Biochar – How to scale it?

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Event: Biochar – How to scale it?

When: 28th March from 10:00-12:00 CET

Where: Teams!
Besprechungs-ID: 368 048 687 679
Passcode: ozof36

Biochar -How to scale it?

Biochar is a soil amendment, which supports plant growth, in particular in the tropics and subtropics. Across the tropics, its application to soils results in an average crop yield increase of 25%, while on a global average crop yields increase by 15%. Concurrently, biochar stores carbon over extensive time periods in soils due to the chemical conformation of the biochar carbon. Biochar is the resulting product from pyrolysis of biomass.

Biochar is primarily a soil conditioner that enables soils to better store and deliver nutrients and water to plants. Thereby, biochar itself is not a fertilizer, but it increases the capacity of soils to absorb nutrients from fertilizers – the soils’ cation exchange capacity is increased – and retain them in a plant available manner, which is particularly relevant for phosphorus in many tropical soils. Unlike most soil organic carbon, biochar is very recalcitrant against decomposition so that the structural amendment that it adds to soils stays there for long time periods.

Worldwide, the technical mitigation potential through biochar application is estimated at 2.6 (0.2-6.6) Gt CO2eq/year, out of which 1.1 (0.3-1.8) Gt CO2eq/year can be realized at costs of up to 100 USD/t CO2eq.

Despite those positive effects, scaling of biochar beyond individual projects has not yet taken off. Reasons might be that increased crop yields alone do not justify costs for production and application of biochar or a general lack of awareness on different levels from individual land users to policy makers.


In this event, we want to explore bottlenecks of the scaling of biochar and options how to overcome the same through the following presentations:

  • Luo Juan, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences – Converting crop residue waste biomass into biochar – experiences from China
  • Aqeel Rizvi – CIFOR-ICRAF – Biochar production and application in agroforestry systems in India – constraints and opportunities
  • Dries Roobroeck, IITA – Biochar use in small holder settings in Kenya – how to expand further
  • Johannes Meyer zu Drewer– Ithaka Institute – Artisan Standard – an option to enable investment in biochar?

Please find more information about Biochar on this page!


March 28
10:00 am – 12:30 pm