• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Nancy Reading
  • r ranson
  • Jay Angler
  • Pearl Sutton
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Leigh Tate
  • Burra Maluca
master gardeners:
  • Christopher Weeks
  • Timothy Norton
gardeners:
  • Jeremy VanGelder
  • Paul Fookes
  • Tina Wolf

Air Travel & Biochar Offsets?

 
pollinator
Posts: 4486
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
1219
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Greetings, hive mind. My question is: how much biochar would I need to produce to create an honest offset for the CO2 emitted for long distance driving or a short flight?

I have family in locations that are about 1.5 hours away by air (one way), and 9-12 hours away by car (one way). That's a helluva lot of driving; I would rather fly, even though I don't enjoy it. I would like to see them once or twice per year.

I looked as some of the carbon offsets you can buy. My shortest flight would cost $3.00. Really? Three bucks? Maybe I'm wrong, but my BS detector is going off.

I would rather do something tangible ... and measurable.  

Here's my first kick at some calculations. What do you think?

=== Option 1: Car Travel ===

9h x 100 km.h = 900km

Car uses 7L/100k (one hour of highway driving). 7Lx9h = 63 litres one way

x2 for round trip = 126L

x 2.34 kg CO2 per litre = 294.8 kg CO2

CO2 is 27% carbon by mass. 294.8 x 27% = 79.6 kg (179.1 lbs.) pure, dry carbon (biochar is not pure, so this is a ballpark number)


=== Option 2: Air Travel ===

Calculator: https://www.icao.int/environmental-protection/CarbonOffset/Pages/default.aspx

Round trip = 142.0 kg CO2 (I think this is light; this run uses larger versions of the aircraft listed in their calculations)

Add: car travel to and from airports (est. 41 kg CO2).

142.0 + 41 = 183 kg CO2

183 kg x 27% = 49.4 kg (111.2 lbs.) dry carbon for offset

- - - - -
BTW, does it count that I will be helping them set up sustainable gardens? Yakking about compost and biochar? Maybe talking about mass heaters for their greehouses?
 
steward
Posts: 3694
Location: woodland, washington
195
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think you’re right to be skeptical of the $3 offset. I’ve seen a number of articles over the last few years exploring the shortcomings of many offset programs. as I understand it, most involve either planting trees or protecting existing forests. those are both great ideas, but the devil’s in the details and the accounting can be very difficult. throw in some knock on effects and some programs clearly have a net negative impact.

I didn’t repeat your calculations to confirm, but at a glance they seem like they’re at least in the right ballpark. you could try to estimate some kind of multiplier that includes potential additional carbon fixation or sequestration as a result of your biochar production, but that would get real squishy real quick. best to be conservative I would think. and do consider that your method of producing the biochar likely also releases some carbon. you may have included that, but it isn’t immediately obvious to me if you did.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
Posts: 4486
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
1219
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You're right, the math does get squishy in a hurry -- the more assumptions made, the less reliable the outcome. A back-of-the-envelope calculation is about the best I can manage.

It's true that char-making releases CO2 but it captures some of it in a stable form. I think letting giant piles of brush rot away by themselves would actually release more, though there can be other benefits to the soil. Again, more squishy math.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 784
Location: Appalachian Foothills-Zone 7
194
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I came up with roughly 9-10 gallons of my softwood (light) biochar to one gallon of gasoline.  Jet fuel is probably denser than gasoline, and hardwood biochar is probably denser than softwood.

Figure your per passenger fuel consumption and you might have an idea of what you need to offset the consumption from your flight.

Accounting problems start when you start to include the emissions from building the airplane, building and running support vehicles, airports, etc., commutes from the various employees, the list goes on and on.

Carbon accounting is extremely difficult, a while back I tried to figure how much biochar we would need to make to offset all of our emissions (using per capita figures) and came to the conclusion it would take way more than we can reasonably make, so for now we will just continue to make what we can out of the material we have.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
Posts: 4486
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
1219
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Gray Henon wrote:Figure your per passenger fuel consumption and you might have an idea of what you need to offset the consumption from your flight.



In theory, the calculator linked above does that for you and calculates CO2 per passenger for a given commercial route. It doesn't show its work, though.

I agree, a total accounting is a nightmare of variables. That won't stop me from doing what I can.
 
steward
Posts: 1874
Location: Coastal Salish Sea area, British Columbia
1036
2
books chicken food preservation pig bike solar wood heat rocket stoves homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
thank you for this thread. I was just thinking about starting one. With the new Flair airline. Flights are ridiculously cheap. Round trip flight from Vancouver to Toronto for 289 CAD!!!

We are going to travel some of the trip by train. The train is slow, but travelling through the Rockies will be beautiful.


One solution I have to offset it is to buy maybe 300-400$ worth of fruit/nut/conifer trees and give them out or plant them. I too am skeptical of giving money to a company.


Looking forward to peoples responses.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
Posts: 4486
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
1219
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jordan, it's those same flights that have me tempted. Swoop and Flair. The flights are basically free; the only cash cost is the airport fees and taxes.

Since I am clearly a fool, there is an additional cost regarding how the emissions could and should be offset in a measurable way.

Re trains: I just saw a news piece that the panorama/bar cars have been closed to passengers. They are using them as collision shock absorbers because the passenger cars are so old. This is unverified -- caveat emptor. But our train service is ridiculously expensive and embarrassingly bad.
 
Your mind is under my control .... your will is now mine .... read this tiny ad
Learn Permaculture through a little hard work
https://wheaton-labs.com/bootcamp
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic