My mom and I were just talking this morning about the peat-bog fires that are a common event up where my mom and dad live in Northern Minnesota. There's been one peat bog fire that has been burning, under the surface, for as far back as I can remember being aware of such things. It's generally seen as an unfortunate fact of life...
...but now I wonder...are those sub-surface peat-bog fires the sort of thing that could result in Pyrolysis? I have no way of knowing for sure if the peat bog fires are proceeding without the benefit of oxygen...but I suspect it's quite likely, as they burn under a layer of soil.
And if so, they are apparently a potentially useful method of carbon sequestration.
That would be just cool. I wonder who I would ask to find out about such a thing? At least there would be SOME benefit to having fires that nobody can put out burning under "ground" for years and years and years...and which are otherwise a dangerous, potentially expensive, hazardous nuisance.
Oh, and by the way, really DO follow that link and read the article. There is a suggestion that systematic controlled pyrolysis could be one possible remedy for some of our environmental problems...disposing of waste, enriching the soil, producing alternative fuel and sequestering carbon all in one fell swoop.
The catch, of course, is that carbon sequestration must become more economically desirable.
Lehmann said that as the value of carbon dioxide increases on carbon markets, "we calculate that biochar sequestration in conjunction with bioenergy from pyrolysis becomes economically attractive when the value of avoided carbon dioxide emissions reaches $37 per ton." Currently, the Chicago Climate Exchange is trading carbon dioxide at $4 a ton; it is projected that that the price will rise to $25-$85 a ton in the coming years. (quote from article, follow link for more)
(Hat Tip: A Blog Around the Clock)