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How is Biochar Made?

October 9, 2018

How is Biochar Made?

The use of biochar to improve soil seems like a relatively new concept, however, soil analysis performed on land near the Amazon River basin provides strong evidence that the biochar process has been around for hundreds of years. The soil analysis indicates that the rich soil, referred to as ‘Terra Preta’ and ‘Amazonian dark earth’, contains a great deal of the carbon material. Testing reveals that the carbon material in the Terra Preta soil consists of residue from old crops, livestock manure, and even bone matter!

The Making of Ancient Biochar

 

Making Biochar

Agriculture historians believe that the ancient farmers who cultivated the Amazon’s Terra Peta soil likely spread their version of the biochar over their fields before setting it on fire. The heat from the fire turned the manure, decomposing animal carcasses, and decaying plant matter into carbon. Once the only thing that remained of the fire was a pile of smoldering ashes, the old farmers likely covered their version of biochar with a heavy layer of dirt, which put out the fire by depriving it of oxygen while also holding in the heat. This process effectively cooked the organic material, turning it into the very thing the soil desperately needed.

The Current Process for Making Cool Terra, a Biochar-Based Soil Enhancer

Making Biochar for Plant RootsAt Cool Planet, we take pride in our robust scientific methods, engineering and deep understanding of soil science to provide a biochar-based technology that is consistent and that can be easily applied to a wide range of soils and plants.

Cool Terra® products are created through a multi-step, advanced, manufacturing process that ultimately provides farmers and turf, nursery, and ornamental professionals with a tool to improve soil health. First, renewably sourced, non-food biomass is heated in low-oxygen conditions in a process called Pyrolysis. This pyrolysis process creates raw biochar.

Next, in order to address the shortfalls of the raw biochar’s ability to optimize soil performance characteristics, we adjust, and post-treat the raw biochar using our proprietary upgrading technology. In this step, we adjust the pH level of the raw biochar to neutral, flip it from hydrophobic (meaning water repelling) to hydrophilic (meaning water-loving) so that is attracts water and doesn’t repel it, remove detrimental residues, and more.

The result is Cool Terra: a durable, porous, organic material designed and engineered to improve soil quality. Through cation and anion exchange capacity, extensive porosity, and high surface area, Cool Terra can increase water and nutrient retention, add structure to the soil, and provide an environment for microbial growth. Cool Terra has been shown to improve plant establishment through quicker germination and increased root development. It also benefits the environment by integrating fixed carbon back into the soil.

Biochar Made for Plant YieldCool Terra’s performance has been trialed and proven. In fact, over 100 different independent trials, show that Cool Terra delivers, on average, a greater than 12% improvement in yield compared to the grower standard and provides a greater than 3:1 grower return on investment!

Whether you’re trying to improve the soil for a 100-acres of corn or a small backyard garden, adding Cool Planet’s Cool Terra biochar-based products will benefit both the immediate and long-term soil health, which in turn helps you meet your production goals. Call us at 303-221-2029 today for more information or to place an order to try it for yourself!

 

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