Thursday, November 21, 2013

9. Biochar blocked by economics

 Problem: Biochar has proved itself to be an effective means of increasing growth in plants by significant amounts in many soil types and feedstock. But it achieves these results applied at 10 to 100 tonnes/ha, in pots, economically unrealistic in the paddock. Practical solution 1: innovative use of smaller amounts (250kg – 1tonne/ha) combined with other natural nutrients. Practical solution 2: seek innovations that deliver multiple ‘profit points’, eg., use biochar as feed additive to increase production; compost the resulting manure as high-value alternative fertiliser. Offsets are possible for soil carbon in the biochar, soil carbon as the result of compost application, and reduced emissions of nitrous oxide from substitution of N fertiliser. Breakthrough needed: a CFI methodology for biochar from woodchips.

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