David Chiaramonti (RE-CORD and UNITO, Italy) and Calliope Panoutsou (Imperial College, UK) are the authors of a scientific article, available online on Biomass and Bioenergy (Volume 126) since 28 May 2019.
The research is about the profitability of large-scale deployment of biochar for sunflower cultivation in Italian dry marginal lands, aiming at evaluating how this is affected by economic support measures (based on current EU policies) and providing a viable solution to overcome it.
Two cases were considered: i) straight biochar use and ii) biochar in combination with compost (COMBI: 20% biochar and 80% compost mass fraction), at application rates of 5 and 10 Mg ha−1 respectively. Through a cost model and the identification of required levels of support, biochar and sunflower cultivation in EU MED dry marginal lands have been made competitive for sustainable crop-based biofuels.
The results showed that, by employing existing policy instruments, farmers can expect sufficient income to recover marginal land, sequester large amount of carbon by BECCS at costs (∼82 € Mg−1 of CO2) falling at or below the typical range of CCS measures, as well as offer additional environmental and socio-economic positive benefits.
In any case, authors recommend further on-site R&D actions for validating biochar effects under local conditions (soil, climate, crops), along with training and capacity building activities for local farmers.
Access to the full article here.