Monday, June 8, 2015

Might Biochar Be the Next Big Thing in Ag?

Readers, I found this news item from my local backyard region of Colorado interesting. It features a natural soil amendment which also sequesters carbon and is made from beetle killed pine trees.--K.M.

Berthoud-based Biochar Now raises new funding as it seeks to scale up production by Joshua Lindenstein (BizWest)

Biochar Now LLC, the latest venture of Loveland serial entrepreneur Bill Beierwaltes, has raised $500,000 in new equity funding as the company works toward beginning large-scale production over the coming months. The company disclosed the funding in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A separate Form D filing made in April indicates Biochar Now had previously raised nearly $3.5 million over the past four years.

Berthoud-based Biochar Now uses beetle-kill pine trees from Colorado to create biochar, a highly porous and absorbent charcoal that can be used as a soil amendment and for carbon sequestration. The company creates the biochar with a process called slow pyrolysis in which the beetle-kill pine is heated in an oxygen-deprived environment. The company has been primarily in research and development mode in recent years, but has been selling some biochar that was made during a limited pilot production run.

The finished product sells for $10 to $15 per cubic-foot bag depending on the size of biochar purchased, ranging from fine dust to large chips. Beierwaltes said in a phone interview Wednesday that the company hasn’t yet nailed down a firm date for its full launch. He declined to disclose the number of employees the company has now, but said Biochar Now would be adding people as manufacturing ramps up. (read the rest)

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