What is Biochar Used For?
Thai Carbon's Biochar is not a fertilizer by itself, but rather a soil improver due to its porous structure. The tiny pores are conducive to symbiotic microbiome growth that assist the plant's roots in absorbing nutrients. Further, the pores absorb excess nutrients from fertilizer runoff and make them available to the plant over longer time periods, reducing the amount of fertilizer required. Additionally, the biochar can absorb up to 5.6x its weight in water acting as a reservoir for the plant and reducing water usage requirements.
Typically, the application of biochar significantly increases yields of agriculture products. It also acts as a permanent sink for carbon removal credit generation.
Biochar, when added as a small percentage of the feed ration, has been shown to have many positive effects on livestock. It can increase body weight through improved digestion and increases feed and energy efficiency. It can also significantly reduce methane emissions, reduce antibiotic use, and increase milk and egg production.
As a cascading benefit, the biochar passes through into the manure which makes it nutrient rich, while also reducing odor for subsequent field applications or in poultry litter.
Water Treatment and Absorption
Biochar is an effective bio adsorbent for municipal and industrial wastewater treatment and can economically replace activated carbon in many applications.
It has also been used as a soil additive for remediating former mine-works, military bases and landfill sites because of its high absorption affinity for heavy metals.
Biochar acts as a barrier in the soil to prevent pesticides leaching into the surface water. It also absorbs excess fertilizers before runoff thus reducing algae blooms in pond and lake waters.
Biochar Composite Materials
Biochar can be added to materials like plastic polymers, concrete, and asphalt to create composites that exhibit superior mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties due to biochar’s large specific surface area, high thermal stability, and good electrical conductivity.
Other desirable properties include aging resistance, weather resistance, antibacterial and sound absorption. Composite materials can be lighter, stronger and cheaper with biochar.
Energy Storage Applications
Biochar is being used to manufacture next generation energy storage devices such as supercapacitors. Biochar can be produced with significant graphene concentrations, making it a more sustainable and less expensive alternative for activated carbon or expensive graphene in energy applications.