Biochar tech can mitigate climate change and bolster soil quality while simultaneously cutting down on waste and generating energy in the process. This article is concerned with fully explaining what biochar is and how it is a positive for the environment.
What Is It?
Biochar is a charcoal-like material that is created by burning "biomass," organic substances from agricultural or forest waste like leaves and tree limbs, through "pyrolysis." While it may resemble charcoal, biochar minimizes contamination and safely stores the resulting carbon; wood chips, leaves and other dead plant matter get burned up in a vessel containing minimal oxygen and converted into stable biochar with hardly any fumes. The end result is a light, porous and grainy black chunk; roughly 70% of the stuff is pure carbon, followed by nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen.
The earliest evidence of biochar goes back two millennia ago with the Amazon basin's "terra preta." While we are unsure if its use was intentional, we do know that terra preta-infused soil was significantly more fertile than the rest of the Amazon. Furthermore, plants found in that soil grew quicker and more nutritious than other local plants. Lastly, those terra preta soils still retain carbon.
The quality of the materials affects the final biochar product; the ideal "feedstock" would contain 10-20% moisture and high amounts of lignin. Contaminated feedstocks can transfer their contamination into the soil, upping soil pH and/or stopping plants from absorbing minerals.
Biochar can be made to any scale, from cheap, small-scale operations with a stove to massive industrial pyrolysis plants. Top-lift updraft biochar machines are the most common means by which farmers produce biochar.
Soil degradation is a big issue for agriculture and biochar has been suggested as a solution for things like:
Biochar also helps with composting by retaining nutrients otherwise lost in composting, cutting greenhouse gases and accelerating the process by exciting microbial activity. It also minimizes ammonia loss and odor.
On Improving Soil
The rate of application and prep work for biochar depends on the soil and specific biochar. Common knowledge suggests blending biochar with compost materials to give it nutrients and useful organisms.
An Environmental Solution
Biochar is a simple material with grand benefits. For example, manufacturing biochar can hold billions of tons of carbon within the soil for thousands of years. Another benefit would be lowering groundwater pollution, cutting the costs to filter water and making crop farming more profitable. It can even help food security by upping crop yields and water retention in drought-prone regions.
On Carbon Sequestering and Climate Change
Biochar production lessens carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, converting unstable carbon sources into a stable final product. Put otherwise, the feedstocks that create biochar would otherwise add to the atmosphere's carbon dioxide level. Turning those feedstocks into an oxygen-nonreactive form means that biochar lessens carbon dioxide.
At Crosscreek Environmental, we believe in providing a comprehensive, environmentally friendly approach in creating solutions to maintain the beauty and health of Florida's ponds, lakes, wetlands, and shorelines. We use the B.E.S.T.™ geo-tube solution and are one of the best geo-tube solution providers in the state of Florida.
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