Published on January 16th, 2009 | by Amiel Blajchman11
Biochar: A Soil Additive that Fights Global Warming
Biochar. It’s been around for a little while, but is only beginning to gain traction in climate change and global warming circles for its carbon negative properties. Biochar is a charcoal soil additive that is created through the “thermal treatment” (burning) of biomass residues such as rice and peanut shells, tree bark, sludge from paper mills, and other organics.
How does it all work? During the production process, carbon contained within the biomass residues is captured as biochar and as energy (which is used as heat, power or both). The biochar itself is then used as a soil additive. Since the biochar itself is inert, it is not consumed by any organisms and is considered to act as a carbon sink (no less than the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification has identified biochar as a carbon sink).
As a soil additive, biochar has been demonstrated to reduce nitrous oxide emissions and water and soil retention in marginal soil quality.
Photo Credit: The International Biochar Initiative