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Issue
Nine

Biochar

Biochar is a fine-grained, highly porous charcoal produced by burning agricultural waste (e.g.  biomass or straw from wheat, sugar cane and rice) to generate power, then ploughing the by-product into the soil.  …


Biochar is a fine-grained, highly porous charcoal produced by burning agricultural waste (e.g.  biomass or straw from wheat, sugar cane and rice) to generate power, then ploughing the by-product into the soil.  The biochar helps the soil retain nutrients and water and makes it more fertile.  The carbon in the biochar resists degradation and can be stored in soil for hundreds to thousands of years – providing farming benefits as well as addressing the problem of climate change.  According to Professor Stuart Haszeldine, biochar could remove billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, at levels comparable to CCS.  

The University of Edinburgh has three staff doing specialist research in biochar, as part of the UK Centre for Biochar Research, looking at the different types of vegetation and waste streams. 

“Biochar needs authentication and standards for measuring efficiency,” Haszeldine says.  “We need to study the effects to find out which parts oxidize and which stay in the soil, as well as studying the engineering problems.  We also need to understand the social and economic impact, to convince more farmers to get more involved.”

 


 

"Biochar". Science Scotland (Issue Nine)
Printed from http://www.sciencescotland.org/feature.php?id=58 on 20/10/17 09:55:32 AM

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