The Science

"Biochar becomes a capsule rich in nutrients with long-term release to plants and is a major reason why Biochar is so effective and enhances plant growth."

  • The long pores provide significant surface area. In fact, 1 gram of BioChar Now BioChar has an area of up to 500  square meters.


  • BioChar Now's Biochar has both a cation and anion exchange ability that electrostatically attracts certain types of molecules in the soil, air, and water. The molecules are attached to the walls of the BioChar, where the roots can access them throughout the growing season. Biochar becomes a capsule rich in nutrients  and releases sustained and consistent  nutrition for plants, and is a major reason why the Biochar Now BioChar is so effective at promoting superior plant growth, health, and yields.


  • Our BioChar was tested for water holding capacity and found to hold 5.6 times its weight in water. And because the pores are very long compared to their openings, there is very little evaporation (see Figure 1 below). When the roots do not consume the isolated water, they are held for long periods of time.


  • For microorganisms, the canals and the pores of the BioChar look like a large housing complex (see Figure 2 below) so they move in to form a community. After colonization, they are protected from precipitation of water that would otherwise disperse them. With our BioChar, microorganisms thrive and help create living soil.


Figure 1

Figure 2

 "Biochar dates back thousands of years to a civilization in the Amazon Basin."

  • Biochar's history dates back thousands of years to civilization in the Amazon Basin, where vast areas of dark and very fertile soil known as Terra Preta - in Portuguese "black soil" - were discovered and analyzed, revealing high concentrations of charcoal and organic matter and materials such as plant and animal remains. Found only in populated areas, the presence of Terra Preta indicates that humans were intentionally responsible for its creation.


  • Soil scientists theorize the ancient Amazonians used a “slash-and-char” process to develop this rich soil. With slash-and-char, plant material or crop remains were cut, ignited, and buried to smolder (rather than burn), which eventually produced char, now commonly referred to as “BioChar”. This process isolated most of the carbon in the vegetation, creating a particularly hospitable amendment, which in turn nurtured beneficial micro-organisms that transformed the degraded soil to extremely rich and stable humus.


  • For centuries the slash-and-char technique produced the fertile soil – often referred to as the “Secret of El Dorado” – that supported the agricultural needs of the Amazonians, which in turn, enabled their numbers to grow by the millions. From this ancient method Biochar Now has developed the technology for producing BioChar as a means to improve today’s soil quality and store carbon.


  • Biochar Now BioChar filtration process is used to purify producer water from wells.  Our BioChar removes pollutants allowing for the discharge of clean water.

Scientific lecture sponsored by Cornell University

Several presentations on Biochar for various applications


  1. 1

  2. 1.  Mohammadi, A., Cowie, AL, Anh Mai, TL, Anaya de la Rosa, R., Kristiansen, P., Brandão, M. and Joseph, S. (2016). Biochar use for climate-change mitigation in rice cropping systems. Journal of Cleaner Production, 116: 61-70.

  3. 2.  Cornelissen, G., Pandit, NR, Taylor, P., Pandit, BH, Sparrevik, M., and Schmidt, HP (2016). Emissions and char quality of flame-curtain “Kon Tiki” kilns for farmer-scale charcoal / biochar production. PloS one, 11 (5), e0154617.

  4. 3.  Mohammadi, A., Cowie, AL, Anh Mai, TL, Anaya de la Rosa, R., Brandão, M., Kristiansen, P. and Joseph, S. (2016). Quantifying the greenhouse gas reduction benefits of utilizing straw biochar and enriched biochar. Energy Procedia 97, 254-261.

  5. 4.  Atile Kibret, H., Venkata Ramayya, A., and Belay Abunie, B. (2016). Design, fabrication and sensitivity testing of an efficient bone pyrolysis kiln and biochar-based indigenous fertilizer pelletizing machine for linking renewable energy with climate smart agriculture. Asian Research Publishing Network (ARPN). Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Vol 11, no. 12. ISSN  1819-6608 .

  6. 5.  Obia, A., Børresen, T., Martinsen, V., Cornelissen, G., and Mulder, J. (2017). Vertical and lateral transport of biochar in light-textured tropical soils. Soil and Tillage Research 165, 34-40.

