Biochar: The Nature-Based Carbon Sequestration Technology for Achieving Net-Zero Emissions
As the world grapples with the impact of climate change, the search for sustainable solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has become more pressing. Agriculture, forestry, and land use contribute over 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions, with crop burning alone accounting for 3.5% of this figure. However, a recent study shows that biochar, a nature-based carbon sequestration technology, could help farmers achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Biochar is created by heating biomass, such as fallen tree branches and crop residue, at 200-400°C with little or no oxygen, in a process known as pyrolysis. This thermally decomposes the organic waste into a solid residue of carbon, known as biochar, which can be sequestered in soil for hundreds or thousands of years. By converting crop residue into biochar and applying it to the field, around 50% of the carbon is stored in stable forms, mitigating emissions from organic waste that is burned or left to decompose.
A recent review of more than 200 field studies worldwide shows that biochar is particularly successful at lowering nitrous oxide emissions, a greenhouse gas that is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Researchers from The Ohio State University found that, on average, the use of biochar lowered emissions of nitrous oxide by around 18% and methane by 3%. Biochar can also remove greenhouse gases directly from the atmosphere through uptake by plants. Additionally, it can be used as a soil additive to improve drainage, aeration, plant health, crop yield, and water and nutrient retention.
The study highlights other benefits of biochar, including its ability to optimise soil, but notes that there are barriers to its adoption. Currently, biochar is expensive, costing from €930 to €3,065 per metric tonne. There is also limited evidence on its benefits and stability due to a lack of large-scale, long-term studies. Biochar has therefore not yet been recognised as a method for generating carbon offsets. However, the study’s authors argue that biochar’s ability to sequester large amounts of greenhouse gases, along with its additional benefits for farmers, means it deserves to be reevaluated as a tool for climate change mitigation.
The use of biochar could help farmers achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by cutting emissions at the source while enhancing the carbon sink that absorbs them – in this case, the soil carbon pool. By convincing farmers that converting biomass to biochar is good for the long-term sustainability of soils, the economy, and good for the environment, wide adoption of this technology can be achieved. Biochar is a sustainable solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that can be implemented by farmers and foresters worldwide, contributing to the global fight against climate change.
- Benefits of biochar for soil and agriculture
- How biochar mitigates climate change
- Types of biochar and their uses
- Biochar production methods and technologies
- Impacts of biochar on carbon sequestration and soil health
News Source : euronews
Source Link :What is biochar and why is it reaping such positive climate results on farms and forests?/