Biochar, also known as black carbon, is a product that is derived from organic materials rich in carbon (C) and found in soils in very stable solid forms. It is basically a pyrolysis product of organic residues that has received wide attention to mitigate climate change. Biochars can persist for longer periods of time in the soil at various depths, typically thousands of years. Biochars are well known to improve soil physical and chemical properties, such as increasing soil fertility and productivity.
As biochars are acquired through pyrolyzing biomass at temperatures above 300°C in the absence of oxygen, degraded, dry lands and soils with poor fertility as well as low organic matter soils can massively get benefit from biochar amendments. It also has improved nutrient and water-holding capacities that increases fertility and productivity, and improved crop management efficiency.
Biochar as a soil amendment can help in sequester the stable carbon in soils and combat climate change. On the other hand, responses to biochars may depend on the type of biochar used and also the specific characteristics of that biochar as its characteristics determine its fitness for specific agronomic or environmental purposes. Additional benefits come from biochar’s ability to absorb contaminants, including inorganic and organic pollutants in soil and leaching waters, ultimately improving the soil and water quality to improve soil fertility and crop productivity.
Carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas mitigation potential of biochar
Biochar technology has proven the best to achieve carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas mitigation. Biochar potential is determined by several basic factors, including: Efficiency of the crop production technology. Available renewable biomass resource that can be sustainably harvested. Stability of biochar in the soil for longer period of time. Adoption and implementation of biochar investment schemes to achieve high yield. Production and utilization of co-produced bioenergy to replace fossil energy sources
Sustainable biochar can be used now to help combat climate change by holding carbon in soil and by replacing fossil fuel use. Research shows that the stability of biochar in soil significantly exceeds that of un-charred organic matter. Moreover, because biochar retains nitrogen, emissions of nitrous oxide (an effective greenhouse gas) may be reduced. Methane (another strong greenhouse gas) generated by the natural decomposition of the waste can also be reduced by turning agricultural waste into biochar.
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