Technical Note SB82: Biocarbon for industrial applications

What is the difference between biocarbon and biochar?

Biocarbon and biochar are both solid, carbon-rich material obtained from the pyrolysis of biomass. Both are similar to charcoal but vary in their ultimate fate (energy or carbon storage). The familiar barbeque “charcoal” is a form of biocarbon.

  • Biochar and biocarbon production via pyrolysis hold considerable promise for co-production of industrial heating, electricity generation, and as solid, liquid and gaseous feedstocks for many industries:
    • biocarbon as a reductant where fossil fuel carbon such as coal is currently used
    • biocarbon as a coal replacement for industries requiring high carbon and energy content feedstocks
    • biochar as a soil amendment (see TNSB05 -Biochar)
    • biochar for carbon sequestration applications (see TNSB05 -Biochar)
    • as activated carbon (after steam treatment)
  • Among the industrial applications, the metallurgical sector is the most promising market for biocarbon.
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