The biochar revolution begins
Biochar fund to fight hunger, energy poverty, deforestation, and global warming
March 10, 2008
Biochar — a farming technique that adds charcoal obtained from the pyrolysis of biomass to poor, acidic soils — has been hailed as a way to simultaneously sequester atmospheric carbon and improve soil fertility. By intensifying agricultural productivity, biochar could help reduce the need to clear forests and ecosystems for cropland while offering farmers diversified income through carbon credits.
"By improving access to farm inputs, knowledge and output markets, the Biochar Fund helps the poorest of the poor end hunger temporarily," explained a statement from Biopact. "To consolidate the results, the nutrient-poor, acidic soils are cured with biochar. Farming communities are then connected to carbon markets to be compensated for their carbon storage effort. Healthy and fertile soils make the use of modern inputs worthwhile. In a later phase the rural communities are assisted in producing biochar in efficient, micro-scale pyrolysis units that simultaneously generate electricity."
By the end of the year, the Biochar Fund expects to begin feasibility trials at two contrasting sites. If successful, the system will be expanded to other areas.
"This is possible because it finances itself and is relatively easy to implement by even the poorest farmers," said Biopact. "The potential benefits of our intervention range from the very local - improved food security and access to modern energy services - to the global - reduced deforestation and associated emissions."