Biochar is a real multi-talent so it is not surprising, that the number of applications is vast. Being used in the right way, Biochar can offer advantages for soils, the environment and even the climate, as the effect of carbon sequestration by Biochar is studied by many research projects at the moment.
As a component of Terra Preta, Biochar was already used by the native people in the Amazon delta thousands of years ago. Biochar is no nutrient itself but is serves as a sort of sponge for nutrients and microorganisms that can be adsorbed by its surface due to the porous structure. Biochar cannot be used as soil improvement without being "loaded" with nutrients and microorganisms, otherwise it can even have a negative effect and drain nutrients from the soil withdrawing them from the plants. The best way to "load" the Biochar with nutrients is to co-compost the char, which is done be adding about 20% of it to the biomass to be composted. If you want to know more about the different ways to activate Biochar, then follow this Link.
Here are some positive effects of the Biochar on soil quality:
As already described above, Biochar benefits from its combination with compost but it also has advantages for the compost itself. Mixed with Biochar, the retention of nutrients is much higher and the odorants are nearly completely bound.
At the moment, approximately 90% of the european Biochar production is used in animal farming. Compared to the effects of Biochar in soils, the effects in animal farming are noticeable much faster. Here is a list of the possible applications and effects of Biochar in animal farming:
By adding Biochar to the to a fermenter´s biomass, the methane and hydrogen yield is increased (this leads to an additional biogas yield of up to 20%), while at the same time decreasing CO2 and ammonia emissions. In addition, the quality of the fermentation residue is improved. read more ...
Biochar can be used in decentralized wastewater treatment to reduce odor and improve the composting process in composting toilets. In wastewater treatment plants Biochar can be used used to treat sewage sludge.