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The Economic Value of Biochar in Crop Production and Carbon Sequestration


  • Suzette P. Galinato
  • Jonathan K. Yoder
  • David Granatstein

    () (School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University)


This paper estimates the economic value of biochar application on agricultural cropland for carbon sequestration and its soil amendment properties. In particular, we consider the carbon emissions avoided when biochar is applied to agricultural soil, instead of agricultural lime, the amount of carbon sequestered, and the value of carbon offsets, assuming there is an established carbon trading mechanism for biochar soil application. We use winter wheat production in Eastern Whitman County, Washington as a case study, and consider different carbon offset price scenarios and different prices of biochar to estimate a farm profit. Our findings suggest that it may be profitable to apply biochar as a soil amendment under some conditions if the biochar market price is low enough and/or a carbon offset market exists.

Suggested Citation

  • Suzette P. Galinato & Jonathan K. Yoder & David Granatstein, 2010. "The Economic Value of Biochar in Crop Production and Carbon Sequestration," Working Papers 2010-3, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:wsu:wpaper:sgalinato-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Koenig, P., 2011. "Modelling Correlation in Carbon and Energy Markets," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1123, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    2. Johannes Lehmann & John Gaunt & Marco Rondon, 2006. "Bio-char Sequestration in Terrestrial Ecosystems – A Review," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 395-419, March.
    3. Maria Mansanet-Bataller & Angel Pardo & Enric Valor, 2007. "CO2 Prices, Energy and Weather," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 73-92.
    4. Mathews, John A., 2008. "Carbon-negative biofuels," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 940-945, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lydia Fryda & Rianne Visser, 2015. "Biochar for Soil Improvement: Evaluation of Biochar from Gasification and Slow Pyrolysis," Agriculture, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(4), pages 1-40, November.
    2. repec:eee:rensus:v:102:y:2019:i:c:p:266-284 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Nguyen, Thu Lan T. & Hermansen, John E. & Mogensen, Lisbeth, 2013. "Environmental performance of crop residues as an energy source for electricity production: The case of wheat straw in Denmark," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 633-641.
    4. repec:eee:rensus:v:94:y:2018:i:c:p:340-362 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:appene:v:233-234:y:2019:i::p:735-746 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Taras Lychuk & Roberto Izaurralde & Robert Hill & William McGill & Jimmy Williams, 2015. "Biochar as a global change adaptation: predicting biochar impacts on crop productivity and soil quality for a tropical soil with the Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) model," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 20(8), pages 1437-1458, December.
    7. Wang, Wei-Cheng, 2016. "Techno-economic analysis of a bio-refinery process for producing Hydro-processed Renewable Jet fuel from Jatropha," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 63-73.
    8. repec:eee:energy:v:139:y:2017:i:c:p:732-742 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:gam:jagris:v:8:y:2018:i:12:p:187-:d:186573 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Brown, Tristan R. & Thilakaratne, Rajeeva & Brown, Robert C. & Hu, Guiping, 2013. "Regional differences in the economic feasibility of advanced biorefineries: Fast pyrolysis and hydroprocessing," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 234-243.
    11. repec:eee:appene:v:230:y:2018:i:c:p:330-343 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. repec:eee:energy:v:140:y:2017:i:p1:p:415-425 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Kong, Sieng-Huat & Loh, Soh-Kheang & Bachmann, Robert Thomas & Rahim, Sahibin Abdul & Salimon, Jumat, 2014. "Biochar from oil palm biomass: A review of its potential and challenges," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 729-739.

    More about this item


    Biochar; Carbon sequestration; Crop; Farm profitability; Soil amendment;

    JEL classification:

    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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