Versatile Building Material for the Future
Biochar Offers Reduced Carbon Emissions & Enhanced Soil Fertility
There have been many exciting developments, innovations and efforts to reduce carbon emissions and fight global warming. New materials have emerged along with different ways of doing things, all of which are contributing towards a greener planet. Big changes are happening within the construction industry, up to now, a major producer of carbon emissions.
Many environmentally friendly solutions can be tricky to apply, requiring massive industry changes and being extremely costly. Some are simply impractical, with potential problems outweighing any perceived advantages. Others are more manageable, and offer huge benefits without too much upheaval. One success story relates to Biochar, a carbon-rich, fine-grained material that has many practical applications. This versatile material may be produced in the traditional time honoured fashion, by covering burning biomass with soil and allowing it to smoulder. Alternatively, it can be produced using modern biomass pyrolysis processes
Enhanced Agricultural Productivity & Positive Animal Health
Large amounts of carbon dioxide are produced when woody biomass and agricultural residue combusts or decomposes. Biochar can store this CO2 in the soil causing a reduction in GHG emissions, and enhancing the fertility of the soil. Biochar occurs naturally after wildfires, due to layers of smouldering vegetation on forest floors. It is thought that Biochar could help to tackle human development problems such as hunger and food insecurity. It may also offer a solution to low agricultural productivity, soil depletion, deforestation and biodiversity loss. In addition, it could help with challenges such as energy poverty, water pollution, air pollution and climate change.
In Europe, around 90% of Biochar is already used within animal farming for litter, feeding or treatment of slurry. Used as a feed supplement, It reduces unpleasant smells and farmers report their animals suffer less with diarrhoea and allergies. The animals seem calmer, and there is a reduction in urinary bladder inflammation, fertility disorders and viscous saliva problems.
A Major Solution for the Building Industry
One of the most exciting revelations is that Biochar is an excellent insulation material for buildings, due to its exceptionally low thermal conductivity. Biochar also has the ability to absorb around six times its own weight in water. It may also regulate humidity if combined with clay, lime or cement mortar. It can be added to clay at a ratio of up to 50%, and can even replace sand used in mortar mixes.
Biochar has practical qualities when used for plastering indoor walls etc. It provides insulation and breathing properties, while ensuring that humidity levels are regulated at 45–70% year round. Another positive factor is a reduction of dry air, which can cause allergies and respiratory problems. Damp and condensing air is also avoided, stamping out mould growth and related issues. Dampness and condensation is an ongoing problem for homeowners, landlords etc across the UK.
Aids Adsorption of Toxins & Smells in Plaster
Biochar-mud plaster adsorbs toxins and smells, making it perfect for use in schools, hospitals, warehouses, libraries and agricultural buildings. This improves conditions for workers, and delivers a more pleasant work environment. An effective adsorber of electromagnetic radiation, Biochar and biochar-mud plaster prevents “electrosmog”. It may be mixed with lime and applied via a jet-spray to the outside walls of buildings.
When at a thickness of 20 cm, Biochar can act as a substitute for Styrofoam insulation, transforming the building into a sort of carbon sink. Another result of this is the creation of a healthy indoor climate. When eventually the house is demolished, the biochar-mud or biochar-lime plaster may be recycled and used as a valuable additive for compost. Biochar has many other applications, including use as a wastewater treatment, decontaminant, textile additive and soil conditioner.
Versatile Building Material for the Future, Biochar Offers Reduced, Carbon Emissions & Enhanced Soil Fertility. Enhanced Agricultural Productivity, Positive Animal Health, Major Solution for the Building Industry. Aids Adsorption of Toxins & Smells in Plaster
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