Biochar Technology

Biochar is charcoal that is suitable for use as a soil amendment where its high surface area and active carbon surface can create durable soil fertility improvements. Biochar is typically over 70% carbon, and this carbon is stable for hundreds to thousands of years in the soil. Biochar has been shown to provide many benefits to soil structure, improving retention of water and nutrients and supporting soil life.  Biochar also serves to sequester carbon in soils, providing an important pathway for removing carbon from the atmosphere to mitigate climate change. Biochar can be produced from agricultural and forest wastes sustainably, worldwide. Large-scale deployment of biochar in agriculture can deliver gigatons of annual carbon sequestration while improving farm productivity, making us all healthier and wealthier. Biochar in soils has been demonstrated to retain water and nutrients, encourage beneficial soil microorganisms, and enhance soil fertility. These improvements have been shown to be persistent.

Biochar Technology converts greenhouse gases emitted from factory chimneys into organic fertilizers.  There may be little inustrial plant in Africa, but atmospheric pollution alone can be converted into fertilizers by this same method, which is now economically viable for poor countries. Biochar technology offers a revolutionary new sustainable energy technology that will allow us to remove CO2 from the air by putting carbon into the topsoil where it is needed. The process creates hydrogen rich bio-fuels and a restorative high-carbon fertilizer from biomass alone, or a combination of coal and biomass, while removing net carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Recent discoveries have revealed an ancient soil management technique from the Amazon basin. For thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived, civilizations there had buried charcoal in tropical soils to make them productive. Those terra preta, or “black earth,” soils still remain bountiful five hundred years later. The charcoal acts like a coral reef for soil organisms and fungi, creating a rich micro ecosystem where organic carbon is bound to minerals to form rich soil.

Just burying charcoal in the soil is beneficial. Japanese studies have found that adding up to 10% charcoal increases fertility in most soils, but adding even more charcoal won’t hurt and if nitrogen is added to the charcoal it produces an even more effective fertilizer. If ammonia (NH3), carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) are all combined in the presence of charcoal they will form a solid, ammonium bicarbonate (NH4HCO3) fertilizer inside the pores of the charcoal. About 30% of the hydrogen derived from the biomass will make enough ammonia to combine with all of the charcoal from the same biomass to scrub CO2 flue gases from a power plant, converting all of the ingredients into a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer on charcoal.

The overall process can put almost all of the carbon that was removed from the air by the biomass back into the soil in a stable form, effectively removing net CO2 from the air. When used with biomass and coal, the process will scrub about 60% of the CO2 out of the flue gases from the coal, as well as all of the SOX and NOX, turning these compounds, which would otherwise contribute to acid rain if released into the air, into valuable constituents in the high-carbon fertilizer. Source: http://www.venearth.com

 

 

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