Biochar

Biochar is one of the most promising and environmentally friendly substances, with its range of applications growing year by year. Products made from biochar are used in traditional agriculture, energy production, and the manufacturing metal industry. Biochar has also successfully established itself in medicine, animal husbandry, and the food industry.

By using biochar as a fuel, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere can be significantly reduced. The ongoing transition from traditional materials to a new type of energy source leads to a significantly improved global climate. Biochar promotes the vision of a clean environment, which is shared by many international ecologists. Further successes have also been achieved in other business and application areas:

  • In medicine and veterinary medicine, drugs based on biochar are developed, which help in the treatment of food poisoning and the most common gastrointestinal diseases. These drugs are available on the market for both humans and animals.
  • For agriculture, various plant fertilizers, enriched soils (Terra Preta), and many other biological conditioning agents for agricultural crops are produced based on biochar.
  • In animal husbandry, feed additives made from biochar are used to enhance defense against digestive disorders. Biochar also has a positive effect on the growth rate of animals.
  • In the food industry, biochar serves as a natural filter in the production and extraction of drinking water, as a natural dye, and also helps reduce excess moisture in certain products, thus extending their shelf life.

In addition to its many positive characteristics and wide range of applications, biochar is also known for its environmental friendliness and cost-effectiveness. Despite its name, biochar has nothing in common with natural charcoal. It requires a considerable amount of time, effort, and expensive equipment to extract this mineral.

Biochar is a product of the pyrolysis (thermal decomposition) of plant resources, which can be obtained with minimal time, cost, and apparatus. These production advantages make biochar attractive for investments and its use in large industrial sectors.

BIOCHAR IN AGRICULTURE

Biochar is one of the most environmentally friendly materials and is known for its wide range of applications. However, its greatest utility lies in its interaction with plants through soil fertilization.

The condition and composition of the soil are the main factors influencing soil fertility. Without fertility, germination and high-quality plant growth are not possible in a barren, moisture and oxygen-deprived soil. The addition of biochar as a soil fertilizer addresses all of these issues.

Due to its positive properties and cumulative effect, biochar gives the soil a noticeable friability and saturates it with oxygen, which has a beneficial impact on the development of plant roots. Furthermore, biochar helps retain water in the soil, improving both the mineral and bacterial composition and providing long-term nourishment to the roots.

Biochar also acts as a natural absorbent, capturing heavy metals and chemical toxins, preventing their spread in groundwater. As a result, biochar is added on a large scale to soils near factories, municipal waste areas, and water treatment plants.

Improving soil quality leads to increased plant growth rates and creates favorable conditions for the growth and safe consumption of fruits. Biochar-based plant fertilizers represent a significant advancement in the field of plant cultivation, agriculture, and overall environmental conditions.

BIOCHAR IN ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

The use of biochar in agriculture, especially in livestock and poultry farming, is a common practice. With modern environmentally friendly technologies based on biochar, high-quality feed additives are produced, which are successfully used by farmers in both large and small-scale farming operations.

One of the most common problems in livestock farming is frequent gastrointestinal diseases in animals and birds. For example, more than 60% of calves and pigs experience disrupted digestion in their early days of life, significantly reducing their chances of survival. The reasons for such problems can include violations of feeding norms, weakened immune systems, and adverse animal husbandry conditions.

Traditional methods for treating dyspepsia in livestock have long involved various sorbent preparations (such as bentonite, cyiolite, clay preparations, etc.), moderate herbal medicine, as well as intravenous and intramuscular preparations, which in practice have an extensive list of side effects. Therefore, the use of biochar as a feed additive is a major breakthrough and one of the most effective methods for combating various diseases in animals.

This food additive contains fine-grained biochar made from wood. This biochar has a high adsorption capacity and fully meets the highest standards.

When consumed orally, biochar protects the gastrointestinal tract from mycotoxins and other toxic substances, without compromising the health of animals or single-celled organisms. It is also worth noting that feed additives with biochar are compatible with any type of feed and remain thermally stable up to temperatures of 120°C.

