Biochar in Swedish agriculture – Straw pyrolysis as a first step towards net-zero

Mistra Food Futures report #4 “Biochar in Swedish agriculture – Straw pyrolysis as a first step towards net-zero” highlights the opportunities and challenges of biochar use in Swedish agriculture as a climate measure. In total, the prospects for biochar as a climate solution for Swedish food and agriculture are complex but also diverse and promising.

Biochar is a method for carbon dioxide removal through long-term storage of biogenic carbon in soil with co-benefits. Production of biochar from agricultural residues and its use in cropland is a potential climate mitigation measure in the Swedish food system.

There are two aims with the report. First, to quantify climate impacts of wheat production in Sweden using biochar produced from straw in a life cycle assessment. Second, to discuss biochar sustainability, potential and implementation.The report is relevant for anyone interested in new methods for reducing the climate impact from Swedish agriculture and food systems. When comparing wheat production with biochar to either ploughing straw back into soil, or using straw for heat production, the climate impact of wheat is reduced by about 45 percent. Some factors that have large influence on the result are

  • The assumptions on the energy system
  • Long-term biochar stability
  • Effects of biochar on crop yield

This report is a part of Mistra Food Future’s work to identify agricultural systems with potential to make agriculture net-zero, one of the central issues within Mistra Food Futures.


Elias S. Azzi, Louise Jungefeldt, Shivesh Karan, Cecilia Sundberg (2022).

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Mistra Food Futures Report #4. Biochar in Swedish agriculture – straw pyrolysis as a first step towards net-zero