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Earthly Biochar - a practical and innovative solution to combat climate change

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by Startacus Admin

biochar kiln

Earthly Biochar is a Devon-based startup that's on a mission to scale biochar use in the UK, helping to improve soil health and mitigate climate change.

earthly biochar.On the heels of the hottest weather on UK record, climate change is at the forefront of the national conversation again. Once again, we start talking about (not doing, of course) what has to be done while a shockingly large portion of the population scoff and sneer and pretend that climate change is in some way a matter of debate or opinion. 

Meanwhile, thankfully, some people just get on with creating new ways of reducing our impact on the environment with the goal of being as non-disruptive as possible. Because if there’s one thing that will stop people making a small change, it’s inconvenience.

Devon-based startup Earthly Biochar is looking at, as the name suggests, biochar. Biochar is essentially charcoal, but made with little to no oxygen present, at a higher temperature than charcoal. 

biochar.pThe process of making biochar sequesters carbon, because whereas the creation of charcoal releases the carbon dioxide in wood into the atmosphere, biochar production turns it into a crystalline structure that cannot biodegrade, thus storing the carbon for hundreds, even thousands, of years. This makes biochar carbon-negative.

As well as biochar itself, Earthly Biochar sells specially designed kilns to create your own biochar. The kiln is easy to use and produces around 9 or 10 litres of biochar in every 1-hour burn (which is about £20-worth). Because the whole point is to help the environment, the kiln works through pyrolysis, designed to produce no smoke, instead burning it, and the heat produced can even be used to cook thanks to the grill plate attachment. 

All you need is dry feedstock - ideally woodchips, perhaps secured from a local tree surgeon, for whom it is only waste - and something to light it evenly. After an hour, you have biochar that you can use in a wide variety of ways, including as a highly beneficial additive to your soil for growing plants (after it is charged and activated using the inoculant powder that the startup also provides), which increases plant health and reduces water requirements.

In July, Earthly Biochar announced that it had secured a £50,000 grant after being recognised at government innovation agency Innovate UK’s Young Innovators Next Steps Awards. This comes after winning the Young Innovators Award in 2021, and the funding will allow them to scale up and develop more products.



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Published on: 22nd July 2022

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