What is biochar?
“Biochar is a solid material obtained from the carbonization of biomass. Biochar may be added to soils with the intention to improve soil functions and to reduce emissions from biomass that would otherwise naturally degrade to greenhouse gases. Biochar also has appreciable carbon sequestration value. These properties are measurable and verifiable in a characterization scheme, or in a carbon emission offset protocol.” – International Biochar Initiative
Not all biochar is the same…
Nature still holds many secrets, perhaps for good reasons – we haven’t been doing a very good job as stewards… Biochar is opening many doors, but only if you have the right key.
Just as there are many feed stocks (the biomass that gets charred), and many different soil types, so there are many different “formulas” to restore soil to the conditions ideally needed for it’s well-being. The most important conditions are those enjoyed by the micro-organisms, the workers in the soil that are the basis of soil health, and by extension, the health of humanity.
Drawing on a vast international network of professionals from academia and business, practitioners and laymen, we create formulas adapted to local conditions. Field trials on Mallorca (Eco-Vinyassa 2014-2015) have demonstrated an increase of between 35% and 65% growth in some cultivars, but also a reduction of 27% in other cultivars when biochar is applied incorrectly.
Benefits of biochar:
- Soil Health – through long-term stewardship; increased microbial activity, water retention, reduced soil compaction
- Climate Stability – through careful monitoring of the net carbon footprint of our activities;
- Water Use – through making agricultural production at all scales cleaner and more efficient;
- Biological Diversity – through the use of sustainably produced feed stocks only;
- Waste Avoidance – through better use of biomass waste;
- Food Security – through improving soils and conserving agricultural land; increased production and quality
- Energy Security – through energy efficiency and utilizing excess energy from biochar production;
- Community Health – through respecting and investing in our communities; and more.
Whereas production of biochar can be done on many different scales, from backyard BBQ kiln from recycled oil barrels (see image at left) to industrial Combined Heat and Power (CHP) installations (providing renewable energy to a farm or small town), what determines the installation is access to biomass. There is a considerable opportunity based on potential access on Mallorca to approx. 40,000 tons biomass resources per year, 50% dry and 50% humid, we calculate this project to begin with a maximum capacity of 30 tons biomass processed into approx. 7,5 tons biochar (equivalent to 27,5 tons CO2) per month, or 90 tons per year. Mixed with compost this would yield approx. 300 tons of substrate for sale and use in agriculture and home gardening.
Biochar production and application – for substrate production for home gardens and greenhouse cultivation. We have access to both dry (from cuttings, municipal waste and farm waste) and humid (municipal household, hotel, and farm) organic biomass resources. Biochar production uses heat generated to warm greenhouses for growing seedlings for resale and use in our tree planting projects.