Dr Ravi Kumar, inventor of the Anila cooking stove, standing beside the BiGchar-1000, a continuous-flow pyrolysis unit by Black-is-Green Pty Ltd Australia. Its inventor, Dr James Joyce, is on the left.
Water-holding capacity, therefore, is one of the easiest tests for assessing the quality of a useful biochar because it indicates whether the cavities are open and available. Another indication is the proportion of char to feedstock: a high proportion may indicate that volatiles and ash are retained, adding weight and rendering the char of little, or no, use for soil enhancement. The temperature at which biochar is produced is critical for achieving a high degree of absorption. The cavities give refuge to microbial life that forms a bridge for nutrients to the hairs on plant roots, thus enhancing fertility. It is desirable to mix biochar, before use, with manure, digestate slurry, compost etc. for it to be ‘charged’ and have an immediate effect with plants.
Albert Bates, The Biochar Solution, 2010.
BiofuelWatch, campaign group against biofuels and biochar.
James Bruges, The Biochar Debate, 2009.
Johannes Lehman & Stephen Joseph, Biochar Environmental Management, 2009
James Lovelock, Biochar as Solution to Global Climate Change, YouTube, 2009 (video)