Researchers from Swansea University joined forces with Commons Vision Ltd to launch EarthChar, the UK’s first accredited biochar product, at the recent Low Carbon Swansea event, which was hosted by the Down to Earth Project.
Professor Alayne Street-Perrott, who is instrumental in leading Swansea University’s Biochar Research Team in the College of Science, said: “Our research, published in Nature Communications in 2010, showed that production and development of sustainable biochar could play a significant role in slowing global warming.
“Our team has worked very hard in partnership with Commons Vision to demonstrate the practical value of the approach, and we congratulate the company on this tremendous achievement.”
Biochar is produced from wood and other organic matter. It is a soil amendment that improves soil structure, fertility, health and biodiversity. Biochar also stores carbon in the soil for centuries, helping to reduce the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere that cause climate change.
The accreditation is through the Biochar Quality Mandate (BQM), a rigorous health, safety and sustainability assessment process, which is managed by the British Biochar Foundation (BBF).
To gain accreditation, the product has been carefully analysed in independent testing laboratories to ensure that it contains no contaminants and so is a safe material to add to the soil. The accreditation also requires that the production of biochar is clean and that there are no dangerous environmental emissions.
Finally, the accreditation also guarantees that the biochar is produced from wood sourced from sustainably managed forestry. Commons Vision’s product, EarthChar, has been awarded High Quality Biochar status as a result of its exceptional quality.
The accreditation gives the purchaser the confidence to know that what they are buying is a high quality, clean and safe product, the manufacture of which has been done to the highest environmental standards and which has not involved the use of any unsustainable wood.
Siôn Brackenbury, Director of Swansea-based Commons Vision, said: “It has taken us five years of extensive, collaborative research to get here. All of our partners, funders and supporters are thrilled that we have achieved this exacting standard.
“We look forward to working with our new brand EarthChar, with a range of new, exciting and truly sustainable products for the UK market.”
Darren Hopkins and Dr Simon Shackley of the British Biochar Foundation also welcomed the development.
“This is a massive step forward for the low carbon economy the Government so desperately needs and will help provide a sustainable future for us all,” said Darren Hopkins.
“We are so proud to have worked with Commons Vision to get their first EarthChar product through the UK’s biochar accreditation scheme and hope that this is just the start of great things to come.”
- Wednesday 18 May 2016 00.00 GMT
- Swansea University, Tel: 01792 295049
- Thursday 19 May 2016 13.24 BST
- Thursday 19 May 2016 13.22 BST
- College of Science