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Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystems
Contact Information
  • Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystems
  • 333 Broadway SE. Suite 115
  • Albuquerque, NM 87102-3497
  • 505-724-3660
  • 505-724-3688 (fax)
You are here: Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystems / Research by Project / Potential Use of Biochar

Potential Use of Biochar as an Amendment to Substrates

Project Title

Potential Use of Biochar, a By-Product of Converting Biomass to Bioenergy, as an Amendment to Substrates Used to Grow Native Plants

Abstract

We are evaluating the properties of biochar, the by-product of converting biomass to bioenergy via phyrolysis, as a potential amendment to substrates used to grow native plants in containers. We are testing biochar in its original powder form, as well as when pressed into high-density pellets to facilitate handling and reduce nuisance dust. If successful, we could add value to this by-product, thus making pyrolysis more economically efficient, and, decrease nursery production costs by replacing more expensive, currently used amendments, with biochar. In addition, because biochar, which is mostly carbon, becomes part of the root plug, we would sequester carbon belowground at no addition cost when seedlings are outplanted.

Selected Publications

GSD Principal Investigators

Dumroese, Kas    Research Plant Physiologist & Natl Nursery Specialist    208-883-2324
Pinto, Jeremy    Research Plant Physiologist & Tribal Nursery Coordinator    208-883-2352

Cooperators and Sponsors

Ponderosa pine seedlings growing with biochar-amended substrate
Ponderosa pine seedlings growing with biochar-amended substrate. Left to right = 0, 25, 50, and 75% biochar

Karl Englund, Washington State University

Juha Heiskanen, Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla)

Arja Tervahauta, Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla)

Deborah Page-Dumroese, RMRS Forest and Woodland Ecosystems Program