What is BIOCHAR?

Biochar is charcoal created by pyrolysis (burning with minimal oxygen) of biomass (e.g. agri and forest wastes) and is the most effective way to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Biochar is an almost pure carbon, at least 50% of the CO2 a plant or tree absorbed from the atmosphere during its lifetime is trapped through the charring process. For every 1 kilo of pure carbon produced, 3.67 kilos of carbon dioxide is taken out from the atmosphere.

When biochar is added to the soil, it is known to stay in the soil for thousands of years. Biochar or terra preta was developed thousands of years ago by the native Americans in the Amazon region. They are believed to have used biochar to enhance soil productivity and made it by smoldering agricultural waste. They are successful in creating vast and fertile farmlands that are still some of the richest soil on Earth today.

Biochar is a more stable nutrient source than compost and manure. Biochar, therefore, as a soil amendment can increase crop yields, reduce the need for chemical fertilizers, and minimize the adverse environmental effects of agrochemicals in the environment.

"One of the most exciting new strategies for restoring carbon to depleted soils, and sequestering significant amounts of CO2 for 1,000 years and more, is the use of biochar. The principle barrier to the use of this strategy is the lack of a price on carbon that would drive the economy toward the most effective ways to sequester it. There is presently no formalized network of biochar distribution channels or commercial scale production facilities. But a stable price on carbon would cause them to quickly emerge -- because biochar holds suck promise as an inexpensive and highly effective way to sequester carbon in soil."