Top 3 Most Important Factors For Making Biochar On a Small Scale

Connor Lascelles
Aug 10, 2020 · 3 min read

The IPCC says biochar can sequester 2.2 billion tonnes of Co2 by 2050 if scaled globally.

We’re lucky that biochar will not only help to mitigate a climate disaster but it also helps us adapt to the unavoidable 1.5 degrees of warming. The water savings and fertility gains will prove extremely useful in a 1.5C warmer planet.

Ideally, biochar is made locally in an specifically designed pyrolysis unit where the surplus heat can be sold to district heating networks or used to generate electricity. Despite this, there are times when making biochar on a small scale is more beneficial.

Here’s what the Royal Horticultural Society has to say about making biochar at home:

“Producing biochar/charcoal at home is not recommended without specialist knowledge and equipment. The process is dangerous (heat and gasses) and it can be difficult to control all the variables.” (RHS 2019)

It is possible to make biochar at home but it can be easy to get it wrong and end up creating more harm than good. Here are the top 3 most important things to get right when making biochar:

  1. Choose wood which is considered ‘waste’ or low value meaning it is destined for either mostly landfill or incineration. By choosing clean, non toxic wood ‘waste’ we can intercept the carbon before it has a chance to go back into the atmosphere. 👍 (It is also possible to use wood generated from woodland management techniques such as pruning as it generally supports forest health and biodiversity.)
  2. Make sure your feedstock is dry. Using green or wet material will create smoke which will outweigh any carbon savings achieved through making biochar. Smoke is methane, which is 25x more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2 so it is vital that we don’t create smoke when making biochar. ☝🏼
  3. Know your stuff! You’ll need to determine which method of biochar making suits your needs and your feedstock. There are multiple ways of making biochar, all with their benefits and drawbacks. We have spent the last 2 years exploring how we can make it easier for people to make their own biochar at home. We put all this information in a Biochar Webinar which we have made freely available to everyone. Send us a message, and we will send you the link to the recording. 🙌🏼

Our mission is to help you understand what biochar really is and how it can use it to help our planet and our soil. If you’d like to support us, please share our posts with anyone who you think may find the information useful.

Are you interested in learning more about our Biochar Maker and using biochar at home? Send us a DM on Instagram or email us to get the download link for our Biochar Masterclass.

Read more about what we’re doing with biochar at www.earthlybiochar.com

To look at our Garden Sized Biochar Maker click here https://www.earthlybiochar.com/products/biochar-kiln-make-biochar-at-home

We share what we learn about biochar on our Instagram which you can check it out here: https://www.instagram.com/earthly.biochar/

Email us at connor@earthlybiochar.com

RHS Biochar page: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=1014

Earthly Biochar

All things biochar. UK based. Scaling biochar to mitigate climate change and save our soils!