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For articles & discussions relating to biochar and its many benefits.

The Biochar Reddit

Biochar - charcoal used as a soil amendment. Biochar is a stable solid, rich in carbon, and can endure in soil for thousands of years. Like most charcoal, biochar is made from biomass via pyrolysis. Biochar is under investigation as an approach to carbon sequestration. Biochar thus has the potential to help mitigate climate change via carbon sequestration. Independently, biochar can increase soil fertility of acidic soils (low pH soils), increase agricultural productivity, and provide protection against some foliar and soil-borne diseases.

Wikipedia: Biochar

Terra preta - a type of very dark, fertile manmade (anthropogenic) soil found in the Amazon Basin. It is also known as "Amazonian dark earth" or "Indian black earth". In Portuguese its full name is terra preta do índio or terra preta de índio ("black soil of the Indian", "Indians' black earth"). Terra mulata ("mulatto earth") is lighter or brownish in color.

Terra preta owes its characteristic black color to its weathered charcoal content, and was made by adding a mixture of charcoal, bone, and manure to the otherwise relatively infertile Amazonian soil. A product of indigenous soil management and slash-and-char agriculture, the charcoal is very stable and remains in the soil for thousands of years, binding and retaining minerals and nutrients.

Wikipedia: terra preta

Slash-and-char - an alternative to slash-and-burn that has a lesser effect on the environment. It is the practice of charring the biomass resulting from the slashing, instead of burning it as in the slash-and-burn practice. The resulting residue matter charcoal can be utilized as biochar to improve the soil fertility.

Wikipedia: slash-and-char

Also see /r/BiocharVideos for videos on biochar

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Important article(s)

Rice U scientists: Cooking temperature determines whether 'biochar' is boon or bane to soil


4,145 Subscribers


Using a kon-tiki kiln

Hi all, I'm looking to start producing my own biochar using a kon tiki kiln, could anyone that knows (preferably who has one) tell me how much operation time it requires through the day? Do I need to sit watching it all day? Load it once an hour?

12:12 UTC


Night 3 of Being the Neighborhood Weirdo

First time working on making my own charcoal. I usually buy my biochar filled with humic acid - until I learned my neighbor needed to offload a cubic yard of wood chips from woodworking.

I’m currently planning on preloading for my lawn with:

  • Liquid Lawn liquid fert
  • Chelated Iron
  • Humic Acid powder

Finally started a compost pile and will start layering there, too, once it matures a bit. It’s nitrogen-weak, at the moment.

Also, yes, I clearly have a toddler helper :) she collects the sticks. I’m having fun getting into this!

23:45 UTC


Mycelium substitutes?

I'm working on a biodesign project and would love to propose a new innovative idea. I'm well aware of the dimensions mycelium offers and its durability and flexibility on creating a great sources of alternatives for many environmental damaging elements. However, due to the constant reports on mycelium would like to try to work with a new material that is similar to mycelium but IS NOT mycelium. I read and see about it everywhere I would just like to try and research something new but still just as dependable and innovative. So basically what's a good alternative or substitute for mycelium? Something that still has all the good attributes of mycelium?

1 Comment
18:03 UTC


Fast BioChar Loading?

Hey all!

I've just gotten into biochar. My neighbor is a wood worker and provides me about a cubic-yard of wood chips a year, which I'm hoping to use to amend the soil on my lawn (Bermuda grass slapped down on super-compacted, construction-debris filled Georgia Clay - yuck).

So far, the results have been stellar. I use a 5-gallon paint can with steel wool filling the vents, and I fill it up with chips any time my family has a bonfire. The result is very small charcoal (but not dust), perfect for my lawn.

I have just started composting, including a worm bin I can eventually pull tea from, and I plan to do what I see often-recommended in this subreddit and mix in the biochar into the pile. The problem is that my compost pile is very new and currently super carbon-heavy, so I'm actually working on increasing nitrogen, for now. The layering option will be a great solution for next season, but I'd really like to start putting biochar down this summer, if possible.

