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This paper in Environmental Science and Technology journal
found that biochar-composting reduces CH4 by 79%, compared to
composting without biochar.

ABSTRACT:

Livestock are the largest source of anthropogenic methane (CH4) emissions, and in intensive dairy systems, manure management can contribute half of livestock CH4. Recent policies such as California’s short-lived climate pollutant reduction law (SB 1383) and the Global Methane Pledge call for cuts to livestock CH4 by 2030. However, investments in CH4 reduction strategies are primarily aimed at liquid dairy manure, whereas stockpiled solids remain a large source of CH4. Here, we measure the CH4 and net greenhouse gas reduction potential of dairy manure biochar-composting, a novel manure management strategy, through a composting experiment and life-cycle analysis. We found that biochar-composting reduces CH4 by 79%, compared to composting without biochar. In addition to reducing CH4 during composting, we show that the added climate benefit from biochar production and application contributes to a substantially reduced life-cycle global warming potential for biochar-composting: −535 kg CO2e Mg−1 manure compared to −194 kg CO2e Mg−1 for composting and 102 kg CO2e Mg−1 for stockpiling. If biochar-composting replaces manure stockpiling and complements anaerobic digestion, California could meet SB 1383 with 132 less digesters. When scaled up globally, biochar-composting could mitigate 1.59 Tg CH4 yr−1 while doubling the climate change mitigation potential from dairy manure management.

Environ. Sci. Technol. 2022, 56, 15, 10987–10996
Publication Date:July 14, 2022
https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.2c03467

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