomass of the growing
plantation forest, but the wood residue left at the plantation forest stands and the
excess bark dumped as landfill in the pulp mill. Although the biomass from the
unused wood releases CO2 in the natural decay process, the biomass from planted
trees is neutral carbon, and consequently, the CO2 emission baseline is considered
to be zero.

2.1.1. Estimation of Biomass from Forest Wood Residue

The results of the biomass calculation are shown in Table I. The fast-growing tree,
A. mangium, has been planted since 1990 by MHP, and the total plantation area
has reached approximately 200,000 ha. Harvest has been conducted since 1999 on
a 8- to 9-year rotation. The log production volume is 175 m3 ha−1 on average for
three years from 2001 through 2003, according to the MHP statistics. As the annual
Balance of biomass, charcoal and carbon in the case study in Indonesia
Plantation forest (A1.1) Pulp mill (A1.2) Total (A1.1)+(A1.2)

Mg-C Mg-C Mg-bdw Mg-C

Biomass (A2.1) Biomass (A2.2)
Log production volume m3 ha−1 175
Harvested area ha year (y)−1 12,000
Total log production volume m3 y−1 2,100,000 Log for chip production Mg-bdw y−1 907,000 453,500
Conversion to bone dry weight 0.444 Bark Mg-bdw y−1 109,000 54,500
Total harvested timber biomass Mg-bdw y−1 932,400 466,200 Bark for power boiler Mg-bdw y−1 94,000 47,000
Wood residue proportion to log % 31.8
Wood residue biomass Mg-bdw y−1 296,503 148,252
Fuelwood proportion to log % 17.4 Excess bark proportion to timber % 1.6
Fuelwood to be carbonized Mg-bdw y−1 162,238 81,119 Excess bark for charcoal Mg-bdw y−1 14,500 7,250 176,738 88,369
Charcoal production (A3.0) Charcoal production (A3.0)
Kiln type: Hume-pipe kiln Kiln type: Flat kiln
Kiln capacity M3 4.7 Kiln capacity m3 11
Fuelwood charge kg-bdw kiln−1 1,068 534 Bark charge kg-bdw kiln−1 2,730 1,365

Charcoal production kg-bdw kiln−1 247 187 Charcoal production kg-bdw kiln−1 1,860 831
Charcoal yield ∗ 1 % 23.1 Charcoal yield ∗ 1 % 68.2
Fixed carbon ∗ 2 % 75.6 Fixed carbon ∗ 2 % 44.7
Fixed carbon recovery ∗ 3 % 35.0 Fixed carbon recovery ∗ 3 % 60.9
Total charcoal production 100% Mg-bdw y−1 37,477 28,333 Total charcoal production 100% Mg-bdw y−1 9,889 4,420 47,366 32,753
Soil improvement (A3.1) 50% Mg-bdw y−1 18,739 14,167 Soil improvement (A3.1) 100% Mg-bdw y−1 9,889 4,420 28,628 18,587
Water purification (A3.2) 0% Mg-bdw y−1 0 0 Water purification (A3.2) 0% Mg-bdw y−1 0 0 0 0
Fuel use (A3.3) 50% Mg-bdw y−1 18,739 14,167 Fuel use (A3.3) 0% Mg-bdw y−1 0 0 18,739 14,167
External fuel consumption in charcoal production project (B) External fuel consumption in charcoal production project (B)
Yarding, transport (B1) Mg-C y−1 226 Yarding, transport (B1) Mg-C y−1 178 405
Firewood for heating (B2) Mg-C y−1 4,860 2,430 Firewood for heating (B2) Mg-C y−1 362 181 2,611
Subtotal Mg-C y−1 2,656 Subtotal Mg-C y−1 359 3,016

Symbols in parentheses are the same as those in Figure 1. For definitions of ∗ 1, ∗ 2 and ∗ 3: see Notes at the end of text.
harvested area is approximately 12,000 ha, the annual total log production volume
is 2.1 million m3 , which is equivalent to 932,400 Mg on a bone-dry weight (bdw)
basis using a conversion factor of 0.444.
The following organs are classified as wood residue according to the harvesting
standard of MHP.
– Pulp log: Stems and branches with base diameter (D) ≥ 8 cm
– Wood residue: Stems and branches with D < 8 cm, and D > 8 cm and length
<1.4 m
– Other residue: Twigs, leaves, and dead trees
We temporarily define the dimension of 3 cm = <D < 8 cm in the wood
residue as the standard for use as fuelwood for carbonization. The other tree parts
are expected to decay naturally and return their minerals to the forest soil.
According to a field research conducted in collaboration with Kyoto University
and MHP, the proportion of wood residue for the fuelwood is 17.4% of the log
biomass on average (paper in preparation by Kaneko, T.). The fuelwood potential
is calculated as follows:
932,400 Mg-bdw year−1 × 0.174 = 162,238 Mg-bdw year−1