Ideally, I want to mix this biochar into my sand leveling mix at a 10-20% ratio, but I'd need to charge/inoculate/load it up beforehand so I don't seize up the few nutrients my soil already has.

I'd really like to avoid paying for name-brand liquid fertilizer for this purpose - given how DIY this is, I was curious if there was a mix or solution that I might be able to soak the biochar in to load it up prior to application. Does anyone have any experience with this? Any experience specific to lawn applications would also be greatly appreciated (p.s., the "pee on it" option is well noted! I'm hoping for something a little more chemically-oriented, if possible).

In a perfect world, the biochar would release the following for me over-time:

  • Nitrogen, because grass
  • Phosphorus, as my lawn is low in it
  • Soluble Iron, as my lawn reacts amazingly well to iron and greens up beautifully
  • Humic Acid, to increase nutrient loading (although I realize I probably can't get this sans compost)
  • Organisms and bacteria goodness, of which I do have some lawn probiotics sitting on the shelf in the garage (if they're still good)

My soil testing also shows I'm, generally, overly-acidic - so all of the ferts containing urea, sulfates, etc. mean I'm constantly amending with lime each year to balance this out (and it's taking forever). Having a pH neutral, or even basic, solution for the biochar would help, too, if that's even possible (but this is a "nice to have").

Thanks in advance!

14:39 UTC


Webinar: Beyond the VCM: Opportunities for Biochar Insetting

Please join us April 10 @ noon EST for " Beyond the VCM: Opportunities for Biochar Insetting"  presented by AirMiners, US Biochar Initaitive, CarbonPilot, Ecolocked, and Novocarbo,
As carbon offsets continue to gain momentum, we shine turn focus to INSETTING – an innovative approach to carbon reduction within supply chains.
Discover how biochar could hold the key to unlocking sustainable solutions and slash the carbon footprint of major corporations.
Here's what you can expect:
- Explore biochar insetting as a powerful tool for supply chain decarbonization, offering a fresh perspective beyond traditional carbon credits.
- Learn how scaling up biochar initiatives can pave the way for a more resilient future, tackling climate challenges head-on.

Myles Gray, P.E. Program Director, US Biochar Initiative
Dr. Mario Schmitt, CEO and Co-Founder, Ecolocked
Tristan Springer, CEO and Co-Founder, CarbonPilot
Cimberley Groß, Carbon Removal Manager, Novocarbo
Audience Q&A follows panel discussion.
Be part of the conversation shaping the future of sustainability! Register now and join us on Wednesday, April 10th.
Tickets are free or suggested $10 contribution to support this AirMiners carbon removal event. Follow link to RSVP.


Visual for the event on Wednesday

03:11 UTC


Burner using only 55 gallon drums?

I cannot find 30 gallon steel drums in my area. 55 gallon drums are plentiful and cheap. Are there any biochar burner designs that only use 55 gallon drums?

16:39 UTC



I’m currently in a bio-design class working on a project and I’m super interested in one category that was listed under sustainable built spaces and architecture. Im not too confident because my proposals seem unrealistic and almost sci-if but I have a lot of ideas for architectural designs and spaces including furnishings. With bio-design, bio-mimicry, and bio-technology what are some unique and cool ideas you guys have for architectural designs and spaces? I wanna be able to gather and broaden perspectives for this subject.

04:08 UTC


Gardenmyths.com on Biochar: "Short answer – no real demonstrated value for gardens so far."

Source: https://www.gardenmyths.com/mulch-how-does-it-affect-soil/

" Astro Gremlin

Dear Robert, having discovered your site today i have read many of your fine articles with great pleasure. However, I was not able to find an article on biochar, recently given attention due to its discovery in terra preta, dark soils found in pre-Columbian deposits in South America. I would enjoy seeing the application of your keen research and writing skills to this topic of interest to gardeners.

📷 Robert Pavlis (owner of Gardenmyths.com) You are right – but it is on the drawing board along with several hundred other myths. Short answer – no real demonstrated value for gardens so far."

I use biochar a lot in potting mix for my container plants. Something like 70% biochar to 30% well decomposed compost. It works, things grow well in it. If I used fresh charcoal it might not work well, but I co-compost the charcoal and make actual biochar, so the plants seem to like it. Enough of what might harm the plants has either leached out already or biodegraded by the time I use it in pots.

My gut feeling is that it's at least as good as perlite in amending heavy soils, and should improve really sandy soils if crushed relatively fine because it should increase the water holding capacity of sandy garden soil.

What are you thoughts on this? Is there good evidence biochar has demonstrated value for gardeners in 2024, or do we need to wait for more research?

16:03 UTC


How much of a concern are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) for the backyard charcoal maker?

Apparently they are produced in low temp smoldering situations like forest fires. Are your typical methods of charcoaling high temp enough to not produce too many of these? I am talking about your various retort and TLUD methods.

16:40 UTC


Would it be feasible to collect biochar after a forest fire?

On Thursday and Friday a low grade wildfire passed through some forest land that my parents own. Today, Saturday, it is raining. So I'm wondering if this combination of weather events might create biochar throughout the woods that I might be able to collect to use in my vegetable garden? I haven't had a chance to survey the situation yet so I'm uncertain whether there will be concentrations of biochar that are easily collectable. We already have alkaline soil so I don't really want lots of ash. Any thoughts?

11:21 UTC


Can biochar absorb liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen?

Recently I stumbled upon videos where people make liquid nitrogen and oxygen out of ambient air. Then I remembered that biochar absorbs nutrients that we give it and stored it.

Can we use this way to enrich the biochar with oxygen and nitrogen from its liquid forms?

If yes, I think it would be a huge boost. The ambient air is 78% nitrogen and 20% oxygen, a perfect combination for plant roots.

07:56 UTC


#6.1: Biochar: Claves para una Agricultura Sostenible - Guía de Uso Parte 1

Hola bandita!

Hoy quiero abrir una charla sobre algo que podría cambiar las reglas del juego en nuestras prácticas agrícolas: el biochar. En mi última publicación de Substack, me sumerjo en los siguientes puntos clave:

  • Elegir la fuente adecuada de biochar: No todo el biochar se crea igual, y la fuente de la que proviene puede impactar enormemente su efectividad.
  • Identificar el lugar perfecto para la aplicación: Analizamos cómo las propiedades específicas del suelo y las necesidades de los cultivos influyen en la aplicación ideal del biochar.
  • Preparativos para una integración exitosa: Comparto algunos consejos esenciales para quienes estén considerando incorporar el biochar en sus sistemas agrícolas.

Estoy aquí para generar un diálogo y escuchar sus experiencias, ideas o preguntas sobre el uso del biochar en la agricultura sostenible. ¿Alguien aquí ha experimentado con biochar? ¿Qué resultados han visto?

Aquí está el enlace a la publicación completa: https://open.substack.com/pub/mitera/p/61-biochar-claves-para-una-agricultura?r=391bol&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&showWelcomeOnShare=true

Espero sus comentarios y discusiones.

¡Hagamos de nuestra agricultura una más sostenible y eficiente!

18:08 UTC


Low-Tek Saw Dust Biochar


This video is with rice husks which is a bit different, but I've done the same pine shavings. What are your thoughts? I know its not the most efficient pyrolysis and that it won't yeild the best char, but it seems to work and a is very accesible method where I am located. The plan is to activate it with worm leachate.

17:45 UTC


Launch Webinar — 2023 Global Biochar Market Report

Join us for the launch webinar of the 2023 Global Biochar Market Report, a collaboration between the International Biochar Initiative (IBI) and the U.S. Biochar Initiative (USBI). Drawing on perspectives from more than 1,000 global study respondents, the inaugural report marks a significant milestone in biochar market analysis.

Date: 26 March 2024 | Time: 12pm EST

Available for download from 21 March, it offers a snapshot of the biochar industry’s global landscape, delivering critical insights for policymakers and investors committed to the Paris Agreement goals and carbon removal initiatives.

The report highlights industry growth trends, key challenges, burgeoning market demands, and the pivotal role industry organizations play in this dynamic environment.

