Bio Carbon vs Fossil Carbon
Carbon is an essential element in the earth, which is a macro element in all the living organisms and non-living components. Carbon is cycled through the lithosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere, to maintain equilibrium. Therefore, carbon can have the forms of gas, solid and liquid to circulate in all environments. Main carbon reservoir is the atmospheric carbon in the form of carbon dioxide gas. Although the natural equilibrium is maintained through carbon exchange, lately this balance has been distorted due to human activities.
Plants absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide as a starting material to produce carbonic food from the photosynthesis process. Some of this carbonic food is stored in plants, and some are utilized for energy production and growth and development. Animals eat plants, and they get carbon into their bodies. When plants and animals excrete or die, this carbon is released back to soil. Some of the carbon is in animal shells, in the forms of carbonates, or may be dissolved in water. So oceans and other water bodies possess a large amount of carbon too. Bio carbon is the carbon that is stored in trees, soils and oceans like described above. It is called bio carbon because it is sequestered biologically. These bio carbon storages are highly important to maintain the minimum atmospheric carbon dioxide levels as they are the most vulnerable to human activities. For example, trees and plants contain a large amount of bio carbon (around 2000 billion tones of bio carbon is stored in forests, grasslands and other vegetation). Due to deforestation, most of these carbons are released back to the atmosphere causing green house effect, thus global warming. Reforestation, avoiding deforestation, forest management, and land management are some of the ways to maintain the bio carbon storages.
Fossil carbons are the carbon that is stored in fossil fuel. Fossil carbon is produced from the bio carbon in trees, plants and other vegetations. When the dead plant material is buried under layers and subjected for heat and pressure in the underground for millions of years they transform into fossil fuels like petroleum, natural gas or coal. They are in deposits, and people take them out by excavation. Most of the fossil carbon is combined with other elements to form hydrocarbons. Fossil carbon can be used as a fuel and for many other purposes too. By burning fossil carbon in vehicles, factories, a large amount of deposited carbon is released to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. So again as in the case of bio carbon, humans are responsible for depleting the fossil carbons too. The worst part about fossil carbons is that, when they are depleted they cannot be regenerated again easily, as they take millions of years to generate.
What is the difference between Bio Carbon and Fossil Carbon?
• Bio carbon is stored in trees, plants, soil and ocean. Fossil carbon is stored in fossil fuel.
• The bio carbon storages are higher than the presence of fossil carbon.
• Bio carbons are renewable, but fossil carbon are not so. That is because they take thousands of years to generate and make fossil fuels.
Normally fossil carbon is more useful in producing energy than the bio carbon sources. Therefore, fossil carbon is mostly used as a fuel, whereas there are other usages for bio carbons. Bio carbon is mainly depleted due to deforestation for agricultural purposes.