DOWN TO EARTH - SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY MAY 15 2008
Biocharcoal helps check global warming
.........According to N Sai Bhaskar Reddy of the Geoecology Energy Organization, Hyderabad, using biochar is cost effective. Farmers can be trained to make charcoal from the biomass available in their fields and surroundings, he adds. During the traditional slash and burn method used in India, a lot of “accidental charcoal” is produced. However, not enough charcoal is produced since the process is not controlled, he says.
Reddy also refers to “charcoal fertilizers” as a novel way of improving the fertility of all kinds of soils. This prevents wasteful burning of millions of tonnes of biomass in the open fields after harvesting. Charcoal should be supplemented with soil microbes, vermi compost, mulch, micro-nutrients, sand, gypsum, fertilizers, silt, etc, he says.
Using biochar is not restricted to the Amazon basin. People have been using biochar knowingly or unknowingly in many parts of the world. The need is to create more awareness about the technique, says Reddy.