Kevin Steinberger ’12
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Review and Assessment of Biochar Strategies for Carbon Mitigation
The goal of my internship this summer was to conduct research on biochar. The production of biochar, defined as a form of charcoal created from biomass and used for agricultural purposes, has recently been praised as a carbon negative technology, and represents a way to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while simultaneously improving soil quality in some cases. Biochar has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the long-term storage of carbon in soils. I reviewed the current literature on biochar and started to create an Excel model to explore all the assumptions and variables involved in a life cycle analysis of the production of biochar. I then wrote a scientific report, that focuses on understanding the conditions under which favorable economic and environmental results can be achieved, by discussing all of the economic factors involved and examining the assumptions behind these factors. With future research, I think biochar production may emerge as an economically profitable way to mitigate climate change, and I am really excited to continue working on this project with my advisor, Dr. Eric Larson. My senior thesis will focus on designing a process to optimize the energy and char yields during biochar production.
Climate and Energy
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Eric Larson, Research Engineer, Princeton Environmental Institute