Suppressing Greenhouse Gases With Biochar

by Tanya Thomas on  March 23, 2011 at 9:25 AM Environmental Health   - G J E 4
Tests conducted by scientists at Lincoln University in New Zealand have indicated that adding biochar to the soil could be used to suppress nitrous oxide derived from livestock.
 Suppressing Greenhouse Gases With Biochar
Suppressing Greenhouse Gases With Biochar

Nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas and a precursor to compounds that contribute to the destruction of the ozone. Intensively managed, grazed pastures are responsible for an increase in nitrous oxide emissions from grazing animals' excrement. Biochar is potentially a mitigation option for reducing the world's elevated carbon dioxide emissions, since the embodied carbon can be sequestered in the soil. Biochar also has the potential to beneficially alter soil nitrogen transformations.

Scientists conducted an experiment over an 86-day spring/summer period to determine the effect of incorporating biochar into the soil on nitrous oxide emissions from the urine patches produced by cattle. Biochar was added to the soil during pasture renovation and gas samples were taken on 33 different occasions.

Addition of biochar to the soil allowed for a 70pc reduction in nitrous oxide fluxes over the course of the study. Nitrogen contribution from livestock urine to the emitted nitrous oxide decreased as well. The incorporation of biochar into the soil had no detrimental effects on dry matter yield or total nitrogen content in the pasture.

Arezoo Taghizadeh-Toosi who conducted the study, said that under the highest rate of biochar, ammonia formation and its subsequent adsorption onto or into the biochar, reduced the inorganic-nitrogen pool available for nitrifiers and thus nitrate concentrations were reduced. Such effects would have diminished the substrate available for microbial nitrous oxide production."

The study has been published in the March/April 2011 issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality.

Source: ANI

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Biomass should never be just burnt, instead it should be fractionated to it's high value uses. Recent NATURE STUDY; Sustainable bio char to mitigate global climate change Not talked about in this otherwise comprehensive study are the climate and whole ecological implications of new , higher value, applications of chars. First, the in situ remediation of a vast variety of toxic agents in soils and sediments. Biochar Sorption of Contaminants; Dr. Lima's work; Specialized Characterization Methods for Biochar at the 2010 US Biochar Conferenceat ISU And at USDA; The Ultimate Trash To Treasure: *ARS Research Turns Poultry Waste into Toxin-grabbing Char Second, The uses as a feed ration for livestock to reduce GHG emissions and increase disease resistance. Third, Recent work by C. Steiner, at U of GA, showing a 52% reduction of NH3 loss when char is used as a composting accelerator. This will have profound value added consequences for the commercial composting industry by reduction of their GHG emissions and the sale of compost as a nitrogen fertilizer. Black Knight Blog; Soil Reef Blog;
Erich Wednesday, March 23, 2011

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