Biochar is a charcoal like substance which is produced by heating organic “feedstocks” to temperatures in excess of 350°C in an oxygen free environment. This process is called pyrolysis. Biochar differs from charcoal in that it can be produced from a wide range of feedstocks including crop residues, manure and biosolids, as well as wood, which is the usual feedstock for charcoal production.
It also differs from charcoal in its means of utilisation; biochar is produced with the specific aim of application to soil, while charcoal is mainly used as a source of fuel.
Application of biochar to the soil has been shown to increase soil fertility and to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from the soil while also sequestering carbon.