WG 3 Abstract - Economic analysis including life cycle assessment

WG3: Economic analysis including life cycle assessment

The main goal of Working Group 3 is to exchange methodological approaches to estimate the economic effects and the CO2 mitigation potential of Biochars applied to agricultural soils as part of a life cycle assessment (LCA). Biochar production principally involves a couple of benefits: longterm
carbon (C) sequestration from stable C in Biochar, renewable energy generation, Biochar as a soil amendment for soil fertility enhancement, and biomass waste management. By application of Biochar to soils, crop yield is supposed to be increased and carbon may be sequestered in the soil on a long-term scale. In detail, feedstocks representing possible agricultural residues, different production technologies and possible ways of Biochar use need to be compared. Positive effects of C sequestration are being estimated and related to the drawbacks from the energy- consuming production of Biochars. This enables to define the net mitigation of CO2 equivalents by this technology and to make inventories for different environmental categories. It includes the assessment of Biochar effects on the water and nutrient budget of soils and thus on the yield capacity of crops. The farm economic budgeting will allocate additional revenues due to higher yields and cost estimates of Biochar production and application to the production systems.
Since fertilizer Biochar interactions can be expected, the potential fertilizer saving effect in the economic analysis will be integrated. In an advanced step it will be proved how far the conversion of biomass and organic residues to Biochar is the most efficient way to mitigate GHG in the atmosphere. Therefore, all costs from the supply of Biochar to its amendment to soils will be considered and compared with alternative forms to utilize those feedstocks. Since climate and geographic location are important, a European network offers the chance to test and to evaluate new Biochar technologies under different conditions with harmonized (=comparable) methodologies. Economic models will be used to find out what the best conditions for the use of Biochar are in agricultural soils to sequester CO2. Costs for the mitigation of CO2 equivalents are taken for holistic calculations. Finally the possible impact of different policies is being analysed. At the end of this COST Action, efficient measures for CO2 sequestration will be defined that could be adapted to different locations in Europe.