The market for wood has become narrower and narrower and more construction and demolition contractors are having a hard time bringing wood to market. Biochar has emerged as a new viable way to turn this resource into a lucrative asset in some areas of the U.S.
What Is Biochar And How Is It Made?
Biochar is a type of charcoal that is produced by pyrolysis. Pyrolysis is a process of thermal decomposition with the absence of oxygen. This means that no combustion happens, and the process yields a mix of solids (the biochar proper), liquid (called bio-oil), and gas (called syn-gas) products. Another method of production is for industrial recycling and demolition contractors to sell the wood to biomass plants that use industrial boilers to reduce wood down into biochar.
The power of biochar is in its ability to help the soil retain nutrients and water. It can be made in different types, but most are used for agricultural applications as components of compost, fertilizer, and soil amendments for farmland.
Biochar has been linked to “stronger root structure, improves seed establishment, greater nutrient uptake, and reduced watering requirements.”
It also has other uses beyond farmlands, can be used in sewage and water treatment, and oilfield and land remediation. It is also used as a non-soil carbon product in building products, animal feed, and more.
Biochar has been around for a long time, but recent developments in new equipment have lowered the barrier for potential producers. Now is a great time to explore what biochar can do for you. Of the 135 producers of biochar, 54 reside in the Pacific West, according to a U.S. Biochar Initiative study.
Is there a difference between charcoal and biochar?
Biochar and charcoal are two forms of carbon with some overlap. They have a similar composition and method of production. The key difference tends to be in the use of the product.
As we have mentioned, biochar is great for agricultural use and soil amendments. Charcoal tends to be used for heating, cooking, and most commonly associated with barbeque.
Why Is Biochar Now Viable?
The major thing that has changed is the equipment used to generate biochar. Equipment with the capacity to process eight to 15 tons per hour of material has only just entered the market. It is only within a few years that mobile systems equipped with tracks and wheels have made producing biochar easier for recyclers. They can now produce and process wood on-site.
Uses of Biochar for Industrial Demolition and Recycling
This new productive capability opens up new doors for commercial recycling and demolition contractors. It provides unique solutions for those demolition services that are looking to convert excess wood into a profitable source of income.
Traditionally, recyclers have provided fuel-quality waste wood to biomass plants. Now with the advent of mobile carbonizers, the issue of finding a biomass plant or sending the waste wood straight to already over-full landfills is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
If the waste material is clean enough to be converted into biochar, you get the double benefit of reducing the volume of the product and creating a valuable product that can be worth between $80 to $100 per cubic yard.
The reduction in volume and the generation of value is of great interest to recyclers. These mobile units are able to reduce the costs by hauling away the product from the site, and there is no need to pay to dispose of the waste. Total costs are reduced and trucks and other equipment are used more efficiently.
The Market for Biochar
As with any new product, there exist some barriers to entry in the form of time and financial investments. But for those industrial recyclers and Oregon demolition services who take the time to know the market and the customer base, many opportunities are ripe for the picking.
Biochar offers a natural and renewable, low-carbon material that can be used in place of materials like peat or vermiculite. These materials are non-renewable, mined abroad, and processed using fossil fuels before being shipped to distributors.
It is a powerful agricultural soil support and a great filter for water and waste. It can persist in the soil for hundreds or thousands of years, reducing the need for fertilization.
Elder Demolition’s Services Lead In Oregon, Washington, Montana & Idaho
Elder Demolition leads demolition contractors in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest in
industrial recycling. We offer a wide range of recycling options from scrap metal recycling to steel processing and concrete.
We have the expertise and equipment needed for any demolition or recycling project. Our demolition expertise is known all around the northwest and surrounding areas, from Spokane, Washington to Montana, Idaho, and Portland, Oregon. Contact us today!