In our biochar FAQ you will find the most frequently asked questions about biochar and vegetable charcoal, which we will be happy to answer. If your question is not there, please ask us directly!
Biochar is a pure natural substance, which is produced by the thermal carbonization (pyrolysis) of biomass such as untreated wood, hedge or green cuttings as well as other residual biomass. Due to its porous structure and its huge inner surface, it can store water and nutrients and bind pollutants. In addition, around half of the carbon in the starting material remains bound. These properties make them a great all-around material that can play an important role in agriculture, industry, water and climate protection, in municipalities and in building construction.
Biochar is made through a process called “pyrolysis”. The biomass is thermally treated at high temperatures, usually between 400 and 750 °C, sometimes, up to 900 °C, and with extensive exclusion of atmospheric oxygen. This can be done on a large scale in large industrial plants, in which case the gases and heat generated can also be used. Biochar can also be produced by yourself or in the home garden in a pit or in a Kon-Tiki, a funnel-shaped metal container.
Biochar in itself is not a fertilizer or nutrient, but a carrier. If not activated in the ground, it would do more harm than good, at least in the beginning. The nutrients contained in the soil and the water would be absorbed by the biochar and bound in the coal. In order to be able to acquire its soil-improving properties, it must first be physically charged with nutrients, i.e. activated.
Biochar, which was previously used as a feed or additive for bedding, is automatically charged with animal manure. In addition, biochar can be incorporated in layers into the compost or for example, can be activated by adding liquid fertilizer (e.g. nettle liquid or Bokashi).
Crumble a cube of yeast and dissolve it together with 500 g sugar or molasses in 6 liters of lukewarm water. With this mixture you can achieve wonders in accelerating compost. If you mix this mixture with biochar, you have made a real long-term fertilizer for your plants.
Biochar as a supplement to feed is a tried and tested household remedy for digestive disorders. The intestinal flora (the natural microbiological balance in the intestine) is restored. This automatically increases the animal’s well-being, it becomes more balanced and vital. Feed is more productive and growth is accelerated. The improved digestion also reduces methane emissions. Studies by independent institutions also show that the need for drugs such as antibiotics is significantly reduced. Diarrhea in calves and piglets is noticeably reduced.
- Improve digestion
- Detoxifies and inhibits inflammation
- Feed can be better utilized by the animal
- Cost advantages due to higher feed efficiency and better growth
- Strengthens the immune system
One liter of biochar in the bedding can absorb up to 5 liters of urine. Thanks to this property, the stable/pen or barn climate can be improved many times over in a very short time.
The spread of ammonia is prevented, which without biochar escapes from the urine within a few hours. Ammonia is not only harmful to smell, it is harmful to health: it attacks the mucous membranes and respiratory organs. On the ground, ammonia and water form the highly corrosive ammonia. It attacks toes, claws, balls of the feet and hooves.
- Bedding areas in the stable dry off better
- Urine is absorbed, inhibiting the formation of ammonia and reducing odors
- Suppression of decay/rotting and reduces the presence of flies.
- Reduces fungal and mold spores
- Stress on the respiratory tract and irritation of the claws or hooves are significantly reduced
Mix around 10% biochar into the litter. If biochar is already used in feeding, the proportions can be reduced accordingly.
If biochar is introduced into the ground, it is stored there in a stable manner for several millennia, similar to crude oil or lignite. The proportion of carbon from the plant that was bound in the biochar is thus withdrawn from the carbon cycle, as it is neither converted to CO2 or methane by combustion nor by rotting. Over 80% of the carbon remains stable for more than 1000 years. This makes it possible to remove the CO2 originally absorbed by plants from the atmosphere in the long term, thereby slowing down climate change.
Smelly manure is a sign that the decaying and breakdown process is out of control. Thanks to the use of biochar, however, this material cycle can be closed again and the liquid manure becomes a highly efficient, sustainable and odorless fertilizer.
While some of the minerals contained in the liquid manure such as ammonium, nitrate, urea and phosphate are available to the plants as nutrients, in addition to the climate-damaging emissions, a significant part of the nutrients is washed out into ground and surface waters. Due to the outgassing of ammonia and the leaching of nitrates, fertilization with untreated manure also leads to soil acidification, which severely affects the fertility and biological activity of the soil and accelerates the degradation of humus.
Due to its high specific surface, biochar binds ammonium and ammonia as well as other odor-intensive, often toxic substances very efficiently. Thanks to the biochar, most of the manure nitrogen can be stored in a way that is available for plants. The leaching of the slurry nutrients in the soil is significantly slowed down, which not only protects the groundwater but also prevents acidification of the soil. The liquid manure treated with biochar promotes soil activity and the build-up of humus. Instead of leaching the soils with toxic manure, the soils are built up over the long term. Overall, the use of biochar almost doubles the fertilizing effect of the manure.
- Significantly less stench
- No “sink and swim” layers
- the nitrate pollution in groundwater and soil is significantly reduced
- Decreased soil acidification
- Climate-damaging gases are reduced
- Quick humus build-up and good soil structure
- Nutrients and water are optimally stored for plants to use
- Save approx. 50% fertilizer in the long term due to the low losses
- improved plant growth
- plant bio-diversity is promoted
- chemical-free fertilization helps save the environment and the ecosystem
Biochar is not itself a fertilizer, but a carrier material: it is used together with other things: fertilizer, cattle manure or compost introduced into the soil and stores these substances. There, the coal particles provide a habitat for many useful microorganisms, fungi and bacteria, from which the cultivated plants benefit. The biochar is therefore an excellent store of nutrients and water.
Vorteile für den Boden:
- Higher water storage capacity of the soil (up to 5 times its own weight)
- Soil bacteria thrive and improve the nutrient supply for the plants
- Mycorrhizae (fungus and root) increase and improve the absorption of water and nutrients, protect against pests
- Toxins and heavy metals are absorbed; the quality of the products and the groundwater increases
- Better soil aeration and reduction of methane and nitrous oxide emissions
- Nutrient dynamics: Plants grow better, nutrients stay bound in the soil longer
- Plants are generally more resilient and more productive