Biochar is a high carbon, the fine granular residue produced through pyrolysis. The direct thermal decomposition of biomass is in the absence of oxygen to prevent combustion and produces a mixture of solids (biochar), liquid (bio-oil), and gas (syngas) products. Biochar is made in the same manner as charcoal, but it’s utilized as an adsorbent or a soil extractor. The material’s end use is charcoal, which could be used as a fuel since it is manufactured with optimal fuel properties.

Biochar can make at home on a micro-scale by digging a trench or hole and putting a mixture of dry wood and dried plant materials such as paddy stalks or perennial weeds and dry roots into it. Set fire to the material which will initially give off clouds of white smoke.

According to the testing, the preliminary evidence proved that biochar could improve moisture conditions and increase resilience to extreme heating components. It is necessary to develop biochar practices in Sri Lanka based on the availability of local products, and production opportunities. The testing efficacy of different products in local soils, using rapid screening technologies and product safety standards.

Raw materials for Biochar are sourced from hard timber materials such as bamboo which is difficult to decompose in the soil and concern environmental scientists. The bamboo plant is easy to manage but needs to remove from the mature bamboo plants without toppling onto the younger plants. Waste produced from crop residues and waste from industrial bamboo craft centres would be the support areas where the collection is high on waste and disposals. Bamboo has a quite high economic value as biochar, craft, edible bamboo as food, bamboo as a boundary barrier for animals such as elephants, etc. Bamboo biochar application and fertilizer for the cultivation of vegetables will improve on chemical properties of soil. This combination will reduce the amount of usage of chemical fertilizer too. Bamboo waste is processed in pyrolysis for charcoal bamboo is further processed into granules or powder biochar is ready to be used as conditioner soil. Using biochar will improve plant growth and enhances crop yields, increasing food production and sustainability in areas with depleted soils, limited organic resources, insufficient water, and/or access to agrochemical fertilizers.

The selection of biochar production and activation process that meets the required product features to improve water retention and further test it in a research field set up at the farm level in bamboo plantations.

Kontiki biochar and Open barrel biochar (Tested at the University of Ruhuna)

The use of biochar is becoming a much popularly discussed subject in world agriculture today. Its role in carbon sequestration and climate change mitigations is also being discussed extensively. All biochar materials were not nutrient-loaded stuff. Some type of biochar was capable of holding
five times the amount of water as its weight. During the field trials, crops performed well and outyielded the recommended fertilizers when biochar was applied conjointly with recommended fertilizers. Results revealed that biochar materials could successfully be used to raise crop productivity when combined with the normal fertilizer practice. The use of biochar materials together with chemical fertilizers can improve productivity under field growing conditions. Although biochar caused problems when tested in a greenhouse in small pots, field application did not immediately affect crop growth negatively, particularly at the same application rates. However, care must be taken when using biochar as a soil amendment continuously and also in pot culture. This Project recommends the application of biochar together with fertilizer for the cultivation of vegetables so as to improve on chemical properties of soil. This combination will reduce the amount of usage of chemical fertilizer. But for determining the best application ratio there is further need for extensive research with more replications.

Dr. (Eng.) Anusha Lalani Ediriweera

PhD Msc (Env.Sc) T.Eng C.Env, Bsc Diploma in Botanic Garden Management (Kew/Oxford UK)

Papers Published

“Possibility to Introduce Bamboo as an Energy Crop”, by “Ediriweera A. L.” has been published with the “International Journal for Research in Applied Sciences and Biotechnology”, Volume-7, Issue-5, September 2020.

Abstract -“Use of biomass for industrial boilers in Sri Lanka”, by “Ediriweera A. L.” – University of Kelaniya Doctoral colloquium – ICBI 2020 – 19th November 2020 ,University of kelaniya, 11th International conference on business and information(ICBI) 2020 University of Kelaniya

“Biomass for Boilers Installed in Large Scale Industries in Sri Lanka” Ediriweera Anusha, Department of Zoology and Environmental Management, Faculty of Science, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka and Banadara W. A. R. T. W. Department of Zoology and Environmental Management, Faculty of Science, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka – International Journal for Research in Applied Sciences and Biotechnology, Ref No: IJRASB/V-7/I-6/15/2020 Date: 13-11-2020

Cost-benefit analysis to introduce bamboo plantations as an alternative fuel wood for industrial biomass power plants in Sri Lanka” International Journal of Advanced Research in Engineering and Management