Biochar Coalition’s mission is to increase Biochar making, for stable Carbon sequestration. Join us attend or plan a workshop in your community.
Reduce Biomass Fire Threats with Less Smoke, Less Ash, More Biochar in Less Time!
How Biochar is made:
An open above ground fire can increase the amount of Biochar by simply lighting a full pile from the top and watching it burn down engulfing Biomass until the flames are gone and a pile of red hot coals remain developing a thin layer of grey ash, then gently apply as much water as needed to fully quench to cold black Biochar. Rake out the pile of char as you quench to asure they are fully out & to avoid them reigniting from any residual heat. Now you have clean empty stable Carbon Biochar ready for enriched inoculation. If water is not abundant or available the coals can be smothered with dirt.
Using a pit will increase the efficiency producing more Biochar than an open above ground pyre. Dig a cone shaped pit 5 feet deep & 6.5 feet wide at the top. Once the initial pile in the pit burns down more fuel can be added at the rate it burns down until the pit is full and the flames burn out. Then fill the pit with water to fully quench. More water may be needed when you dig out the pit full of Biochar, as the pit itself can retain and radiate heat which could cause the char to reignite days later. If water is not abundant or available the pit can be covered with dirt to smother the coals.
Kilns are the most efficient way to make BioChar. We currently primarily use the Ring of Fire a flame cap kiln design for land clearing work and the FabStove for cooking. Here are a spectrum of mobile kiln systems, as well as industry scale models in development & production:
- FabStove is a home kitchen cook stove available in the US at BlueSkyBiochar
- The Best Biochar Kiln for backyard biochar
- CharCone was a backyard home model and also a barbecue pit
- Wilson Biochar Ring of Fire Biochar Kiln is a productive human scale with heat shield
- Black Ripple has a mobile flame cap kiln design
- Paul Anderson’s RoCC potential for mid scale, prototype design
- BiocharNow kiln-based high quality commercial scale production system
- Organilock Bio-Burner is an efficient closed kiln, continuous biochar production system, utilizing wood chips in a fixed location designed for industry systems integration, converting biomass into hot air and hot water.
Our Atmosphere is saturated with excess Carbon Dioxide which is two molecules of Oxygen locked in a bond with one molecule of Carbon. Vegetation grows by inhaling Carbon Dioxide and chemically divides the molecules into the source elements using Carbon for growth, while exhaling the Oxygen. In this way a tree will isolate the Carbon from our Air and store it for safe keeping it its new cell growth. 30% of the captured Carbon will be exchanged with mycelium & soil organism for more nutrients. As trees age the rate of Carbon absorption exponentially increases, therefore older trees are constantly sequestering more Carbon than any younger tree can each year while it continues to live. Once trees die they are no longer able to inhale any more Carbon Dioxide. Dead trees & vegetation (Biomass) may continue to provide habitats as they decay. However fast or slow decay transpires the result will be the same, what ever Carbon the living plant was able to sequester into its body is not permanent & will begin to release that Carbon as Carbon Dioxide and Methane until the BioMass evaporates. When trees are harvested for lumber the trunk has left 30% of the total Carbon inhaled in the ground, within healthy soils that carbon can stay circulating amongst soil organisms and new vegetation development for years/decades as part of the natural Carbon cycle. The fallen tree will then be limbed (branches cut off) in the forest and poles sent to be milled. The slash and tree limbs (Biomass) if left on the forest floor would be a fire hazard, however if that slash is converted into Biochar & left in the forest soils that would be a stable permanent sequestered Carbon which would further improve the forest soil health for millennia. The part of the tree that manages to make it all the way to be used as lumber is also sequestered Carbon and so long as the houses and furniture made from Wood don’t burn down or decay the Carbon stays sequestered. Supporting wood use is a positive form of sequestering Carbon. Converting any unused or decaying wood into Biochar and incorporating into soil will keep the Carbon from being able to return to the Air making it the most stable permanent form of Carbon sequestration we know of.
Our favorite strategy to incorporate Biochar into the soil for sequestration is incorporating livestock for trampling & fertilizing. It’s a joy working with ForageService.com
KOFrass.com is also doing great work making and inoculating Biochar using meal worm frass as well as nutrient rich fermentations. Specializing in adding biochar into soil.
