Monday, 23 May 2011

Biochar and nitrous oxide emissions

A New Zealand study shows that the use of biochar can decrease emissions of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas associated with livestock manure.  The application of biochar to soil can sequester and 'bury' carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the soil, but it also has the potential to beneficially alter soil nitrogen emissions derived from livestock.  Biochar has been used for soil carbon sequestration in the same manner.

Application of biochar into the soil on New Zealand grazing pasture led to a 70% reduction in nitrous oxide fluxes over the course of the study.   The nitrogen contribution from livestock urine to the emitted nitrous oxide decreased as well.  The incorporation of biochar into the soil had no detrimental effects on dry matter yield or total nitrogen content in the pasture.

Click here to visit the website of the UK Biochar Research Centre.