NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

Biochar project wins best International Development Project

Photo: NDF
Hans-Peter Schmidt, team leader of the project on behalf of Landell Mills demonstrated the benefits of biochar at a workshop held by NDF in 2016.
Photo: NDF
Photo: NDF

An NDF project testing biochar’s potential as fertiliser in Nepal was commended in April 2017 with an award for best International Development Project.

The award was given to Landell Mills for best International Development Project by British Expertise International. Landell Mills is a UK-based international development consulting firm. The project was an Asian Development Bank-administered and NDF-funded project in Nepal titled Mainstreaming Climate Change Risk Management in Development. Landell Mills was the technical assistance service provider.

The project assessed the viability for scale-up of biochar use as a strategy for addressing climate mitigation and adaptation by improving soil health, fertility and plant productivity, and resulting farm income. Biochar is charcoal fertiliser made from various kinds of waste biomass. It represents an inexpensive way to increase crop yields and holds significant environmental benefits including reduced loss of nutrients and greenhouse gas emissions.

The project was highly successful as it provided evidence from numerous field trials that urine-enriched biochar can, in three different climate zones, improve crop yields in a climate-friendly manner. Some trials showed yield increases of up to 300%.

The most appropriate technology for biochar production at the farm level in Nepal is the soil pit Kon-Tiki flame curtain kiln. Benefits include high-quality biochar production, low emissions, no need for start-up fuel, short pyrolysis time and, importantly, easy and cheap construction and operation, with no initial capital investment except labour. The technology is thus affordable for small-scale farmers in Nepal. The project showed strong scaling-up potential and included numerous lessons learnt that are valuable for all future biochar projects.

NDF congratulates Landell Mills as well as everyone involved in realising the project.

More information

Testing the Climate Change Benefits of Biochar in Nepal
Biochar – black fertiliser for green growth
Pilot Project to Test the Climate Change Benefits of Biochar [NDF C55]