Why Biochar matters
How to switch to the hydrogen economy? In the year 2010 the technologies are already showing up. The major question is now, how to build up a real economical system based on these technologies.
Production of biochar is a relative simple possibility to take CO2 out of the running CO2-Cycle and store it in form of a solid material. Biochar can be used as a supplement to the soil. But it can also be used as a source for energy. As an energy source it can be burned to provide heat. This heat can be used for all kind of other processes.
So if we really want to sequest CO2, we have to abandon the option to use this energy. Economically speaking we loose money.
But what if we do not want to loose this money. If we want to economically use the potential energy? One way would be to take biochar as the base material for hydrogen production. When producing hydrogen there is still the possibility to split CO2 in very high concentration from the resulting product and not to release it into the atmosphere. Biochar as a feed stock for hydrogen production is the perfect material.
So we would have two independent segments in using biomass to harvest energy and sequestrate carbon dioxide. In building up robust systems the most promising way is not always the most effective opportunity. It is significant to have robust independent subsystems for providing the necessary infrastructure.
Also in building up new possibilities and systems it is important to care about how these systems work. It is crucial to break complex systems down to simple sub-segments. Using simple sub-systems there are more possibilities to give small companies ways to participate, not only big or even multinational enterprises.
One reason why the real world hydrogen economy is still not showing up is that the big companies block the development and wait for the opportunity to get hold of the market. Hydrogen production is a process of high technological skills with lots of room for new developments and patents. A lot of capital and know how is needed to build up a production site. This also means potential for monopole or oligopoly.
As an example I would like to say that everybody can make his own hamburger at home. But this opportunity is not often used. Mostly large multinational companies do this for us and we support their actions with our money.