Biochar Quality (not all biochar is the same) Burn Right BioChar

Using a modified 5 gallon steel pail (learn more) with your incinerator allows you to choose what biomass you burn and control the temperature. At the end of the day you are guaranteed to produce the BEST and HIGHEST quality biochar money can buy.

Click here to learn how to make your own charcoal and biochar.

Biochar has existed for millions of years. Its importance to the agricultural community has recently increased due to its rediscovery and new laboratory testing identifying its many positive qualities. Using biochar in your soil is one of the best ways to improve its fertility and yield. However, biochar’s effectiveness greatly depends on the quality of both its physical and chemical properties.

The following research, from top universities in the United States, report that biochar’s quality depends on two very important components: how its created and what it is created from.

In Boston, Massachusetts, professors at Northeastern University discovered that the quality of biochar varies greatly depending upon the pyrolysis process (thermo-chemical decomposition). Researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa discovered that the type of biomass (organic matter) used greatly impacts the overall quality of the biochar being produced.

By making your own biochar, instead of buying it off the shelf, you’ll be guaranteed the highest quality biochar to put in your garden & the best charcoal for your grill. That is correct, we said charcoal for your grill!

Why is pyrolysis and choice of biomass important?

If your biomass burns too hot, the percentage of biomass recovery decreases. This means most of the biomass will go up in smoke resulting in less biochar. Your biochar will also end up with higher percentages of carbon, and ash (calcium and potassium) which result in higher pH levels.

Why is a high PH level bad?

Higher PH levels in your soil decreases its overall fertility. Fertile soils have a pH between 6 and 7 which is more or less neutral. Research conducted at Woods End Laboratories in Maine conducted an experiment utilizing biochar with a pH level of 8.4.

They found that in a 25% biochar mix with both peat and soil, the roots thinned out and there was less growth in the plant.

The Northeastern University study found that when biomass was burned at lower temperatures it resulted in biochar that had greater surface area resulting in higher mass recovery. The biochar also had improved ratios of carbon to hydrogen and oxygen, a lower pH value and better water-holding capacity.

In Hawaii, the highest quality biochar came from biomass with varied pore sizes. Green waste from landscaping, forestry and agriculture was found to work the best. It was also the most sustainable model for biochar production. With a 5 gallon steel pail and our incinerator, you can use yard waste such as grass clippings, leaves and branches as your biomass to make the absolute highest quality biochar possible.

Note: Using a chipper shredder to reduce the size of the biomass before charring produces biochar that is immediately ready to be put into your garden.