Skip to main content
FALL 2010
Print Bookmark and Share
print pdf

Sidebar: Food and Energy Systems

Biochar Protocol Opens Doors to the Carbon Markets

John Gaunt
Jason Koski/University Photography

John Gaunt

Biochar producers have not yet found a route to the carbon markets, but one CALS professor is working to map the way.

Production of biochar reduces greenhouse gas emissions and removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but those emissions reductions cannot be turned into carbon offsets and traded on the carbon markets until a protocol exists to measure them.

John Gaunt, adjunct associate professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, is leading an effort to write just such a protocol. As part of this project, Gaunt, a faculty fellow with the Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future, is researching the greenhouse gas benefits of biochar at Cornell.

Gaunt’s business Carbon Consulting LLC partnered with other industry leaders, including lead and founding sponsors Leading Carbon Ltd, Blue Source, ConocoPhillips Canada, and the Carbon War Room, to launch Biochar Protocol Development in June 2010.

“The biochar industry is in its infancy, and this initiative will cut out a large—and costly—step of protocol development for a wide range of biochar producers,” Gaunt says.

The team plans to pursue approval of the protocol in the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), a global market, and Alberta Offset System (AOS), which is based in Alberta, Canada.Gaunt and his colleagues plan to submit the protocol to the VCS and AOS in early 2011.

To learn more: