Photograph via snooOG

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

Related Reddits

And Check Out the Big List of Related Reddits

Outside Reddit Sites

Important article(s)

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


3,821 Subscribers


Just tried two systems from other YouTube videos.

1 Comment
21:58 UTC


Lowering biochar ph

I read that most biochar have an alkaline ph. However, we already have really alkaline soil which is rich in lime and clay. How can I lower the ph of my biochar to make it usable for my local alkaline soil?

11:18 UTC


Can I activate biochar with left over liquid fertilizer? Looking for a way to use it as I am not sure how to dispose of it.

07:52 UTC


Making biochar in a single drum

Hi. I’m wondering whether it is possible to make biochar in a single drum, without using methods like double drum. I have limited land and limited budget.

12:47 UTC


Commercial Applications of Biochar?

Hey there!

I’m interested in learning if Biochar is used at a commercial, or large-scale anywhere around the world, in any industry? It seems like an amazing resource that can be created readily, but the adoption seems to be limited to small garden-holders.

Any idea if it is being used in large-scale agriculture, cement, water filtration etc.? Or are these all theoretical applications, proven only in studies but with no use-case in commercial situations?

I’d love to hear if anyone’s had any experience or knowledge about this!

17:55 UTC


Green Carbon Webinar

Hello there,

Does anyone follow the green carbon webinar?

Next session this Thursday 2nd November, focused on CDR policy in the US and Europe, featuring:

- Sebastian Manhart (carbonfuture) talking about the rapidly changing CDR policy in the US and Europe

-@Alaa Salma (UniLaSalle) will give a presentation about biochar integration into anaerobic digestion

Registration at www.greencarbonwebinar.org


1 Comment
17:28 UTC


Won't producing biochar produce carbon monoxide?

I remember reading that carbon monoxide was produced in absence of oxygen.

21:17 UTC


Does charged biochar get "washed out" if I spread it before winter?

I've got a few buckets of charged biochar that prefer not to store over winter, so I was thinking about mixing it with some soil and compost and spreading it in my flower beds in the coming weeks.

The question is whether a few months of rain and snow will "discharge" the biochar and wash out the nutrients, or if it should be fine to do things this way.

08:30 UTC


Soil improvement using biochar, area 2'x5'. How do I amend?

1 Comment
03:55 UTC


Where can one buy a few yards of biochar near south Cook County, IL?

Innoculated or raw.

12:17 UTC


Parabolic solar ovens for making small batches of biochar?

Has anyone played with parabolic solar ovens for making small batches?

I've been reading about parabolic solar ovens, but nothing I've read talks about the power output so I can't tell if they could make, say, a soup can of wood chips or acorns hot enough to undergo pyrolysis in an afternoon.

13:15 UTC


Commercial production

Looking to potentially add biochar production as a component to an urban sawmill/tree debris processing operation. Locally a huge amount is chipped and shipped to steam boilers and biomass plants. Would love to find more info in terms of production metrics and markets. Would love to hear about any experiences with permitting. I have no experience so anything is helpful.

01:56 UTC


After soaking my charcoal and making biochar, what can I do with all the leftover liquid?

16:37 UTC


Gaskets from maple syrup evaporators to seal biochar retort

I am interested in ways to turn any vessel into a Hookway retort, to make scaling beyond a 55 gallon drum easier. One idea I had was to cut the upper section of the vessel off, and weld a collar around the inside of the bottom portion that the top could then just slide over to close things up. But I assume I would need some kind of high temperature seal or gasket around the collar to keep the pyrolysis gases from leaking out, and I was thinking that the webbed rail gaskets that they use for maple syrup evaporators might work. Any thoughts?

09:51 UTC


Mint: not scientific. propagated in water, planted about 2 weeks ago in roughly the same length, root mass and condition. Approx same water and same position with currently 8+ hours sun. One is my previously completed batch of compost, the other is my compost + charcoal inoculated 2+ months

00:34 UTC


Live streaming now: Oct 4, NASEM Wildfire Risk Reduction, Carbon Dioxide Removal, and Biochar: The Challenges of Scaling Up

Sharing this live streaming event on biochar that started a few minutes ago.

Oct 4, NASEM Wildfire Risk Reduction, Carbon Dioxide Removal, and Biochar: The Challenges of Scaling Up

No registration required.

