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Jansen, Danielle, 2023. Drivers and Barriers for Biochar Deployment in Swedish Agriculture : a Multi-Level Perspective on Sustainability Transitions. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Department of Molecular Sciences



There are several sustainability challenges (e.g., environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, and food insecurity) that agro-food systems face. Simultaneously, agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Addressing these challenges requires socio-technical transformations in the agro-food system. Biochar can play a part in the solution because it is a carbon removal method with co-benefits for agriculture. Despite the goal of the Swedish government to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045, biochar has not been adopted widely in Swedish agriculture. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the drivers and barriers that facilitate or hinder biochar deployment in Swedish agriculture, and under what prerequisites an accelerated adoption can take place.
The study used a qualitative case study method. The data was collected through 9 semi-structured interviews and participation in a webinar. The data was analyzed with the use of thematic analysis. The multi-level perspective framework on sustainability transitions has been applied to interpret the empirical findings.
The results suggest that biochar holds promise to contribute to sustainable agriculture in Sweden, but that there are certain barriers that need to be overcome. Regarding drivers, biochar offers various agricultural and environmental benefits. The Swedish government’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture further supports its deployment. However, there are barriers that hinder the widespread adoption of biochar. The high cost of biochar, along with volatility in biochar and carbon credit price makes it risky for farmers to invest in biochar technology. Financial incentives are essential to make biochar more affordable and attractive for on-farm use. The creation of a stable and farmer-friendly carbon market is crucial to reduce fluctuations in price and ensure economic viability for farmers. Knowledge gaps also exist, highlighting the need for research funding, knowledge sharing, and collaboration among stakeholders and countries. Farmers and researchers should work together to bridge the gap between scientific findings and practical on-farm use of biochar to find its ultimate applications in agriculture. Competition with other carbon removal technologies poses additional barriers as well as perceived resistance from fertilizer companies expressed by a few stakeholders. Lack of supportive legislation for using waste materials and side streams as biomass sources and inadequate financial support for production plant investments also hinder the diffusion of biochar technology. Overcoming these barriers requires learning processes and collective efforts to establish a sustainable and economically viable biochar market that benefits Swedish agriculture and contributes to the government’s environmental goals. The results of this study can be utilized to guide policy-makers and biochar stakeholders on how to enable increased biochar adoption in Swedish agriculture.

Main title:Drivers and Barriers for Biochar Deployment in Swedish Agriculture
Subtitle:a Multi-Level Perspective on Sustainability Transitions
Authors:Jansen, Danielle
Supervisor:Sundberg, Cecilia
Examiner:Tidåker, Pernilla
Series:Molecular Sciences
Volume/Sequential designation:2023:15
Year of Publication:2023
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NM028 Sustainable Food Systems - Master's Programme, 120.0hp
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Department of Molecular Sciences
Keywords:Agriculture, Socio-technical transitions, Multi-level perspective
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Deposited On:05 Jul 2023 10:33
Metadata Last Modified:06 Jul 2023 01:03

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