Biochar: If You Make It, Will They Come?
Biomass Magazine, 2019
Biochar is one of the products produced from thermochemical conversion (TC), the baking of organic material using little or no oxygen. TC can, depending on the particular technology used, also generate heat, electricity, bio-oil and wood vinegar. It is increasingly viewed as a cost-effective option for diverting and reducing organic materials currently sent to landfills, which is beginning to take on increased urgency as landfills fill up and organics mandates are adopted by more and more states. Depending on the temperatures used, volume reduction of 75 to 95 percent can be achieved. Imagine reducing a gallon of biomass to a quart (75 percent reduction) or a cup (93.8 percent reduction). Unlike incinerated material, however, the leftover solids do not have to be shipped off as toxic waste. On the contrary, the highly stable carbon material can be used to improve soils, purify water, reduce flooding, remediate brownfields, harvest excess nutrients, lighten up concrete as well as a host of other applications.