Please join the National Academies for a special public session to explore

Key Themes: 1. Quantitative estimates of the volume of new wood biomass generated by forest restoration initiatives 2. Options for utilization of noncommercial wood biomass; carbon profiles and implications 3. Current and potential utilization and markets for biochar 4. Status and trends in US wood biochar production: case studies 5. Biochar and CDR credits 6. Research needs 7. Policy implications

1 Comment
15:26 UTC


Some of my methods for making and processing char

I just wanted to share my biochar experiences so far. Sorry I don't have any relevant images. I have 2 effective ways of burning/processing and some advice on mixing it into final form.

Method 1:

I drilled 8 holes at the bottom of a metal 50 gallon drum about 2" up from the bottom. The holes are 1 1/2" diameter. I put 4 bricks in the bottom and an old grate from a weber grill to make an air space. This creates a pretty oxygen starved burn, especially when you burn down brush about 6-8" high. I am usually burning long branches so I fill the drum vertically until its packed. I use a garden hose to keep the flame down during the entire burn. I usually burn from a 10x10' pile of branches. Using the hose to keep the burn smoky causes alot of charcoal to form and very little ash. In about 4 hours I can fill the drum to the top with charcoal.

Method 2:

This is a bit more dangerous because I burn in a forest. I cover a brush pile with a tarp and let it dry out. I clear a 20' diameter burn ring scalping the earth with a string trimmer. I wait until it has rained a few days and when it stops I uncover the pile and burn it. I use a garden hose and try to put out the fire for the entire burn, which with a 5/8" garden hose is impossible, you can dampen the flames but the coal will keep burning the wood and its a very smokey procedure. I can burn a 10x10' pile in about an hour this way. The garden hose washes away the majority of the ash so I am left with a massive pile of charcoal.


I like to process different sized particles. I usually fill a lawn mower dump cart with biochar and take it up to my garage to process it. I will take a plastic mortar mixing bin which I think is 20 gallons and I fill it 1/4 with tap water and then I add some chlorine neutralizer used for fish tanks. I then add a 1/4 cup of blood meal, a half cup of bone meal, 1/4 cup of fish emulsion, and then stir it up. I also add 1 tsp of mycorrhizae and 1 tsp of a dedicated soil bacteria. Finally I throw in a tsp of granular molasses. Finally I add my biochar chunks and fill the bin half way. I like to stir them around in the mix and let them sit for a few hours and then I use an 8x8 tamper from harbor freight to smash the char into oblivion. The liquid mixture helps keep the dust in check. Finally I let the mix dry on a stainless window screen that sits on an old wood pallet.

My other method involves using a $5 blender from walgreens. I use this for house plants because I like to pulverize the char into the finest powder form possible. My house plants are mostly ornamental aside form a lemon tree and a lime tree. I use an organic granular citrus fertilizer made by microlife and put a half cup in with about 2 cups of char. I then add water form my reverse osmosis filter and make a thick jet black biochar milk shake. I let this sit for a day and give 1/4 of this concentration to each plant in my house by diluting it into a watering can, also filled with RO water.

This has been really effective for me in the last year. I recently bought a compost spreading drum for my lawn and plan to start doing biochar on the lawn, I have so much I dont want any to go to waste. My neighbor now has chickens and is willing to share their waste, I personally compost grass clippings, wood mulch, and leaves, so in the future I am hoping to add a worm bin and stop buying fertilizer, or at least minimize purchases to bone meal.

btw: There is a person on here growing cactus in pure biochar, I am very inspired by this. I want to try and make a growing medium mix now and see if I can pull that off.

18:05 UTC


Just added it to soil

I just put my mixture to the soil after 3 days of letting it innoculate . I tilled it in to the land

13:24 UTC


Biochar made

So today I went to the farm and made the biochar and I’ve let it settle for three days to charge , I mixed manure from my biogas set up with some kitchen waste , charcoal and eggshells . Will keep the community updated on every step . I am excited to share with you guys my progress and any tips shared would be nice (:

14:41 UTC


Charging/Inoculation with strict N-P-K

I'm interested in separately charging my biochar with nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. For example, I want to charge a batch with nitrogen only, then another with phosphorous only, then another with potassium only.

Operationally I would have three biochar charging separate stations, one for N, one for P, one for K. After charging I would then mix the three chars together according to the needs of the application.

Are there literature, experiences, or resources related to inoculating char with only one element?


