• Particulate matter emissions from biochar-amended soils as a potential tradeoff to the negative emission potential

      Ravi, Sujith; Sharratt, BS; Li, J; Olshevski, S; Meng, Z; Zhang, J; Ravi, Sujith|0000-0002-0425-9373 (2016-10-26)
      © 2016 The Author(s). Novel carbon sequestration strategies such as large-scale land application of biochar may provide sustainable pathways to increase the terrestrial storage of carbon. Biochar has a long residence time in the soil and hence comprehensive studies are urgently needed to quantify the environmental impacts of large-scale biochar application. In particular, black carbon emissions from soils amended with biochar may counteract the negative emission potential due to the impacts on air quality, climate, and biogeochemical cycles. We investigated, using wind tunnel experiments, the particulate matter emission potential of a sand and two agriculturally important soils amended with different concentrations of biochar, in comparison to control soils. Our results indicate that biochar application considerably increases particulate emissions possibly by two mechanisms-the accelerated emission of fine biochar particles and the generation and emission of fine biochar particles resulting from abrasion of large biochar particles by sand grains. Our study highlights the importance of considering the background soil properties (e.g., texture) and geomorphological processes (e.g., aeolian transport) for biochar-based carbon sequestration programs.