BioChar is an organic soil amendment that can increase nutrient absorption. Produced from plant matter, BioChar is charcoal that’s stored within plant matter. It actually becomes part of the soil matrix and is used in lawns, specifically to promote vegetative growth and restore poor soil conditions. However, its most notable quality is that it is an eco-friendly sediment amendment known to reduce carbon emissions as well as reduce water pollution.

What Makes BioChar Environmentally-Friendly?

BioChar’s high concentration of carbon is thought to be stable for long periods of time—millennia in fact—and is a sustainable, simply way of reducing carbon emissions. As BioChar is produced, nearly 50% of the carbon that is absorbed by plants from the atmosphere is stored in the BioChar and contained for a long time, keeping it from being dispersed back into our atmosphere. And because BioChar is resistant to decomposition, this carbon storage is a sustainable solution. Even during its production process, the syngas and excess heat used to produce BioChar can be used to produce a variety of biofuels.

Other eco-friendly benefits that the use of BioChar offers include:

  • Improved water quality

  • Greenhouse gas soil emission reduction

  • Reduced nutrient leaching

  • Reduced soil acidity

  • Reduced need for irrigation and fertilizer

  • Reduced nitrous oxide emissions

  • Eliminated methane emissions

The Purpose of BioChar

BioChar is produced from a pyrolysis process when biomass is heated in a low oxygen environment. Once created, the BioChar is typically spread across areas of poor topsoil and mixed in the topsoil, proven to provide a variety of vegetative benefits.

BioChar is best known for its ability to increase plant growth. It also prevents fertilizer runoff and leaching, diminishing the need for fertilizers while also protecting the surrounding environment from potential pollution. BioChar is porous in nature, so it is able to absorb and retain moisture to supply to the surrounding root systems, especially in the occasion of drought. And lastly, it replenishes depleted soils with organic carbon and nutrients, promoting the growth of healthier, more fertile soil.

Coleman Moore distributes ARTichar, which was founded by Iowa State University engineering students in 2013. Their mission is to “develop and implement biorenewable technologies.” ARTichar is an inoculated (biocharged) biochar, which stimulates microorganism growth to transfer nutrients into an easily absorbed form for plant uptake. While plain biochar takes at least three years to start working, inoculated biochar gets to work immediately.\

Benefits of ARTichar

  • Attaches to the phosphates and other nutrients to make them available to plants

  • Delivers labile carbon—a major food source for soil microbes

  • Provides housing for microbes to proliferate

  • Supplies pore space for microbes and absorption of water

  • Can improve the aggregation and structure of the soil, which is important for root growth—especially in heavy rains and compacted soils

  • Binds some heavy metals that may not be allowing plant uptake, causing damage

  • Increases absorption of soluble substances, which helps enhance biological activity and growth

  • Reduces soil bulk density

  • Creates aggregates (clumps) for increased movement of air and water, which increases root penetration, allowing more volume for nutrients and water

  • Retains cation exchange capacity (CEC), which is often lost, due to rain or normal lixiviation processes

  • Has a pH of 7

Learn More

If you’re facing a project where the soils are poor and you need to establish the vegetation, BioChar is an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective soil amendment option. Contact us at Coleman Moore to learn more about it!