ACR accepting comments on biochar methodology for carbon credits

By Erin Voegele | October 02, 2013

The American Carbon Registry has opened a public comment period on a new methodology to measure carbon reductions associated with biochar produced via the pyrolysis process. The methodology was prepared by The Climate trust, the Prasino Group, the International Biochar Initiative, and Carbon Consulting.

According to the ACR, the methodology quantifies and credits both the avoided emissions from combustion or decomposition of biomass in the baseline and enhanced carbon sequestration at sites where biochar is applied. The methodology considers biochar produced from forestry and agricultural residues, municipal solid waste (MSW) and other biomass-based materials.  

The methodology essentially outlines the conditions necessary in order for carbon offset credits to be generated for biochar. The ACR, a nonprofit enterprise of Winrock International, is a carbon offset program that is active in the voluntary carbon market and is an approved offset project registry for the California Cap-and-Trade Program.

To generate carbon offsets for biochar, a project must utilize feedstocks that meet the definition of biomass residue. Credits cannot be generated for biochar made from purpose-grown crops. Among other requirements, the ratio of hydrogen to organic carbon must be less than 0.7 according to a test method outlined by the International Biochar Initiative. The resulting biochar must also be applied to land or mixed with another soil, compost or amendment medium. In addition, the methodology sets a 2 inch limit on the size of biochar particles.

The full biochar methodology can be downloaded from the ACR website. The organization is inviting comments from its members, project proponents and other interested parties. Comments are due Oct. 25.