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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Commodity Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #323857

Research Project: Developing Technologies that Enable Growth and Profitability in the Commercial Conversion of Sugarcane, Sweet Sorghum, and Energy Beets into Sugar, Advanced Biofuels, and Bioproducts

Location: Commodity Utilization Research

Title: Agricultural and environmental applications of biochar: Advances and barriers

item GUO, MINGXIN - Delaware State University
item Uchimiya, Sophie
item He, Zhongqi

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/18/2015
Publication Date: 4/22/2016
Citation: Guo, M., Uchimiya, S.M., He, Z. 2016. Agricultural and environmental applications of biochar: Advances and barriers. In: Guo, M., Uchimiya, S.M., He, Z., editors. Agricultural and Environmental Applications of Biochar: Advances and Barriers. SSSA Special Publication 63. Madison, WI:Soil Science Society of America. pp. 495-504.

Interpretive Summary: Leading researchers within the interdisciplinary field of biochar had been invited to contribute the advances and barriers in the agricultural and environmental applications of biochar. A particular emphasis is given to the specific local needs of end-users including the available biomass, soil type, local climate, and the scale of operation. Recommendations is given on the localized, site-specific, case-by-case biochar utilization based on the purpose of biochar application appropriate for the soil property, locally available feedstock, and socioeconomic situations.

Technical Abstract: This summary chapter highlights the achieved advances in biochar research and the existing barriers to biochar application. Substantial research over the past decade on biochar production, characterization, and utilization has indicated that biochar serves as a promising agricultural and environmental amendment for improving soil quality, promoting plant growth, enlarging carbon sequestration, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, mitigating contamination, and enhancing animal health. Biochar can be readily produced by thermal treatment of nearly all biomass materials. The quality of biochar, however, varies with the feedstock type, carbonization conditions, and post-treatment handling. The beneficial effects of biochar amendment may fluctuate, depending on the biochar quality, application rate, the site condition, and time. Biochar application is currently at its infancy, with main barriers identified as the gap between research and application, immaturity of economical production technology, lack of industrial standards and financial support, and low awareness in end users.