2.1.2. Bark Waste from Pulp Mill

In the pulp mill, the bark, waste wood particles, tip dust, reject pulp, sludge, and
lignin waste liquid are produced during the process of craft pulp production. Cur-
rently, more than half of the bark and lignin waste liquid are combusted in a boiler
for generating electric power.
According to the statistics provided by the pulp mill, the excess bark dumped
as landfill is approximately 23,200 Mg-fw (fresh weight) with 37.5% moisture
content, or 14,500 Mg-bdw year−1 on average for three years from 2001 through
2003, as shown in Table I.
162,238 Mg-bdw year−1 + 14,500 Mg-bdw year−1
= 176,738 Mg-bdw year−1
The total unused wood is 176,738 Mg-bdw, which is equivalent to 88,369 Mg-C


2.2.1. Biochar Production Utilizing Wood Residue from Forest Stand

A biochar production trial was conducted by adopting three simple and conventional
methods involving a drum kiln, a Hume pipe kiln, and a brick kiln. The Hume pipe
kiln is employed for calculating biochar production because it is easy to build and
operate, and its capacity is the largest among the three kilns (Okimori et al. 2003),
although their biochar yields are almost the same, ranging from 23.1% to 24.3%.

The results of the carbonization test and calculations are shown in Table I.
Biochar yield1 is 23.1% of the total fuelwood input on a dry basis, and fixed
carbon2 is 75.6% at carbonization temperatures of 400 to 500 ◦ C. It is possible to
convert all the wood residue into biochar, and the annual total biochar production
is 37,477 Mg-bdw. It is considered that 50% of the biochar would be utilized for
soil improvement and the other 50%, as fuel. The biochar produced for the soil
improvement is 18,739 Mg-bdw year−1 . The biochar from A. mangium wood is a
soft solid; nevertheless, it is used as fuel in a local market.
As regards the practical aspect, the drum kiln is excellent in terms of mobility
and convenience in handling, and is suitable for small-scale individual projects.
On the other hand, the Hume pipe kiln and the brick kiln have high durability for
the mass production of biochar, and are therefore suitable for company-oriented
projects (Okimori et al. 2003).

2.2.2. Biochar Production Utilizing Wood Waste from the Pulp Mill
In this trial, a flat kiln was used for carbonization (Okimori et al. 2003). This partic-
ular method is often adopted for carbonizing bark and wood discharged from chip
mills and sawmills. The carbonization conditions are shown in Table I. Biochar
yield is 68.2% of the total fuelwood input on a dry basis at carbonization tempera-
tures of approximately 250 to 350 ◦ C. The breakdown of the bark biochar produced
was 48.2% in fixed carbon, 18.5% in volatile condition, and 33.3% in ash. The
annual total biochar production is 9,889 Mg-bdw. As bark biochar is a fragile solid
and has low fixed carbon content, it is not suitable for use as fuel. However, as
the bark biochar has a high content of ash that consists of mineral nutrients, it is
suitable for soil improvement.


Carbon budget is calculated based on the wood residue biomass, the biochar pro-
duction method, and the biochar yield, as shown in Table I. The potential for biochar
production from the forest residue is 37,477 Mg-bdw year−1 , which is equivalent to
28,333 Mg-C year−1 . As the biochar for fuel use releases CO2 gas back to the atmo-
sphere, only the biochar for soil improvement can contribute to CO2 sequestration,
the amount of which is 14,167 Mg-C year−1 . Biochar production from excess bark
in the pulp mill of 4,420 Mg-C year−1 would be utilized for soil improvement. The
total amount of carbon acquired by biochar reaches 18,587 Mg-C by adding 14,167
Mg-C (from the plantation forest) and 4,420 Mg-C (from the pulp mill).
Meanwhile, the external fuel consumed during biochar production should be
considered as a CO2 emission factor. It includes fossil fuel consumed by heavy
equipment, vehicles, electric power of the biochar factory, etc., and also firewood for
initially heating up the fuelwood charged in the kiln. The external fuel consumed for
biochar production from the plantation forest wood residue is 2,656 Mg-C year−1 ,
and that from the excess bark of the pulp mill is 359 Mg-C year−1 , for a total of

3,016 Mg-C year−1 .