  7. 6.  Mehmood, K., Chávez Garcia, E., Schirrmann, M., Ladd, B., Kammann, C., Wrage-Mönnig, N., Siebe, C., Estavillo, JM, Fuertes-Mendizabal, T., Cayuela , M., Sigua, G., Spokas, K., Cowie, AL, Novak, J., Ippolito, JA, and Borchard, N. (2017). Biochar research activities and their relation to development and environmental quality: A systematic review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development. 37:22.

  8. 7.  Gómez, X., Ladd, B., Muñoz, A., and Anaya de la Rosa, R. (2017). Determination of the effect of biocarbon on the mobility of mercury in the suelo-plant system. The Biologist Lima. Vol 15, No. 1. Http://

  9. 8.  Smebye, AB, Sparrevik, M., Schmidt, HP, and Cornelissen, G. (2017). Life-cycle assessment of biochar production systems in tropical rural areas: Comparing flame curtain kilns to other production methods. Biomass and Bioenergy, 101, 35-43.

  10. 9.  Mohammadi, A., Cowie, AL, Anh Mai, TL, Brandão, M., Anaya de la Rosa, R., Kristiansen, P., and Joseph, S. (2017). Climate-change and health effects of using rice husk for biochar-compost: Comparing three pyrolysis systems. Journal of Cleaner Production 162, 260-272.

  11. 10. Kamau, S., Barrios, E., Karanja, NK, Ayuke, FO and Lehmann, J. (2017). Spatial variation of soil macrofauna and nutrients in tropical agricultural systems influenced by historical charcoal production in South Nandi, Kenya. Applied Soil Ecology. 119, 286-293.

  12. 11. Ladd, B., Dumler, S., Loret de Mola, E., Anaya de la Rosa, R., and Borchard, N. (2017). Increase in profitability in maize production in Peru: N fertilizers and biochar. The Biologist Lima. Vol 15, No. 2.

  13. 12. Cornelissen, G., Jubaedah, Nurida, NL, Hale, SE, Martinsen, V., Silvani, L., and Mulder, J. (2018). Fading positive effect of biochar on crop yield and soil acidity during five growth seasons in an Indonesian Ultisol. Science of the Total Environment. 634, 561-568.

  14. 13. Asfaw, E., Nebiyu, A., Bekele, E., Ahmed, M., and Astatkie, T. (2018). Coffee-husk biochar application increased AMF root colonization, P accumulation, N2 fixation, and yield of soybean grown in a tropical Nitisol, southwest Ethiopia. Journal of plant nutrition and soil science, 182, 419-428.

  15. 14. Namoi, N., Pelster, D., Rosenstock, TS, Mwangi, L., Kamau, S., Mutuo, P., and Barrios, E. (2019). Earthworms regulate ability of biochar to mitigate CO2 and N2O emissions from a tropical soil. Applied Soil Ecology, 140, 57-67.

  16. 15. Kamau, S., Karanja, NK, Ayuke, FO and Lehmann, J. (2019). Short-term influence of biochar and fertilizer-biochar blends on soil nutrients, fauna and maize growth. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 55, 661-673.

  17. 16. Melaku, T., Ambaw, G., Nigussie, A., Woldekirstos, AN, Bekele, E. and Ahmed, M., 2020. Short-term application of biochar increases the amount of fertilizer required to obtain potential yield and reduces marginal agronomic efficiency in high phosphorus-fixing soils. Biochar, pp.1-9.

  18. 17. Owsianiak, M., Lindhjem, H., Cornelissen, G., Hale, SE, Sørmo, E. and Sparrevik, M., (2020). Environmental and economic impacts of biochar production and agricultural use in six developing and middle-income countries.Science of The Total Environment, 142455.

  19. 18. Liu, X., Wang, H., Liu, C., Sun, B., Zheng, J., Bian, R., Drosos, M., Zhang, X., Li, L. and Pan, G ., (2020). Biochar increases maize yield by promoting root growth in the rainfed region. Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science, pp.1 -14.

  20. 19. Liu, C., Sun, B., Zhang, X., Liu, X., Drosos, M., Li, L. and Pan, G., (2020). The Water-Soluble Pool in Biochar Dominates Maize Plant Growth Promotion Under Biochar Amendment. Journal of Plant Growth Regulation, pp.1-11.

       20. Research Papers on newly discovered uses for BioChar 2022

For more information and research on BioChar,  please visit the International Biochar Initiative