Submitted by: Universiti Kuala Lumpur
Implemented country: Kenya
Title: Biochar to enhance sustainability of crop production, reduce fertilizer needs and greenhouse gas emissions
BioChar (AKA agrichar) is obtained from primary or secondary biomass by heating it at several hundreds of degree Celsius in the absence of air. The end product, when added to low-fertility soil, is hypothesized to act not only as carbon sink but also as adsorbent for organic and inorganic fertilizers thus expected to improve food and cash-crop plant yield, reduced fertilizer usage as well as ground-and surface water eutrophication. A biomass availability assessments (how much is there?) was carried out in Kenya, Erithrea and Malaysia, and environmental-friendly biochar production with newly designed, low-cost 2-chamber pyrolytic clay and metal stoves tested. Subsequently, the biochar was applied to farmer’s land to establish how well the biochar improves crop growth. The main benefactors of the newly designed pyrolytic stove prototype are subsistence farmers, i.e. the millions of poor, small-scale farmers, which, if trials are successful, can improve the farmer's livelihood and our environment significantly on a global scale. Replacing traditional, low-efficiency and high-emission cooking stoves with our 2-chamber, low-emission pyrolytic stove can also help to improve health conditions of women, children and the elderly working in the kitchen.