The first time we came across biochar here at 2nd Green Revolution we were exactly one month old. As a result of that post, we were contacted last summer about the publication of Biochar – its Production and Application to Soils which launched at the 3rd International Biochar Conference in Brazil last September. It turns out biochar is back on our radar. While reading the most recent issue of 5280, Denver’s flagship magazine, I came across Biochar Engineering Corporation (BEC), located in nearby Golden, CO.
According to their website, the company builds biochar production equipment. Biochar is a partially burnt organic material that helps trap carbon dioxide and enriches soil when buried.
The company is currently producing first-generation field-scale beta units for research in agricultural soil fertility, mine tailings reclamation and forest management. We will scale-up to shipping container-sized systems next year, and to larger portable and relocatable installations for biochar production in coming years. BEC’s technology mimics nature’s intelligence creating valuable co-products, ultimately including biochar and process heat with or without electricity or liquid fuels.
The company was recently added to the United States Department of Agriculture’s BioPreferred program, which aims “to promote the increased purchase and use of biobased products.” Biochar Engineering current offers a mobile unit that can be transported to sites, negating the need for costly construction and overhead. “These mobile units can be deployed at the source of the biomass—minimizing transport costs; avoiding carbon emissions from transportation; and in some cases, tipping fees.” The biowaste is burned in the absence of oxygen (pyrolysis). As a result, the device will produce biohcar and heat from dry woodchips.
BEC advertises three models on their website, one of which is coming soon, and another representing an experimental model.
- Biochar Production:Continuous biochar production in the field
- Batch UnitNew Model Coming Soon
Small-scale biochar production for research
- B-1000 VideoEarly experimental unit in October 2009
According to the 5280 article, BEC has sold five biochar production units thus far. With the advent of the BioPreferred program, sales will potentially increase.