18,587 Mg-C year−1 − 3,016 Mg-C year−1 = 15,571 Mg-C year−1
Consequently, the net amount of carbon sequestered by biochar is 15,571 Mg-
C year−1 , and the total recovery of fixed carbon3 from fuelwood to biochar is
18,587 Mg-C × 1/88,369 Mg-C = 0.2103
The bark biochar would be returned to the plantation forest land and applied to
farmland of the local community near the industry for improving soil condition. In
this regard, carbon can be stored in soil. Another feature of this project is that some
local people would be able to get jobs and earn income upon its implementation.
As for the biochar produced, part of it would be consumed by local people who
joined the project. The effect of biochar application on the growth and yield of
certain crops has been recognized in Indonesia. If the biochar production scale
were increased, part of the biochar produced would be exported to other countries
that need biochar as fuel.

3. Case Study 2 in Australia for a JI Project



The second case study was performed in a semiarid region in western Australia
where the carbonization of wood residue was incorporated with the multipurpose
projects of a mallee eucalyptus plantation that involved the function of salinity
prevention (Figure 2).
Salinization has been prevailing and extending widely over the semiarid regions
of Australia, where natural woodland had been cleared for agricultural purposes
(Agriculture WA et al. 1996). In order to suppress the effects of saline water, Oil
Mallee Company (OMC) and the farmers in this area, in cooperation with the
Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM), have been planting
indigenous shrub species of mallee eucalyptus in cereal cropland with an alley
system (Bartle 2001; Bartle and Shea 2002). OMC plans to harvest mallee euca-
lyptus at several year intervals to distil eucalyptus oil from the leaves for material
of chemical commodities, and to utilize wood waste as fuel for power generation
or material for activated carbon (Shea 1999). Furthermore, mallee lignotuber has a
large carbon store that can be readily mobilized to promote rapid coppice growth
(Shea 1999). Meanwhile, another serious issue is the acidification of soil for cereal
cultivation, which is caused by the intensive use of chemical fertilizers, etc., thereby
suppressing crop yield.

Figure 2. CFC scheme for mallee eucalyptus plantation and its multiple utilizations in western

The Kansai Electric Power group in cooperation with OMC started a 1000 ha
plantation in 2003, and has been studying the potential of creating carbon sinks
by planting trees and the carbonization of the wood waste after extracting the
oil. The biochar produced is expected to be utilized in solving the acidity and
salinity problems in the arable soils. The planted species of mallee eucalyp-
tus were Eucalyptus loxophleba ssp lissophloia, E. kochii ssp plenissima, and
E. horistes.


The tentative calculation for the carbon budget under the CFC scheme is as follows.
The harvest regime will include the initial harvest after 10 years, and the subsequent
regrowth of coppice will be harvested every three to five years. Every year for
10 years, 1,000 ha will be planted, ultimately reaching 10,000 ha in total. The
carbonizing furnace will be a mobile type with an internal-heating rotary system,
and the planned temperature is 500 to 600 ◦ C. The net conversion of biochar yield
(deducted from the consumption of external heat) will be 20% on a dry weight
basis, with fixed carbon of 80%. The carbonization will start 10 years later in the
first 1,000 ha plantation unit.

Figure 3. Carbon sequestration of mallee eucalyptus by plantation and carbonization in western


Regarding the baseline, the biomass from natural vegetation growth will be
neglected because the mallee eucalyptus plantation is within a wheat cultivation
land where natural shrubs scarcely grow. There is no activity to remove the present
natural shrubs in the plantation practice.
The results are shown in Figure 3. The aboveground biomass has a peak of
364,355 Mg-C at the 13th year, followed by a decrease up to the 20th year. Subse-
quently, coppice regrowth maintains the total carbon sequestered within the range
of 137,680 Mg-C to 153,240 Mg-C of biomass from the 20th year, of which the
mean is 145,460 Mg-C.

364,355 Mg-C − 145,460 Mg-C = 218,895 Mg-C

The net aboveground biomass is reduced by 218,895 Mg-C; however, the amount
of decrease of the aboveground biomass is converted into biochar by 20%. The
total CO2 stocked over the 35-year project period is approximately 342,890 Mg-C
by the belowground biomass, and 547,100 Mg-C by the biochar. Consequently, the
total carbon sequestration is calculated as follows.

