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What is Biochar?

Biochar is charcoal produced from wood or plant biomass. This charcoal will absorb nutrients like a sponge, holding them in the soil near the plants for an incredibly long time. 

BiocharBiochar is produced through pyrolysis, thermochemical decomposition process, where organic material is heated to extremely high temperatures in the absence of oxygen. 

The result is a stable solid material rich in carbon content that can effectively capture carbon and lock the carbon into the soil. Temperatures required by this process vary and a different type of biochar is produced depending on the feed biomass used and the temperature reached in the pyrolysis process. The process stabilises carbon in the charcoal, which can subsequently be used for a number of applications, such as for carbon filters in wastewater treatment, for air filters, to improve the composting process – or as a way to store carbon in soil.

The main difference between biochar and normal organic materials, such as straw or wood, is that when you use straw on a field it will degrade to CO2 in a short amount of time and complete the carbon cycle. This doesn’t happen to the same extent with biochar, which suggests that biochar may be a better way of storing carbon in soil than other alternatives.

Biochar cycle in pyrolysis


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