Our webinar will spotlight the report’s top findings, featuring a panel of experts ready to distill and engage in an interactive Q&A session with participants from across the biochar industry.


Can’t make the live session? Register to receive a recording of the event.

This is an urgent call to action for those vested in the biochar’s expansion and impact as a climate change solution — a convergence of innovation, opportunity, and strategic insight awaits.


1 Comment
22:43 UTC


Double retort kiln using 30 gallon oil drum?

I am working with my county in Illinois to build a double retort kiln using a 55 gallon and 30 gallon steel drum. I would prefer avoiding new steel drums and getting them from a second-hand source. There are plenty of 55 gallon drums on facebook marketplace, however, the only places I am seeing 30 gallon drums are from car mechanics that have oil drums. Would it be unsafe to make biochar in an oil drum after cleaning the drum? Are there better places to get a 30 gallon steel drum?

15:52 UTC


Looking for Climate tech entrepreneurship cohort

Hey everyone,

I am a masters graduate based in Germany and have been studying the CDR tech space for the past 1 year or so to better understand the ecosystem. I feel like getting into a cohort to build my startup (regenerative agriculture) would be the next best thing.

So, are you aware of any cohort that is accepting new applications and where i can meet the like minded individuals, im struggling with that too.

Any heads up would be amazing. Thanks.

16:43 UTC


CharTalk by MNBI

Webinar: Join the Minnesota Biochar Initiative for their March CharTalk! Learn about next generation gasifiers using diverse feedstock to produce higher quantity and quality of biochar than previous gasifiers along with hydrogen and syngas!

March 15th, noon to 1pm Central

Event link: https://umn.zoom.us/j/93662509269?Meeting ID: 936 6250 9269 Passcode: 6YmPF4

Scan QR for meeting

19:42 UTC


#5: Potenciando la fertilidad del suelo: El papel critico del biochar cargado con nutrientes

Hola a todos,

Estoy emocionado de compartir con ustedes la culminación de mi última publicación en Substack. En esta última entrega de mi serie de cinco partes, exploramos las marcadas diferencias entre el biochar crudo y su contraparte cargada y más potente.

Entender los matices entre el biochar no tratado y el enriquecido puede cambiar las reglas del juego para nuestros suelos y el medio ambiente. En este artículo, analizo:

  • Las Limitaciones del Biochar Crudo: ¿Cómo se comporta en el suelo? ¿Cuáles son sus deficiencias?
  • El Proceso y Beneficios de Cargar el Biochar: ¿Qué transforma al biochar de una simple estructura de carbono a un supercargado mejorador del suelo?

Esta publicación tiene como objetivo arrojar luz sobre los pasos críticos necesarios para desbloquear todo el potencial del biochar para la agricultura regenerativa y prácticas sostenibles. Ya seas un entusiasta experimentado del biochar o recién curioso sobre este fascinante tema, creo que hay algo en esta exploración para ti.

Tus perspectivas, preguntas y experiencias son invaluables para esta comunidad. Continuemos la conversación y profundicemos en cómo podemos aprovechar colectivamente el poder del biochar para fomentar suelos más resilientes y fértiles.

¡Espero con interés tus pensamientos y comentarios!

Aqui les dejo el link a la publicación: https://open.substack.com/pub/mitera/p/5-potenciando-la-fertilidad-del-suelo?r=391bol&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&showWelcomeOnShare=true

#Biochar #AgriculturaRegenerativa #Sostenibilidad #CienciasAmbientales

17:24 UTC


Urban Forestry and Biochar

1 Comment
11:47 UTC


What is the best Biochar? by International Biochar Institute

11:46 UTC


single barrel TLUD sux

I made this single barrel TLUD after watching this video Keg TLUD and I cant get it to work for shit. I tried some wood I had laying around and it burnt completely at ash. I thought maybe that was too many gaps for air to get in so I tried wood chips as he states in the video, burnt to ash. I tried dousing a wood chip burn when it looked like it was winding down and it was mostly wet ash and unfinished char. I tried shutting off the air when the flames were dying out, next morning completely ash. I made mine exactly how his in the video and it is just not working. I was really hoping to get away from the two barrel system, but after this failed experiment, I will go back.

