Biochar – natural soil improvement
Biochar is formed through the carbonization of organic matter. The “green charcoal” can be used in many different ways. The decisive factor is always which quality criteria have to be met. Carbonization – the conversion of organic material to biochar – is a process that has been known and practised for many centuries. However, only the state-of-the-art PYREG process can control the process parameters in such a way that carbon products can be produced in different quality levels and nutrients can be gently recovered. Efficient, environmentally friendly and without harmful by-products.
EBC – the seal for premium quality
The number of biochar producers and products has increased considerably in recent years. The offer is large, also the differences in quality. The European Biochar Certificate (EBC) offers reliable quality standards. As a voluntary Europe-wide industry standard, the certificate guarantees an environmentally friendly manufacturing process and pollutant-free premium product quality. Since 2012, biochar producers have been able to have their products certified and are monitored regularly. A large number of our customers and users of PYREG technology are EBC-certified, because only high-quality biochar is in demand on the market at profitable prices. Here you can find out more about the EBC certificate here.
Biochar in the earth
Biochar is highly porous and has a surface area of up to 300 square metres per gram. It can therefore absorb up to five times its own weight of water and the nutrients dissolved therein (Source: SCHEUB/PIEPLOW/SCHMIDT, Terra Preta, 2015).
Untreated biochar does not yet have a soil-improving effect. It must first be “charged” with nutrients and colonised by microorganisms. The “charging” of the biochar can be achieved by various processes such as composting.
Positive effects of biochar in soil
Biochar as plant substrate
As a result, trees in particular have a significantly shorter lifespan and higher maintenance costs, and an ever-increasing percentage of new plantings do not survive the first year. Therefore, attempts are generally made to stimulate the growth of urban trees through synthetic fertilizers. In view of negative consequences such as greenhouse gas emissions, acidification, salinisation and losses of soil carbon, more and more cities are looking for alternative strategies.
Some large cities such as Stockholm (Sweden) or forestry enterprises in Quebec (Canada) have therefore switched to planting their trees in mixed substrates with biochar. The “green charcoal” is not only much more porous than sand or clay, it is also not biodegraded or compacted as quickly as peat, for example. The high porosity of biochar increases gas exchange and water storage capacity and ensures enhanced root penetration thanks to its high permeability.
Positive effects of plant carbon as a plant substrate for trees
(Source: LANGE/ALLAIRE, Substrates containing Biochar for White Spruce Production in Nursery, 2018)