What is BioChar?
“Biochar is a highly adsorbent, specially-produced nano-carbon with many unique properties, originally used as a soil amendment.”
In recent years geologists have been researching black soil in particularly fertile areas of Amazon soil. In close proximity to archaeological finds indicating ancient agricultural settlement in the area. Research and mapping of the black soil known as Terra Preta contain activated carbon mixtures, bones, and pottery fragments. These lands date to an early period of 500 BC. These areas were found to be very fertile with a high amount of organic matter compared to areas adjacent to them. (See picture to the right).
Biochar is a combination of the English words: biology and carbon that is, carbon with biological activity. In the last decade, researchers have begun to study the properties of BioChar and its necessary integration into modern and industrialized agriculture characterized by the current significant loss of soil fertility.
Terra Preta Tropical Soil
Short TED Talk on the Ancient History of BioChar
How do we produce BioChar?
Our Biochar is made from dead beetle kill trees cleared from forests (but can also be produced from any waste biomass), which undergo a pyrolysis process in a furnace in which biomass is heated in an oxygen-free environment in order to decompose into simpler materials. There are two types of pyrolysis, fast and slow. Rapid pyrolysis uses moderate to high temperatures and rapid heating of wood chips. Slow pyrolysis is characterized by gradual heating over a wide range of temperatures for BioChar production.
BioChar Now uses a unique and proprietary furnace to perform a process of slow and controlled pyrolysis over 8 hours in order to allow slow processing of different sizes of wood, to produce a consistent, high-quality BioChar. Our BioChar is characterized by a number of key parameters.
Our BioChar is a lightweight material, thanks to many pores, and a large surface area, which reaches 500 square meters or more per gram and looks like a sponge full of holes. BioChar is used to adsorb various substances with an emphasis on the adsorption of heavy metals, and dangerous toxins found in various pesticides and their sequestration and eventual breakdown by microorganisms.
The BioChar can be "loaded" or charged with beneficial minerals and microorganisms before applying it to the soil or on the crop beds. It is important to use the right particle size of BioChar to the type of crop application required. "Different sizes, for different crop types". The application of BioChar has many effects on the properties of the soil and it becomes a supervisor for controlled release, and a bank for minerals and other nutrients, excess water, as well as a habitat for many beneficial microorganisms which make plants more disease resistant. Absorption of water and its allocation sparingly according to the root requirement prevents over-watering, waste of water and loss of essential minerals & other nutrients.
Our BioChar essentially becomes a capsule rich in nutrients, which raises the acidity level of the soil to an optimal level and is a major reason why our product is so efficient and significantly improves soil quality, crop growth, crop yields, and quality."
The Pyrolysis process
Did you know?
Although about 90% of the plant's energy comes from the sun, plants need additional nutrients that come through the roots. About 80% of the fertilizers and water we add to the soil are not utilized by the plant but leach into the soil and pollute the water table. Extensive use of pesticides on crops causes low or absent beneficial microorganism activity in the soil which leads to many crop diseases which can now be prevented by the use of BioChar. In addition, we can now prevent the loss of minerals and other nutrients due to soil erosion caused by winds, rain or irrigation.
A Schematic of BioChar
Microscopy of BioChar
Note the nano tube structures. This quality gives BioChar a very high surface area of between 300-500 square meters per gram. To give some perspective, just 14 grams (1/2 once), has the same surface area as a football field.