If anyone has actually gotten this to work please let me know.

03:57 UTC


#4: Sale del Campo la Quema de Residuos Agrícolas, Entra el Biochar: Descubre cómo los Hornos Kon-Tiki pueden Cambiar el Juego de la Agricultura Rural y Marcar un Golazo contra la Crisis Climática

¡Hola Reddit! 🌿

Recientemente exploré el increíble mundo de la producción de biochar a través de los hornos Kon-Tiki: una innovación transformadora que convierte los residuos agrícolas en un recurso valioso para mejorar la fertilidad del suelo y la captura de carbono. ¿Alguien de aquí ha probado este método o tiene pensamientos sobre innovaciones en agricultura sostenible como esta?

Me encantaría escuchar sus experiencias o cualquier conocimiento que tengan al respecto. Les invito a leer y discutir sobre cómo estos métodos antiguos, mejorados con tecnología moderna, podrían revolucionar nuestra forma de abordar la agricultura y la sostenibilidad en mi última publicación 'Mitera - Biochar para Latinoamérica'.

#4: Sale del Campo la Quema de Residuos Agrícolas, Entra el Biochar: Descubre cómo los Hornos Kon-Tiki pueden Cambiar el Juego de la Agricultura Rural y Marcar un Golazo contra la Crisis Climática

¡Espero ansioso sus comentarios!

#AgriculturaSostenible #RevoluciónDelBiochar

17:03 UTC


Roots taking hold of our BioChar, good stuff!

06:13 UTC


Any information about temperatures for beneficial byproducts.

Just hoping someone could provide some information on the collection of, or their experience about collecting the various potential byproducts when making Biochar.

From what I've looked up, wood vinegar can be condensed when the exhaust gasses are between 85-120 degrees, give or take which is easy enough.

It also seems that some European nations also produced tar, and it's also possible to get turps, methanol, and even Ammonia liquid (this one seems more difficult)? from using destructive distillation. Living web farms? Seems to have one, but couldn't find any real in-depth details on it.

Also kind of related questions? it seems that slightly before the gasification stage (and/or during) there seems to be a considerable amount of moisture released, this moisture I assume doesn't ignite? But I don't see many people using the excess heat to pre-treat wood? Say in a chamber held at somewhere just above 100 degrees which could drive away a lot of the moisture in preparation for the next burn,
and it would also possibly improve the efficiency during the gasification stage?


04:03 UTC


Lantana Biochar


Any research on using Lantana?

Videos exist from India of making biochar from Lantana, no mention of toxins though.

Toxins get destroyed in the process? What about wood vinegar, would the toxins from the Lantana taint that?

Unlimited supply, as it's a noxious weed in most places.

Thank you.


21:50 UTC


#3: La Importancia de las Certificaciones: ¿Cómo saber dónde SI y donde NO se puede usar biochar?

Hola a todos!

Recientemente he revisado sobre los estándares de certificación global del biochar y quería compartir mis hallazgos y reflexiones personales con todos ustedes. El artículo abarca:

  • La importancia de la certificación sostenible para el biochar a nivel mundial.
  • Los diferentes tipos de certificaciones según el uso.
  • Los tipos de biomasa adecuados para la producción de biochar bajo las certificaciones deseadas.

Esta pieza es un reflejo de mi estudio independiente y está destinada a iniciar una conversación sobre cómo podemos apoyar la producción y aplicación responsables del biochar para mejorar nuestros suelos y ambiente.

Creo que esta comunidad puede aportar perspectivas valiosas sobre el tema, y estoy ansioso por escuchar sus opiniones. ¿Qué piensan sobre el estado actual y el futuro de la certificación del biochar? ¿Cómo podemos asegurar que el biochar siga siendo una herramienta para el cambio ambiental positivo?

¡Vamos a discutir!

¡Espero con interés sus ideas y discusiones! 🌍🔥

Aquí está el enlace al artículo completo:

07:53 UTC

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