marie curie

BIOCHARISMA PROJECT: Sustainable use of Biochar in Mediterranean Agriculture

Marie Curie Career Integration Grants (CIG)

Call: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-CIG

75.000 € (36 months)

Applicant: Ph.D. José María de la Rosa Arranz

Host Institution: Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología de Sevilla(IRNAS-CSIC)logo irnaslogo-CSIC-big-trans

Reina Mercedes Av., 10, Seville (Spain)

What is biochar?

Biochar is a fine-grained and porous substance produced by thermal degradation of biomass (plant residues, organic wastes, etc) in the absence of oxygen (pyrolysis) with the goal to be used as a soil amendment

Environmental benefits of biochar:

Global warming reduction by C estabilisation

Avoids soil degradation and improves agronomic production

Posible reduction of water pollution by agrochemicals

Efficient waste management


Biochar is an heterogeneous product (feedstock, production conditions…)

Not all biochars are suitable as soil amendment in all cases (effect of biochar amendment will aso depend on soil and climate conditions

Bikochar for C estabilisation (requires different porperties)

Characterisation (of biochar and biochar amended soils) is essential

Summary & description of the project objectives:

The role of biochar (high-carbon biomass residue produced by thermal decomposition in the absence of oxygen) in sequestration of carbon and improving the soil fertility is increasingly being recognized. In addition, biochars offer a simple, sustainable tool for managing agricultural and urban wastes and to produce added value products. Despite the number of detailed studies describing short term effects of biochar and the publications focused on (sub)tropical regions, there is a lack of knowledge in which concern the real carbon sequestration potential of biochar amended soils under Mediterranean climate. Beside this, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), persistent organic pollutants, are formed during biochar production due to incomplete combustion process; they will enter the environment when the biochar is applied as soil conditioner. Thus, prior to sharpen this mitigation and waste management tool “Biochar systems”, these issues need to be solved; they constituted the major objectives of biocharisma project.