Reason 3: The Production of Biochar Provides a Byproduct of Carbon-Negative Bioenergy
The pyrolysis process that is used to produce biochar creates a byproduct of syngas, which is a combustible mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and methane. There is also a significant amount of excess heat created in the process.
At large scale, the hydrogen and carbon present in the syngas can be recombined with a process called Fischer-Tropsch to create hydrocarbons, liquid fuel otherwise commonly known as diesel. There are also innovative technologies where the syngas is pumped through a vat of specialized bacteria and the end product is ethanol produced at very favorable Energy Returned over Energy Invested ratios.
The syngas and excess heat can also be used to drive standard off the shelf turbines to generate electricity. The power can be used on farm or sold back to the grid. It can also be used to power several innovative flex fuel steam engines to drive irrigation pumps for instance. One of the simplest applications may simply be for space heating, to heat chicken sheds for instance.
In operations that produce char as part of a waste management strategy, the byproduct of energy produced can be an important revenue stream.
Agricultural operations have a variety of energy needs, for irrigation, space heating, drying and machinery. We evaluate each of our clients' energy needs and configure a pyrolysis system to optimize the use of the bioenergy produced.
Taken together, the production of biochar has the potential to both save money in energy costs and offset fossil fuel use. And unlike any other form of bioenergy, the more energy is produced with biochar, the more carbon is removed from the atmosphere.