Plants capture energy from the sun. Some of that energy is used to transform carbon dioxide into more complex forms of carbon within their bodies. When that plant matter is exposed to high temperatures, the energy that was used to create their bodies is rapidly released.
Biochar production involves the partial burning of plant material. The process releases energy that can be captured and used. The purest and simplest form of energy to capture and use is heat. It is also possible to create electricity. Most difficult of all, yet still possible, is to create transportable liquid fuels comparable to petroleum.
There is still energy in biochar, it is akin to charcoal. In the vast majority of existing biomass-to-energy facilities the biomass used is burned all the way to ash leaving little if any carbon in the form of char.
Thankfully to all the engineers who have been hard at work, there are a few technologies that exist today which yield valuable energy and simultaneously produce high quality biochar. While still in it’s infancy in scale and recognition, some technology options are now becoming available by producers and adopted by users.