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Below you find a significant library of information.  It is very extensive but if you have a need to truly understand biochar.  I highly recommend spending the time to get to know the information in these videos and presentations.  The knowledge is extensive and rarely found in such a compilation as this.   As always, if you feel a need to support, support the video makers directly.   

We hope it helps you!!  ~Cultural Healing and Life.



Biochar is a carbon rich product made from any organic substance by thermal decomposition without oxygen.  

Ok, its a type of charcoal that will work to stabilize soil conditions and when the soil environment is healthy and soil thrives for a long period of time the biochar plays a role in increasing soil productivity by promoting positive living conditions and soil environment for beneficial soil microbiology.

  • Biochar is mainly utilized as a soil amendment, in waste management, energy generation and in sequestering carbon.
  • In gardening biochar is used as a soil amendment that becomes homes homes for microorganism.
  • Biochar is most effective in tropical areas due to leaching aspects of rain and runoff.
  • Biochar is also beneficial in temperate areas but its benefits are more noticeable in the tropical regions or where monsoons are a factor.
  • Biochar increases soil moisture and germination rates when at the 1 and 2% rate.

It can be made by a variety of methods but it is typically made from a waste products such as the manufacture of biofuels.  However, Bamboo and hardwoods that are waste products are typically used in making a gardening biochar.  

Depending on your soils and farming needs a combination of high ash biochar from manure and bone mixed with hardwood or bamboo biochar can be a consideration. 

Biochar made from manures and bones, are mainly composed of ashes “high mineral ash biochars,” and thus can effect crops differently than hardwood biochar.  

  • High ash type of biochars will be a short-lived benefit as they contain less carbon compared to say bamboo and hardwoods.

Understanding the effect of the type of biochar (such as in high ash biochar or hardwood biochar) with alkaline soils to determine if biochar can impact PH as to ensure the biochar does not increase the PH to levels to cause micro-nutrient lockouts however this is not typically an issue with healthy soils as they will tend to be more PH stable.

  • Essentially utilizing hardwood and bamboo biochar will have less impact in PH than high ash biochar made from manure and bone.
  • Depending on soil situations a mix of biochar types could be better than one or the other alone.

Methods for making biochar vary from traditional pits in the ground, utilization of various barrel techniques and on large industrial scales.

Basically to make biochar the idea is to remove all the volatile or "fuels" in the organic substance and leave just the carbon.  This is then inoculated, often with a nitrogen source and then pulverized into a powder.

One once of biochar has the surface area of approximately an American football field.  This is wonderful news to microbiology.



International Biochar Initiative - Guidelines on Practical Aspects of Biochar

Application to Field Soil in Various Soil Management Systems



This video is excellent in understanding about biochar

photo.jpg USU Extension Forestry - Biochar Basics



Biochar Creation Methods 

Below we illustrate various types of biochar creation and some advanced information for those who would like more information than the basics.

Biochar can be simply made in a pit, with a top lite up draft, bottom fed barrel systems and kiln systems at the farm or garden location.  

  • We will spend more time on pit biochar and tlud barrel systems and tlud kiln systems that can be easily constructed on site and is mobile.

Biochar can also be made in large industrial systems and larger stationary type of ovens.  Mostly in this compilation we will discuss what small farmers and gardeners can create for themselves.


Traditional Pit Biochar

AAUvwnhG0npVU0qIIoTC-KJmXuOuR08Kc6bxBUO3Toon & Leigh porpeang farm Thailand


Barrel System

Top Lid Up Draft or TLUD Barrel System

This system uses a chimney effect and the main heat for making the biochar comes from gas contained naturally in the wood.  By design the gas comes from the bottom of the inner barrel and and is ignited in the outer barrel causing the necessary heat at a good temperature to make the biochar. 


How to make biochar reactor - TLUD barrel

photo.jpgTHEGREENCABBY - How to make biochar reactor - TLUD barrel


Another construction video

photo.jpgGuy Langlois - Building a Biochar Reactor


Small Farm Production

photo.jpg AnnMAugustine - Making Biochar For Small Farms


Making Biochar and Charcoal with the TLUD Brick Chimney Kiln

photo.jpg O.J. Romo - Making Biochar and Charcoal with the Brick Chimney Kiln


Small home garden kiln

photo.jpg brianzaro - TLUD stove for biochar



Quality of testing created biochar

Quality of biochar varies due to several factors, the material used and how well the tars and resins are removed (mobile matter) that can be toxic to plants.  

Their are a few ways to evaluate the quality of your biochars and should be done on home made biochar before use.


Appearance and sound

  • Black and look almost like black glass.
  • Biochar should almost make a clinking noise when rubbing between each other.


The soap test

  • Wash hands, well made biochar will wash off easily with just water.
  • If mobile matter is present then you will need to use soap to wash your hands clean.  This mobile matter is from tars and resins that have not cooked off.


Germination test.  (it is not necessary to inoculate biochar for the germination test.)

  • Germinate seeds in a germinating soil with and without biochar.
    • Mix a bit of biochar with your germinating soil.
    • Use only normal germinating soil.
  • If biochar mix does not germinate it is a problem.


