New BMEL Funding Initiative to Focus on Vegetable Carbon Usage for Climate Protection

Grants are available for projects in Germany that investigate ways to utilise vegetable carbon as a means to promote climate protection in agriculture.

In the context of the German government’s commitment to reach carbon net zero by 2045, this funding initiative by Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft (BMEL – German Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture) is designed to promote research into vegetable carbon as a means of capturing and storing carbon in the soil. Funding is provided for research and development projects that investigate the potential and effect of agricultural vegetable carbon usage in the context of climate change. Projects are intended to develop concepts for targeted application as well as recommendations for action for agricultural practice.

The thematic focus is on the following areas:

1) Analysis of older field studies in Germany:

  • Investigations into the long-term effects of vegetable carbon on production, environment and climate-related material streams as well as soil properties and soil organisms in older field studies from completed projects.
  • Investigations into the effect of disruptions to natural soil regeneration (Bodenruhe), for example through changes in land usage, on soil fertility, humus mineralisation and relevant material streams in the context of older, completed projects that addressed perennial production systems that used vegetable carbon.

2) Application concepts for agricultural practice:

  • Recording, evaluation and further development of promising approaches to the usage of vegetable carbon in plant production, preferably for broad application areas and with a high potential in terms of climate protection. This may include the development of recommendations of action for agricultural practice.
  • Development of regional value chain concepts for vegetable carbon in consideration of the entire process chain from raw materials / biomass production to their application.
  • Development of indicators that enable the valorisation of vegetable carbon-based ecosystem services.

3) Suitability of application purposes for climate protection and climate adaptation:

  • Studies into the properties and suitability of vegetable carbon from different types of biomass for climate protection and climate adaptation in agriculture in a broad application area.
  • Studies into the suitability of mineral or organic materials in combination with vegetable carbon for climate-oriented plant production.
  • (Further) development of surface treatment procedures for vegetable carbon to increase the effect of vegetable carbon application for climate protection and climate adaptation.

Eligible for funding are natural and legal entities in Germany. This includes educational and research institutions as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SME).

Funding is provided in the form of a non-refundable project grant on the basis of project-related eligible costs. Funding levels vary according to the type of applicant and the type of project carried out.

The scheme comprises a two-stage application process, with an initial invitation for outline proposals, followed by the submission of a formal funding application for successful candidates.

The deadline for the submission of outline proposals is 1 July 2022.

(This report was the subject of a RESEARCHconnect Newsflash.)