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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


4,024 Subscribers


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


Is this safe to use to make biochar? I'm worried about it giving off toxic metal fumes or not being sturdy enough.

19:56 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.


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


Dumb steel question

If I'm going to make biochar in a steel drum, is the metal going to degrade from the outside (where the oxygen is) or the inside (where it gets hit directly by the heat)? I'm thinking about treating it with the silica-based heat protectant that they use for exhaust manifolds, and I'm wondering which side needs protecting.

04:02 UTC


recipe feedback

Getting this biochar project up off the ground today! I bought the bagged charcoal and pounded it with a brick. I plan to inoculate with

  • worm castings
  • leaf mold
  • alfalfa pellets
  • fish emulsion
  • boogie Brew compost tea that I got as a gift
  • a drizzle of molasses
  • Jadam liquid fertilizer and
  • Lacto bacillus soil serum.

I know I'm missing the highly recommended jadam microbial solution. Will my inoculation be okay without it? Any feedback on my inoculation approach overall?

23:44 UTC


Has anyone used one of these In a wood fire?

Curious about one of these,seems like it's well made,if I had any relevant skills I could make one myself I guess.

I reached out to them for with a couple of questions which they answered and then asked for instructions as in to ask is it really that easy and had radio silence.

I've been purchasing biochar in small amounts for a hobby so I'd say this will pay for itself,I have huge supply of untreated sawdust from a firewood supply place close by.

The only thing that concerns me is how many years would this last?


01:55 UTC


Where should waste cooking oil be added to maximize efficiency, in the retort, or the initial fuel load?

Wanted to burn off some of my waste oil. Would it be better to soak some of the wood in the retort? Would the oil gasify like wood gases and burn clean out the exhaust holes? Or should I soak some of the fuel wood in oil so that they burn longer? Is one way cleaner than the other?

What happens when you use an open burn technique with oil soaked wood?

01:50 UTC


Covering cone pit with soil: worth trying or not?

I did my first burn this evening and after sunset I ran out of material to burn. I had some buckets of water to pour over the embers and put them out but wanted one side to burn down some more so I covered the other side with dirt (very sandy soil). Then I decided to just cover the whole thing with dirt and check on it regularly for the next couple of hours. I guess either I will end up with ash, or everything will become charcoal in there and I will lose less of the material that would otherwise just be ash or unburnt material. What do you think? Is this sound reasoning or not? I think we can set aside the safety aspect. My burn pit is basically in a sand/gravel pit and the ground is waterlogged because of thawing snow and days and weeks of rain.

19:34 UTC


Can you make biochar with an electric induction hob?

I'm interested in making biochar and have some decent dried biomass in the form of wood chips. Due to where I live, I would like to avoid using fire/combustion to create the heat for the pyrolysis, so wondered if I could use a portable electric induction hob outside for smaller batches?

My idea would to modify a cast iron container/Dutch oven, with a hole for gases to exit and heat this on an induction hob? Could this work, or would there be a problem with lack of temperature?

14:25 UTC


Why is biochar so f*cking difficult and elusive?

I became interested in biochar around 10-15 years ago and since then I have never found anyone willing to show me how to make it or supply it in a way that made it suitable for actually remediating soil.

Near me there is the Pioneer Biochar Initiative, which just seems to be a facebook that posts things about how biochar is wonderful or that someone in Peru will be doing a workshop or that someone else is giving a webinar. It claims to be a local network but I see no evidence.

Next Char is also near me but they don't answer their phones or have an email.

I called another company near me that supposedly made biochar kilns at some point but it was a massive runaround, the guy was literally blocks from me and wanted to know if I wanted to do carbon sequestration or save the world in some other way. I stated over and over that I just wanted to make some biochar or buy it not mixed into compost or in a 1 cubic foot bag for $45. Still he wound up talking about how I should plant some plant for feedstock and how deep it needed to go into the soil without ever getting to making or buying biochar. I finally gave up.

Over the years I have talked to many permiculture folks who seem very willing to explain its benefits without explaining about where I can actually procure it. None of the permie 'designers' ever seemed to have experince in making more than a cubic foot of biochar at one time, usually in a paint can tossed in a fire. Locally I can buy yards of compost that supposedly has biochar in it but if I wanted compost I would just get compost.

Has anyone had success with biochar?

19:35 UTC


Anaerobic digestion

Has anyone experience with adding BioChar to AD's. I had been reading it can increase the methane production and lead to consistently higher levels of output but trying to establish if it would be worth the investment needed to achieve this.

1 Comment
00:06 UTC


Can biochar be used to mitigate heating fuel that spilled into the garden bed?

I bought an old house and removed the heating fuel tank to discover some fuel spilled onto the garden beds below. I'm shoveling away much of it and I wondered if adding biochar might have a benefit for absorbing any residual. What do you think? Would it be a good idea to mix some biochar into the soil? Should it be charged first?

23:35 UTC


Fencing post for biochar kiln?

Would these fencing posts be good as an outlet for a retort style kiln?

12:45 UTC

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