The following is a glossary of terms as used within the context of Carbon Neutral Commons.
A solid material obtained from thermochemical conversion of biomass in an oxygen-limited environment, and used for the purpose of permanent carbon sequestration, and/or soil amendment.
Material derived from or produced by living or recently living organisms. This material can be unprocessed or processed. Unprocessed biological material is living material or recently living material from the plant kingdom or other non/animal taxa such as fungi or algae (that may have been mechanically resized (eg. in pellets) but has not been processed in an animal’s body or gone through an anthropogenic chemical modification.
In our context carbon sequestration is defined primarily as the process by which biomass is processed through gasification or pyrolysis into char, in a way that will prevent its further use as fuel, and ensure that the carbon it contains will re-enter the long-term carbon cycle. For instance: using char as biochar.
Biomass is biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms. For the purpose of this document, biomass is defined by any organic material to be used in the low-emission gasifiers or pyrolyzers.
Total new biomass = rice straw + paddy rice
Paddy rice = unprocessed rice
Biomass (total new) = biomass (primary product) + biomass (residual)
Biomass (residual) = biomass (feedstock) + biomass (non feedstock)
Biomass (primary product) is defined as the product with the greatest economic value obtained from biomass (total new) (that is not a particularly robust definition
The part of the biomass (residual) available for carbon sequestration. Example in rice farming: straw, husk, bran, broken rice
A process is defined as a series of steps and decisions involved in the way a task is completed. This protocol refers to processes as physical, chemical and biological actions or events involved in the transformation of biomass.
For the purpose of this document, a product is defined as anything that is produced as the result of generation, growth, labour, or thought, or by the operation of involuntary causes; as, the products of the season or the farm.
Containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation to organisms.
Those products that provide environmental, social and economic benefits while protecting public health and environment over their whole life cycle, from the extraction of raw materials until the final disposal.
The carbon cycle refers to the flow of carbon between the atmosphere, rocks, oceans and biosphere (all of Earth’s life forms). Each of these is part of a reservoir which contains all the carbon on the planet. The carbon cycle is composed of two reservoirs: a long-term and a short-term. By circulating carbon through these interconnected reservoirs the planet regulates the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
SHORT TERM CARBON CYCLE
In the short-term reservoir, carbon is stored in the atmosphere, oceans and biosphere with the ocean containing the largest amount of carbon. It takes months to centuries to recycle carbon dioxide through the short-term reservoir. The ocean is the primary regulator of atmospheric carbon dioxide in the short-term reservoir because atmospheric and ocean carbon dioxide are in chemical equilibrium. If there is an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide there is a corresponding increase in oceanic carbon dioxide and vice versa.
[C+]/[C-]: In the natural short term carbon cycle combustion and respiration add carbon to the amosphere; called: [C+] . Also in the natural short term carbon cycle carbon is absorbed by plants via Photosynthesis; called [C-].
LONG TERM CARBON CYCLE
The long-term reservoir contains about 99.9 percent of the total carbon which is found mainly in rocks and fossil fuels and takes up to millions of years to recycle carbon dioxide. In the long-term reservoir atmospheric carbon dioxide reacts with water and minerals in rocks to form calcium bicarbonate which enters rivers and ends up in the ocean where it becomes shells of various marine organisms. When these organisms die the shells accumulate on the ocean floor and are eventually transformed into rocks and petroleum. Over millions of years this transformed material is buried at depths of thousands of feet and the heat and pressure melts the rocks and converts the carbonate back to carbon dioxide. Some of these rocks become part of volcanoes and the carbonate is released as carbon dioxide via volcanic eruptions. Carbon dioxide is also removed from the atmosphere by plants and the burial of dead plant matter. In swamps this material is transformed into coal and in river deltas the material is converted into carbonaceous shale.
[C++] refers to the process by which, in the long term carbon cycle combustion fossil fuels add “new” carbon to the atmosphere.
Example: The burning of fossil fuels, and the extraction of natural gases.
[C--] defines mainly carbon sequestration from the long term carbon cycle via carbon capture and storage, in our case using a biological method, pyrolysis and gasification.
[C--] product: char, the carbon-rich solid result of gasification and pyrolysis.
GROSS CARBON NEUTRALITY
[C=] describes an equilibrium between the [C+] and [C-] emissions, acting within the short-term carbon cycle. For instance, biomass, solar, and eolic energy production are [C=] processes.
NET CARBON NEUTRALITY
Net [C=] can be quantified as the result of [C-] + [C+] in a set of measured carbon “transactions” between short and long-term carbon cycles.
Example: Adding 10 Litres of diesel (# carbon atoms) to one’s car can be “equilibrated” by adding an equivalent amount of carbon atoms to the long term cycle through crop residue gasification.