Biochar production and applications in agro and forestry systems: A review
[Review of ]. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT, 723.
Biochar is a product of biomass thermochemical conversion. Its yield and quality vary significantly with the production technology and process parameters, which also affect its performance in agro and forestry systems. In this review, biochar production technologies including slow pyrolysis, fast pyrolysis, gasification, and torrefaction were compared. The yield of biochar was found to decrease with faster heating rate or more oxygen available. The benefits of biochar application to agro and forestry systems were discussed. Improvements in soil health, plant growth, carbon sequestration, and greenhouse gas mitigation are apparent in many cases, but opposite results do exist, indicating that the beneficial aspect of biochar are limited to particular conditions such as the type of biochar used, the rate of application, soil type, climate, and crop species. Limitations of current studies and future research needed on biochar are also discussed. Specifically, the relationships among biochar production technologies, biochar properties, and biochar performance in agro and forestry systems must be better understood.