Every Year we need to continue to sequester more Carbon to offset what every year we have been generating as our Carbon footprint. Carbon footprints are receipts for volumes of Carbon Dioxide that have already been emitted into our air, and will continue to do so until systems change to reduce emissions. We also need to Sequester Carbon to fill our footprints back into our lands. Forests alone can not be relied on to sequester Carbon. When a forest burns up it releases a huge amount of Carbon Dioxide, Methane, and other Gasses adding to our fossil fuel footprints and setting the forest capacity back with its ability to inhale or absorb more Carbon Dioxide.
Meanwhile standing dead remains of a forest fire are still holding carbon in an unstable state, crews are needed to work in overgrown or previously burned forests to clear dead vegetation and convert it to Biochar to sequester permanently stable Carbon, while clearing space for new trees to grow. Dead wood in forests which need to be cleared took years for brush, decades to half centuries or more for trees to reach valuable harvesting lumber. Trees harvested this year is sequestering Carbon footprints of decades ago.
Every year in agricultures we prune fruit & nut orchards and thin vines in vineyards. Those branches, nut husks, and vines that are annually removed from plants for healthy orchards & vineyards maintenance can also be converted into Biochar as an annual Carbon Sequestration. All new growth this year is Carbon Dioxide being absorbed into plants, so if that growth was unwanted and pruned it can be a great value as having captured Carbon that we can burn into Biochar a form of permanently sequestrable stable Carbon. We need to also be burning our annual crop residues into char to be sequestering more Carbon from our air this year and every year.
Annual plants absorb Carbon Dioxide each year, if we convert them into Biochar as part of our annual cycle we would continue to improve our environment. Hemp, including all varieties of medical Cannabis, are annual plants which will absorb four times more Carbon Dioxide than any other known plant. In one growth cycle this plant can produce the usual flower or seed crop, the cambium layer could be utilized for fiber, leaving the stems core to burn into Biochar for increased Carbon sequestration. Bamboo also is an excellent fast growing Carbon absorbing plant, however bamboo is a perennial with a seven year life cycle for each growth stem, every year the oldest stems can be removed to make room for new growth. Scotch Broom is a highly flammable successfully established widely available plant which makes a wonderful quality Biochar taking many more years to grow as large as hemp can each year. What ever plant that is grown each year when we are able to burn its dried remains into Biochar we are locking Carbon into a stable form that is solid and not in our air.
We must participate in burning our forests excess dead Biomass to reduce devastating wild fires Pyrolysis creates a clean burning fire, converting Biomass, consuming Oxygen & Hydrogen, quenching stabilizes any remaining Carbon as Biochar
Sequestration of Carbon as Biochar incorporated into our soils will help hold more water & nutrients making them available to organisms including plants & further across the food web. While keeping the Carbon permanently sequestered. As trees & plants uptake water & nutrients they inhale Carbon Dioxide dividing into Carbon & Oxygen. Exhaling the Oxygen plants utilize the Carbon to grow themselves and exchanging Carbon with soil organisms for more nutrients.
Creating Biochar stabilizes Carbon for sequestration, rather than burning Biomass to ash which would otherwise continue immediate release of more Carbon Dioxide & Methane which our atmosphere already is saturated with. When Biomass is allowed to decompose it slowly evaporates into Carbon Dioxide & Methane. Clean burning Pyrolysis means we can keep our air clean while making Biochar for permanent Carbon sequestration.
Biochar is used to filter water clean. Landscapes covered by a layer of Biochar would filter all water, rain or irrigated, that passed through.
Biochar Coalition a nonprofit 501c3
We formed this Biochar Coalition in the Sierra Foothills of western Nevada County, California, while also working within neighboring counties. The ancient practice of making Biochar can be done anywhere by anyone. Please participate!
Anytime it is safe to burn or have a fire Biochar can & needs to be made. Once it is safe for us to burn open fires again we will continue to documenting our making and utilizing Biochar to update this website sharing what we have done and hopefully encouraging you to get involved and make some biochar for everyone’s sake.
more biochar resources:
- Radio Biochar
- Eden, NY Oct. 1
- Master Gardener Biochar Seminar
- Morgan Ridge Paradise February 18, 2023
If you would like to have a workshop in your community send us a message so we can try to coordinate a date and team to continue helping share the workshop learning experience while we still have a safe burning season.
In the summer we can develop a workshop series if interested for what more to do with biochar. While it is a safe limited season to burn we make as much biochar as we can as our focus. We can enrich and use the biochar in many other ways and share that the rest of the year. Make more Biochar while when we can!