Regenerative agriculture is an approach that restores natural ecosystems, increases biodiversity, and builds soil health. It uses customized fertilizer inputs, crop rotations, and other regenerative practices such as no-till and cover cropping. By mimicking the way nature works in an agricultural setting, regenerative farming can improve soil quality while preserving crop productivity.
When done correctly, regenerative agriculture can be both profitable and sustainable for small-scale farms. For example, regenerative techniques like cover cropping help reduce erosion by preventing wind and water from washing away nutrients or carrying them offsite.
Regenerative practices also allow farmers to use customized fertilizers while avoiding the over-application of chemical fertilizers, which can have negative impacts on soil health and water quality. By using regenerative practices, farmers can reduce their input costs, improve soil health and fertility, and increase crop yields.
Ultimately, regenerative agriculture has both environmental and economic benefits for small-scale farms. With careful management, regenerative systems can be incredibly effective in preserving soil health while boosting profitability for small-scale operations. By investing in regenerative practices that mimic natural processes, small-scale farmers can create a sustainable, profitable system and reduce their environmental impact.
How easy is it to implement regenerative agriculture practices?
Many regenerative methods, such as cover cropping and customized fertilizer applications, require some technical expertise to implement and maintain. Fortunately, regenerative farming is becoming increasingly popular, which means farmers can access the resources they need to become regenerative farmers
Custom Agricultural Intelligence is on the forefront of the regenerative agriculture movement. Our expertise in customized fertilizers, intercropping, and crop monitoring, is aimed at helping farmers implement and maintain regenerative farming practices.
Contact us today!
Industrial Use in the building sector
In the modern world, the industrial benefits multiply adsorber in functional clothing, insulation in the building industry, as carbon electrodes in supercapacitors for energy storage, food packaging, slurry treatment, air cleaning, silage agent, or feed supplement.
- Building Insulation: Biochar can be applied at thicknesses of up to 20 cm as a substitute for Styrofoam insulation. Houses insulated turn into carbon sinks, creating a healthier indoor environment. In addition, if such a house is demolished later, the biochar mud or biochar-lime plaster can be recycled as a valuable compost additive.
- Air decontamination,
- Decontamination of earth foundations,
- Humidity regulation,
- Protection against electromagnetic radiation (“electrosmog”)
Two of biochar’s properties are its extremely low thermal conductivity and ability to absorb water up to 6 times its weight. These properties mean that biochar is the right material for insulating buildings and regulating humidity. In combination with clay, but also with lime and cement mortar, biochar creates indoor plasters with excellent insulation and breathing properties, able to maintain humidity levels in a room at 45–70% in both summer and winter. This, in turn, prevents not just dry air, which can lead to respiratory disorders and allergies, but also dampness on the walls, which can lead to mold growth. Such biochar-mud plaster adsorbs and toxins, a property not just benefits smokers but also improves working environment in libraries, schools, warehouses, factories, and agricultural buildings.
Biochar is an efficient absorber of electromagnetic radiation, meaning that biochar-mud plaster can prevent “electrosmog.”
- Soil additive for soil remediation – used on former mine works, military bases, and landfill sites.
- Soil substrates – Highly adsorbing, plant-able soil substrates for cleaning wastewater; urban wastewater contaminated by heavy metals.
- A barrier preventing pesticides from getting into surface water – berms around fields and ponds can be equipped with 30-50 cm deep barriers made of biochar for filtering out pesticides.
- Treating Pond and lake water – biochar is good for adsorbing pesticides and fertilizers and improving water aeration.
Initial tests show that, adding biochar to a fermenter’s biomass (especially heterogeneous biomasses), the methane and hydrogen yield is increased, decreasing CO2, ammonia emissions, nutrients are better stored, and emissions prevented.
The treatment of wastewater
- Active carbon filter,
- Pre-rinsing additive,
- Soil substrate for organic plant beds,
- Composting toilets
The treatment of drinking water
- Macro-filters in developing countries
Other industrial uses
- Exhaust filters (Controlling emissions, Room air filters)
- Industrial materials (Carbon fibers, Plastics)
- Electronics (Semiconductors, Batteries)
- Metallurgy (Metal reduction)
- Cosmetics (Soaps, Skin-cream, Therapeutic bath additives)
- Paints and coloring (Food colorants, Industrial paints)
- Energy production (Pellets, Substitute for lignite)
(Detoxification, Carrier for active pharmaceutical ingredients, Cataplasm for insect bites, abscesses, eczema…)
There are several hundred other medical uses proven in its efficiency for many centuries. Somewhat forgotten during the last 40 years, more research and doctors rediscover its efficiency to treat a whole range of symptoms.
(Fabric additive for functional underwear, Thermal insulation for functional clothing, Deodorant for shoe soles)
In Japan and China bamboo-based biochar are already being woven into textiles to gain better thermal and breathing properties and to reduce the development of odors through sweat. The same aim is pursued through the inclusion of biochar in shoe soles and socks.
