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Biochar, soils and carbon capture

Posted on 24. October, 2012.

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Could the creation of artificial terra preta assist sustainable agriculture, and possibly avert global warming? In his latest Current Commentary, Chris Rhodes considers the advantages of adding charcoal – “biochar” – to soil with the aim of recreating the properties of the dark earth. Biochar binds the essential nutrients N, P and K, and impedes dramatically the rate at which they are washed away by rain. Minute pores form in the charcoal which can hold more nutrients on its larger surface area and act as "condominiums" for microorganisms to grow in and so increases their density in the soil. However, to be effective, the biochar production process must produce more energy overall than it consumes.

Biochar, and its potential contribution to improving soil quality and carbon capture.

Christopher J. Rhodes
Fresh-lands Environmental Actions, 88 Star Road, Caversham, Berkshire RG4 5BE, UK

Doi: 10.3184/003685012X13445960110308

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