Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

From the ancient Amazonian Indians: 'Biochar' as a modern weapon against global warming

Date:
January 14, 2010
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Scientists are reporting that "biochar" -- a material that the Amazonian Indians used to enhance soil fertility centuries ago -- has potential in the modern world to help slow global climate change. Mass production of biochar could capture and sock away carbon that otherwise would wind up in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.

Unlike familiar charcoal briquettes, above, biochar is charcoal made from wood, grass and other organic matter, and has the potential to help slow climate change.
Credit: iStockphoto/Don Nichols

Scientists are reporting that "biochar" -- a material that the Amazonian Indians used to enhance soil fertility centuries ago -- has potential in the modern world to help slow global climate change. Mass production of biochar could capture and sock away carbon that otherwise would wind up in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.

Their report appears in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology, a bi-weekly journal.

Kelli Roberts and colleagues note that biochar is charcoal produced by heating wood, grass, cornstalks or other organic matter in the absence of oxygen. The heat drives off gases that can be collected and burned to produce energy. It leaves behind charcoal rich in carbon.

Amazonian Indians mixed a combination of charcoal and organic matter into the soil to improve soil fertility, a fact that got the scientists interested in studying biochar's modern potential.

The study involved a "life-cycle analysis" of biochar production, a comprehensive cradle-to-grave look at its potential in fighting global climate change and all the possible consequences of using the material. It concludes that several biochar production systems have the potential for being an economically viable way of sequestering carbon -- permanently storing it -- while producing renewable energy and enhancing soil fertility.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Roberts et al. Life Cycle Assessment of Biochar Systems: Estimating the Energetic, Economic, and Climate Change Potential. Environmental Science & Technology, 2010; 44 (2): 827 DOI: 10.1021/es902266r

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "From the ancient Amazonian Indians: 'Biochar' as a modern weapon against global warming." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100113172252.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2010, January 14). From the ancient Amazonian Indians: 'Biochar' as a modern weapon against global warming. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100113172252.htm
American Chemical Society. "From the ancient Amazonian Indians: 'Biochar' as a modern weapon against global warming." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100113172252.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins