Integrity Testing has been green for over ten years.

Carbon Sequestering in Trees
Carbon Reservoirs

Integrity’s contribution to the environment

In burning fossil fuels as an energy source, we are taking stored carbon and putting it back into the atmosphere at a rate that is greater than it is being taken out.  This means that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing, and will continue to do so until the difference in these two rates disappears.  One way to bring this about would be to greatly curtail the rate at which burn fossil fuels.  Many people do not like this idea, as it would mean a significant change in our current lifestyle.  Another proposed method would be to speed up the rate at which carbon is removed from the atmosphere.  One way of doing this would be to plant more trees.  

 

eucal1

 

 

 

A mallee tree

During photosynthesis, trees convert carbon dioxide and water into sugar molecules and oxygen through a series of oxidation and reduction reactions.  The overall equation for the photosynthetic process may be expressed as

6 CO2 + 6 H2O + sunlight ---> C6H12O6 + 6 O2

Some of this sugar is stored, while most of it gets used by the tree for other purposes such as energy and structure.  For instance, a great deal of the sugar is linked together to form cellulose which provides the structure for the tree. 

 

 

 

If we look at this sugar from a mass standpoint, we see that a large fraction of it is due to the carbon.  The fact that carbon has an atomic mass of 12, hydrogen has an atomic mass of 1, and oxygen has an atomic mass of 16 means that 72/180 = 40% of the mass of the sugar molecule comes from carbon.  Taking into account the other types of molecules that are found in a tree (proteins, lipids, etc.), we find that about 45% of the dry mass (not including the water) of a tree comes from carbon.  In other words, a 100 kilogram log of a tree that has been completely dried contains about 45 kilograms of stored carbon.  

 

e&b2

 

 

Two month growth since harvesting

While each kilogram of dried tree is storing .45 kilograms of carbon, it is removing more than a kilogram of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  This is because each carbon dioxide molecule contains two oxygen atoms.  Using the data from above, this means that each carbon dioxide molecule has an atomic mass of 12 + 2(16) = 44, of which only 12 are due to the carbon.  Therefore, for each atom of carbon stored in a tree, 44 atomic mass units of carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere.  This means that each kilogram of dried tree corresponds to 

(1 kg of dried tree)x(.45 kg of C/1 kg of dried tree)x(44 amu of CO2/12 AMU of C) = 1.65 kg of CO2

 

This large of an amount of CO2 gives the idea of using trees to remove carbon from the atmosphere a lot of validity.  However, it should also be pointed out that this equation works in reverse.  When a tree is burned or allowed to decay completely, the carbon in the tree is put back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.  Worldwide, we are actually losing forest, and this relationship shows why we should be concerned.

 

http://esa21.kennesaw.edu/modules/biogeochem/exercise1/image4.jpg

 

What we at Integrity Testing have done is to treat the leaf and wood residue with steam which sterilizes the wood greatly slowing the decay process to an extent where can harvest our oil every year removing the maximum amount of carbon per area in the fast growing young mallee trees.

 

On average each tree over the year’s growth gains 5Kg in carbon or about 6 kg of CO2. We clear and process 30 acres per year which is 15,000 trees and accounts for 90,000 kg of CO2. As now we have converted our boiler to natural gas this is produced with 10% loss of CO2 giving a net sequestration of 80,000Kg of CO2 each year. 

 

What does this mean? Well Integrity uses 40,000Kg of C02 for its vehicles per year and 25,000 Kg of C02 for its air travel. Integrity is a carbon positive green company.

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