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Enhancing Cation-Exchange Capacity of Biochar for Soil Amendment and Global Carbon Sequestration

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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Technology Marketing SummaryPhotosynthesis captures more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than any other process on Earth. However, because biomass is not stable and is always decomposing, it is of limited use for carbon isolation. In contrast, carbonized biomass, or biochar, is very stable. This ORNL invention is a process technology that can improve the soil nutrient properties of biochar by enhancing its cation exchange capacity. DescriptionThe invention may be applied to charcoal materials that are produced from pyrolysis of biomasses, such as agricultural and forestry waste materials. Benefits of this invention include improved soil fertility, decreased fertilizer runoff, and long term sequestration of carbon in soils and subsoils. Because biochar is so stable, it can keep carbon secure for a very long time. The primary applications of this technology are soil amendments and carbon sinks. Benefits
  • Higher cation exchange capacity
  • Offset CO2 emissions
  • Improved soil fertility
  • Decreased fertilizer runoff
Applications and Industries
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Soil amendment and fertilizer
More InformationLead Inventor:
Barbara R. Evans
Chemical Sciences Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
UT-B ID 200802055DevelopmentAvailable10/20/201012/08/2010

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To: Eugene Cochran<>