364,355 − 218,895 + 342,890 + 547,100 = 1,035,450 (Mg-C)

The proportions of aboveground biomass, belowground biomass and biochar in soil
as a carbon sink are 14.0, 33.1 and 52.8%, respectively. This implies that biochar
can accumulate carbon instead of the carbon retained in forest biomass even a small
conversion, and sustainable management could be realized by extending biochar
production and application with the extension of mallee coppice.

4. Case Study 3 in Japan for Domestic Effort


The third case study was conducted in Japan, the purpose of which was to
effectively use surplus heat from a garbage incinerator in biomass carboniza-
tion, as well as develop new applications for biochar use. This study was con-
ducted in cooperation with The Research Institute of Innovative Technology for
the Earth (RITE), private companies, and universities that are financially sup-
ported by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization
The project scheme is based on measures against such pollutants as dioxin that
are emitted from conventional garbage incineration plants. With this issue becoming
serious in Japan in recent years, many local governments have begun to improve
their furnace technology by changing to kilns with improved functions, such as
gasification and an ash melting system, which generate surplus heat. The project is
focused on an urban area with the basic scheme shown in Figure 4 and described as
follows (RITE 2003). Such wood materials as waste wood generated by sawmills,
by tree thinning, and at building construction sites, etc. (A1.1 and A1.2 in Figure 4)

Figure 4. CFC scheme for effective use of surplus heat from a garbage incinerator for carbonizing
biomass waste in Japan. (A1.1) Wood, (A1.2) Wood waste. (A2) Charcoal production and use: (A2.1,
A2.2) Soil improvement, (A2.3) Water purification, (A2.4, A2.5) Deodorization. (B1.1) Livestock
excreta, (B1.2) Kitchen garbage, (B1.3) Drainage, (B2) Charcoal compost.
are carbonized by utilizing the surplus heat (A2.0). The biochar produced in the
garbage incineration plant is used for various non-fuel purposes, including compost
production from livestock excreta (A2.4 and B2), sewage disposal (A2.2), water
purification, house construction, mixing material for feed, livestock deodorization
(A2.5), etc. Due to the variety of biochar use, carbon will be stocked and inactivated
in nature for long periods.


The business model in the rural region in this feasibility study that was conducted
in cooperation with Miyakonojo City in Kyushu, Japan, where the population is
approximately 300,000, and the agricultural sector is active in livestock, forestry
and paddy cultivation. The study focuses on the utilization of wood waste from
sawmills and excreta from the livestock industry in the carbonization, and is aimed
at reducing CO2 gas from the biomass waste by biochar making.
There are approximately 70 large and small sawmills and wood processing mills
in the city and its vicinity. The amount of processed wood is shown in Table II.
They discharge approximately 24,000 Mg-bdw per year of wood waste. From the
wood waste, bark is consumed as fuel for boilers, and some wood pieces are utilized
as straw litter in the livestock industry and processed into chips for a paper mill.
However, much of the wood pieces are left unused. The above end uses emit CO2
by decomposition or burning.
The material flow of the CFC scheme is shown in Table II. An internal-heating
rotary kiln will be introduced to this project. As the fuelwood charge for the kiln is
1.20 Mg-bdw hour−1 , an annual total of 1,872 Mg-bdw (936.0 Mg-C year−1 ) can
be utilized for carbonization. The rotary kiln produces biochar at 1.755 Mg-bdw
day−1 at the planned temperature of 500 to 600 ◦ C, and 421.2 Mg-bdw year−1 with
240 days in total that is equivalent to 358.0 Mg-C year−1 .
The biochar is mixed with livestock excreta to make biochar compost. As the
composition of biochar in the compost is usually 30% on a dry weight basis, the
amount of excreta is as follows.
421.2 Mg-bdw × 1/0.3 × 0.7 = 982.8 Mg-bdw
There are many livestock sheds that provide such an amount of excreta. Conse-
quently, 1,404 Mg-dw year−1 of biochar compost in total is available for application
to 70 ha of farmland in the vicinity. The biochar compost is applied to farmland in
the suburbs for promoting growth of various crops as well as stocking carbon in
the soil.


The rotary kiln produces biochar at 358.0 Mg-C year−1 from the wood waste of
936.0 Mg-C year−1 .

