In the past several years, Cool Planet has rocketed from inception to the pilot stage to producing commercially available biochar, a product that could have a significant impact on California’s severe drought conditions.
Farmers that use Cool Planet’s biochar can use up to 40 percent less water on the same crop surface area and maintain the same yield, or use the same amount of water and harvest a significantly bigger yield.
The enhanced biochar is created from biomass, which can include agricultural waste but the preferred source is wood chips, Cool Planet’s Commercial Director, Neil Wahlgren, explains.
Cool Planet’s biochar process uses locally sourced biomass and captures the carbon, keeping it permanently in the soil so it is not released back into the atmosphere.
Even if raw biochar were put into the soil without adjustments, the soil would eventually reduce the pH on its own, but it would take 3 to 5 years, and the biochar would not be as effective during this time.
Cool Planet has refined this process to take 12 minutes, so the resulting biochar is like “Move-in ready condos for water and nutrients,” says Wahlgren.
Some customers will use the enhanced biochar to enrich one parcel of land so that they use less water, some will use it to enrich more land than they were previously able to cultivate because they can distribute the water over a larger area.