Environmental benefits of biochar
Environmental benefits of biochar
Editor(s): G. Gascó, A. Méndez, A. M. Tarquis, J. Paz-Ferreiro, and A. Cerdà

Biochar is defined as a carbon-rich solid obtained by the thermal decomposition of organic matter under a limited supply of oxygen and at relatively low temperatures Due to its molecular structure, the carbon in the resulting biochar is chemically and biologically in a much more stable form than that in the original raw material, and therefore can be stored in soils for much longer. Scientific evidence shows that turnover time of carbon in biochar ranges from centuries to millennia, depending on feedstock and process conditions. Also, the biochar application to soil can reduce the emissions of other green house gases such as methane and nitrous oxide emissions.

Biochar can be prepared from the thermal treatment of different organic feedstocks such as wood, biomass crops, agricultural by-products such as cereal straw and hazelnuts, which have been used for the production of biochar as well as from sewage sludge or urban waste. The application of biochar in soil has several benefits in soil quality and therefore in crop yields. For example, biochar can increase soil-water-holding capacity and improve the structure of soil, improve soil biological properties, increase cation exchange capacity and pH increasing agricultural yield and at the same time contribute to carbon sequestration due to carbon stability of biochar materials. Recently, biochar has been used in multiple ways in soil remediation due to its adsorption of pesticides or metals, both in laboratory and field. Indeed, biochar can reduce plant-available heavy metals. Another use of biochar is as growing media to crop production in greenhouses reducing the environmental impact of peat excavation. It must be taken into account that more than 100 years is necessary for the formation of 6cm of peat.

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15 Dec 2014
Preface: Environmental benefits of biochar
J. Paz-Ferreiro, A. Méndez, A. M. Tarquis, A. Cerdà, and G. Gascó
Solid Earth, 5, 1301–1303, https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-1301-2014,https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-1301-2014, 2014
22 Sep 2014
Biochar as a growing media additive and peat substitute
C. Steiner and T. Harttung
Solid Earth, 5, 995–999, https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-995-2014,https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-995-2014, 2014
08 Sep 2014
Biochar can be used to capture essential nutrients from dairy wastewater and improve soil physico-chemical properties
T. A. Ghezzehei, D. V. Sarkhot, and A. A. Berhe
Solid Earth, 5, 953–962, https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-953-2014,https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-953-2014, 2014
03 Sep 2014
Biochar increases plant-available water in a sandy loam soil under an aerobic rice crop system
M. T. de Melo Carvalho, A. de Holanda Nunes Maia, B. E. Madari, L. Bastiaans, P. A. J. van Oort, A. B. Heinemann, M. A. Soler da Silva, F. A. Petter, B. H. Marimon Jr., and H. Meinke
Solid Earth, 5, 939–952, https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-939-2014,https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-939-2014, 2014
29 Jul 2014
Methodological interference of biochar in the determination of extracellular enzyme activities in composting samples
K. Jindo, K. Matsumoto, C. García Izquierdo, T. Sonoki, and M. A. Sanchez-Monedero
Solid Earth, 5, 713–719, https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-713-2014,https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-713-2014, 2014
23 Jul 2014
Physicochemical changes in pyrogenic organic matter (biochar) after 15 months of field aging
A. Mukherjee, A. R. Zimmerman, R. Hamdan, and W. T. Cooper
Solid Earth, 5, 693–704, https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-693-2014,https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-693-2014, 2014
17 Jul 2014
Furfural and its biochar improve the general properties of a saline soil
Y. Wu, G. Xu, and H. B. Shao
Solid Earth, 5, 665–671, https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-665-2014,https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-665-2014, 2014
30 Jun 2014
Factors driving the carbon mineralization priming effect in a sandy loam soil amended with different types of biochar
P. Cely, A. M. Tarquis, J. Paz-Ferreiro, A. Méndez, and G. Gascó
Solid Earth, 5, 585–594, https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-585-2014,https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-585-2014, 2014
11 Jun 2014
Crop residue decomposition in Minnesota biochar-amended plots
S. L. Weyers and K. A. Spokas
Solid Earth, 5, 499–507, https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-499-2014,https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-499-2014, 2014
11 Jun 2014
Characterization of hydrochars produced by hydrothermal carbonization of rice husk
D. Kalderis, M. S. Kotti, A. Méndez, and G. Gascó
Solid Earth, 5, 477–483, https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-477-2014,https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-477-2014, 2014
13 Feb 2014
Use of phytoremediation and biochar to remediate heavy metal polluted soils: a review
J. Paz-Ferreiro, H. Lu, S. Fu, A. Méndez, and G. Gascó
Solid Earth, 5, 65–75, https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-65-2014,https://doi.org/10.5194/se-5-65-2014, 2014
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