Biochar

Biochar is charcoal made from plant wastes (farming, industrial, forestry) by heating those wastes in a low oxygen environment. It is applied to soils as an amendment (not a fertilizer) that promotes micro-organisms and soil enhancement (breaking up overly hard clay and dried-out sand based soils) to improve the efficiency of irrigation, enhancing fertilizer uptake and supporting fungal and bacterial life. But biochar affects climate by being the only cheap widely available carbon dioxide sink. Applying biochar to the soil buries the CO2 captured by plants rather than leaving plant wastes to rot and return the plant captured CO2 to the air. The interruption of the plant based carbon cycle keeps the carbon out of the atmosphere in a significant way for up several millennia. Thus using it contributes to the reduction of the CO2 green house gas load in the atmosphere. This effect can be measured for the purposes of meeting green house targets. Biochar manufacture can be added to civic landfill operations alongside the current manufacture and sale of wood-chipped products. The off-gases in its manufacture can be added to the current landfill methane fuel captured and burned to produce local electricity. To sum up, biochar use enhances agriculture but also contributes to climate change reduction.

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