The gasification process creates two incredibly useful products. The first is syngas (synthesis gas) which is what we use to run the Planet Green Solutions Biomass Power Plant generators to create electricity. The second product of this process is biochar. Biochar is the mostly solid carbon residue which falls to the bottom of the gasifier as the biomass is processed. For agricultural applications the biochar is often more valuable than the syngas and specific gasification systems have been developed solely to produce it.
Biochar has been used for centuries to increase crop yields and retain soil productivity. One of the first known applications of this is found in the “Terra Preta” soil of the Amazon Basin. The soil in this region is relatively infertile. Native inhabitants of the region began the active addition of charcoal and manure to the soil over a period of many years. This soil is now some of the richest in the world. Terra Preta soils are used by the local farmers to produce cash crops such as papaya and mango, which grow about three times as rapidly in Terra Preta than if planted in surrounding soils.