Over their lifetime, trees do an amazing job of taking in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere which is stored in the structure of the wood itself. However, if the tree is chopped down and sent to landfill, or falls naturally and is left to decompose in the forest, then as it decays the tree will release all of the carbon it has collected back into the atmosphere.
However, if we convert it to biochar – a stable form of carbon that is obtained from ‘baking’ organic matter in an oxygen limited environment – then it helps to lock up the carbon that the wood has stored. For every tonne of wood we convert to biochar, we stop the release of approx. 3 tonnes of carbon dioxide and the carbon itself is locked into a stable form which will resist decay for up to 5000 years.
After locking away the carbon, the biochar can be utilised for a variety of agricultural, ecological, and environmental uses, with its most prominent current use being as a soil amendment.
Biochar has many names and terms, which can get confusing, so we have simplified a few things to help you out. Biochar can either be:
• Pure Biochar
This is biochar straight from the kiln – No changes or additions, just pure biochar!
• Charged Biochar
Pure Biochar can be used to soak up water and nutrients, ‘charging’ it with all the helpful resources you need for strong, health plants.
• Activated Biochar
Pure Biochar, or even sometimes the materials used to make it, can be thermochemically changed allowing us to tailor the structure and characteristics of the biochar itself, ‘activating’ it for a specific intended use. We are currently developing Activated Biochars with our University Partners which can be used to tackle nutrient pollution, reduce toxic algal blooms, and improve food security.