Biochar holds nutrients and fertilizers longer in the soil and provides other benefits which encourage plant growth while simultaneously sequestering the carbon. In other words, the carbon of the original biomass has been fixed and will not naturally return its carbon into the atmosphere for very long periods of time. Biochar is one of the most promising agricultural breakthroughs since the discovery of fertilizers.
Biochar is a name for charcoal when it is used for particular purposes. Like all charcoals, biochar is created by pyrolysis of biomass. Specifically, biochar is produced from wood, using a higher temperature pyrolysis process as compared to the temperatures used for torrefaction and biocarbon production – 400⁰C to 500⁰C. Biochar is used in agricultural applications as a soil additive. When applied to soil, biochar acts as an agricultural catalyst by promoting plant growth but is not consumed. Since it is a catalyst, its benefits continue for generations without further addition.