Biochar is a charcoal-like, highly adsorbent, carbon substance that is produced by pyrolysing organic material (plant biomass) in an inert low oxygen environment.

Biochar’s Structure

Biochar resists decomposition and can have a very long (thousands of years) soil residence time. A stable (recalcitrant) form of organic carbon compared to unprocessed biomass, it has a naturally porous structure and significantly improves soil health.

Its many uses

High-quality biochar can be sold into many end-markets, including regenerative agriculture, soil remediation, livestock feed supplements, air purification, water filtration and odour control systems. Biochar also has other diverse applications including the replacement of chemical fertilisers in agriculture and industrial additive solutions in asphalt and concrete. The global biochar market has developed rapidly, with the European Union market alone growing by 500% over a five year period.

Biochar can be used in applications ranging from domestic through to large commercial/agricultural scale settings. It can be incorporated in soils, gardens, potting mixes or fertilisers, with benefits being achieved regardless of the size of the project.

Once incorporated in the soil, biochar continues to provide carbon sequestration benefits and improve soil structure and soil health for generations due to its stability, very long residence time in soils and its naturally porous structure. Biochar improves soil aeration, water-holding capacity, nutrient retention and also acts as a refuge for beneficial soil microbiology.

It has been used since ancient times to improve soil health and productivity as evidenced by char pits found at sites surrounding Aztec cities in South America, the origin of the term “terra preta”. More recently, many published scientific papers document the benefits of biochar in redeveloping soil health in degenerated landscapes. As well as replacing organic carbon in depleted soils, biochar increases water and fertiliser retention, microbial activity and the development of soil ecosystems and soil fauna such as earthworms and insects.

The International Panel on Climate Change rates biochar application as having high global mitigation potential. An analysis of multiple studies on biochar applications in plant production found an average increase in food crop yields of about 15% in biochar amended soils in sandy and tropical soil environments, where soils are hydrophobic/depleted of their original carbon content, or nutrients are more easily leached from the soil profile.

Biochar has also been used as an additive in livestock feed where it has been shown to increase productivity (weight gain and animal health) and reduce enteric methane emissions. Additional carbon capture benefits are also achieved through livestock waste. Manure from livestock production leads to organic carbon being incorporated in soils by composting feedlot waste and by the natural distribution of livestock manure over the landscape.

Biochar has been proven to accelerate and enhance compost development whilst also reducing methane emissions from the composting process. In livestock feed, small quantities of biochar (0.6% - 1.0% w/w of dry-matter) can be added to feedlot rations, applied in pelletised formulas or provided directly to livestock.

How it’s made

Fasera produces biochar from the sustainable harvest and coppicing of mallee tree plantations in a sustainable harvest cycle.
Fasera produces biochar from the sustainable harvest and coppicing of mallee tree plantations in a sustainable harvest cycle.
Significant regrowth (coppice) of biomass occurs from ligno-tubers in the ground, increasing future harvest yield. Harvested green biomass is chipped and steam distilled to produce eucalyptus oil.
Harvested green biomass is chipped and steam distilled to produce eucalyptus oil
The woody biomass waste and the biomass resulting from the steam-distillation/oil production process is transported to the pyrolysis plant, where it is fed into the combustion chamber at a controlled rate.
The biomass is burnt (charred) in a continuous oven in an inert and relatively anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment.
We have developed innovations for our pyrolysis process, including a unique water jacket surround for the thermal oxidiser. Exhaust gases are burnt off and heated water from the water jacket is directed to our oil distillation boiler inlet.
This provides significant (>50%) energy efficiency benefits in the production of steam for distillation to produce eucalyptus oil.
The charred biomass is augered to a quenching pit where it is showered with water which is absorbed, so that embers are quenched and temperature is reduced to mitigate fire risk and to eliminate dust.
Smoke is drawn from the combustion chamber and condensed through a process created by Fasera to produce Wood Vinegar, creating an additional value-added product and reducing pyrolysis emissions.

Watch our production process

The production of biochar from the pyrolysis of spent biomass represents just one element of the integrated portfolio of products we’ve developed.

Is Biochar for you?

Biochar has many potential benefits and applications across multiple industries - whether you are a home gardener, a hobby farmer or a large-scale agricultural or other enterprise, it is likely that biochar can help you achieve better results in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way, whilst reducing atmospheric carbon over the long term. Find out how biochar can improve your soil, reduce livestock methane gas emissions or aid in global climate mitigation.