Balance of biomass, charcoal and carbon in the case study in Japan

Sawmills and wood processing mills (A1.2) Carbon (Mg-C)

Log Mg-bdw∗ year(y)−1 80,000 40,000

Wood waste conversion 0.3
Wood waste 100% Mg-bdw y−1 24,000 12,000
Bark 67% Mg-bdw y−1 16,000 8,000
Wood pieces 33% Mg-bdw y−1 8,000 4,000

Charcoal production project (A2.0) Carbon (Mg-C)

(a) Charcoal production

Kiln type: Internal-heating rotary kiln
Fuelwood charge for kiln Mg-bdw hour−1 1.20 0.6
Kiln running time hour day−1 6.5
Kiln running days day y−1 240
Total fuelwood charge (A1.2) Mg-bdw y−1 1,872 936.0
Charcoal yield % 22.5
Fixed carbon % 85.0
Fixed carbon recovery % 38.2
Charcoal production at kiln Mg-bdw day−1 1.755 1.49
Total charcoal production (A2.4) Mg-bdw y−1 421.2 358.0
(b) External fuel consumption in charcoal project
Electricity for wood processing MWh y−1 143.2 14.9
Carbon conversion Mg-C MWh−1 0.104
Crude oil for oven drying kL y−1 61.8 44.6
Carbon conversion Mg-C kL−1 0.7212
Total carbon consumption 59.5
(a)–(b): Net carbon reduction by carbonization 298.5

Symbols in parentheses are the same at those in Figure 4.

bdw∗ : Bone dry weight.

Meanwhile, the biochar production will consume external fuel and energy, such
as electricity for wood processing and carbonization, and crude oil for oven drying.
As shown in Table II, the total carbon consumption in the form of external fuel
and energy is 59.5 Mg-C year−1 . Therefore, the net carbon sink by carbonization
is 298.5 Mg-C year−1 by deducting the total carbon consumption in the form of
external fuel and energy.
358.0 Mg-C − 59.5 Mg-C = 298.5 Mg-C
This means that carbon recovery from the wood waste is 31.9% by the carboniza-
tion project. Even if the amount of carbon sequestered is small in this study, this
system would enhance the utilization of biomass, thereby providing a solution to
the problem of massive excreta from intensive livestock management in Japan by
enhancing the capability of a carbon sink in the agricultural sector.

5. Biochar Carbon Issues to be Resolved Prior to Application

to Carbon Credit System

Before incorporating biochar carbon into the carbon credit system, the follow-
ing three subjects concerning biochar properties and biochar production must be


The chemical and physical properties of biochar are intimately dependent on the
material and carbonization conditions, such as temperature and time. When car-
bonization temperature is changed from 300 ◦ C to 800 ◦ C, biochar yield is decreased
from 66.5% to 25.6%, and fixed carbon is increased from 55.79% to 93.51%, re-
spectively (Tanaka 1963). Such changes in biochar yield and fixed carbon are
accompanied by changes in the chemical and physical properties. Ash in biochar
affects the chemical properties of biochar, and is increased from 0.67% to 1.26%
when the carbonization temperature is changed from 300 ◦ C to 800 ◦ C, respectively
(Tanaka 1963). Subsequently, the proportion of ash directly influences the pH value
that is changed from 7.6 at 310 ◦ C to 9.7 at 850 ◦ C (Kuwagaki and Tamura 1990).
The porous structure of biochar is intimately related to its water-holding, gas ad-
sorption and liquid adsorption capacities, all of which are dependent on the surface
area and the volume of minute pores. The surface area of biochar from Japanese
cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) is increased from 120 m2 g−1 at 400 ◦ C to 460 m2 g−1
at 900 ◦ C (Kuwagaki and Tamura 1990).
The above-mentioned properties would affect the planning of the end use of
biochar with the possibility of carbon credit and the accuracy of the monitoring
method in the carbon credit system. Biochar should be classified into several groups
based on a certain appropriate standard of its quality. The standard for biochar is
affected by the following factors: the kind of fuel feed (softwood, hardwood, rice
husk, etc.), the carbonization method (kiln type, temperature, etc.), and biochar
form and size (powder, solid, activated carbon, etc.). Kuwagaki and Tamura (1990)
proposed seven properties for the quality standard of non-fuel use biochar, including
pH, volatile content, ash content, water holding capacity, bulk density, pore volume
and specific surface area. Their measurements require conventional instruments
with simple handling. It would be helpful to identify various biochars by their end
use, such as soil improvement, water purification, odorant, etc., and to predict their
potential as a carbon sink. The factors contributing to quality standard should be
investigated in greater detail and arranged for practical application.


