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What is biochar?

Regarded as a form of charcoal, biochar is taxonomised through its involvement in biological processes found in aquatic habitats, animal digestive systems and soil. The substance is known for being extremely rich in carbon and its ability to inhabit the earth for thousands of years.

Biochar is the by-product of exposing organic matter, such as wood and crop waste, to high temperatures in a low oxygen environment. This process is known as pyrolysis, an ancient method for making charcoal currently used to produce emissions-free hydrogen. Human application of this extra-ordinary charcoal-like substance dates back to pre-Columbian Amazonians, who used it to improve soil fertility.

Biochar is becoming increasingly popular among western nations because it literally turns the waste from producing hydrogen into revenue. Currently, it has market demand across various sectors — livestock (feed), agriculture (fertiliser), construction (cement) and even as fuel for your barbeque — and is sold for upwards of AU$1,880 per tonne.

Essentially, when produced through pyrolysis, biochar is trapped carbon that would otherwise find its way back into the atmosphere. Considering it can be repurposed across multiple industries, biochar is one of the most sustainable ways to dispose of carbon while being a part of emissions-free energy production.

Benefits of Biochar:

  • When blended into standard cement mix, it can reinforce the overall strength by 20%.
  • By mixing biochar into fertilisers, burying it under fields, or spreading it across topsoil we can enhance overall soil productivity. This protects the environment from harmful chemical runoff, as it decreases the amount of synthetic fertiliser needed for crops.
  • As a feed additive, biochar reduces the need for antibiotics while also increasing the overall health and yield of livestock.

Global Biochar Market

  • The international biochar market is estimated to reach US$3.1 billion by 2025, growing at an average CAGR of 13.2%. Demand in the Asia Pacific region is predicted to increase significantly, as the product is becoming more and more prevalent in livestock feed and organic farming.
  • Market growth is driven by advancements in pyrolysis technology to produce hydrogen, accounting for 63.4% of total revenue.
  • The global biochar market is forecasted to surpass a valuation of US$6.3 billion by 2031. Substantial market development can be attributed to western organisations like the United Nations deeming it a highly effective strategy for reducing environmental pollution worldwide.

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