THE ECONOMIC FEASIBILITY OF BIOCHAR PRODUCTION AND UTILIZATION IN BANGLADESH
Biochar is a charcoal like materials produced by the thermo chemical pyrolysis of biomass materials. This study mainly concentrates on the economic feasibility of biochar production in Bangladesh. The availability of biomass in the country was calculated from the agricultural production data available in different government organization website. Some earlier studies regarding biomass production in the country were also reviewed in the study to estimate the biomass production. Finally the economic viability of the study was justified through cost benefit analysis of biochar application into wheat field to reduce soil acidity. The waste (eg., cowdung, poultry litter) generated from livestock and poultry is a good source of feedstock for biochar. The country has a large number of livestock and poultry population totaling 53 million livestock and 293 million poultry in the country. Considering 100% recovery rate, the annual production of biomass from forest and forestry industry in Bangladesh in 2004 was 8.871 Mt comprising 6.932 million tons fuel wood, 1.816 million tons tree residues and 0.123 million tons saw dust. Hence the positive economic outcome may be largely depending on the price of biochar. Further biochar replaces the lime, the profit will depends on the price of biochar as well as the value of sequestered carbon. If the carbon price goes up at Tk. 2325/-, the farmers still lose income if the price of biochar is higher, i.e., Tk. 26,305.5/MT or Tk. 8553.75/MT. Considering the huge availability, the study emphasized on utilization of rice straw as a feedstock for biochar. Reviewing the earlier studies this study suggests that application of biochar into the wheat field of acidity affected areas of Bangladesh would increase soil productivity by increasing the soil pH. However, the economic feasibility remained uncertain in the study while there is no carbon market for biochar.