A new UK-Canadian network sponsored by the Leverhulme Trust, was officially launched at the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Professor Raffaella Ocone is leading the network that will see Heriot-Watt University, the UK Biochar Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh, ICFAR at Western University, McGill University and the University of Saskatchewan working together to formalise the value of biochar as a Negative Emission Technology.
Biochar, a solid compound rich in carbon and inorganic elements, is produced when organic materials are thermally decomposed in the absence of oxygen. Plants synthesise organic carbon via photosynthesis and a portion of that carbon is the locked in the biochar and returned to the soil.
The network will investigate the potential of biochar as a technically and economically effective method of capturing carbon in a stabilised form adaptability of agriculture to climate change.
Willie Rennie, MSP welcomed the audience at the launch event with keynotes delivered by Professor Roland Clift (University of Surrey), Professor David Manning (University of Newcastle), Dr Patricia Thornley (University of Manchester).
Willie Rennie said: "Creating connections between scientists, engineers and other experts on the potential of Biochar is very important. Biochar could make a big difference to the climate if we maximise its potential and I'm delighted that the network has been developed."