IBI is pleased to announce publication of the State of the Biochar Industry 2014, documenting the current state of businesses operating in the biochar sector over the last year. The report focuses exclusively on for-profit biochar enterprises and includes case studies documenting the diversity of operations in the sector. The report shows that the number of active companies rose from 175 in 2013 to 200 in 2014, but there was also high turnover with numerous companies exiting the biochar space. Data on prices, volumes, revenues, and many other parameters are included as well as an expanded section on barriers to industry expansion. Based on survey responses, the report documents the main barriers to industry expansion, including a lack of consumer awareness and education, regulatory issues, technological constraints, and access to financing. The report also presents detailed recommendations for future industry growth—beginning with an enhanced emphasis on building broader biochar awareness for the marketplace. The report is available to all IBI paying members, and can be accessed by logging into the member-section of the IBI website at https://ibi.memberclicks.net/login.
Biochar has the potential to increase agricultural productivity, enhance agriculture’s resilience to the impacts of climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and produce sustainable energy. When added to soils, biochar may enhance the resilience of soil ecosystems in the face of intensifying weather events and pressures to improve soil productivity. But not all biochars are created equally. Diversity in feedstocks, production technologies, and biochar end uses creates a complex web of variables whose interactions and synergies are still being investigated. And although purposely adding charcoal to soils is an old practice in some parts of the world, biochar as a product is relatively new—both in terms of research and of a formal biochar industry focused on promoting its adoption as a mainstream soil fertility management practice.
The biochar industry is growing. A biochar marketplace is evident in some areas and a biochar supply chain has emerged—from equipment manufacturers and biochar purveyors to production and use consultants. Furthermore, the industry has created characterization standards and certification programs for biochar to ensure a safe, consistent product.
IBI published its first State of the Biochar Industry report in 2013; this is the second annual report on findings from the industry at large. It includes a history of biochar production and use and, an overview on the current state of the industry based on survey responses from commercial operations as well as internet research. The report presents results on feedstocks, biochar uses, costs, volumes transacted, production equipment, policies and regulations, barriers to expansion, and market trends and outlook. Case studies from five biochar companies are included to highlight the diversity of operations that comprise this industry. The report concludes with recommendations for increased growth—with a focus on creating a vibrant and sustainable biochar industry.
Image: Companies in the biochar industry by sector in 2014 (n=200) compared to 2013 (n=175)