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Bio-coal as a climate initiative and soil-improvement additive

Bio-coal is an effective soil-improvement additive as well as a good climate initiative for carbon storage. The Royal Norwegian Society for Development is working to promote the use of bio-coal in Norwegian agriculture through practical application and knowledge transfer, and by gathering relevant bodies into an inter-disciplinary skills base.

Background for the project

Bio-coal is formed from organic material that is heated up with a very restricted oxygen supply. When used in soil, bio-coal can contribute to effective carbon trapping for several hundred years, which will reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. At the same time, bio-coal can improve soil structure, water holding and plant growth. Together with the Norwegian Agriculture Advisory service (Norsk Landbruksrådgivning), the Royal Norwegian Society for Development received financial support in 2011-2012 from the Norwegian Agricultural Authority (SLF) to carry out practical trials with bio-coal spread on farmland at Heddal in Telemark County.

About the project

The main thrust of the SLF project concerned carrying out practical tests on the various types of spreading equipment. Measured bio-coal was spread with a solid-fertiliser spreader, a sand spreader and a trailer. The size of the test area is just over a quarter of an acre, and bio-coal was spread in stripes of 8 and 16 tonnes per acre. Another important element of the report involved calculating the climate effects and costs of using bio-coal.

Royal Norwegian Society for Development is also the Secretariat for the Norwegian bio-coal forum, which we took the initiative to form in October 2011. The goal of this forum is to increase knowledge about the production and use of bio-coal in Norway - as a climate measure, environmental measure and for soil improvement. The forum creates contacts between groups of specialists working with bio-coal, in order to exchange knowledge and to create a greater focus on gaps in knowledge and relevant areas for research and development. The Forum also wishes to carry out public information work in relation to the authorities, politicians and the media.

Our contribution and role

  • Initiative-taker and project leadership for practical trials of bio-coal
  • Initiative-taker and Secretariat for the Norwegian bio-coal forum
     

Results

  • Increased knowledge about bio-coal and how this can be used as a soil-improvement additive
  • Documentation of practical experience of the spreading of bio-coal in Norway
  • Knowledge dissemination and educational work regarding bio-coal in an interdisciplinary forum

Contact us

Johan Ellingsen, Senior advisor

Mobile: +47 909 21 568
Email: johan.ellingsen@norgesvel.no

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Bio-coal in agriculture