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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Florence, South Carolina » Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #349391

Research Project: Improvement of Soil Management Practices and Manure Treatment/Handling Systems of the Southern Coastal Plain

Location: Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research

Title: Future biochar research directions

item Novak, Jeffrey
item MOORE, ELI - National Science Foundation (NSF)
item Spokas, Kurt
item HALL, KATE - University Of Minnesota
item WILLIAMS, AMY - Stevens Institute Of Technology

Submitted to: Biochar from Biomass and Waste
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/5/2018
Publication Date: 11/9/2018
Citation: Novak, J.M., Moore, E., Spokas, K.A., Hall, K., Williams, A. 2018. Future biochar research directions. In: Ok, Y.S., Tsang, D.C., Bolan, N., Novak, J.M., editors. Biochar from Biomass and Waste. 1st edition, New York, NY: Academic Press. p. 423-432.

Interpretive Summary: Biochar utilization as a soil amendment is at a global scale since it can revitalize degraded soils, by increasing soil organic matter contents, water, and nutrient retention. Likewise, biochars multi-functional properties continue to be discovered and its application into the environmental and electronic sectors continues to grow. In the future, extreme climate events are expected to make growing crops more difficult and increase salt water intrusion into coastal areas from ocean surges and flooding. It is offered that biochars can also be designed to restore soil quality in salt affected soils and improve the stability of coastal sand dunes from wind and water erosion. Sand dunes act as buffers, so the benefit to coastal areas would be less flooding of wetlands and salt water intrusion into coastal ground water sources. Meanwhile the electronic sector continues to capitalize on biochars ability to act as a battery and conduits for energy transfer. Improvement in biochars' electronic capabilities through activation with chemicals or inorganic material is a form of designing biochar. Thus, we offer that there is a need to continue expansion of the designer biochar technology into other sectors because of its multi-functional properties.

Technical Abstract: Biochars are used in the agronomic sector as soil amendments. Intensification of farming practices for higher crop yields is projected to degrade soil quality. Biochars can improve degraded soils because they contain organic carbon (OC) compounds and plant nutrients in their ash. There is not a ‘one-size-fits all’ biochar amendment. So, an alternate paradigm was introduced whereby the biochar is designed to have specific chemical properties. “Designer Biochars” have been vetted using agricultural soils, however this principal can also be applied to the environmental and electronic sectors. In this chapter, we describe the application of designer biochar to eroded sand dunes to enhance plant growth and expedite dune stabilization, as well as, optimization of its unique conductive properties for electrochemical batteries and capacitors.