OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

Biochar Urban Gardens

Using biochar compost (BC) all types of plants can be grown in urban spaces. It is prepared using charcoal and compost - good growth, water retention and conservation, light weight of BC & insulation, emissions reduction and carbon sequestration.

Photo of Sai Bhaskar Reddy Nakka

Written by

In urban areas plants are important for oxygen, freshness, aesthetics and utility. Greens, vegetables, creepers, ornamental plants, fruit plants, etc. can be grown. Biochar compost is a light weight material prepared using biochar (Charcoal) and compost (vermicompost / farm yard manure / any other organic manure), soil microbes, jaggery or sugars, green mulch, etc. The growth of plants is enhanced at least by 150 to 200%. The weight of the material being less denser as compared to soil, has less impact on the building structure. It has high moisture retention capacity as result requires less frequent application and also less quantity of water. The nutrients leaching is lessened due to adsorption and absorbtion property of biochar. Biochar compost enhances the soil microbes and other life presence in the soil. Emissions from the soil are reduced. Its insulation property prevents the heat transfer from roof into the rooms, keeping the homes cool. Ultimately biochar compost used for plants address the green house gases emissions reduction and carbon sequestration too. The green spaces created on the roof tops, balconies, corridors, living rooms, etc. add great value.

13 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Sai Bhaskar Reddy

An article published in press on the biochar gardens for urban areas.
http://www.slideshare.net/geosaibhaskar/edit_my_uploads

Photo of Sai Bhaskar Reddy

Sorry for the above link, see this: http://www.slideshare.net/geosaibhaskar/biochar-article-the-hans-india

Photo of Sai Bhaskar Reddy

For more information on how to go about biochar urban gardens http://biocharurbangardens.blogspot.com/

Photo of Sai Bhaskar Reddy

'Let a thousand flowers bloom with Biochar' http://www.thehansindia.info/News/Article.asp?category=1&subCategory=12&ContentId=9193

Photo of Ranyee

Great idea! People in the Amazon Basin have been doing this for thousands of years and have developed beautifully rich soil - terra preta. And if we can get some energy out of biochar production, that's another plus!

Photo of Sai Bhaskar Reddy

@ Ranyee Chiang thank you, yes we could use the energy while producing biochar, I have recently designed "GEO Biochar Stove" http://geobiocharstove.blogspot.com/

Photo of Paul

Will follow through on this with interest. There are at least two innovations for scalable biochar production here in Australia. This is vitally important as here the cost to transport biomass to large scale plants is presently holding back the use of biochar.

Photo of Sai Bhaskar Reddy

@ Paul Reader, I have designed five simple low cost biochar production systems (including the above one), which can be used for insitu production. Please see http://biocharindia.com

Photo of Paul

Thanks - I will look them up.

Photo of Ranyee

I think it will also be important to look at the trade-offs between different options. What is the balance of energy use/production, GHG emissions, soil quality, energy access for biochar vs. using biomass more directly as soil amendment vs. using biomass for other purposes. And what are the impacts on land use and (de)forestation? I think we need more analysis on the costs and benefits of these options.

Photo of Sai Bhaskar Reddy

Yes true! Nearly 30% of the 800 million tonnes of crop residue in India is wasted apart from using some for fuel, fodder, organic carbon, etc. This biomass could be used for biochar. http://biocharindia.com

Photo of Vishnu

very nice idea with lesser effort required for implementation

Photo of Sai Bhaskar Reddy

@ Vishnu Vardhan thank you very much.The space and weight of the soil are important considerations. Here by using biochar compost, we reduce the weight and as well have maximum number of plants in a given space.