Biochar has recently gained attention in scientific and popular media for its potential to sequester carbon and enhance soil fertility (World Bank 2014). There are also opportunities to improve energy efficiency through pyrolytic cookstoves, improve health through reduced indoor air pollution, and reduce drudgery through reduced need for firewood etc. There is a large positive agro-ecological potential, but for this potential to be realised, multi-disciplinary capacity building is needed. Many questions remain regarding practical applicability of biochar production and use, and its socio-economic relevance in farming systems. Since sustainable agricultural intensification approaches with enhanced resilience to climate change for SubSaharan Africa (SSA) are called for, and biochar is promoted as a great opportunity by various stakeholders, it is important to coordinate and disseminate scientific knowledge as well as practical experiences.
The role of the SIANI African Biochar Expert Group is to coordinate, communicate and build capacity of research and development on pyrolysis and biochar as technologies for optimized biomass use for improved resource management, energy efficiency and soil fertility in Africa.
During the first year the expert group will:
- collect and review the research literature on biochar of relevance for Africa and initiate an information repository.
- identify key messages, target groups and communication channels for future capacity-building on biochar policy, production and use, thus preparing a communication strategy for the coming years.
- prepare and disseminate certain communication materials.
- consolidate, formalize and extend the network African Biochar Consortium.
The SIANI African Biochar Expert Group
Dr. Cecilia Sundberg – SLU, Sweden – Environmental systems analysis, Biochar production technology
Dr. Kristina Röing de Nowina – IITA, Kenya – Biochar agronomy
Dr. Mary Njenga – ICRAF, Kenya – Cookstoves and woodfuels, Gender issues
Mr. Mattias Gustafsson – Ecotopic, Sweden – Biochar production, project management
Dr. Moses Mensah – Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana – Biochar production, pyrolysis, waste management
Dr. Edward Yeboah – CSIR – Soil Research Institute, Ghana – Biochar agronomy
Prof. Nancy Karanja – University of Nairobi, Kenya – Biochar agronomy, microbiology
Dr. Aliou Faye – Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles, Senegal – Biochar agronomy (drought)
Dr. Gert Nyberg – SLU, Sweden Woodfuel, Agroforestry
Dr. Adenike Adejumo – University of Ibadan, Nigeria – Bioremediation using biochar
Mr. Fausto Marcigot – Sanergy, Kenya – Biochar in sanitation
Dr. Yahia Mahmoud – Lund University, Sweden – Socio-economics