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BiocharOverview

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BiocharOverview
Biocharisdefinedsimplyascharcoalthatisusedforagriculturalpurposes.Itit
createdusingapyrolysisprocess,heatingbiomassinalowoxygen
environment.Oncethepyrolysisreactionhasbegun,itisselfsustaining,
requiringnooutsideenergyinput.Byproductsoftheprocessincludesyngas
(H2+CO),minorquantitiesofmethane(CH4),tars,organicacidsandexcess
heat.

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Onceitisproduced,biocharisspreadon
agriculturalfieldsandincorporatedintothetop
layerofsoil.Biocharhasmanyagricultural
benefits.Itincreasescropyields,sometimes
substantiallyifthesoilisinpoorcondition.Ithelps
topreventfertilizerrunoffandleeching,allowing
theuseoflessfertilizersanddiminishing
agriculturalpollutiontothesurrounding
environment.Anditretainsmoisture,helping
plantsthroughperiodsofdroughtmoreeasily.
Mostimportantly,itreplenishesexhaustedor
marginalsoilswithorganiccarbonandfostersthe
growthofsoilmicrobesessentialfornutrientabsorption,particularly
mycorrhizalfungi.
Studieshaveindicatedthatthecarboninbiocharremainsstableformillenia,
providingasimple,sustainablemeanstosequesterhistoriccarbonemissions
thatistechnologicallyfeasibleindevelopedordevelopingcountriesalike.The
syngasandexcessheatcanbeuseddirectlyoremployedtoproduceavariety
ofbiofuels.
Whenbiochariscreatedfrombiomass,approximately50%ofthecarbonthat
http://www.biochar.info/biochar.biocharoverview.cfml

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BiocharOverview

theplantsabsorbedasCO2fromtheatmosphereis?fixed?inthecharcoal.As
amaterial,thecarbonincharcoalislargelyinert,showingarelativelackof
reactivitybothchemicallyandbiologically,andsoitisstronglyresistantto
decomposition.Researchscientistshavefoundcharcoalparticlesasoldas400
millionyearsinsedimentlayersfromwildfiresthatoccurredwhenplantlifefirst
beganonearth.(SedimentRecordsofBiomassBurningandGlobalChange,
JamesSamuelClark)
Ofthemanyorganicandinorganicsubstancesthatcontaincarbonatoms,only
diamondscouldpotentiallyprovideamorepermanentcarbonstorethan
charcoal.Hence,biocharoffersusagoldenopportunitytoremoveexcessCO2
fromtheatmosphereandsequesteritinavirtuallypermanentand
environmentallybeneficialway.

Biocharbeingincorporatedintoafield

EffectofBiocharonSoilFertility
Belowareaseriesofphotosdemonstratingtheeffectofbiocharonsoilfertility.
TheyweretakenduringtheInternationalBiocharInitiativeConferenceheldin
Terrigal,AustraliafromApril29toMay2,2007.
Thetestplotsshowninthephotographscomparethefollowingafter10weeks:
1)Plainsoil
2)Soil+NPK(Nitrogen,Phosphorous,andPotassiumfertilizer)
3)Soil+Biochar
4)Soil+NPK+Biochar
Applicationrateofbiocharontestplots3and4is50tonsperhectare.

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BiocharwithNPKfertilizercomparedtoplainsoil.

BiocharwithNPKfertilizercomparedtoNPKfertilizeralone.

http://www.biochar.info/biochar.biocharoverview.cfml

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Biocharwithoutfertilizercomparedwithplainsoil.

BiocharonlycomparedwithNPKfertilizeronly.
Similareffectsareseeninavarietyofsoilsandlocationsthroughouttheworld.

http://www.biochar.info/biochar.biocharoverview.cfml

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MarcoBernasconiofDESA,actingasahumanmeasuringstick,inspectsacornfieldthat
demonstratestheeffectofbiocharonsoilfertility.Inthephotoabove,thesectionwithout
biocharisinthemiddle,andthesectionswithbiochararevisibletotheleftandright.

MarcoBernasconiinthesectionwithbiochar.Thedifferenceisevident.

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AtestplotcreatedbyKansoTechnosofJapancomparinggrowthratesbetweenplainsoil,NPK
fertilizer,andbiocharplusNPK.

HereisatestplotcreatedbySaffe,locatedinHangzhou,China.

http://www.biochar.info/biochar.biocharoverview.cfml

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AnothertestplotcreatedbytheSHIFTproject,aGermanBrazilianjointresearchproject.

CarbonZeroProjectSwitzerland

http://www.biochar.info/biochar.biocharoverview.cfml

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