Biochar draws attention because of its potential for carbon sequestration and long-term sustainability in agriculture by improving soil health and crop yield. In the present research, the carbon sequestration potential of biochar derived from sugarcane residues has been assessed. It was estimated that about 38.8 MT sugarcane top & leaf (STL) and 96.3 MT sugarcane bagasse (SB) are produced in India annually. Out of which, about 47 % STL and 37 % SB remain unused. Surplus STL & SB has an estimated 17.6±0.4 MT biochar potential, sequestrating 18.8±0.4 MT CO2e carbon in the soil. STL & SB-derived biochar application at 10 T/ha could sequestrate 51.9±1 and 47±2.2 MT CO2e carbon due to enhanced crop yield and reduced soil organic carbon mineralization. Also, biochar application at 10 T/ha could reduce about 0.08 MT NPK fertilizer consumption and 0.22±0.13 MT N2O emissions from sugarcane cultivation, having 0.28±0.17 and 65±38 MT CO2e reduced carbon footprint, respectively. Overall, sugarcane residues – biochar system for carbon sequestration could reduce 220.3±45.1 MT CO2e carbon footprint, about 9.5±2 % of total GHG emission from India at the 2019 level. Mapping sugarcane-producing states revealed that Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh shared about 75.5 % of surplus STL & SB potential. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, and Tamil Nadu have a 16.5 % combined share in surplus STL & SB potential. The current study’s findings would contribute to creating a sustainable and environmentally friendly system for managing sugarcane residue and increasing the nation’s sugarcane production.
Keywords Sugarcane residues, Carbon sequestration, Pyrolysis, Soil amendment, Biochar
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