Biochar is expected to remain stable in soil for a long time. In order to use biochar
as a carbon sink, its stability in the soil must be proved. However, to date, there are
only a few studies that clarify the oxidation and degradation of carbon in biochar.
Ozone can cleave aromatic organic compounds and degrade them. Kawamoto
et al. (2005) have proved the high resistance of biochar against a high concentration
of ozone by showing that the weight of sawdust biochar carbonized at 400 ◦ C was
not affected by up to 8.5% ozone. They have reported that the biochar carbonized
at 1000 ◦ C was burned under 4.9% ozone; however, even in that case, the half-life
of the biochar is estimated to be 50,000 years in air.
The degradation of biochar through oxidation by soil microorganisms remains
unknown. Glaser et al. (2002) have indicated that biochar is mineralized in soil based
on evidence that extracellular manganese peroxidase is capable of degrading low-
quality coals, such as brown coal (Fakuoussa and Horfichter 1999), and artificial
graphitic 14 C is oxidized to 14 CO2 in soils with high microbial activity (Shneour
1966). On the other hand, they have stated that pyrogenic carbon (biochar) found
in black earth-like anthropogenic soil in the Amazon lasts a long time (Glaser et al.
2000), and the biochar persists for centuries in a tropical environment because of
its stable aromatic structure.
Biochar is non-graphitic carbon with an aromatic structure, which is a pyrolytic
transition from a carbohydrate biomass to the graphitic carbon structure through
the amorphous structure of carbon (Kishimoto 1998). As the carbon compound of
biochar becomes similar to the structure of graphite at high carbonization tempera-
tures, it can be assumed that the carbon retained in biochar is much more difficult to
remove than the one in biomass. However, biochar produced at low carbonization
temperatures is immature in a pyrogenic process, and its resistance to microbial
decay is still unknown.


A monitoring method is required for accurately monitoring the course of biochar

production from biomass to end use.
(i) The amount of biomass or biomass residue
– To identify the source of biomass in natural forest or plantation forest
– To identify the chemical composition of biomass: heavy metal or toxic
– To accurately estimate the amount of biomass input to the carbonization
(ii) Biochar production
– To determine the carbonization method: whether mechanical kiln or manual
handling, external heating or internal heating
– To determine biochar yield
– To identify carbon composition in biochar
– To calculate consumption of external heating in biochar production
(iii) Identification of non-fuel use of biochar
– Soil improvement: to clarify the use of some media or soil substances
– Biochar compost: to identify a particular type of livestock compost and its
– Method of spraying application: to clarify whether mechanical application
or manual application is appropriate
– Water purification agent: to clarify the treatment after use
(iv) Monitoring method according to the different uses of biochar
The end use of biochar should be classified into either non-fuel use (soil condi-
tioner, water purifier, etc.) or fuel use. A monitoring system is required to make a
balance sheet between biochar production sites and markets.

6. Conclusion

The case studies conducted in the three countries have indicated the potential of
creating a carbon sink in the CFC scheme.
(i) In the case of the wood industry in Indonesia, the wood residue and excess
bark amounting to 88,369 Mg-C year−1 would be converted into 15,571 Mg-
C year−1 of the net carbon sink by biochar, which would be utilized in soil
improvement. The carbon yield in the system is 21.0%.
(ii) In the case of the plantation forestry in western Australia, the total carbon sink
would be 1,035,450 Mg-C during the 35-year project period, with 14.0% by
the aboveground biomass, 33.1% by the belowground biomass and 52.8% by
the biochar in soil.
(iii) In the case of a rural region in southern Japan, sawdust of 936.0 Mg-C year−1
would be converted into 298.5 Mg-C year−1 of the net carbon reduction by
carbonization, with the carbon yield of the system being 31.9%.
(iv) Three subjects concerning the properties and production of biochar must be
clarified before incorporating biochar carbon into the carbon credit system:
quality standard of biochar, stability of biochar in soil, and methods for mon-
itoring biochar utilization.
(v) Although the above issues need to be examined in greater detail, the basic idea
of the CFC project incorporating with plantation forestry and its multipurpose
uses could encourage the potential of creating a carbon sink in soil.


1. Biochar yield indicates percentage of (Biochar production)/(Fuelwood) on a dry weight basis.

2. Fixed carbon indicates carbon in biochar by the proximate analysis of JIS M 8812 in Japan. Fixed
carbon (%) = 100% − (moisture % + ash % + volatile %).
3. Recovery of fixed carbon indicates the percentage of (Fixed carbon)/(Carbon from fuelwood).


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