Biochar is the carbon-rich solid matter resulting from the pyrolysis or gasification of organic matter. Pyrolysis is a process in which biomass is heated in an oxygen-deprived environment to break down into simpler substances. There is variability in the characteristics of biochar, depending on feedstock and pyrolysis process employed.

Research confirms biochar-enriched soils grow larger, healthier plants with greater yields, particularly in degraded or highly-weathered soils. Biochar’s very high surface area, adsorptive and absorptive properties enable numerous positive effects in soil including:

·  Increased water infiltration and water holding capacity

·  Improved soil structure, tilth and stability

·  Increased cation exchange capacity (CEC) – retaining cations and capturing anions

·  Increased adsorption of ammonium, nitrate, phosphate, and calcium ions

·  Increased nutrient retention over ordinary organic matter

·  Improved soil pH buffering and stability

·  Increased soil biology and diversity

·  Enhanced, denser root development

·  Reduced fertilizer runoff and leaching, especially nitrogen and phosphorus

·  Reduced total fertilizer requirements

·  Decreased emissions of nitrous oxide by 50-80%


In addition to creating a soil enhancer, sustainable biochar practices can produce oil and gas by-products that can be used as fuel, providing clean, renewable energy. Hans-Peter Schmidt listed 55 uses for biochar – besides sequestering carbon, improving soil condition and livestock health, biochar plays a significant role in many aspects of building, textiles, energy, human health and well-being and in the decontamination of polluted soil, air and water.






© 2017 by BIOCHAR Network of Western Australia Inc. Proudly created by Paper Napkin Creative.


This project is supported by funding from the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program

supported by Royalties for Regions, and the Warren Catchments Council.

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