||Although biochar science is advancing, studies investigating the application of biochar are often inconclusive and contradictory. This project is called BASTA because it aims to tackle these inconsistencies and provide a well-founded basis for further biochar research. BASTA's general goal is to determine Biochar's Added value in Sustainable land use with Targeted Applications. We aim at gaining knowledge on input materials and production parameters, both affecting biochar characteristics, which are further addressed in sustainable applications with market potential. In this way, a fundamental understanding on the mode of action of specific biochar types for targeted applications forms the scientific basis for further biochar innovation research and applications.
During BASTA, different biochars are produced from residual biomasses using conventional and microwave pyrolysis and their valorisation potential is investigated in specific applications: (1) biochar is added during processing of manure and biomass to study its effect on product quality and process efficiency as well as greenhouse gas (GHG) and ammonia (NH3) emissions; (2) biochar's mode of action in growing media is investigated in order to design sustainable biochar-based and disease-suppressive alternatives for peat; (3) biochar is added to open fields that are currently under pressure (moderately metal-polluted and drought-sensitive soils) in order to study its specific characteristics to assist in restoring these soils. In addition, the biochars' climate-resilience is tested in the Ecotron of Hasselt University, a sophisticated infrastructure in which future climate conditions are simulated.
Multidisciplinary data are merged into an integrated analysis to determine the biochar's valorisation potential. This results in the development of a policy and business support tool, which allows aligning the residual biomass input with biochar production and its targeted application.