Other than backyard gardens what is biochar good for?
ABSOLUTELY (most) EVERYTHING!
“Everything” is a bit of an overstatement. I’m not putting biochar on my toast and it certainly isn’t good in my coffee. I’m a huge fan of how it helps improve soil conditions but there are other fun ways to use biochar that you may not have considered. Biochar is a valuable tool for filtering contaminants in liquids, insulation, regulating air quality, alternative energy and I’ve heard some people stuff their pillows with it reduce odors — they must have stinky pillows. This is just a short list of ways I’ve heard of biochar being used outside of the backyard garden. Some are more industrial while other uses are great for around the house. If you can think of any others please put your comment below.
The production of biochar releases a lot of energy that, similar to coal, can be harnessed to generate electricity. There is a lot of research going into this and it has potential. The positive aspect is that biochar is a renewable source of fuel. Unlike coal, it is made from biomass. Let’s hope there are breakthroughs in this kind of technology.
Cat Litter Deodorizer
Not joking one bit here! Sprinkle in about 1 cup per cat that uses your kitty litter box. You will be amazed at how the smell of cat pee goes away. There is truly nothing on the market that does a better job. (I recommend buying the 1 gallon bag of Biochar for this.)
Room Air Filter
Similar to the cat litter idea, place a bag of biochar in various places in a room to help remove any odors that may linger. With the appropriate air flow the biochar can absorb a lot of the odors that you would rather not smell.
Pollution Control Berms
From arsenic to other industrial pollutants, biochar has been proven to absorb and lock in these bad chemicals. Farm fields that use chemical fertilizer and manufacturing plants with a lot of chemical waste may find positive benefits to creating large biochar berms blocking the material from getting to rivers, creeks and lakes around them.
Inside Plants/Window Sill Potting Mix
Do you live in a big city and don’t have access to a garden. It doesn’t have to be outside. Use biochar in your flower pots in your apartment. The biochar of your flower pot not only helps the flowers stay healthy. It is also a small step to offsetting the carbon dioxide emissions of the cars going up and down the street.
Saving The World!
Just a quick reminder that the use of biochar is a carbon negative process. When we pyrolize biomass and return it to the soil as biochar we are actually reducing the amount of carbon dioxide that would be released into the atmosphere through natural processes. Reducing CO2 is a step to reducing the impact of greenhouses gases — which are responsible for global warming.
Some of the other ideas floating out there are:
Pillow and Mattress Filler
Additive to clothing — assuming this will help you smell better
Is there anything biochar can’t do? (Other than sweeten my coffee.)
Louis Laframboise says
See also this excellent article by the Biochar Journal, “The 55 Uses of Biochar”