Author(s): Miguel Rodrguez Tejerina
In the context of current concerns about food security, energy security and environmental degradation, the characteristics of biochar are analyzed to determine if biochar systems are a possible solution to these interlinked global issues. With this purpose, the mechanisms by which biochar can affect global biogeochemical cycles are revised. Feasibility of biochar production and application to soil, among other options, is then examined under the criteria of energy, greenhouse gas emissions and financial performance. This is carried out by using life-cycle assessments (LCA) from the literature and by performing a cost-benefit analysis, in the context of a developing country. It is determined that, under certain conditions detailed in the body of the work, biochar can be well suited as a strategy for promoting sustainable land management, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and subsequently, poverty reduction. Among the relevant variables that determine the feasibility of biochar systems are: feedstock; production conditions; geographic context; and current management of biomass.