NSF Seal

Supported by the National Science Foundation's Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development (BREAD) program

Above: Pyrolysis cookstove, charcoal in the rhizosphere, and biochar impacts in a Kenyan smallholder plot. (photos: D. Torres, J. Lehmann, D. Guerena)
Project Metadata and Documents
Types of data and progress to delivery
Objective Data description Progress to delivery
Modeling of biochar life-cycle impacts Scenario analysis with monetization of different types of potential biochar benefits Published: Roberts et al 2010, see below
Assessing biomass availability for biochar in a developing country rural context Stocks and models of usage of biomass for stove and other energy uses Detailed biomass inventory fieldwork completed; preliminary study published: Torres-Rojas et al. 2011, see below
Analysis of biochar impacts in the field Study of biochar impacts on maize fields along a chronosequence of soil degradation Guereña, D. 2012 (Masters Thesis). Publication in preparation.
Understanding of plant-microbe relations at a rhizosphere scale

Testing of biochar interactions with arbuscular mycorrhizal in augmenting P uptake for common beans in a P-limited soil

Vanek and Lehmann. 2013 (submitted paper under revision)

  Biochar feedstock, temperature, and post-treatment impacts on nodulation of beans in a Kenyan soil. Data gathered and analyzed; Guereña et al., publication in preparation
Inoculant development Data on suitability of biochar as a carrier for Rhizobium spp. symbiotic N-fixing bacteria in comparison to inoculant peat (gold standard) Data collection complete on biochars from 15 biomass feedstocks. Several biochars identified with performacance similar to peat and meeting international quality standards. Paper in preparation on relation between biochar chemical and physical properties and inoculant performance; Vanek et al, in prep.
Cookstove modeling ANSYS/Fluent two-dimensional numerical model of cookstove performance Model developed and being used to test design parameters; publication in preparation on cookstove performance with high and low nitrogen biomass fuels, Burford et al. in preparation
Cookstove design and performance testing Capture current best design (spring 2013) from modeling and lab testing and field-test in Kenya, including fuelwood efficiency, biochar production, carbon/energy balance and emissions testing. Field testing initiated, May 2013: 35 pilot project pyrolytic stove, 10 Top-lit updraft (TLUD, competing stove design), and 35 control (kitchen-sited cooking fire) treatments initiated in Kenyan rural households for "acclimatization" prior to field performance and emissions measurements in Fall 2013. Usage data on stoves is being collected during this period.

Publications referred to above:

Cayuela ML, Sánchez-Monedero MA, Roig A, Hanley K, Enders A and Lehmann J 2013 Biochar and denitrification in soils: when, how much and why does biochar reduce N2O emissions? Scientific Reports 3, 1732.

Roberts K, Gloy B, Joseph S, Scott N and Lehmann J 2010 Life cycle assessment of biochar systems: Estimating the energetic, economic and climate change potential. Environmental Science and Technology 44, 827–833.

Torres-Rojas D, Lehmann J, Hobbs P, Joseph S, and Neufeldt H 2011 Biomass availability, energy consumption and biochar production in rural households of Western Kenya. Biomass and Bioenergy 35, 3537-3546.

Whitman T, Nicholson CF, Torres D, Lehmann J 2011 Climate change impact of biochar cook stoves in Western Kenyan farm households: System dynamics model analysis. Environmental Science and Technology 45, 3687-3694.