Therefore, the use of an environmentally friendly dietary supplement based on biochar helps achieve the following results:

  • Maintaining a healthy digestive process
  • Restoring a healthy microflora of the gastrointestinal tract in both young and mature animals
  • Significantly reducing inflammation and promoting cleaner waste in the stable or enclosure
  • Positive effect on animal growth
  • Reducing the mortality rate of young animals

Further positive effects observed from the addition of biochar in animal feed are currently being studied in detail.

BIOCHAR IN INDUSTRY

Biochar and its derivatives are extensively used in metallurgy, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, as well as related sectors.

Production of Silicon

Crystalline silicon is used in the production of semiconductors and organic compounds. In specialized arc light furnaces, purest silicon is obtained by melting quartzite as the ore component and carbon-containing reducing agents, including biochar. Wood charcoal and biochar, which surpass other substances in their physical and chemical properties, are among the best reducing agents for electric smelting of quartzite.

Extraction of Rare Earth Metals

In the extraction of rare earth metals from ore, sorption is employed to extract palladium from hydrochloric acid model solutions and spent catalyst solutions. Sorbents based on activated carbon exhibit high sorption capacity. Therefore, more than 60% of palladium can be extracted from the initial mass in model solutions and more than 35% in conventional spent catalyst solutions within one hour.ha

Smelting High-Quality Cast Iron

When using charcoal in the production of high-quality cast iron, the resulting material becomes more ductile and less prone to brittleness. Biochar has a high resemblance to charcoal and can be effectively used in the smelting of high-quality cast iron.

Case Hardening: Steel Hardening

The use of charcoal in combination with carbide, trilon, and triethanolamine enables the hardening of steel products, enhancing the wear resistance of the outer layer. Case hardening with the use of biochar can prolong the lifespan of wear parts, such as those used in presses, moving mechanisms in machines, and industrial equipment.

BIOCHAR IN MUNICIPAL FACILITIES

Municipalities benefit from improved productivity while reducing costs. Compliance with emissions regulations is also an important area for modernization.

The use of fossil fuels such as anthracite, mineral coal, and lignite in thermal power plants and boiler houses is efficient but comes with high costs due to extraction and transportation, not to mention the significant CO2 emissions.

Biochar derived from pyrolysis – the processing of biomass at high temperature without the supply of oxygen – offers an alternative to fossil fuels with comparable heating value and many advantages:

  • Contains significantly fewer toxic substances (sulfur, mercury, cadmium, etc.)
  • High combustion efficiency
  • High energy density, reducing transportation costs and storage space requirements
  • Biochar, with its high natural moisture-resistant structure, does not require special modifications to existing storage facilities
  • Pyrolysis is more environmentally friendly and compact compared to a quarry
  • Utilization of energy produced during biochar production

The main advantage is that municipal authorities can produce biochar themselves using SPSC retorts, thereby solving the issue of fuel and waste processing. The raw materials for biochar production include biomass and waste, such as:

  • Cellulosic materials like paper, cardboard, wood waste, and low-quality wood
  • Sludge from domestic and industrial wastewater
  • Waste from livestock farming and commercial operations

In addition to its use as a fuel, biochar can serve as a technical sorbent for filtering wastewater, gases, and similar substances.

The quality of natural water, the main source of public water supply, is influenced by industries, energy and agriculture sectors, as well as municipal authorities. Each year, a significant amount of pollutants, including heavy metals, nitrogen, phosphorus, oil, various organic substances, and bacteria, enters water sources.

The benefits of water treatment using activated carbon are:

  • Effective removal of various types of contaminants
  • Activated carbon filters are reliable and durable, with a lifespan of up to 3 years. When combined with preliminary ozonation, the lifespan can extend to 5 to 10 years.
  • Achievement of absolute purity with no secondary pollution
  • Scaling of the production process

In addition to water treatment, carbon filters are used to protect the air from pollution since activated carbon can absorb both polar and non-polar molecules, making it suitable for gas treatment regardless of its state.

Biochar becomes a link in the interaction between various sectors of municipal authorities, including energy, waste management, and water treatment. It brings together the entire technical and agricultural industry while also addressing environmental protection.