Reason 5: A Variety of Biomass Waste Streams Can Be Effectively Managed With Biochar
Agriculture produces a variety of biomass waste streams that need to be disposed of. Because the biomass does not have sufficient value, producers use the cheapest way available to them to deal with it, burning it, or leaving it to decompose in large heaps in the case of manure.
In India alone, it is estimated that a billion tonnes of CO2 is released to the atmosphere annually from the burning of rice and wheat waste. Concentrations of livestock manure contaminate groundwater. Farmers work on very tight margins. They often don't have the resources to adopt environmentally beneficial practices on merit alone, even if they would like to.
Biochar holds the potential to convert the financial liabilities of dealing with agricultural waste into a valuable profit stream when it is used to increase soil fertility and generate bioenergy. The intangible benefits are also substantial, and in certain circumstances these may become tangible as well. Methane and carbon emissions are avoided, while carbon is sequestered on a semi-permanent basis. The health risks posed by biomass burning and groundwater contamination are mitigated as a consequence of profitable activity.
When biochar is used to manage agricultural waste streams, a triple-win opportunity is realized.