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February 2, 2023 31 min

Wood burns twice. The first burn takes wood to charcoal. The second phase takes charcoal to ash. Unless you remove oxygen. Josiah Hunt, Founder and CEO of Pacific Biochar Befit Corporation explains that Biochar is made at a high temperature in an oxygen-limited environment. Organic waste is taken through the first burn phase and by limiting the oxygen, remains charcoal. The final product is buried in the soil where it improves water retention and fertility. And you can do this at your own ranch. Listen in to hear Josiah’s tips on how to make and incorporate Biochar into your vineyard.


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Craig Macmillan  0:00 

Today is Josiah Hunt, who is founder and CEO of Pacific Biochar Benefit Corporation. And we're going to talk about guess what biochar. Josiah thanks for being on the podcast.


Josiah Hunt  0:09 

Thank you.


Craig Macmillan  0:11 

Let's just get right into it. And let's start with some basics. What exactly is biochar?


Josiah Hunt  0:15 

Biochar is a funny word. First. biochar in its most basic terms is biomass charcoal, which is redundant because charcoal is from biomass and the generation like where the word came from is even funnier in my opinion, the word biochar was born out of the word Agra-char. But in the world first Agra-char conference in 2007, a company came forward and said, Sorry, we've already trademarked that back to the drawing board. And they came up with biochar. That's that's the origin story that I've heard. I think one of the really interesting questions is, why did we have to come up with a new word for charcoal, and the reason for that is climate change. So I think the key differentiator from where the word biochar came from is part of an idea, rather than a simple material. And that idea is wrapped up in waste organic material used to create biochar, a biomass charcoal, which is then buried in agricultural soils, where it serves two important purposes, carbon dioxide removal by sequestering that stable carbon into the ground and long term soil fertility. So this helping address climate change mitigation by removing carbon and climate change adaptation by facilitating food security. So it's a lot packed into that concept. So the word charcoal just couldn't hold it anymore.


Craig Macmillan  1:39 

Just couldn't hold it off. We're talking about charcoal, which people have been making for millennia, essentially. So how is biochar made and are there multiple ways of this different materials, etc.?


Josiah Hunt  1:51 

High temperature in an oxygen limited environment. So you're you're basically reaching these combustion temperatures, but you do so with an oxygen limited environment. So a woodchip brought up to 500 degrees Celsius would become a glowing ember. Its molecules so excited, they're shooting off photons. Now, if that woodchip came up to five degrees Celsius, and there's sufficient oxygen, you would have complete combustion first, that woodchip would volatilize off the gases become a chunk of charcoal, and then the

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