Agricultural Benefits of Biochar
Biochar is simply defined as a biomass charcoal when used or found in soil. For as long as fire and plant life have co-existed, pyrogenic organic matter (biochar) has played a role in the development and fertility of topsoil. Biochar is effective in retaining water and nutrients in the root zone where it is available to plants, increasing soil tilth, and supporting microbial communitiesLearn More
Biochar + Compost
Biochar can improve the compost process, and in turn the biochar is improved as well. Amending early stage compost with biochar can result in reduced nutrient loss, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and other benefits. During composting, biochar is improved with benefits such as added complexity to biochar surfaces resulting in increased functionality and nutrient loading.Learn More
In The Garden
Best results can be achieved with a significant initial application followed with smaller incremental applications. 5% to 10% by volume in the top 6 inches of soil has been observed as a great initial application (equal to about 1/4″ – 1/2″ then tilled in). Then, in following seasons, include biochar in your composting piles, include it with your fertilizers, spread a thin layer just before you mulch, use it to soften soil when transplanting…Learn More
In the Nursery
As a potting media component for nurseries biochar is an absolutely perfect fit. In fact, biochar was a standard ingredient in the glass house days of old (they just didn’t call it biochar back then). Here are some helpful tips towards achieving success in your nursery work with biochar:Learn More
Climate Change Mitigation
There is a carbon imbalance. This imbalance is seen as the most influential factor in the great Climate Change that we are beginning to experience. Biochar, when adopted on a large scale, will be able to help correct the carbon imbalance. There are other benefits too, including food security, water efficiency, and environmental clean up. That is why biochar is such an attractive tool in Climate Change mitigation; it can effectively sequester carbon while also providing multiple other benefits.Learn More
The story of biochar is inevitably a story about biomass and how people manage biomass resources. In California, decades of forest management practices that included over-planting and fire suppression have led to forest ecosystems that are overloaded with woody biomass. Drought and climate change have compounded the problems, leading to large areas of unhealthy forest systems that are prone to catastrophic fires.
Across the state forestry efforts are mobilizing to reduce fuel-loads in high fire risk areas, limiting the excessive accumulation of biomass and promoting sustainable forestry practices. Biochar can be a powerful tool; turning a woody biomass problem into an opportunity to build healthy soils, generate renewable energy, and improve the health of our forest ecosystems through effective biomass management.Learn More
Biomass energy generation integrated with biochar production can provide renewable energy and carbon sequestration. In 2017 biomass energy accounted for 2.82% of the states energy production. In that same year, solar and wind made up about 12% and 6% respectively. In the efforts for California to meet goals of renewable energy, it is most likely that biomass energy will continue to play only a very small portion. But it has an important role to play nonetheless.
Biomass power plants play a critical role in woody biomass management, and can produce power rain or shine. Biomass power is often located alongside industries that require heat energy, thus providing co-generation of heat and electricity (such as at sawmills). And when the biomass used for power is transformed into biochar, it provides a pathway for fixing carbon and sequestering it in soils. This is a form of Biomass Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), listed by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as a key technology for carbon drawdownLearn More
Biochar Stability and Carbon Sequestration
Biochar can be defined as biomass charcoal when used or found in soil. There is great interest in the potential for manufacture and application of biochar to be employed as a means of greenhouse gas emission reduction and carbon sequestration for climate change mitigation. Biochar created from woody biomass, pyrolyzed at temperatures above 500 oC and using commonly available equipment, has shown to be highly recalcitrant in soil and thus an ideal candidate for carbon sequestration (1). However, certain other types of biomass and/or pyrolysis conditions have resulted in products that do not appear to be ideal candidates for carbon sequestration (2). In order to better understand what is currently understood about this, a review of research was conducted, and is summarized here…Learn More
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