Turning Organic Waste into Biochar Might Save the World from Global Warming
Turning Garbage into Biochar
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We now have the technology to turn global waste into a multifunctional "band-aid" for the planet; in effect, turning garbage into gold. Biochar is a new, very porous type of charcoal created by heating organic wastes to high temperatures. The waste can be just about anything—wood, corn husks, manure—materials that would break down on their own eventually.
How is Biochar Made?
To make biochar, organic waste is placed in a special machine that heats the materials to temperatures as high as 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, a process known as "pyrolysis". After a few hours of exposure to intense heat, the trash is transformed into charcoal-like pellets that farmers can use as fertilizer. Even the gasses given off during pyrolysis of organic matter can be harnessed to make fuel.
What's So Great About Biochar? Everything.
In addition to creating fertilizer and fuel, this panacea pellet is a natural carbon-sink. Forests that are slashed and burned, or even cut own and left to naturally decompose, release large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere; a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Carbon drawn from the atmosphere can be locked into this natural charcoal, and then stored in the ground, where it is unable to contribute to atmospheric carbon dioxide. As an added bonus, the presence of biochar in the ground also improves soil and water quality.