Those of us in the biochar community have long been aware of the grand potential of biochar. The terra preta created by the indios in the Amazon thousands of years ago stands testament to its stability and duration. As a soil amendment, it can serve to provide food security and decrease dependence on chemical fertilizers. Because of its absorptive properties, it permits food crops to be grown in arid or desertified areas using a fraction of the water that is normally needed. Because it is on average 80% carbon, it is also the safest and least expensive long term method for CCS (carbon capture and sequestration). However, until now, no program has successfully managed to get biochar certified as an official method for reducing the world’s CO2 levels.
We are delighted to announce that WorldStove’s Five Step Program and the LuciaStove are now a fully certified, carbon sequestration method. We are aware that even the best of processes can be misused. The importance of the Five Step Program is to : (1) Assure that the biochar is created using only locally-available waste biomass; (2) Biochar produced is safe for intended applications; and (3) Put in place checks and balances to ensure that the entire program is run in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner.
This is the first time biochar has successfully been certified as an offset. Because WorldStove always pledges 100% of all carbon credits earned to the locally owned and operated LuciaStove and biomass pellet production hubs, this empowers even the poorest of communities to take charge of their own health, environment, and economic development without ongoing dependence on outside assistance.
What does this mean for the rest of us? We have already begun the first trial runs of our MeasuralbleOffsets ™ program. The success of this new program means that beginning mid- December 2010, following the COP16 Climate Conference in Cancun, we will offer to individuals and corporations a way to take charge of the economic and environmental decisions that up until now the governments of the world have been unable or unwilling to do.
Sustainable biochar to mitigate global climate change, by Dominic Woolf, James E. Amonette, F. Alayne Street-Perrott, Johannes Lehmann & Stephen Joseph, Nature Communications, 2010.
Glaser, Bruno, Johannes Lehmann, and Wolfgang Zech (2002) Ameliorating physical and chemical properties of highly weathered soils in the tropics with charcoal – a review, Biology and Fertility Soils 219, 223
Steiner, Christoph, Wenceslau G. Teixeira, Johannes Lehmann, Thomas Nehls, Jeferson Luis, Vasconcelos de Macêdo, Winfried E. H. Blum, Wolfgang Zech (2006) Long term effects of manure, charcoal and mineral fertilization on crop production and fertility on a highly weathered Central Amazonian upland soil. Plant & Soil 291: 275-290.
The amount a LuciaStove can measurably sequester will vary slightly based on which country you choose. Different fuels have different energy values so, the amount of fuel required to boil a liter of water will vary. Also, cooking methods vary. Frying is quick, simmering is slow. In general, however, about 20% of the fuel will be converted into biochar. In general, we calculate that an average family of five, cooking three meals a day will produce 300-500 grams of char each day, about 438 kg/year.Why can the Offset LuciaStove I purchase only go to specific countries?
Critical to making our offsets measurable, stoves are distributed only through established WorldStove stove hubs where trained local personnel collect, test, and weigh the biochar so that the external verification groups can thus certify the offsets generated.What countries may I choose from?
For now you may chose from Ghana, Burkina Faso and Haiti. Coming soon Senegal and Rwanda.Why do stoves have to be tuned?
If, for example, you change your own kitchen stove from city gas (methane) to bottled gas (LPG, propane) the stove will have to be adjusted, that is, tuned. In the same way, the gasses emitted in a LuciaStove that burns karité shell waste in Burkina Faso, will be tuned differently from a stove burning bagasse (sugar cane residue) in Haiti.Why not mass produce LuciaStoves in China or some country with low cost labor to get the cost down?
We are opposed to exploiting workers in other countries to save costs. Moreover, one of the primary objectives of WorldStove is to create local, self sustaining jobs while allowing advantages of industrial scale production, lower costs and higher quality. Despite their apparent simplicity, LuciaStoves are made up of precision components, and these can be economically produced only with advanced technology. These components are then shipped disassembled, which greatly reducing shipping costs, and put together by members of stove hubs.
Wood contains sequestered carbon, and another of our objectives is to discourage wood burning.Why not make LuciaStoves that can run on charcoal?
For every ton of charcoal produced, at least five tons of wood must be consumed.Do all LuciaStoves only work with pellets?
No. In some cases, we have found local biomass with the right balance of density and energy content to eliminate the need for pelletization.Why do some stove hubs make pellets while others do not?
See the above answer.Why does it take up to six months for my stove to arrive?
The time it takes to build your stove and inscribe it with your name, serial number, or company logo is relatively brief. Our most critical bottleneck is customs. With some of our programs, shipping and customs can take as little as a few days while others (such as Haiti where the infrastructure is still recovering from the earthquake) it can take months. We conservatively use the longest times as a deadline for delivery.