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Snapshot of Legislative Scenario Governing the U.S. Biochar Market

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The United States has been an early adopter of carbon sequestration techniques, thanks mainly to the country’s policies stressing on climate change mitigation. With an encouraging body of evidence coming to the fore about the carbon sequestration attributes of biochar, agriculture research institutes in the country have been immensely interested in harnessing the power of biochar. While initially the perception about biochar was that of a miracle cure to carbon emissions, this view has gradually changed with the emergence of a more realistic picture of biochar and its abilities.

Browse the full U.S. Biochar Market Report:

All the same, the outlook for the biochar market in the United States remains positive. According to market intelligence firm Transparency Market Research, the U.S. biochar market approximated US$1.45 mn in 2013, and will likely rise to US$4.94 mn by 2020, exhibiting a CAGR of 19.0% from 2014 through 2020. The market intelligence firm also studies the U.S. biochar market in terms of volume, forecasting that the market will stand at 10,000 tons by 2020, and will have a CAGR (in volume terms) of 24.3% between 2014 and 2020.

The market’s growth will be duly supported by numerous legislations endeavoring to bring biochar into the mainstream, not just in the agriculture sector, but beyond. Here are five major legislative events across the country that have boosted the biochar market in the U.S.:

In January 2015, Massachusetts Appended a Thermal Provision to its Alternative Portfolio Standard (APS): This provision expanded the definition of what constitutes an “alternative energy generating source”. The new definition now takes into account a variety of sources, including biomass, biogas, sunlight, renewable natural gas, thermal energy, or liquid biofuel. This legislation will provide a boost to biochar production in Massachusetts’ alternative portfolio standard. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental protection has said in the past that biochar that has been produced from clean materials can be applied to the land. However, waste materials converted into biochar would need to be assessed for Beneficial Use Determination.

Support for Biochar Included in American Power Act (APA) in 2010: The APA was passed in a bid to secure energy supply in the United States’ for the future. The new provisions under the APA mention biochar as an agent for climate mitigation and adaptation. Section 2214 of the act lays down provisions for funding research facilities as well as states that wish to undertake research in biochar production technology.

In November 2009, Carbon offset Bill with Two Biochar Provisions Introduced by Senate: With government support toward biochar projects being qualified for carbon offsets, the adoption of biochar received an early impetus in 2009. This was a crucial development in that it paved the way for the United States Department of Agriculture to secure funding for biochar research and development activities. The bill also provided a congressional nod for biochar projects to qualify for availing carbon offsets.

Browse the full Press Release of U.S. Biochar Market

Besides these three recent legislations, the WECHAR bill, introduced by Senator Harry Reid (along with four cosponsors) in September 2009, provided a veritable boost to biochar development and financing options for the same. Even as the legislative scenario in the U.S. biochar market remains favorable, there is still some ambiguity on the most efficacious and affordable technology to develop biochar – a shortcoming that companies in the U.S. biochar market need to address expeditiously.