Biochar is charcoal used as a soil amendment - it 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. 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. Biochar is being investigated as an approach to carbon sequestration, and thus has the potential to help mitigate climate change via carbon sequestration.

Why Biochar?

Compiled by Peter Howard (Byron Bay) PhD Molecular Genetics in partnership with Compost Central Byron Bay.

Help reverse climate change

  • 8% of atmospheric CO2 is absorbed by plants every year
  • Converting the planets forestry and agricultural waste to biochar could remove 4 gigatons of CO2 from the atmosphere every year
  • This is about 10% of all the CO2 we are putting into the air each year

Made free from garden waste

  • A simple portable open kiln can be moved to any burn pile
  • The kiln contains the fire producing minimal smoke 
  • Convert twigs, stalks, branches, palm fronds into kilos of biochar in 3.5 hours 

Dramatic benefits for plants and soil

  • Increase crop productivity
  • Maximize plant & soil health
  • Raise food nutrient content 
  • Optimize and buffer soil pH 
  • Improve water holding capacity
  • Lock carbon back into the ground
  • Reduce fertiliser requirements
  • Diminish nutrient loss from soil 

Synergy of compost worms plus biochar

Add biochar to the compost worm diet

  • Healthier worms
  • Higher worm density 
  • Faster reproduction
  • Increase the quantity and quality of worm casts and tea 

Add worm tea and castings to the biochar

  • Capture bioavailable nutrients on binding surfaces of the biochar 
  • Friendly soil bacteria seeded into biochar substructure

The Kon-Tiki Kiln

A short snippet video showing Microbiologist, Peter Howard, filling a 'Kon-Tiki Kiln' to create biochar. This style of kiln creates very little smoke, even with the starting kindling, as seen here. For more info on biochar and its benefits, contact our team.

Biochar and Subpod™

The Subpod™ composting system converts two waste streams to a single high value soil amendment: the compost worms take the kitchen waste input and loads the biochar generated from green waste with bio available minerals and diverse microbial flora.

When added to soil, sustainability is assured due to the 100 year plus persistence of the biochar which shelters the microbes and releases the minerals as needed.  New plant biomass minerals are re-bound to the biochar with each cycle of annual plant growth and decay. 

In fewer words:  the worms turn kitchen waste into high grade fertiliser and the biochar is a durable substrate to hold the fertiliser minerals and house the microbes for hundreds of cycles during its lifespan in the soil. 

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