Wikipedia — Carbon sequestration claims that burying charcoal into the soil offsets $\ce{CO2}$ and thus reduces the greenhouse effect:

In the soil, the biochar carbon is unavailable for oxidation to $\ce{CO2}$ and consequential atmospheric release.

Is it a must to cover charcoal/biochar with the soil to prevent the air and rain water exposure to avoid oxidation, i.e. offset carbon dioxide? Would it otherwise oxidize to $\ce{CO2}$ under normal conditions (no fire) if left above the ground?

  • $\begingroup$ The spontaneous oxidation of charcoal by air at room temperature happens spontaneously. But it is so slow that it can be forgotten. The half-life of the reaction iis much much longer than the duration of the universe. $\endgroup$
    – Maurice
    Mar 4 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ slightly related (especially Sir Poliakoff's video "Charcoal in Liquid Oxygen (slow motion)") Why doesn't carbon fiber overwrapping in LOX catch fire? (watch this video first) $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Mar 4 at 21:32
  • $\begingroup$ So to capture carbon this way you don't necessarily need to bury biochar, you just need to find a meaningful usage for it, correct? And what about water? Can charcoal oxidation be accelerated by regular water contact (like rain/river water)? $\endgroup$ Mar 4 at 21:32


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