Black carbon is the second-largest contributor to climate change after carbon dioxide. If we cut the amount of black carbon we release into the air, we could immediately slow the pace of climate change. So why aren't we?
Most black carbon is generated from the open burning of wood waste. Air Burners® uses air curtain technology to trap black carbon emissions and prevent their escape into the atmosphere.
How long do climate drivers stay in the atmosphere?
The tree mortality problem is so large we can't count it. In the California Sierra Nevada mountain range alone, there are over 800 million tons of tree mortality. Despite the biodegradability, dead trees take anywhere between 50 and 100 years to fully break down. Such forgotten waste hinders new growth and poses major fire hazards before it finally returns to the earth.
When entire forest beds are littered with dead trees, new ones can't grow. The vegetative debris cripples the forest's ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and in turn aggravates climate change.
A spark in dry weather is all it takes for dead wood to be set ablaze. Deadly wildfires in California, Australia and the Amazon rainforest have ravaged homes, taken lives, posed severe respiratory health risks and pushed countless threatened species closer to extinction.
Without the help of air curtain burning, trees take decades to fully decompose. A handful of dead trees in a forest isn't a problem, but an entire dead or dying forest will have its ability to absorb carbon—and slow down climate change—severely hampered for all the decades that it is out of action.
There's no market for
recycled wood products.
Hauling wood waste is not an end solution. It simply transfers the problem from one place to the next. Typically, the first stop is a chipping mill, then on to a landfill or open burn pit. No matter where it goes, the destination involves a ton of trucking, which consumes up to 15 gallons of fuel. You guessed it. That fuel emits carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases.
Whether the wood ends up in a landfill or in a conventional biomass burner, the first step typically involves hauling whole wood waste to a chipping mill. This hauling process consumes 10 to 15 gallons of fuel and emits carbon dioxide, methane and other harmful greenhouse gases in the process.
The marketplace for chipping wood waste is getting smaller. There aren't as uses besides mulch. On top of that, the chipping process burns up to 60 gallons of diesel per hour, which emits greenhouse gases and, based on the U.S. EPA., cancer-causing dust particles into the air we breathe.
Chipping wood waste has fewer and fewer places it can be used. This chipped wood can be used as mulch, but its production from vegetative debris is a fossil-fuel intensive exercise to the tune of 40 to 60 gallons of diesel per hour. This process also emits more greenhouse gases into the air and the dust particles are recognized as a cancer causing agent by the U.S. EPA.
We generate too much wood waste to recycle it all. There's no viable market for repurposing wood products, and there's less and less landfill space to bury the problem and hope it goes away. Unfortunately, the go-to disposal method is open burning, which is also the most dangerous to our health and the health of our planet. Unlike our air curtain technology that controls the burn and traps the black smoke, open burning lacks environmental safeguards. Unexpected wind changes can flame fires and spread uncontrollably. Open burns also emit black carbon, creating health challenges and obstacles in the fight against climate change.
Not all wood waste can be recycled. Open burning is the most common method of disposing of such waste, but it is also the most detrimental. Unexpected changes in wind direction can cause open fires to spread uncontrollably, while the smoke (black carbon) that lingers long after an open burn is a human health risk and is a major climate change forcer.
Before wood chips turn into compost, they start out as vegetative waste. But there's a dark side to striking it nutrient-rich. The waste gets ground up, then put in a mixer, spread into rows, and mixed weekly by a windrow turner. The journey from biomass waste to wood chips burns over 100 gallons of diesel per hour—more than 1.5 gallons a minute! The machine-driven process involves grinding and turning, which creates an enormous amount of cancer-causing dust. Composting wood chips also releases methane—an active greenhouse gas traps heat 30x times more effectively than carbon dioxide.
Wood chips are a common ingredient for compost. There is a dark side to such "black gold". The wood chips used from vegetative waste have to first be ground up and then all the waste materials go into a mixer. Once the waste is spread into rows, the windrow turner comes through once a week to turn the mixture. These machines burn over 100 gallons of diesel fuel per hour; and the grinding, turning, and handling creates an enormous amount of dust. The composting of wood chips also releases methane, which traps heat 30 times more effectively compared to carbon dioxide.
Black Carbon absorbs heat up to 1,500 times more than CO2 while in the atmosphere. Once it has fallen back to Earth, it accelerates the melting of glaciers and ice caps (IPCC) contributing to rising sea levels. A component of Black Carbon can be invisibly small and if inhaled can exacerbate diseases, like lung cancer and heart disease.
Carbon dioxide is a naturally-occurring gas that helps sustain life. But our burning of fossil fuels has produced more carbon dioxide than what our environment can handle, causing global temperatures to rise.
When methane is released into the atmosphere, it traps heat and warms the planet 30 times as much as Carbon Dioxide. Methane lingers in the atmosphere for 15 years and is emitted through natural gas transportation and use, livestock, and landfills.
There is a highly-effective alternative to traditional wood waste recycling that's currently at work on every continent except Antarctica—Air Burners®. Producing a highly clean burn at a fraction of the economic and environmental cost, we are the most proven wood waste burner available today with the smallest ecological footprint. Our technology simulates the natural burning of wood waste, but without the high degree of pollution and at low cost. Our machines are the most enviromentally-friendly alternative to all other wood processing methods.