NSR / SBF / Vera Park
NSR / SBF / Vera Park
How can household garden waste be used to improve soil quality, clean the water and air, and reduce harmful emissions? Well, the answer to that has required some circular thinking. Circular solutions are about closing cycles, turning waste into a valuable resource for recycling, and ensuring that the environment is taken care of.
Through running a thriving test bed for jointly developing green solutions in Helsingborg, NSR is exploring the role that biochar can play for our future.
So what exactly is biochar? While it may look a little like regular charcoal, biochar is produced through a process that allows for reduced contamination and the safe storage of carbon. It’s made by burning organic material like leaves, dead plants, or wood chips in a container with very little oxygen – a process known as pyrolysis. The result is a stable form of carbon that won’t easily leak into the atmosphere, with the added bonus of clean energy being created in the process in the form of heat. This heat is then channeled out into the Öresundskraft district heating network. And that’s just the start of it!
When waste from gardening and agriculture is left to decompose naturally, it releases a large amount of harmful carbon dioxide. Mixing biochar into soil can ensure that the carbon is stored for a long time – possibly thousands of years! And the soil benefits greatly for added biochar, with effects such as improved soil structure, living space for microbes, and reduced acidity.
Helsingborg has an ambitious tree-planting initiative and will use biochar to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions and make the city greener. In a joint investment, NSR is building a biochar production plant with the goal of increasing the applications and using the city’s garden waste in an optimal way. Around 7,000 tons of garden waste will annually produce about 1,500 tons of biochar, with the process itself taking only 20 minutes or so.
Read more here about the other exciting projects at NSR. After all, today’s waste could be tomorrow’s treasure!
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