Climate Change

Published on August 31st, 2009 | by Guest Contributor


Carbon Gold Strikes A Deal with the Maldives

Carbon Gold is a new biochar company started by Craig Sams, co-founder of the successful Green & Black organic chocolate firm recently sold to Cadbury. Under the plan, Carbon Gold will take agricultural and fishing waste from three islands in the Maldives and transform it into biochar through a process called pyrolisis, the chemical decomposition of a condensed substance by heating in a low carbon atmosphere.

Photo Credit: visionshareBiochar


The combination of high carbon content and porous nature aids soil in retaining all of the nutrients and water it needs to grow crops, sometimes increasing crop yields. Additionally, biochar is a way to utilize soil as a carbon sink, returning what could have been carbon emissions to the soil.

According to Christoph Steiner, a leading biochar research scientist, “Soil acts as an enormous carbon pool, increasing this carbon pool could significantly contribute to the reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere. It gives us a chance to produce carbon negative energy.”

The Maldives government plans to make the country carbon neutral by 2020, and if the three trial island programs are successful they plan to incorporate all of the islands into the program. The created biochar can be sold to Maldives visitors as a way to offset their travel emissions, and there are plans to expand the carbon credit possibilities of biochar. The Maldives has a pressing reason to be a leader in battling climate change- with all but two of their islands standing under 1 meter above sea level, they are dramatically impacted by rising sea levels.

This innovative deal represents the first opportunity for biochar to be tested in a large-scale project. Additionally, this partnership between a start up company and the government of the Maldives is a model for how new businesses addressing the triple bottom line can work together with federal programs to create systems that benefit the market, government and the environment.

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