** Note: I understand the additional benefits brought by fostering a microbiome through inoculation with compost / castings / etc, thank you - I am interested in this specific application. **

19:21 UTC


Sawdust Charcoal Making Machine Provides New Ideas for Waste Resource Management

In an era where sustainable resource management is paramount, the emergence of sawdust charcoal making machines presents a compelling solution to the challenge of waste resource management. This technology offers a transformative approach that not only addresses waste disposal but also contributes to the creation of valuable resources. In this article, we delve into the intricate world of sawdust charcoal making, exploring its technology, benefits, applications across various industries, and the ongoing developments in this field.


The challenge of waste resource management

As the world grapples with mounting waste and environmental concerns, finding innovative ways to manage resources efficiently is imperative. Traditional waste disposal methods are not only unsustainable but also detrimental to the environment.

The role of sawdust charcoal making machines

Sawdust charcoal making machine has emerged as a promising solution to the complex issue of waste resource management. These machines leverage the process of pyrolysis to convert sawdust, a common waste material, into high-quality charcoal, offering a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative.

The Technology Behind Sawdust Charcoal Making

Pyrolysis: A transformative process

At the core of sawdust charcoal making is the process of pyrolysis. Pyrolysis is a thermochemical decomposition process that occurs in the absence of oxygen, transforming organic materials into valuable products. In the case of sawdust, this process results in the production of charcoal, among other byproducts.

The mechanics of sawdust charcoal making machines

Sawdust charcoal making machines are intricately designed to facilitate the pyrolysis process efficiently. They consist of reactors, temperature control systems, and gas purification mechanisms. The sawdust is heated within the reactor to specific temperatures, initiating the pyrolysis process and producing charcoal.


Benefits of Sawdust Charcoal Making

Sustainable waste utilization

One of the key benefits of sawdust charcoal making is the utilization of a waste product that would otherwise be discarded. This sustainable approach reduces the burden on landfills and mitigates the environmental impact of waste disposal.

Reduction of environmental impact

Compared to traditional waste incineration, sawdust charcoal making generates fewer harmful emissions. It is a more environmentally friendly method that aligns with global efforts to combat climate change and reduce air pollution.

High-quality charcoal production

Charcoal making machine produceS high-quality charcoal that finds applications in various industries. The charcoal is free from impurities, making it ideal for use in cooking, metallurgy, and other processes that require clean and efficient fuel sources.

Applications and Industries

Agriculture and soil improvement

Charcoal produced from sawdust can enhance soil quality and fertility. Its porous structure provides an excellent medium for nutrient retention and microbial activity, making it valuable for agriculture and soil improvement.

Energy generation

Sawdust charcoal is a potent source of energy. It can be used in power generation, providing a sustainable and renewable energy option while reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

Industrial processes

Industries such as metallurgy, pharmaceuticals, and water treatment can benefit from the high-quality charcoal produced by sawdust charcoal making machines. It serves as a valuable raw material and energy source in these applications.

Challenges and Future Developments

Technological advancements

Ongoing research and development efforts aim to improve the efficiency and scalability of sawdust charcoal making machines. Advancements in reactor design, temperature control, and gas purification are on the horizon, promising even more sustainable solutions.

Regulatory considerations

As sawdust charcoal making gains popularity, regulatory frameworks will need to adapt to ensure safe and environmentally responsible operation. Clear guidelines and standards will play a crucial role in the widespread adoption of this technology.

Expanding the scope of waste resource management

Sawdust charcoal making is just one example of how innovative technologies can revolutionize waste resource management. The future holds the potential for similar approaches to address other waste streams, contributing to a more sustainable and resource-efficient world.

In conclusion, sawdust charcoal making machines represent a significant step forward in waste resource management. By harnessing the power of pyrolysis, these machines not only reduce waste but also create valuable resources, all while minimizing environmental impact. As technology continues to advance and regulatory support grows, we can anticipate a future where waste is no longer a problem but a resource waiting to be utilized efficiently.

01:51 UTC


Is this Quality Char

The hog barn was torn down and all the old lumber was piled up for a later burn. My boss decided to do a "controlled burn" that got out of control during this blazing hot summer drought. We called the fire department and they put the fire out. Now I have access to an enormous pile of biochar. Should I be concerned about it being chemically treated?

01:07 UTC


Is this Quality Char

The hog barn was torn down and all the old lumber was piled up for a later burn. My boss decided to do a "controlled burn" that got out of control during this blazing hot summer drought. We called the fire department and they put the fire out. Now I have access to an enormous pile of biochar. Should I be concerned about it being chemically treated?

1 Comment
01:07 UTC

Back To Top