French charcoal company Bordet has launched a public-private R&D programme into biochar worth more than €150, 000 euros. Finance comes partly from the French government and partly from Bordet. The government funds are part of France Relance, a post-Covid recovery programme that includes ecological transition as one of its targets.
Bordet’s R&D programme will study the physio-chemical characteristics of biochar to optimise its performance in carbon sequestration and soil improvement. The company has hired a researcher in plant biology and microbiology to work over 24 months in the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment.
The new project follows up on a three-year investment process by Bordet designed to identify new applications for charcoal. As a result of this investment, Bordet received an Organic Agriculture Certification for its Actichar C Bio activated carbon used in food supplements and animal nutrition. The Organic Agriculture Certification is only awarded to food products where at least 95 percent of ingredients are made organically.
Bordet is a charcoal company founded in 1860 and based in Leuglay, Burgundy. Before its entry into biochar R&D, it produced other forms of biomass carbon from sustainably managed local forest wood scraps. Its charcoal products are used in commercial and domestic cooking, blast furnaces for the sawmill and aluminium industries, agriculture fertilization, cosmetics, and water filters.
Bordet’s charcoal manufacturing operates on circular principles that minimises waste and maximises efficiency. It is also recognised by the NGO Earthworm Foundation as one of the best companies in Europe for corporate transparency, natural resource management, production process, social rights, and working conditions.
Biochar has a key role to play in sustainable agriculture. It is manufactured through a process called pyrolysis, where biomass is burnt in the absence of oxygen. Producing biochar removes carbon from the atmosphere, capturing it in a solid form that is chemically stable. It is a useful organic soil amendment as it makes micronutrients and oxygen more readily available to plant roots.