Agriculture

Biochar, sustainable or not?


Italy could decrease yours CO2 emissions with the help of biochar, a fertilizer / soil improver, capable of increasing the soil fertility so as to improve agricultural productivity. The tons of CO2 cut every year with the use of biochar, could amount to 45 million! The problem is that in Italy the biochar it is forbidden. It is for this reason that on 17 and 18 January, the headquarters of the Minoprio foundation will host the "1st Mediterranean Symposium on Biochar”.

The first question we can ask ourselves is: "why the biochar is it prohibited if it can help agribusiness and the environment?
Apparently, Italian legislation should align with the latest technological advances. There are those who speak of pressures, of economic interests ... but it must be said that until recently the production of biochar it wasn't that sustainable.

It is true, the biochar acts like a sponge and absorbs and retains CO2, as well as all the nutrients and water necessary to make a fertile ground. In this way, with the biochar carbon dioxide and methane are removed from the atmosphere and trapped in the soil. With its action, the biochar plays a dual role: on the one hand counteracts climate change and on the other it behaves like a sustainable fertilizer.

The problem arises with the production. We need one source of biomass plus, this must be transformed into a finished productbiochar). The transformation of biomass into biochar is a very complex process. If the transformation is not carried out adequately, highly polluting chemical compounds are released into the atmosphere.

The proposal of the communities that support the spread of biochar, provides for the use of agricultural waste as a source of biomass and for the transformation it is proposed to apply a process of pyrolysis. With the pyrolysis biomass can be transformed into biochar but to make this transformation take place, it is necessary to administer high temperatures to the system. Temperatures between 400 and 800 degrees, in severe oxygen deficiency. It is true that the biochar it could directly cut 45 tons of CO2 per year, but with its production, how many would it emit? Achieving high temperatures requires a energy cost high.

During the symposium the latest studies, researches and experiments concerning a production method of biochar more sustainable, ground applications, quality certifications, European regulations and will debate the development of a stronger economic and environmental market.

Will be present as speakers: prof. Johannes Lehmann of Cornell University (USA), prof. Bruno Glaser of the University of Halle (D), the soil scientist Saran Sohi of the University of Edinburgh (GB), prof. Franco Miglietta of IBIMET-CNR of Florence (IT).


Video: Biochar application in Agriculture (October 2020).