What is biochar?
Biochar is a fine-particle coal like substance that can be used as a soil amendment to improve soil health, it is high in organic carbon and also resistant to degradation. It is made through a controlled process called pyrolysis by burning of organic material from agricultural and forestry wastes
where the organic materials like leaf litter, dead plants or chips of wood are burned in a container with little oxygen. It is called as Black gold of Agriculture.
Preparation of biochar:
Pyrolysis: This is the most common method of biochar preparation. It is also known as thermal decomposition under oxygen free conditions. It involves heating of organic materials to the temperatures greater than 4000 C by electric heating or high temperature under inert atmosphere.
Other methods of biochar preparation include:
There are various parameters present which influence the physiochemical properties of biochar like raw material, heating rate, reaction temperature, reaction atmosphere etc.
What is the role of biochar in agriculture?
Application of biochar to the soil increases the nutrient availability and uptake of nutrient by the plants.
Biochar plays a key role in carbon sequestration in the soil and also in returning the organic matter which is lost in biomass removal from agricultural or forestry systems through energy production.
It has the capacity to improve the agronomic and environmental sustainability of biomass production systems.
As the biochar is a porous material it helps in adsorbing and retaining huge amount of water. Thus, improves the water holding capacity of soil.
Biochar application increases the soil ph.
Different types of biochar are present based on the composition and material from which they are derived.
It helps in improving the cation exchange capacity of soil.
It reduces the leaching of nutrients.
It stimulates the symbiotic nitrogen fixation in case of legumes.
It supports soil microbial life and biodiversity.
It enhances plant growth.
It helps the plants to resist various pests and diseases.
It provides soil enhancement that lasts a lifetime.