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Potassium doping increases biochar carbon sequestration potential by 45%, facilitating decoupling of carbon sequestration from soil improvement

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    Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY)

Original languageEnglish
Article number5514
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2019


Negative emissions technologies offer an important tool to limit the global warming to <2 °C. Biochar is one of only a few such technologies, and the one at highest technology readiness level. Here we show that potassium as a low-concentration additive in biochar production can increase biochar's carbon sequestration potential; by up to 45% in this study. This translates to an increase in the estimated global biochar carbon sequestration potential to over 2.6 Gt CO2-C(eq) yr-1, thus boosting the efficiency of utilisation of limited biomass and land resources, and considerably improving the economics of biochar production and atmospheric carbon sequestration. In addition, potassium doping also increases plant nutrient content of resulting biochar, making it better suited for agricultural applications. Yet, more importantly, due to its much higher carbon sequestration potential, AM-enriched biochar facilitates viable biochar deployment for carbon sequestration purposes with reduced need to rely on biochar's abilities to improve soil properties and crop yields, hence opening new potential areas and scenarios for biochar applications.

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