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Scientists create charcoal that could help solve global warming

The substance being produced at the University of Edinburgh could increase crop growth and cut greenhouse gases.

Source:  Copyright 2011, STV
Date:  June 2, 2011
Byline:  Cara Sulieman
Original URL: Status DEAD

A group of Scottish scientists are carrying out ground-breaking research which could help solve global warming.

The researchers at the University of Edinburgh think that using a specially created form of charcoal could increase food production in the developing world and could even help cut greenhouse gases.

A machine that takes agricultural waste like wood and crops and turns it into biochar has been built by the team who are now trying out the product in fields outside the city.

The substance holds on to water and nutrients in the soil, encouraging crop growth. It works best in sandy soil and the hope is that it will be able to be used in dry, developing nations where crops are harder to grow.

It is hoped that it will also be able to account for 10% of the greenhouse gas emission cuts that Scotland have to make. Once in the ground, it soaks up the gases from the atmosphere and locks them into the earth.

Professor Stuart Haszeldine from the university explained: "We calculated from the work which has been done here that biochar could form about 10% of the greenhouse gas reduction, which we need to do in the future for Scotland.

"About a quarter of the emissions from carbon dioxide from Scotland come from land use, whether that's agricultural or forestry and that's very difficult to solve so this is one way we think we can do that.'

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