Mineral-enriched biochar delivers enhanced nutrient recovery and carbon dioxide removal

Wolfram Buss, Christian Wurzer, David Manning, Eelco J. Rohling, Justin Borevitz, Ondrej Masek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biochar production via biomass pyrolysis with subsequent burial in soils provides a carbon dioxide removal technology that is ready for implementation, yet uptake requires acceleration; notably, through generation of cost reductions and co-benefits. Here we find that biomass enrichment (doping) with refined minerals, mineral by-products, or ground rocks reduces carbon loss during pyrolysis, lowering carbon dioxide removal costs by 17% to US$ 80–150 t−1 CO2, with 30% savings feasible at higher biomass costs. As a co-benefit, all three additives increase plant-available nutrient levels. Doping with potassium-bearing minerals can increase both potassium and phosphorus release. Mineral doping in biochar production therefore offers carbon dioxide removal at lower costs, while alleviating global phosphorus and potassium shortages. This makes it unique among carbon dioxide removal technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number67
JournalCommunications Earth & Environment
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2022


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