The project aims at lessening the pressure of ACP population on their forested area while increasing soil fertility of croplands and to endure an integrated sustainable growth (i.e. reducing the above mentioned health risks for population). The project is focused on the objective of using more efficiently crop residues and, at less extent, wood adopting pyrolysis process in innovative, low-cost, biochar producing cooking stoves. In particular, a slow pyrolysis system, appropriate for different feedstock and adapt to produce the energy necessary for household (5-10 people per household), will be developed and tested. The slow pyrolysis low-temperature system offers the distinct advantage that process conditions can be optimized for the recovery of biochar and syngas. In addition, the process temperature parameters under slow pyrolysis are such that it avoids the formation of poly- aromatic hydrocarbons in the biochar product.
The Project Partners are willing with this objective to pursue at the same time the following goals: fight against desertification and unmanaged deforestation; improve soil fertility and increase agricultural yields; reduce the health risks related to charring and cooking activities; (iv) contribute to GHG mitigation. WP1 will be organized in order to achieve the selection of most suitable study areas where to implement the BC initiatives. The socio economics traits and environmental traits will be considered. An assessment of potential production and use of biochar-energy system based on biomass availability, and socio-economical and cultural factors of each study area will be carried out and a selection of demonstration sites where to develop a successful demonstration activities (WP 2 and WP3) taking into account also the interest of local stakeholders and local development priorities. The WP1 will give as outcomes reports on scenario analysis of the expected benefits by using the system in different situations.
WP2 is based on the distribution of 10,000 stoves to households of selected areas (WP 1). The aim is to show to all stakeholders that energy-biochar production system is feasible and effective for the sustainable development, poverty reduction and health; it is a way to involve and strengthen the internal S&T capacity of artners as this demonstration activity require a good integration of institutional, academic, and civil society actors. Academic Partners will design a list of experiments aimed at valuating the relation between feedstock quality and energy outputs and biochar productivity. This activity will improve all the chain of feedstocks production and use in rural and urban areas. Moreover the WP will transfer produced samples of BC for a more detailed analysis of its properties as soil amendment. The output of this WP relies on production of high value papers reporting the efficiency and efficacy of the system and analysing the pilot project achievements in terms of acceptability usability and suitability from both environmental and socio-economical point of view. According to the scientific background of the partners involved and the long term opportunities, a start up phase to promote biochar production through its application to cropland soils is defined in WP3.
WP3 will improve the local partners’ competence level and support their process to become poles of attractions on this technology at regional, ACP countries and, at more widely International level. The refinement is related to the opportunity for the ACP to set up at their premises one experimental site with high research/demonstrative value. A basic prototype for biochar in situ production and subsequent soil application, is relevant both for the academic research/technology development and as demonstrative field for; decision makers, experts, professionals, local authorities, local NGOs, other research organizations, farmers and landowners. They can test the real effectiveness of the Biochar soil addition in a more wide sustainable soil management; they will appreciate Biochar technology to promote/adopt it at their specific level. A research on the soil processes involved by BC application will investigate interactions between BC, soil, microorganisms and crops. The academic partners will play a great role in this context, prototyping experiments with high scientific technical demonstrative value. This more detailed approach charged by Academic Partners of each ACP country, will investigate functional interactions with soil microbial communities, impacts on soil/crop nutrients and water balance, plant physiological responses and influence on the yields. Furthermore, it will serve a life cycle analysis of the production system. Then, a demonstration of soil improvement by addition of BC to croplands will be carried out at selected settlement sites (see WP1 and WP2), and will consist in soil application of biochar produced by stoves used in the settlement.
WP4 ensures availability of the updated knowledge to the project partnership provides with an efficient flow of information within the partnership and assures the transfer of relevant project results outside the partnership to other ACP countries and to stakeholders. Result is a multilevel (from local to regional) and multifactor oriented mainstreaming strategy which gives life to a process going along with all the project activities in order to spread knowledge and lessons learned on the effectiveness of innovative technologies on sustainable energy production linked with soil fertility improvement.