Biochar Production from Agricultural and Forestry Wastes and Microbial Interactions
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The burning of crop residues is a major source of pollution in many countries resulting not only in a loss of soil nutrients but also in increases in greenhouse gas emissions and production of particulates that can be toxic. Many state and national governments have banned in-field burning (e.g., in China) and these bans are enforced at a cost of millions of dollars each year. A new strategy has been proposed to convert these residues and wastes into energy and a valuable product (biochar) that can be used for a range of applications. Since 2010 over 2000 peer-reviewed papers have been published on this topic but very little commercialization of biochar products and technology has taken place. This chapter will explore recent innovations in the production and application of engineered or enhanced biochars (EB) and their effect on microbial populations and plant yield. It builds on the work studying and manipulating the micro- and nanostructure of EB to provide a range of properties that improve its effectiveness. It also provides case studies that have carried out financial analyses of the application of biochar.
Current Developments in Biotechnology and Bioengineering