BioChar is an ancient technology that is having a renaissance, and for good reason. The production process can serve as a green energy source; the product is under investigation as a source of carbon sequestration to help reduce greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere; and BioChar is an amazing soil enhancer that gets great results in plant health and productivity.
So what is BioChar?
Basically, BioChar is charcoal used as a soil amendment. The charcoal is created from biomass (discarded agricultural waste such as peanut hulls, bamboo, municipal tree trimmings, etc.) that is heated at high temperatures in the absence of oxygen, a process known as Pyrolysis. The heat and gasses resulting from this process can be captured to produce energy carriers such as electricity or bio-oil.
The BioChar itself serves as a means of sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, providing another environmental benefit, in addition to the production of cleaner energy. Here’s how that works: when plants grow, they take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and hold it in their biomass while they are living. When the plants die, however, much of their captured carbon gets released back into the atmosphere as the plants decompose. With Biomass Pyrolysis, up to 50% of the carbon captured by plants can be put back into the earth in the form of biomass charcoal (BioChar). With a half-life of up to 1,000 years, BioChar is an incredibly stable form of carbon sequestration.
BioChar and Plant Productivity
“Okay, that’s cool and all,” you might be saying,” but why on earth is BioChar in a gardening store?” Check out the pictures below and you’ll understand. As a soil amendment, BioChar has been shown to significantly increase crop productivity while reducing input costs to growers. It increases beneficial microorganisms in the soil, improves soil structure, and enhances nutrient retention and the soil’s ability to hold water. Ultimately, that means stronger, healthier plants that produce more. BioChar is really a great product with benefits at all points in its production and use cycle. Replace the Miracle-Gro with a true miracle product. You’ll be glad you did, and so will Mother Earth!