(Filling for mattresses, Filling for pillows)
Biochar adsorbs perspiration and odors, shields against electromagnetic radiation (electrosmog), and removes negative ions from the skin. Moreover, it acts as a thermal insulator reflecting heat, thereby enabling comfortable sleep without any heat build-up in summer. In Japan, pillows have been filled with biochar for a long time. This is supposed to prevent insomnia and neck tension.
Shield against electromagnetic radiation
Biochar can be used in microwave ovens, television sets, power supplies, computers, power sockets, etc., to shield against electromagnetic radiation. This property can also be used in functional clothing as protection for parts of the body particularly sensitive to radiation.
Put a small bowl of biochar into the fridge (or small linen bags with biochar) and it will not only absorb bad odours but also Ethylene which will retard the post ripening of fruits and vegetables prolonging thus their conservation time. As the biochar takes-up humidity, the risk of mould is diminished. In food packaging the conservation time can be increased through the addition of biochar either in the packaging material or as an additive in small tea bags. For the long-term storage of potatoes, carrots, cabbage, apples, and other winter vegetables and fruits, digging them into biochar can increase storage time for several months.
Thank you for following our series on Biochar and its numerous uses
Uses of Biochar
Biochar is a rich carbon substance that is highly porous and entirely safe for environmental application.
In addition to reducing soil emissions of greenhouse gases, biochar serves many purposes in regenerative agriculture, from improving soil quality to livestock feed productivity and water filtration treatments. It offers long-term amendments that include resistance to decomposition, beneficial nutrient bioavailability in soil, soil water retention, and reduction of nutrient runoff.
Biochar technology offers a promising solution to mitigate climate change by reducing contamination and securely storing carbon in a cleaner and more efficient compared to traditional forms of coal. One ton of biochar is equivalent to three tons of CO2 sequestered. In sustainable soil management, the energy sectors can reduce emissions by redirecting and repurposing agro-waste from landfills into biochar production.
Globally, soil degradation is a constant concern within the agriculture industry. We can improve soil quality and compost properties by adding biochar to compromised soils. The structure of biochar is unique in its benefits to hold moisture, nutrients (including nitrogen and phosphorus), and agrochemicals, and its main enhancing features include:
- Increasing water retention
- Moderating acidity
- Improving microbial properties
- Improving electrical conductivity
- Regulating nitrogen leaching
- Accelerating composting progress
- Reducing compost’s ammonia losses, bulk density, and odor
- Reducing the need for chemical fertilizers
Improving the soil structure leads to the complete utilization of nutrients, enhanced growth of plants, and higher profitability for farmers. In addition, biochar has a longer shelf-life, is low-cost, farm and environmentally friendly compared to traditional fertilizers in enhancing crop yields.
Biochar can extract pollutants like metals and metalloids or dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in stormwater, increasing the soil’s water and nutrients capacity and resulting in remediating soil contaminants. The removal of pollutants is done by increasing the soil’s hydraulic conductivity and reducing the peak flow of stormwater.
- Metal Removal
- Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs)/Organic pollutant removal
- Nutrients removal by biochar
- Downspout filter boxes
- Bioswales and rain gardens
- Infiltration trenches
Therefore, biochar has great potential to be implemented in a stormwater management system from environmental and economic perspectives. For example, it can be used as a filter media to remove new and already-established contaminants. In addition, biochar has excellent potential as a Low Impact Development (LID) material in planting cells since the township utilizes a variety of LID solutions in new neighbourhoods, depending on the characteristics of the specific development.
Agriculture uses for Biochar
Basic biochar applications include drinking water filtration, sanitation of human and kitchen wastes, and as composting agents. All these applications have been documented in many different pre-industrial developments. However, biochar should only be worked into the soil at the end of such “cascades,” keeping in mind that some biochar uses – for cleaning up metal or chemical contamination – would render the biochar unsuitable for agricultural soils and need different recycling pathways.
The cascaded use of biochar in animal farming
- Silage agent,
- Feed additive/supplement,
- Litter additive,
- Slurry treatment,
- Water treatment in fish farming
- Manure composting,
- Soil amendment
A farmer will quickly notice less smell when biochar is used in feeding, litter, or slurry treatment. Used as a feed supplement, the incidence of diarrhea rapidly decreases, feed intake is improved, allergies disappear, and the animals become calmer. Co-composting improves both the biochar and the compost. The resulting compost can be a highly efficient substitute for peat in potting soil, greenhouses, nurseries, and other special cultures.
Use as a soil conditioner
- Carbon fertilizer,
- Compost additive,
- Substitute for peat in potting soil,
- Plant protection,
- Compensatory fertilizer for trace elements
The property of biochar as a carrier for plant nutrients can be exploited to produce organic carbon-based fertilizers by mixing biochar with such organic waste as wool, molasses, ash, slurry, and pomace. This biochar application prevents the leaching of nutrients, a negative aspect of conventional fertilizers. The crucial trace elements found in plants (over 50 metals) become part of the carbon structure and are available to plants via root exudates and microbial symbiosis.