Active Last updated: 13.09.2018
End: dec 2021
Start: mar 2018

Norway is strongly committed to the Paris Climate Agreement with an ambitious goal of 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emission by 2030. In this context, the land sector has the unique capacity to actively removing CO2 from the atmosphere through biological carbon storage in biomass and in soils.

Status Active
Start - end date 01.03.2018 - 31.12.2021
Project manager Daniel Rasse
Department Soil Quality and Climate Change
Total budget 20994000
Funding source Norwegian Research Council "Bionær" program.

Soils are the largest reservoir of terrestrial carbon, and relatively small changes in soil carbon content can have an amplified mitigation effect on the Earth’s climate. Therefore, improved management of soils for carbon storage is receiving a lot of attention, notably through international initiatives. However, in Norway, many mitigation measures might negatively impact food production and economic activity. Therefore, there is a need for win-win solutions for soil carbon storage, which benefit both food production and climate mitigation. Large-scale conversion of agricultural and forest waste biomass to biochar is such an option, and is considered the activity with the largest potential for soil carbon sequestration in Norway. However, despite the convincing benefits of biochar as a climate mitigation solution, it has not yet advanced much beyond the research stage, notably because its effect on yield are too modest. In CARBO-FERTIL we will develop the innovations in pyrolysis and nutrient-rich waste recycling leading to biochar-fertilizer products as win-win solution for carbon-storage and food production. We will further evaluate this solution in terms of: 1) economic merit in the agricultural sector, 2) climate change mitigation benefits for Norway, through climate impact analysis, and 3) carbon reporting systems for Norway’s commitments to the Paris agreement. This ambitious analysis will be conducted in tight interactions with multiple stakeholders, resulting in accelerated process for reducing GHG emission in Norway with biochar technology, which is beneficial to industry, farmers and responds to the need of our national climate policy.

Publications in the project

Abstract

Norway is strongly committed to the Paris Climate Agreement with an ambitious goal of 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emission by 2030. The land sector, including agriculture and forestry, must critically contribute to this national target. Beyond emission reduction, the land sector has the unique capacity to actively removing CO2 from the atmosphere through biological carbon storage in biomass and in soils. Soils are the largest reservoir of terrestrial carbon, and relatively small changes in soil carbon content can have an amplified mitigation effect on the Earth’s climate. Therefore, improved management of soils for carbon storage is receiving a lot of attention, for example through international political initiatives such as the “4-permill” initiative. However, in Norway, many mitigation measures targeting soil carbon might negatively impact food production and economic activity. For example, soil carbon storage can be increased by shifting from cereal crop production to grasslands, but Norway already has abundant grassland and a comparatively small area dedicated to cereals. Another such issue is cultivation on drained peatland, where food is produced at the expense of large losses of soil carbon as CO2 to the atmosphere. Therefore, there is a need to look for win-win solutions for soil carbon storage, which benefit both food production and climate mitigation. Large-scale conversion of agricultural and forest waste biomass to biochar is such an option, and is considered the activity with the largest potential for soil carbon sequestration in Norway. Biochar has been demonstrated to have a mean residence time exceeding 100 years in Norwegian field conditions (Rasse et al, 2017), and no negative effects on plant and soils has been observed. However, despite the convincing benefits of biochar as a climate mitigation solution, it has not yet advanced much beyond the research stage, notably because its effect on yield are too modest. Here, we will first present the comparative advantage of biochar technology as compared to traditional agronomy methods for large-scale C storage in Norwegian agricultural soils. We will further discuss the need for developing innovations in pyrolysis and nutrient-rich waste recycling leading to biochar-fertilizer products as win-win solution for carbon storage and food production.