Researchers doubt charcoal’s carbon storage potential

According to the latest research done at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, charcoal´s potential as an environmentally friendly mechanism for storing carbon waste is overrated.

Buried charcoal has long been promoted as the ideal storing mechanism for carbon because it is made from biological tissues takes thousands of years to break down in soil.

Politicians around the world have jumped on the charcoal bandwagon, but a new study done by Professor David Wardle at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Umeå has discovered that this method is not entirely faultless, writes the Västerbotten Courier newspaper.

The ten-year study, which is to be published in Science magazine, shows that although charcoal does take a long to break down, it stimulates microorganisms that in turn break down the surrounding soil and ultimately create more carbon dioxide emissions.

The study concedes that the effect of charcoal in the soil needs to be better understood before it is used as a tool to counteract human-induced increases in carbon-based greenhouse gases.