Biochar: Can It Help Reduce Carbon Emissions?

Did you know that biochar could help combat climate change?

Biochar: Can It Help Reduce Carbon Emissions?

Researchers around the world are studying ways to reduce CO2 emissions. What they found? The properties of biochar, a ca. 2000 year-old invention could just be what we need, only used in new ways.

Biochar is made from "biomass " and "charcoal" and consists in burning biomass such as dead trees and shrubs or agricultural waste. The result is a light, pure black material that smells like charcoal and has the consistency of a sponge.

Besides its use in agriculture, biochar finds a purpose as a substitute for lignite in the production of energy, as a waste water and air cleaning treatment or even as a construction material with a carbon sink feature in the building industry (according to Laufs Engineering Design, the replacing of a typical aluminium facade system with a 500 m² facade of biochar composite in a new AUDI AG sustainable dealership concept store in Germany prevented the re-emission of ca. 12t of CO2 from waste biomass).

Additionally, a 2022 study by Kane et al. revealed that adding biochar to PLA, PHB, rHDPE, and HDPE plastics reduced their global warming potential and that biochar composites can be produced with net carbon neutral cradle-to-gate impacts.

Finally, a 2020 European Biochar Industry Consortium whitepaper on the matter highlighted that the carbonisation of waste and residual materials from landscape conservation and the food industry, sewage sludge, harvest residues and specifically cultivated biomass have the potential of saving 10 to 20 million tons of CO2emissions.

What do you think about the use of biochar? Could it be utilized in your own industry?

🔎 We are keeping an eye on further development in biochar research, and our looking forward to integrate its CO2 values into our Materials Database.