Carbon Sequestration and Energy Production through Soil Biochar Amendment

Amending soils with charcoal can increase soil fertility, improve soil drainage, and help manage nutrient pollution. Adding charcoal to soils also sequesters carbon when this charcoal is made from biomass that would otherwise rapidly decompose to CO2. We are applying this promising C sequestration technique to the problem of greenhouse gas management in Texas. We are supported by grants from NSF, DOE, USDA, the Rice Shell Center for Sustainability and the Rice Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering.

Recent News:

Fall 2014:

Our group's paper Biochar-induced changes in soil hydraulic conductivity and dissolved nutrient fluxes constrained by laboratory experiments is out on PLOS ONE!  Congratulations to first authors Becca Barnes and Morgan Gallagher.

Former postdoc Becca Barnes has taken a new job as an assistant professor at Colorado College.  Congratulations Becca!

Summer 2014: 

Bioengineering Ph.D. Student Shelly Cheng's work is showcased at the 2014 SEED meeting in Manhattan Beach, California:  "Using synthetic biology to examine biochar effects on microbail communication and carbon sequestration in soils."

Ph.D. student Lacey Pyle passed her advancement to candidacy exam, and will begin researching the storage and mobility of charcoal in a fire-impacted ecosystem in New Jersey.

New postdoc Ghasideh Pourhashem as arrived to research the economic value of biochar ecosystem services with Dr. Ken Medlock in Rice's Baker Institute, Dr. Carrie Masiello in Earth Science, and Dr. Christian Davies from Shell.  Welcome Ghasideh!

Former postdoc Catie Brewer and undergrad Vicki Chuang's paper New approaches to measuring biochar density and porosity has been published in Biomass and Bioenergy.

Spring 2014:

Dr. Carrie Masiello co-chaired the European Geosciences Union session "Synergies in Pyrogenic Carbon, Charcoal, and Biochar Research," while additionally presenting a talk on charcoal physical properties.

Fall 2013:

Postdoc Catie Brewer has taken a new job as an assistant professor at New Mexico State, where she will continue her work on biochar and water.  Congratulations on your new job Catie!

The group's paper Biochar and microbial signaling: production conditions determine effects on microbial communication was just accepted at ES&T and is now online.  Congratulations to student co-authors Shelly Cheng and Ye Chen!

© Caroline Masiello 2014