Assuming trends from some unknowns in the current Carbon economics system

Having been grown into business world through my materials solutions company working for the semiconductor industry I associate output yield from primary inputs a measure for robustness and sustainability of a business. So I was absolutely amazed when I saw Palm Oil Industry and idealistically proposed measures to help uplifting its yield of 20-25%. The amounts of organic waste and effluent just deemed insane but I was made understand the economic dilemmas of addressing its proper treatment. Unfortunately nobody from the industry was honest to me seen as a potential threat to possibly leak unedifying details to the critical European public. But the two biggest Malaysian Palm Oil companies contracted my concepts out to different third party universities for reinventing the wheel of our Carbon Recycling Technology proscribing our then already 15 years track record in its R&D. Three years later, after they had not achieved any results they still refused any advice. So I moved on to the private sector of palm oil industry. There I learned soil replenishment input chemicals to be at factor 10 of the nutrient content in the harvested fruit bunches.

This led to the blunt question whether by-products from agricultural biomass exploitation could ever be looked at as abundant waste for valorization? Particularly looking at Carbon balances, the least discussed aspect has been being terrestrial Soil Organic Carbon [SOC] levels. Over the last 50 years more than 50% of agriculture land-use change of 260 million hectares concerned oil crops. For oil palms this fatally concerned tropical peat land in large part. In addition David Pimentel from Cornell University contemplated 2006 a 30% loss of the 1.26 billion hectares arable land since 1960 by erosion. Another word for loss of Soil Organic Matter [SOM] whereof 60% are SOC. Globally we are talking about 3 Terra tonnes [Tt] of soil ligated Carbon, whereof 13% may be in arable land. Under land-use change Carbon depletion is generally cited to be between 28-43%. At a rate of 42 tonnes per percent of SOC content 360 million hectares eroded land depleting 5% and 260 land-use change respiring 2.3% depletion must have been at least 100 Giga tonnes [Gt] Carbon. At steady 0.8Gt increase per decade this means about 45% of annual fossil Carbon imports from earlier eons for today.

Bio-fuels production 2014 was 70.8 million tonnes [Mt] oil equivalent, a mere 1.5% of crude oil production being 38.6% of fossil energy. So the question is, how Carbon efficient is land-use change for bio-fuel production, or recovering 0.025‰ secondary energy from burning agricultural residues deprived from replenishing soils by proper composting, risking further arable land degradation and triggering additional land-use change of forest lands? Why not do like higher value adding biomass industry as pulp and paper industries do? Recycling saving fresh resources and cost intensive preparation for new productions! Recycle Carbon from any non-compostable carbohydrate ambit residues or hydrocarbon! Composting should be seen as Carbon sequestration into top soil able to make up for ⅔ of the losses in agricultural tilling, provided the compost is suitable for reintroduction into the food chain. Another 1.7 Gt Carbon from biomass decomposes into atmosphere from husbandry for 15% nutrition in our food-mix, leaving 1 Gt Carbon behind in decay, representing 75% manmade fermentable organic waste. Including Carbon content of Carbonate minerals exploitation further 3 Gt of terrestrial Carbon enter the Anthroposphere.

Adding all up we use about 10 Gt fossil plus 5Gt bio-Carbon, about half terrestrial photosynthetic biomass accession today. On top of these come 4 Gt from soil- and 3 Gt from Carbonate mineral decomposition plus 2.5 from meat production. This means 3.3 tonnes Carbon consumption per capita in average. But the “Human Appropriation of Net Primary Production” Project already assessed 7 tonnes anthropogenic consummation per capita e.g. in Germany, showing a trend not to be rolled-out into the rest of world!

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