Biochar systems: Developing a socio-technical system framework for biochar production in Norway
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionTechnology in society. 2017, 51 34-45. 10.1016/j.techsoc.2017.07.004
Biochar is charcoal produced from feedstock under pyrolysis. It has gained interests among researchers in recent years because of its agronomic and environmental benefits. It is considered to increase soil fertility and crop productivity, and biochar might play an important role as a climate mitigation tool that is able to capture carbon in the soil. However, although research has focused on the chemical, biological, and technical aspects of biochar, we seem to be far away from the implementation of a functioning biochar system. One key aspect needed for the actual use of biochar technologies is increased awareness and emphasis on the social and organizational aspects of its implementation. As there are no functional markets for the services and products needed to ‘produce’ a biochar system, political and market devices are needed. This paper contributes to this debate by introducing a socio-technical framework that investigates the implementation of different biochar technologies in Norway. Based on this socio-technical system framework, we discuss necessary components of a sustainable biochar socio-technical system, and we outline variations of this system based on different levels of biochar production scaling.