Biochar, created by burning organic waste in an oxygen-deprived environment, has a number of potential uses including improving soil fertility in agricultural applications, substituting for firewood as a household energy supply and acting as water filtering medium as well as its potential for carbon sequestration. Students from Arizona State University (ASU), University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Nepal's Tribbhuvan University (TU) have participated in three service learning courses in the small community of Amaltari, Nepal, to investigate the sustainable supply of biomass as well as analyzing the costs and benefits of biochar production in the community. Located in the south-central Nepal, Amaltari is one of the buffer zone communities across the Chitwan National Park and the research is focused on assessing the feasibility of using invasive plant species-Mikania micrantha and Lantana camara as the biochar feedstock. The distinguishing feature of our research is its focus on science-based and community-led innovation to co-generate solutions through integrating students and faculty from engineering and sustainability with the local biochar company and the buffer zone community of Amaltari. The case study will show that on-The-ground experiential and multiple stakeholder engagement processes involving disciplines ranging from sustainability to engineering to cultural anthropology have the potential to address 'wicked' environmental problems. We summarize the preliminary outcomes for the community and discuss the effective design and implementation of international service learning projects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGHTC 2018 - IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781538655665
StatePublished - Jan 3 2019
Event8th Annual IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, GHTC 2018 - San Jose, United States
Duration: Oct 18 2018Oct 21 2018

Publication series

NameGHTC 2018 - IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, Proceedings


Conference8th Annual IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, GHTC 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Jose


  • Nepal
  • biockar
  • service learning
  • sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Health(social science)
  • Safety Research


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