Biochar Capacity Building Program

The application period for the Biochar Capacity Building Program has closed.

Biochar is a stable type of ‘charcoal’ produced from heating organic matter (such as wood, crop waste or manure) in a high temperature, low oxygen combustion process known as pyrolysis. The conversion of organic material to biochar can abate greenhouse gas (CO2) emissions by ‘locking up’ the carbon from the organic material in the biochar, delaying the release of this carbon back to the atmosphere. The use of biochar as a soil amendment may provide a practical and economic means of storing (sequestering) the carbon ‘locked up’ in the biochar while also providing additional benefits in terms of soil health.

The Biochar Capacity Building Program provides grants funding for projects that will help to develop practical mitigation options for land managers by:

  • investigating how biochar mitigates greenhouse gas emissions
  • demonstrating the use of integrated biochar systems on-farm
  • facilitating the development of biochar offset methodologies to enable land managers to participate in domestic and international carbon markets through the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI).

The Biochar Capacity Building Program complements the Carbon Farming Futures program and builds on research undertaken through the National Biochar Initiative and the Soil Carbon Research Program funded under the Climate Change Research Program.

Projects Funded

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Direct quantification of biochar that is stable on centennial timescales — James Cook University

Funding amount: $143 079 ex GST.

The objective of this project is to develop a matrix that relates common biochar feedstock types and pyrolysis conditions to the proportion of stable carbon in the resultant biochar. The outcomes of the project will be a simple methodology capable of predicting the stable carbon content of biochar from common feedstock types, leading to an offset methodology, thereby better enabling land managers to participate in carbon markets.

The National Biochar Initiative II - A country wide approach to biochar systems — CSIRO

Funding amount: $1 050 411 ex GST

This project builds on the first National Biochar Initiative. There is a strong focus on further developing or establishing new demonstration sites around the country. Establishing a large number of high quality biochar demonstration sites will demonstrate the applicability of biochar in a broad range of agricultural and land management situations. There will also be research activities to underpin the development of Carbon Farming Initiative offset methodologies such as examining biochar stabilisation processes and effects.

Understanding and observing the benefits of biochar in the carbon cycle — North East Catchment Authority

Funding amount: $250 000 ex GST

This project will produce biochar from woody weeds (willow), and establish a number of biochar field sites and trials. The project will communicate to farmers the benefits of biochar, conduct field days around trial sites, and develop and distribute glove-box manuals for the use of biochar. It will also monitor and evaluate changes in soil chemistry and establish base-line data on biochar use.

The contribution of biochar in increasing soil carbon in native woody bioenergy crops and on-farm revegetation — Monash University

Funding amount: $263 770 ex GST

This project will demonstrate the potential of biochar and biochar/compost blends to increase soil carbon in native woody bioenergy crops. The project will produce and characterise biochars from local sources. It will conduct germination, growth and survival trials of the native species under various soil conditions in both greenhouse and field trials, and quantify changes to soil carbon content. The outcomes will assist land managers to make informed decisions about using biochars to establish native plants in a range of soils, improve compromised soils, and increase soil carbon.

Integrated riverine land management system using biochar — South Australian No Till Farmers Association Inc

Funding amount: $292 740 ex GST

This project will demonstrate how degraded dairy pastures in the Lower Murray can be transformed by integrating a biochar management system. Biochar derived from a native reed will be used to filter polluting river drains loaded with acid or nutrients. The loaded chars will then be applied in local dairy and cropping enterprises as a means of reducing nitrous oxide emissions and sinking carbon. The project will assist in the development of methodologies and also focus on grower engagement though the publishing of case studies and detailed economic modelling.

Other Information

More information

For more information please call 1800 108 760 or email the Biochar Capacity Building Program.