Worm test.  Do worms avoid the biochar areas?

  • If worms avoid the biochar it is not good.
  • If worms like it, all is well!


Biochar water retention test

  • Fill water glass 3/4 full of water
  • Fill water glass 3/4 full of biochar
  • Pour water glass into the biochar glass.
    • The water should not overflow and be the same level as the water.


Inoculating or priming biochar

Inoculating or priming biochar is necessary as to prevent the biochar for initially drawing nutrients into the char from the soil, this drawing effect will prevent the plants gaining access to those nutrients and can cause initial nutritional deficiencies for your plants.

Inoculate by making a liquid nitrogen source from compost/garden/compost teas, FAA and/or liquid IMO.  You can tailor your inoculation to best suite your needs of the biochar.  


Video on different inoculation methods

photo.jpgTHEGREENCABBY - Activate & Inoculate Biochar


Applying Inoculated Biochar

When applying biochar to soil for improving its fertility, the biochar should ideally be located near the soil’s surface in the root zone, where the bulk of nutrient cycling and uptake by plants takes place.

Certain systems may benefit from the application of biochar in layers below the root zone, for example during landscaping for carbon sequestration or if using biochar for moisture management.

  • When biochar is to be applied to soil solely for carbon sequestration purposes, placement deeper in the soil, for example in new landscaping or construction areas, would be desired since microbial activity that can degrade biochar carbon is reduced deeper in the soil profile.


photo.jpg Biochar Bob - Biochar Bob 101: Episode 1 - How to Apply Biochar to a Garden



Biochar workshop - A must watch series full of information

Biochar Workshop Part 1, How to Make Biochar

photo.jpg Living Web Farms - Biochar Workshop Part 1, How to Make Biochar


Biochar Workshop Part 2, Why to Make Biochar

photo.jpg Living Web Farms - Biochar Workshop Part 2, Why to Make Biochar


Biochar Workshop Part 3, The carbon cycle

photo.jpg Living Web Farms - Biochar Workshop Part 3, The carbon cycle


Biochar Workshop Part 4, The biochar facility

photo.jpg Living Web Farms - Biochar Workshop Part 4, The biochar facility


Biochar Workshop Part 5, Biochar and the greenhouse

photo.jpg Living Web Farms - Biochar Workshop Part 5, Biochar and the greenhouse


What happens to carbon after applying biochar  A study in biochar.


photo.jpg NSW DPI Agriculture - What happens to carbon in the soil after biochar is applied?


Test results using biochar

photo.jpg ebsmsa - Field Test Biochar with Corn and Sunflowers (final)


Test without inoculating char over time period of 3 years

photo.jpg SkillCult - Leeks in Biochar Test Bed Much Larger and Greener






Biochar and Hugelkultur in a food forest

photo.jpgThe Natural Farmer - John Kaisner The Natural Farmer - Tropics - #15 Food Forest with Biochar Hugelkultur


Biochar and Charcoal differences

There is a difference in how biochar and regular charcoal is made.  Biochar is made for use in agriculture.  It is specifically pyrolized or charred to support the improvement of soil.  Charcoal can have additive binders and/or tars and resins that are not agriculturally compatible as the charcoal product is going to be optimized for its energy value

Biochar is considered sustainable due to utilization of waste resources and the carbon sequestering aspects but charcoal will release into the air instead of being stored in the soils.  In addition Charcoal production is classically an unsustainable trade, and one of the biggest drivers of deforestation, particularly in developing country contexts. Commercial charcoal products, as I mentioned before, are often petroleum-based—another unsustainable, unrenewable resource.

Carbon storage is different between charring and burning.  Burning is a combustion reaction of combustible material in the presence of air (nitrogen and oxygen), but charring is a degradation of material  due to heating in absence of oxygen.

The products from burning and charring are also different.  The burning of plant matter produces carbon dioxide and water; whereas, charring produces a complex form of carbon and low molecular weight compounds (smoke).

Burning charcoal returns carbon, as part of carbon dioxide (27%) gas to the atmosphere, however, charring returns carbon to the land as a solid, char.  


Biochar and Activated Carbon differences

  • Biochar is a precursor to activated carbon.
  • Activated carbon has a heavy carbon footprint and is expensive to make and utilized chemicals.
  • For information please visit this link:  http://fingerlakesbiochar.com/biochar-vs-activated-carbon/
  • The following video is listed as to illustrate activated carbon creation.


How to make survival activated charcoal 

photo.jpgPHOENIX SURVIVAL - Survival Activated Charcoal Made Naturally



Biochar is just simple carbon with great potential benefit when utilized correctly.  When it is not it may not be the benefit, at least initially that many have made it out to be.  

The commercialism of biochar has sort of made biochar appear like a super hero amendment but biochar works best for improving poor soils and maintaining soil environments over long periods of time with proper management and technique.

Due to that aspect we have created this compilation as to better impart realistic information and knowledge regarding biochar.  We hope that this work helps you, your soils, your plants and the environment.




A song for you!



Credits - Please support these below directly.



~ A Proud Cultural Healing and Life Compilation

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