Biochar is a charcoal used to improve the soil fertility, prevent soil degradation, isolate carbon into the soil, and provide protection against some of the foliar and soil-borne diseases. Biochar is made from biomass by the pyrolysis process and then heating it in a low oxygen environment. It requires a temperature range of around 400-500 degree Celsius to produce maximum char. After production, biochar is spread on agricultural fields and integrated on the top layer of soil. Biochar contains 70% carbon and other 30% consists of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. Biochar technology differs from the conventional charcoal production as carbon conversion is more efficient and does not release any harmful pollutants during combustion.
Biochar can be produced at small and large scales by using three different processes such as Pyrolysis, Gasification and Hydrothermal carbonization. The small-scale production uses pyrolysis method that includes modified stoves and kilns, which are low cost and relatively simple technologies. However, the large-scale production uses huge pyrolysis plants and suitable feedstock, which requires more capital investment. Further, Biochar producing cook-stoves are more popular in developing countries.
The pyrolysis method of converting biomass into biochar and energy has four major benefits such as it helps to improve the productivity of soil to achieve higher yields, substitution for fossil fuels, carbon decomposition in the soil to reduce carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere, and agricultural waste management. Biochar production process requires feedstock such as wood chips, corn stover, rice and peanuts hulls, tree bark, paper mill sludge, animal manure, and agricultural & forestry biomass residues. However, biochar as an end product is also produced in the form of syngas (bio-fuel), which could be used to generate heat and power.
Factors Influencing Market Growth:
Increase in the use of biochar to enhance soil fertility and crop yields, as well as waste management ability, is also driving the market for biochar. Further, rising government initiatives for using biochar and strict environmental regulations about carbon dioxide emission also boost the biochar market growth. Moreover, during pyrolysis method, biochar produces synthetic gas as an end product, which could be a convenient option over fossil fuels which in turn expected to drive the biochar market during forecasting period. However, lack of consumer awareness about numerous benefits of biochar owing to hinder the overall market growth.
Geographically, the biochar market is segregated in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and LAMEA (Latin America, Middle East and Africa). The major growth factors for biochar market in the North American region are increasing usage of biochar in the agricultural sector. The U.S. is one of the leading countries in biochar usage due to awareness about biochar properties amongst the farmers, long-term benefits, low feedstock cost with easy availability, and a number of biochar producers in domestic and international level. However, Asia-Pacific is expected to witness fast-growing region due to the availability of major agrarian countries like China and India that could adopt biochar to improve soil fertility and reduced carbon dioxide emission.
The major key players in biochar market are Pacific Pyrolysis Pty Ltd., Vega Biofuels, Full Circle Biochar, Diacarbon Energy Inc., Agri-Tech Producers, LLC, Phoenix Energy, Earth Systems Bioenergy, Biochar Supreme, LLC, Pacific Biochar Benefit Corporation, and CharGrow, LLC. These players are trying to recognize the needs of the market in developing countries and expanding their strategies to improve business needs.
In February 2018, Illinois College of Agriculture (University of California) investigated that biochar could be used as an alternative to peat moss used in the potting mix as biochar decomposes very slowly and when organic material is turned into biochar, carbon decomposes in soil and not able to escape into the atmosphere.
Global Biochar Market Segmentation:
• Agriculture Waste
• Forestry Waste
• Animal Manure
• Biomass Plantation
• Microwave Pyrolysis
• Batch Pyrolysis Kiln
• Continuous Pyrolysis Kiln
• Gasifier and Cook stove
• Electricity Generation
o North America
Rest of Europe
Rest of Asia-Pacific
Rest of LAMEA