Lewis Peake

University of East Anglia

Non-stipendiary Fellow / Associate Tutor

 

Research Interests
Biochar effects on soil productivity

Duration of your PhD
Oct 2010 - Mar 2015

Thesis's Supervisor
Dr Brian Reid

Funder
NERC

My Thesis' Abstract
Current knowledge suggests that biochar can be applied to agricultural soils in order to boost crop yields and simultaneously sequester atmospheric carbon. Biochar could therefore have a role in ameliorating two of the major environmental problems facing humanity – climate change and food scarcity. Research suggests that biochar can be applied to agricultural soils in order to boost crop yields and simultaneously sequester atmospheric carbon. Further benefits ascribed to biochar include reduced water demand (for irrigation), less downstream pollution and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases (eg NO2) from the soil. Evidence suggests that some of these effects are influenced by soil type.
The University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, with the first combined heat and power (CHP) plant powered by woodchip biogas in the UK, has the capacity to produce approximately 300 tonnes of biochar annually. The feedstock and production temperature are carefully controlled for consistency. With Environment Agency approval UEA biochar is being investigated for the first time on a large scale in the first ever farm trial of biochar in the East Anglian region of England.
This ongoing PhD project is investigating the effect biochar has on a wide range of chemical, physical and hydrological soil properties that influence productivity. Investigating responses to biochar according to soil type is a key feature of the project, the ultimate aim being to make predictive recommendations. The project will provide new data for this region and extend our wider knowledge about the influence of soil type in this context. It is hoped that such information can pave the way for fine-tuning the strategic deployment of biochar. This methodology could be expanded and applied to other soils and other regions.

 

Research areas

Contact information

E-mail: l.peake@uea.ac.uk

Phone: 01603 591833 / 07940240683

Postal Address
School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia
Norwich Research Park
Norwich
NR4 7TJ

Personal website
http://www.uea.ac.uk/env/people/People/Postgraduate+Research+Students/Le...