Reducing Atmospheric Carbon, Increasing Soil Fertility, and Opening a Pathway Between Agriculture and Transportation

Focus Area

Climate Change

Subcommittee

Air Quality, Environmental Process

Status

Archived

Cost

Under $99,000

Timeframe

Under 1 year

Research Idea Scope

Biochar would be specifically produced as an amendment to soil in an attempt to manage carbon concentrations in the atmosphere and create better soil conditions. Specifically, we will assess the effects of wood scrap biochar amendment to soils on crop production and fertilizer retention through treatment of sampling plots with differing fertilizer application regimes and biochar amounts.  We will assess crop yield, biomass, and other crop characteristics at the end of the growing season.Sampling of the soil for biological, chemical and physical characteristics will occur before crop planting and after crop harvest.

Urgency and Payoff

There is a growing need for cost effective, large-scale operations to mitigate for climate impacts of increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. One mitigation strategy involves carbon sequestration by production of biochar, a solid carbon product that results from heating organic matter in containment with low oxygen concentrations (Lehmann and Joseph 2009).  Biochar would be specifically produced as an amendment to soil in an attempt to manage carbon concentrations in the atmosphere.  Elaborating to the transportation industry, as traffic volumes increase in condensed populations, and the threat of carbon offsets for new and expanded road construction looms, biochar could offer a viable method of offset for Local, State, and Federal transportation projects.  Using biochar as a carbon offset purchased by Local, State, and Federal transportation industries would open up a new channel with agriculture; whereby an improved and prolonged network of infrastructure would be coupled with climate mitigation and sustainable agriculture.  It would also allow for a direct impact on local, regional, and state reinvestments for the tax payers.

Suggested By

David Didion, Indiana Department of Transportation

[email protected]

Submitted

07/29/2010