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Soil, land care and environmental research

Estimation of net carbon sequestration potential with farmland application of bagasse charcoal: life cycle inventory analysis through a pilot sugarcane bagasse carbonisation plant

Koji Kameyama A C , Yoshiyuki Shinogi A , Teruhito Miyamoto A and Koyu Agarie B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Land and Water Resources, National Institute for Rural Engineering, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, Kannondai 2-1-6, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8609, Japan.

B NPO Subtropical Biomass Research Center, Ueno-Nobaru 1190-204, Miyakojima, Okinawa 906-0201, Japan.

C Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Journal of Soil Research 48(7) 586-592
Submitted: 5 January 2010  Accepted: 29 April 2010   Published: 28 September 2010


Enriching soil carbon storage is regarded as a viable option for mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the agricultural sector. Carbon sequestration by applying biomass into the soil can be an effective sequestration pathway for agriculture. Biochar, charcoal produced from biomass pyrolysis, is highly stable against microbial decomposition, and applying this to farmland has the potential to mitigate GHG emissions. However, CO2 is emitted throughout the biochar life cycle, including pyrolysis, transportation, and farmland application. Therefore, estimating the net carbon sequestration potential by considering these CO2 emissions is important. To this end, operational data from a pilot sugarcane bagasse carbonisation plant were collected, and the net carbon sequestration potential with farmland application of bagasse charcoal was calculated using inventory data from the pilot plant. The results were as follows: (i) kerosene consumption during the carbonisation process was the greatest contributor to CO2 emissions within the life cycle of applying bagasse charcoal to farmland; (ii) the initial dryness of the feedstock was an important factor in estimating net carbon sequestration potentials; (iii) the CO2 mitigation potential with farmland application of bagasse charcoal on Miyako Island would be 1200–1800 t CO2/year.

Additional keywords: life cycle assessment, pyrolysis, soil carbon sequestration, soil amendment.


We thank Dr Yoshihito Shirato (National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, Japan) for his review of an earlier version of this manuscript. This study was supported by a grant from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (Rural Biomass Research Project, BUM-Cm6200).


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