Biochar – the win-win-win-win solution!

14 May 20

Biochar is charcoal produced from biomass via pyrolysis. It can offer many benefits as a soil amendment, such as improved soil health and carbon sequestration, while also contributing to climate change adaptation and mitigation.  The Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) dedicated a webinar series to this promising technology, the first of which took place last 7 May 2020.

Entitled ‘Biochar systems for sustainable agriculture’, the webinar was presented by Prof. David Chiaramonti of Polytechnic University of Turin, and provided a detailed overview of biochar production technologies as well as different biochar characteristics depending on the feedstock and the process parameters.

The many benefits of biochar

Biochar has an important carbon sequestration potential due to it is high stability in the soil. Prof. Chiaramonti cited the recent IPCC report: Climate Change and Land, published in 2019, that specifically addresses the GHG mitigation potential of biochar. It is a compelling option given that it can be deployed on a large scale at low cost, and that it can promote more sustainable agriculture and climate change adaptation making it a win-win-win-win solution! It led, to the addition of GHG savings from biochar into carbon accounting by the IPCC in 2019.

The webinar also focused on the interesting synergies between biochar systems and biogas produced from the anaerobic digestion of organic matter. Biochar can be used to improve a biogas system, for example, co-composting biochar with digestate (the by-product of biogas production) can significantly improve the fertilizer it produces.

Missed the webinar?

If you missed the webinar but are interested in these topics, the recording of the webinar is available on the GBEP website. The next webinar in this series will be held on Thursday 11 June at 14:30 CEST; Johannes Lehmann, Professor of soil fertility management and soil biogeochemistry at Cornell University, will present ‘Climate-smart biochar systems: opportunities and challenges’.

To receive updates on this event you can contact the GBEP Secretariat.