Biochar is charcoal from pyrolysis of organic waste. When mixed into soil, biochar is stable, and thus its carbon is removed from the carbon cycle. This mitigates climate change. Due to its alkaline reaction, biochar also increases soil quality by reducin g soil acidity. Particularly, in Asia, with its extensive areas of acidic soils, this is very relevant, as soil acidity reduces crop yields. We aim at investigating the potential of biochar from organic waste to sequester carbon and improve soil quality a nd thus livelihoods.
The research program involves social and agricultural/environmental components. Social-scientific components include biochar generation concepts and a life cycle assessment comparing use of biochar to conventional energy production an d fertilizer use, specific for tropical conditions. Life cycle cost assessment will address investments, income, and revenues. The agricultural/environmental part consists of initial chemical screening of soil-biochar combinations, followed by extensive p ot and field trials as well as mechanistic lab studies.
Social, environmental and agricultural scientists from universities and research institutes in Norway, Indonesia and Malaysia will collaborate. UNDP Indonesia will lead knowledge transfer, dissemina ting project findings to local institutes, extension services and farmers. Three PhDs are envisioned in Norway + Indonesia. Mutual research visits and workshops will ascertain knowledge transfer.
The proposed research addresses the call, as it integrates environmental and development science, with its focus on the potential of biochar to increase carbon sequestration, while at the same time contributing to sustainable land use. The project is multidisciplinary and integrates social, agricultural, and envi ronmental sciences. The Indonesian Embassy in Norway supports the proposal (support letter attached).