Biochar Found to Soak Up Nitrogen from Air Pollutant Ammonia

A study led by Cornell University shows that biochar has the ability to soak up nitrogen from the air pollutant ammonia through a chemical reaction. Research in Ethiopia proposed to capture the nitrogen that would otherwise be lost from compost by adding biochar, and successfully documented this capture. Professor Johannes Lehmann notes that biochar compost has several potential benefits for farmers: it can conserve nitrogen for use as fertilizer, reduce odors from manure, and protect local water quality. In addition, the study revealed to scientists a process by which nitrogen emitted through mineralization and fires is naturally recaptured in terrestrial ecosystems.