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University teams with Japan on carbon

The University is joining forces with Japan to develop new methods of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

University teams with Japan on carbon

Researchers from the School of Geosciences have travelled to Japan to discuss how to develop and use biochar - a stable charcoal-like material - as a means for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The visit - conducted with experts from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) - allowed the researchers to establish links with the Japan Biochar Association.

The partnership could lead to collaborative research projects and information exchange.

Biochar research

Using biochar is a young, but rapidly developing, area of climate change research.

It involves diverting carbon emissions so that, rather than being released into the air, they are instead stored in the biochar substance.

Scientists believe that using biochar could reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. It could also potentially improve the ability of soil to retain water, which would reduce the amount of fertilisers used on crops.

Japan has a long tradition in using biochar in agriculture to improve the health and productivity of crops. However, interest in biochar as a measure for preventing climate change is only now starting to appear in the country.

University work

The UK Biochar Research Centre (UKBRC), located in the University’s School of Geosciences, is the largest research centre focussed on biochar in the World.

It is an interdisciplinary centre that covers areas such as producing biochar, soil science and social science.

The contacts established in this trip will help us develop new ways to use biochar and better understand issues relevant to its deployment.

Dr Ondřej Mašek

Lecturer, UK Biochar Research Centre

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