Green & Growth® Biochar 100 % Hemp
Biochar (or biochar) is a carbon-rich material, highly resistant and persistent over time (refractory), obtained by thermal decomposition of any biomass in the absence of oxygen (pyrolysis).
The conditions used to obtain biochar (temperature, temperature ramp, retention time, among others), as well as the characteristics of the starting biomass (forest, agricultural waste, animal or food waste, etc.), result in biochar with different physicochemical properties and, therefore, different applications.
Differences between charcoal and BIOCHAR
There are many charcoals and biochars on the market, but it is important to know how to assess the differential quality between them, because a charcoal can be, for example, harmful to the soil, as well as not being as resistant to degradation over time.
The main differences between charcoal and biochar are:
a) The different quality of their starting biomass (some may even contain contaminants derived from varnished wood, sewage sludge from wastewater treatment plants or from illegal forest sources).
b) Pyrolysis conditions. In biochar they are more careful and at a higher temperature, above 500oC , which allows the decomposition of some compounds that could be harmful to the soil.
In general, the biochar refers to a more careful product that guarantees that it has been manufactured with clear objectives for its different applications, whether in soils or in other materials.
GREEN & GROWTH®
Biochar 100% HEMP
As a soil improver, biochar establishes a complex organic-mineral relationship by interacting with and facilitating the relationship between plant roots, microorganisms and other organic matter, proteins and other nutrients dissolved in the soil water.
In other words, biochar improves water and nutrient retention, avoiding leaching and favoring the establishment of beneficial microbiota communities in its porous structure, which increases the soil's natural regeneration and regulation capacity, improves nutrient bioavailability and fertility in general. This reduces the need for irrigation and soil fertilization.
This relationship is influenced by the porous structure and its ability to adsorb and chemically react with different substances. This porosity and reactive surface area vary greatly depending on the biochar production conditions as well as the starting biomass.
Its porous structure, in turn, favors soil drainage capacity, preventing soil erosion under heavy rainfall conditions. In general, biochar is able to regulate the soil ecosystem, making it more fertile and healthy for plants, which makes it a soil improver of choice, both in favorable and unfavorable conditions, although in any case it prepares the soil to better withstand adverse weather conditions.
Biochar shows physicochemical surface characteristics that favor the adsorption of inorganic and organic pollutants. This adsorption capacity allows biochar to immobilize contaminants present in solid or liquid media, thus favoring their control or elimination.
The physicochemical properties of the biochar surface vary greatly depending on parameters such as the starting feedstock from which it is generated, the temperature conditions during pyrolysis or the residence time at different temperatures.
This difference in conditions will modify the pore size distribution, surface clusters and ion exchange capacity in the resulting biochar, causing its effectiveness for handling different contaminants to vary.
In the specific case of Green & Growth® Biochar 100 % Hemp, being generated at low temperatures, it is more suitable for removing organic and inorganic polar contaminants, such as heavy metal ions, through oxygen-containing functional groups, precipitation and electrostatic attraction.
In this sense, before applying biochar for remediation purposes, it is advisable to have an analysis of the pollutants present in the medium; in this way, it can be assessed whether it is advisable to modify the pH of the medium before applying it, with the aim of generating ionic species of the pollutants so that they can be adsorbed by the biochar.
Biochar has unique properties, such as its porous structure, large specific surface area, high thermal stability, good conductivity, refractoriness, as well as its versatility to interact with different compounds and its character as a renewable, abundant and environmentally friendly raw material.
These characteristics make biochar provide excellent properties, environmental benefits and low production cost when included as filler or reinforcement in biocomposites, a practice that is beginning to gain much attention worldwide for its good prospects in terms of positive social, environmental and economic impact.
Among others, biochar provides benefits to the final biocomposite product such as:
- Decrease in the use of coupling agents, such as isocyanate or anhydride.
- Weak polarity biochar (obtained at high temperatures) is beneficial for better interface combination with hydrophobic polymeric materials.
- The porous structure of the biochar can help transfer stress within the biocomposite, thus improving its mechanical properties.
- In general, biocomposites with biochar show good stability, conductivity (higher the higher the temperature used to generate the biochar) and dispersibility.
Biochar can be used to improve the mechanical properties and carbon footprint of cement, as well as a substitute for aggregate, increasing strength, elasticity and lightness.
Likewise, it can be used to improve the mechanical properties and carbon footprint of asphalt, as well as to reduce the harmful gases emitted during its production. This is because biochar facilitates the bonding between different asphalt compounds at high temperatures by improving the performance of asphalt binders.
Green & Growth® Biochar 100% Hemp is a lignocellulosic material with great potential for solid biofuel applications.
Specifically, it has a low moisture content, low volatile matter (thus showing lower particulate matter emissions), limited ash content (generating less fouling during combustion) and high carbon content (giving it a high energy density, associated with high calorific values).
The vast majority of black inks and dyes used in various industries are made with a highly polluting pigment called carbon black, obtained from the incomplete combustion of petroleum derivatives.
This pigment is also used as a reinforcement in plastic biocomposites and rubbers. However, its use is subject to controversy due to its classification as a group 2B substance (possibly carcinogenic to humans) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
In addition, for every ton of carbon black produced, more than three tons of CO2 are emitted into the atmosphere.
Consequently, the health risk, high carbon footprint and dependence on fossil fuels associated with this material have led to the need to look for alternative eco-friendly inks.
Biochar has been tested experimentally as a substitute for carbon black with good results in the manufacture of different types of black inks, and little by little companies are beginning to appear that already offer these respectful inks.