Biochar is produced by heating biomass and converting it to a more stable form. Biomass is all organic compounds derived from agricultural crops, algae and organic waste. 30-50% carbon is contained in the biomass. Of this amount, 4.4% is in exhaust gases, 0.01% in the atmosphere, and 80% in biochar.
Avoiding burning prevents dilution of carbon by 10x – 4,000x. Biomass carbonization can instead concentrate 2x as much carbon. The conversion of 50% of the carbon represents for optimizing crop yields of biochar, not in energy.
The problem lies with CO2, where 1 t C pure carbon = 3.66 t CO2. Addressing this problem at its root means preventing carbon atoms from becoming CO2 molecules. There are 6 very relevant carbon removal options:
-Build-up of soil organic matter
-Biochar Carbon Removal (BCR)
-Bioenergy with Carbon Capture & Storage (BECCS): Utilizing agricultural organic waste to produce energy.
-Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage (DACCS): Carbon capture technology that filters and reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions directly from the air by using high-powered fans.
The last 4 options are permanent carbon removal, one of which is Biochar Carbon Removal (BCR) which is a system for removing carbon in the sky and placing it permanently into the ground. Using biochar as a carbon storage agent is by far the most efficient method of carbon removal because it only removes carbon, not entire CO2 molecules.
BCR is of the highest quality and stability. The stability of carbon in biochar is verified by a third party against the stringent standards of the European Biochar Certificate and verified by a third party through bio-inspecta GmbH according to the strict puro.earth Biochar methodology.
Application of biochar also yielded agricultural benefits and demonstrated a 9.6% increase in plant height for 2009 biochar carbon sequestration and a 33% yield increase from dry sandy soils from 2010 (ecoera.se).
The wide range of biomass suitable for carbonization includes wood, straw, coconut shell, twigs and algae. Currently, the application of biochar is applied in urban areas, agriculture, as well as construction materials.
Currently, biochar production in Europe is moving very fast. The European Biochar market has grown strongly and will continue to grow. At the end of 2022 Biochar production capacity is 53,000 t and Biochar production is approximately 33,500 t (equivalent to more than 90,000 t CO2e). And By the end of 2023, Biochar production capacity in Europe will increase to 90,000 t and production in 2023 is expected to exceed 50,000 t (equivalent to almost 150,000 t CO2e). This is the cumulative number of Biochar production plants in Europe.
- By end of 2022, the cumulative number of production plants in Europe has grown to 130 installations
- Until the end of 2023, the cumulative number of production plants in Europe is expected to grow to 180 installations
- Many further projects (some of them quite large) are in an advanced planning and permitting process for commissioning in 2024
The recovery and use of biochar is increasing in a variety of applications, with the material offering significant added value, but remains a challenge and requires policy and regulatory support to develop an offtake market in parallel with increasing production.
source: EBI (European Biochar Industry) Market Report 2022/2023