BioChar sells biochar and charcoal briquettes produced from the transformation of organic waste from greenhouse crops.
BioChar has developed two quick and inexpensive organic waste recovery systems. First, the company transforms organic waste from greenhouse crops (on farms less than 10 hectares) into biochar which is a useful biological amendment for soil regeneration that allows the retention of 50% of water and 50% of nitrogen. Secondly, they produce green coal briquettes for energy purposes.
This is an alternative to non-disseminated waste treatment systems in the villages in Agadir, in Morocco where biomass waste (mainly tomatoes and papers) is burned every year producing over 15,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions as over than 500 small farmers with less than 10 hectares of greenhouses do not have a landfill. Interview with representative
Video of biochar and green carbon production process by BioChar Maroc.
BioChar Maroc sells biochar for 1 USD/kg and charcoal briquettes for 0.5 USD. Logistics are the most costly operations for BioChar, especially when moving the raw material and transporting the final product to customers. Interview with representative
The main competitors are the coal producers and SMO Peps start-up; Coal producers make charcoal using the traditional method (by carbonization with a traditional grinding wheel). They can become potential customers of Biochar Maroc’s mobile pyrolysis furnace; SMO Peps start-up works in the pyrolysis of waste with CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) technology with a solar oven, still in the prototyping phase.
Both competitors services and products are the cogeneration of electricity and active charcoal and biochar, the co-founder contacted Biochar Maroc for a commercial partnership. Interview with representative
Target customers are: Interview with representative
-Greenhouse tomatoes and peppers producers/farmers that are looking for a way to remove excess biomass without the incineration in winter as remaining plastic twine pathogens make this biomass complex for composting. Each farmer must have 1 hectare for every 10 hectares of greenhouses to store this waste.
-Restaurants, hotels and individual cooks are the main consumers of the charcoal briquettes.
-Compost companies and farmers are target customers of biochar to use as soil amendment, improved nutrient water retention, and incubation of mycorrhizae.
Both products are produced through a process that includes collection agricultural byproducts, burning (pyrolyzing), carbonization, and pressing and compacting – as can be seen in this video. BioChar used to compact manually, however, and along with local artisans, they built a machine to compact the charcoal briquettes.
Biochar is open source, as of August 2018, Biochar Maroc doesn’t have a patent. Interview with representative
Products and service are directly from the manufacturer, BioChar.
As of August 2018, over 100 units have been sold. Interview with the representative
To create the briquettes, BioChare uses a rectangular and compact biochar kiln with a capacity of 1000 kgs (1 ton) of biomass (mainly for tomatoes and peppers), a water tank (volume to be decided) and all connected with a proper piping system.
The kiln is going to be made of refractory iron and is going to be similar to the one designed by Chris Adams. Interview with representative
Provided by the manufacturer.
Plastic tubes at the combustion chamber. Interview with representative
Lifecycle and disposal directions for the kiln are unknown. Interview with representative
BioChar aims to focus on the production of the product by deciding the specified volumes and packages for storage and distribution. As of August 2018, BioChar is working with a local tomato greenhouse company to build a biochar kiln that simultaneously heats a greenhouse. BioChar, however, needs the help of experts on thermodynamics to design the dual system.Interview with the representative
Biochar Maroc has produced 100 kgs of biochar from tomato biomass with their oven for the company Azura. They are now testing it on the soil and making the phytotoxic analysis.
No third-party testing has been completed.
Potential hazards regarding spontaneous combustion without proper storage and potential burns during the use of the charcoal briquettes. Guidelines provided by the manufacturer should be followed.
There is no specific academic research about the BioChar Maroc product, however, Stolarski, et al. published the following review of similar charcoal briquettes:
Stolarski, M.J., et al., Comparison of quality and production cost of briquettes made from agricultural and forest origin biomass. Renewable Energy. 2013 Sep;57:20-26.
The manufacture claims to match the goals of the 2016-2030 National Sustainable Development Strategy in Marocco. Interview with representative
Phytotoxic analysis and testing of the impact of biochar on soil health is ongoing by the Azura company from Morocco. Interview with representative
BioChar has participated in the 12th edition of Green Africa Innovation Booster, organized by the Solar Energy and New Energy Research Institute of Morocco (IRISEN) as well as in the 13th edition of the International Exhibition of Agriculture in Meknes (SIAM). BioChar was awarded as the second of three major innovations in the Clean Tech Innovation Challenge in Marocco.
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