Nitrous oxide emissions from oilseed rape cultivation were unaffected by flash pyrolysis biochar of different type, rate and field ageing

Henrik Thers*, Diego Abalos, Peter Dörsch, Lars Elsgaard

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Nitrous oxide (N2O) emission from winter oilseed rape (WOSR) cultivation may compromise the sustainability of oilseed rape biodiesel. Typically, greenhouse gas budgets of WOSR cultivation assume an N2O emission factor (EF) of 1% of the N added in fertilizer and crop residues. Management options to reduce direct soil emissions of N2O include the application of biochar, but efficacy and mechanisms of N2O suppression are elusive. We measured N2O emissions in a WOSR field trial on a sandy loam soil in Denmark over 402 days in 2017–2018, comparing biochar applications from two feedstocks (wheat straw and pig manure fibers), two application rates (1.5 and 15 Mg ha−1) and field ageing of up to three years. Further, a controlled incubation experiment was performed to examine the effect of biochar dose and ageing on N2O production and consumption by denitrification. Biochar treatments had no significant effects on cumulative N2O emissions (1.71–2.78 kg N ha−1 yr−1). Likewise, no significant effects were found on crop yield, yield-scaled N2O emission, soil mineral N content, gravimetric soil moisture or pH. The fertilizer induced EF was 0.51% which is well below the IPCC Tier 1 EF of 1%. High doses of fresh, but not field-aged biochar suppressed N2O production under anoxic conditions ex situ, suggesting that biochar with sufficient liming capacity could mitigate N2O emissions from denitrification also under field conditions. Yet, rates of up to 15 Mg ha−1 flash pyrolysis biochar in the current in situ study, which comprised a pronounced summer drought, showed no significant N2O mitigation. This highlights the need for selecting dedicated biochars and doses and test them in multi-year studies to conclude on their N2O mitigating effect. Yet, in relation to sustainability of WOSR cultivation for biodiesel, the current study suggests that C sequestration by biochar is not compromised by increased N2O emissions.

TidsskriftScience of the Total Environment
StatusUdgivet - jul. 2020


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