What is Biochar?
As the population of the world is increasing rapidly to meet the food security requirements, growers have increased. The application of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, etc in the crop field to increase crop yield. As a result the soil nutrient has imbalanced which is causing soil infertile and it turning barren because of it. There are many methods use by scientists and researchers to reclaim the soil and from them one of the methods is Biochar Application.
The first evidence that biochar is used as a soil amendment method was Terra preta. Which is also known as Indian black earth because of its dark color. And this material is found to be used for soil enrichment from ancient times.
It is a nutrient rich in nature which is produce from biomass. Which when added to soil will improve its quality and carbon sequestration. There are a lot of potential benefits of it, which is making it famous in the agriculture field.
What Biochar Application is add in soil?
There are various purposes add in soil properties after application of biochar. These are as follows-
1. Firstly Decrease nutrient deficiency of soil- As continuous application of one or two primary nutrients in soil it imbalances the nutrient proportion of soil. After application of biochar, the soil nutrient balance improves.
2. Secondly Improves water holding capacity- It is the most important property of fertile soil as it confirms whether plants will get require water or not. When soil is devoid of enough organic matter or masses it will not be able to hold water in it .Biochar improves this property of soil very quickly.
3. After that Reduces fertilizer requirements-As the biochar already has many micro and macro nutrients available in it, it reduces the necessity to add more synthetic fertilizers to the soil for crop yield.
4. Increase soil microbes- As soil which is highly fertile contains high amounts of soil microbes. And if the soil lacks organic matter its microbes quantity also decreases. By adding biochar it improves the soil microbes population which is really very important aspects for healthy soil.
5. Increases crop yields- the fertile soil by itself produces good amount of yield. So if the soil health has been care properly it will directly impact the production. By adding good amount of biochar it will automatically helps in soil health.
Biochar technology shows promise in mitigating climate change and improving soil quality, as well as reducing waste and producing energy as a byproduct and other waste. But what is biochar? And what are biochar applications?
Soil degradation is a major concern in agriculture globally today. To address this burgeoning problem, researchers suggested applying biochar technology to degraded soils in order to enhance its quality. Some of the ways that biochar production may help improve soil quality include:
Benefits of biochar application
- enhancing soil structure
- decreasing acidity
- increasing water retention and aggregation
- reducing nitrous oxide emissions
- improving porosity
- improving electrical conductivity
- regulating nitrogen leaching
- improving microbial properties
Biochar is also found to be beneficial for composting since it reduces greenhouse gas emissions and prevents the loss of nutrients in the composting material. It also promotes microbial activity, which in turn accelerates the composting process. Biochar application Plus, it helps to reduce the compost’s ammonia losses, odor, and bulk density.
Process of biochar production-
Although Biochar produces in many ways, there are so many methods by which biochar can be extracted. And different methods have different results on the characteristics.
Pyrolysis is the method which is a thermochemical conversion of biomass in an atmosphere that lacks oxygen.in this process the byproducts produced are bio-oil, syngas and biochar. This process is done in the presence of an inert gas, usually nitrogen. Pyrolysis method occurs in two ways slow and fast pyrolysis, this concept of fast and slow pyrolysis refers to the heating rate ,if the process is taking few seconds to few minutes it is called as fast pyrolysis and if the process is taking few minutes to few hours then it is called as slow pyrolysis.
In process the natural polymers of biomass i.e. cellulose, lignin and hemicellulose, which undergoes some transformations. these polymers then will break apart, cross-link and again fragment at different temperatures. Slow pyrolysis produces high biochar quantity and less bio-oil and syngas and fast pyrolysis comparably produces less amount of biochar than slow one. And if the surface area and pore volume slightly manipulated by these two processes. The biochar characteristics cannot always be homogeneous in nature even after similar production.
Co-Pyrolysis is known as the process of pyrolyzing more than one feedstock type to create biochar and bio-oil. Co-pyrolysis yields te lowest amount of biochar. The amount of biochar in various applications depends on its biochar compositions.
Nutrients in biochar
In conclusion Biochar contains many nutrients in it. Such as potassium which is a very essential nutrient for plant uptake. Biochar can also influence the pH of soil and the degree it will influence is based on the feedstock and production condition. There are many microbes available in soil which enriches the soil property and biochar helps to retain these microbes in soil which enriches soil and balances the whole composition and indirectly increases the healthy crop yields.