Biochar is the charcoal remains of incomplete combustion of biomass (e.g. woodchips, brush, greenwaste). Biomass is heated to extract biofuel (biodiesel) in a process called torrefaction. Biochar via “slash and smolder” has been implicated in highly productive terra preta soils of South America. When added to the soil, biochar may: sequester carbon; slow nutrient leaching; increase nutrient availability; decrease fertilizer requirements; improve water relations; and stimulate beneficial soil fungi. This research addressed crop and soil response to five levels of biochar application (0, 10, 20, 40, 80 t/ha) and two fertilizer treatments (+/- NPK) on a Noboco loamy sand soil in Duplin County, N.C. Project leaders: Jeffrey G. White, Robert D. Walters (Dept. of Crop and Soil Sciences), Michael Boyette (Dept. of Biological and Agricultural Engineering).
- Biochar Improved Agronomically Important Physical Properties in a Coastal Plain Ultisol. ASA-SSSA 2011 presentation. An updated (2013) version is available with new data.
- Biochar In Situ Decreased Bulk Density and Improved Soil-Water Relations and Indicators in Southeastern US Coastal Plain Ultisols. 2018 journal article summarizing soil response to biochar application. Note: This link takes you to the Wolters-Kluwer webpage where a publication abstract is available to read. To request reprints of this article, please contact me personally via email.
- The Biochar Mystique. Summary of biochar impacts on soil pH, cation exchange capacity, and fertility in a North Carolina Lower Coastal Plain Noboco-Goldsboro sandy loam soil from 2008-2012. Agrosphere Journal blog entry 2014.
- Whither Bioenergy? Analysis of bioenergy’s global potential from energy capture by photosynthesis to planetary land base. Agrosphere Journal blog entry 2016.