Carbon Farming Initiative Project

NSW Carbon in Compost Project 

The Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) project funded by NSW EPA and individual processors in NSW was designed to explore the amount of long term (recalcitrant) carbon in compost products and to find an inexpensive way to model carbon for carbon trading purposes.
The project sought to answer the question: Do measures of biological stability of compost correlate with carbon characteristics? Of particular relevance is whether biological stability measures could be used as indicators of recalcitrant carbon.

The first stage involved sampling and testing of a range of different composts over a 12 week period, testing biological stability and other important parameters at different maturities. Products tested included green waste, food and green, biosolids, msw, and humified composts.

Stage two planned to involve these samples being tested by the CSIRO for recalcitrant carbon. These results will determine if such a postulated correlation is quantifiable with an appropriate level of confidence. Completion of this initial work has been delayed, as CSIRO were unable to analyse samples at the time due to an overload of samples in their system, technical difficulties and mechanical failure.

CSIRO Project: Increasing Soil Carbon with Organic Amendments

In the interim CSIRO has successfully secured new funding to broaden the project. 

The project will investigate how organic amendments differ chemically, how this relates to their stability in soil, and how soil type affects this stability. The data generated in this research will also be used to investigate the suitability of rapid spectral (MIR/NIR) techniques for estimating organic amendment stability, and to refine how models handle organic amendments. 

This information will inform the land sector and policy makers as to the suitability of differing organic amendments for Carbon sequestration. The results of this analysis will be used within FullCAM (the model used to construct Australia’s national greenhouse gas emissions account for the land sector) to provide consistency with Australia’s national inventory and CFI methodologies.
While the outcomes of this research are some time off (2015), the findings may lead to the development of CFI methodologies for landholders applying composts and organic amendments to receive carbon credits via carbon offset schemes.

CSIRO Needs More Samples
While the initial project is still to be finalised, another 30 samples are required by CSIRO to be included in the project. 

Clarification of the compost samples to be included in the broader project is yet to be determined. Preference will be given to compost samples that:
•    Cover organic inputs not already tested, and
•    Are processed in commercial volumes under verifiable process controls.
All sampling procedure, storage and forwarding instructions will be carried out by the AORA NSW MIDO.

This is an opportunity for you learn about the carbon sequestration potential of your products. If you are interested in having your compost or other organic amendment sampled, please contact Darren to arrange for sampling and testing.

Your individual test results will be shared with you confidentially.  All final results however, will be aggregated and will not identifiable by business. 

Contact your Market and Industry Development Officer: 

Darren Fahey - 
M: 0414 224 110