Biochar is a charcoal like substance which is the solid fraction (residue) of the pyrolysis process.
When biomass is heated to more than 300°C in the absence of oxygen, the volatiles are driven off and solid fraction produced is called biochar. Its percentage yield is an inverse function of temperature and residence time i.e. the greater the temperature, the less biochar produced.
Biochar contains carbon and ash which is a mixture of inorganic compounds. Biochar is a condensed form of carbon which can be as high as 72% (wt) from woody biomass. Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Sulphur, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium and other mineral elements present are also present in small fractions.
Biochar has many uses including: soil conditioning (biofertiliser), feed additive, filtration, colouring agent, waste water treatment, activated carbon precursor, bio briquettes. It can also be used in cosmetics, paints, medicines, energy production and as a decontaminant in biogas production.
Biochar has great potential in sequestering carbon in the land which would otherwise be lost into the atmosphere.
EBRI is working closely with The British Biochar Foundation on biochar policy development. EBRI is also investigating the uses and carbon sequestration potential of biochar.
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