UK Biochar Research Centre
Charchive Standard Biochars

Biochar in growing media: A sustainability and feasibility assessment

Key Staff:
Dr. Saran P. Sohi
May 2012 - April 2013
Defra / Task Force for Sustainable Growing Media
Partners in Research:
ADAS and Carbon Consulting

The Government has published its ambition to eliminate the use of peat in horticulture by 2030. The Sustainable Growing Media Task Force (SGMTF) was established to explore barriers to further peat reduction and to assist in the transition to sustainable growing media. Until recently, biochar had not been considered as a potential ingredient of such products. This project was commissioned to consult with the industry on the feasibility (utility and economics) of using biochar as a peat replacement.

Biochar types differ in their visual, physical and functional properties; they are also associated with different production costs and logistical challenges. Consequently, different types of biochar will be more and less acceptable in growing media. This project report seeks to understand the opportunities and challenges associated with the adoption of biochar in horticulture.

The project also assessed the implications of widespread adoption of biochar for sustainable exploitation of biomass resources and impacts on the environment, largely independent of its relevance to carbon cycling. The potential benefits of including biochar in a strategy for decreased peat content in growing media was set against the cost, sustainability and practicality of providing alternative ingredients.


Relevant Research Areas: