Published:
Last updated:
May 24, 2024

Biochar

What is Biochar?

Biochar is a form of charcoal produced from plant matter that can be intentionally stored in soil as a means of removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. Unlike the charcoal used for heating and cooking, biochar is produced under specific conditions with the intention of storing it in soil as a means to sequester carbon for hundreds to thousands of years.

The process of creating biochar typically involves pyrolysis, which is the thermal decomposition of organic material eg. Waste wood at high temperatures in the absence of oxygen. This process pulls carbon dioxide from the air and transforms it into another stable form of carbon that doesn't readily decompose as well as generating energy that can be used for other activities.

The Role of Biochar in Carbon Sequestration

Biochar's role in carbon sequestration is significant due to its ability to capture and store carbon in a stable form for extended periods (this is also known as durability). When added to soil, biochar can improve soil health, increase crop yields, and reduce the need for chemical fertilisers. Its porous nature allows it to retain nutrients and water, aiding plant growth and increasing soil biodiversity.

Examples of Biochar Projects

  • Exomad Green: This project is located in Concepción, Bolivia, and is one of the world's largest biochar producers. The project is not only focused on carbon removal, but also contributes significantly to environmental and community upliftment through outcomes such as improving soil health and agricultural productivity.

Common types of biochar projects include:

  • Agricultural Waste Biochar: Utilising crop residues, such as straw or husks, to produce biochar, which is then applied to agricultural land to improve soil health and sequester carbon.
  • Forestry Residues Biochar: Converting waste from forestry operations, like branches and sawdust, into biochar for soil amendment and carbon sequestration.
  • Urban Biochar Projects: Using organic waste from urban areas, such as yard trimmings or food waste, to produce biochar. This not only helps in carbon sequestration but also in waste management.
  • Integrated Energy-Biochar Systems: Projects that produce biochar as a byproduct of bioenergy production, using the heat generated for electricity or heat, while the biochar is used for carbon sequestration and soil improvement.

Navigating the Net Zero Journey with Biochar

For businesses embarking on a net zero journey, understanding and incorporating biochar into their sustainability strategies not only helps neutralise carbon emissions but also supports sustainable agricultural practices and renewable energy production. As regulations around carbon credits become tighter, investing in biochar projects can provide a credible and effective pathway to achieving net zero goals, while also delivering environmental and social benefits beyond carbon sequestration.

Project Portfolio Mix

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