Biochar for Industrial Use
Industrial uses for Biochar
In this article, we look at possible uses of biochar for industrial applications. The chapter headigns are:
|Biochars for air filtration|
|Biochars for building insulation|
|Biochars for odour reduction|
|Biochar as a black pigment|
|Biochar for other uses|
(Biochar for soil, gardening farming, agriculture etc are in other blogs - jump to end for links).
The biochar uses list is rapidly growing. There is a risk that biochar becomes hijacked and positioned as some kind of 'miracle compound' and 'silver bullet solution'. Charcoal (carbon) has been used for many applications over millennia. As wood became scarce, charcoal was replaced by activated carbon made from oil and fossil fuel. Now we are going back to learn how we make biochars from sustainable resources. As we do this, we are also rediscovering many old and some new way to use the material. These properties of carbon lead to many beneficial uses.
There are many uses for activated carbons (PAC, GAC etc) manufactured from oil, coal and methane gas. Biochar made from sustainable resources (eg wood) can replace many activated carbons.
Carbon is used in air filtration (eg HVAC, gas vapour streams, scrubbing gas in coal-fired power stations).
The functionality of carbon in terms of adsorption depends on the surface chemistry and surface area. There are numerous carbon 'activation' techniques (steam, acids, nitrogen etc) used to alter the carbon for specific applications. Biochar should be tested and efforts made to fully understand the properties of the old carbon and the potential biochar replacement.
Each raw material used to make biochar or activated carbon contains different levels of trace elements that are often carried forward from the organic material into the charcoal and or biochar. For example, wood contains silica, calcium, iron and a host of other trace metals the tree needed to make vital enzymes. The final biochar (or activated carbon) can contain silica and calcium oxide. In most cases, these trace mineral items will not harm or interfere with carbon use – but this might not be the case. When the charcoal (activated carbon or biochar) is completely combusted (burnt in air), these trace elements convert to non-hazardous oxides and result in a grey/white ash – think of the white powder left after the BBQ burns out!
Biochar is both porous (holds air) and is a good heat insulator.
Per deodourisation mentioned earlier. Some researchers are looking at building this into house structures,
The largest use of carbon black is in tyre manufacture. It would take a lot of work to ensure quality and consistency, but it could offer an alternative!
The black ink used in photocopiers is a form of carbon black. In our opinion, it is unlikely as the biochar will be used as carbon black. The pigment is incredibly fine particles created during 'gas phase' reactions from oil. Biochar is made from 'solids and comes out as pieces. These bits would require considerable (an most likely uneconomic) crushing to make a very fine micronized powder.
- Super conductance/battery / storage devices
- Protection against electromagnetic radiation
- Fabric additive for functional underwear
- Thermal insulation for functional clothing
- Biochar in ore and metal processing as a reduction agent
- Carbon is used in some cosmetic soaps and skin treatments
- Biochar to replace carbon black in some industrial paints
Thank you for reading our blog on the industrial use of biochar. This is one of five articles on the uses of biochar - follow the links below:
|Biochar for gardeners - some surprising uses (link)|
|Biochar for water and gas filtration (link)|
|Biochar for farming and agriculture (link)|
|Biochar as a soil improver (main article) (link)|