15. January 2020
Sine Friedrich
Biochar | Biomass

BIOCHAR: Approval for organic farming throughout the EU

Biochar may now be used throughout Europe in organic farming as a fertilizer/soil condi­tioner. What a breakthrough! In Germany, for example, biochar has so far only been allowed to be used in the form of char­coal in agri­cul­ture. But now, in December 2019, Ursula von der Leyen, as the new Presi­dent of the EU-Commis­sion, has signed the imple­men­ting regu­la­tion (EU) 2019/2164. This has been in force since 2020: Biochar is now defined as a “pyro­lysis product made from a wide variety of organic mate­rials of plant origin ” and is listed in Annex I of the current EU Regu­la­tion (EC) No 889/2008 under the heading ferti­li­zers, soil condi­tio­ners and nutri­ents as an autho­rised ferti­lizer in accordance with Regu­la­tion (EC) No 834/2007.

The reason given for this step was ” that the subs­tances ‘biochar’ (…) comply with the objec­tives and princi­ples of organic produc­tion”. It is to be hoped that the autho­ri­sa­tion will also soon be compa­tible with the objec­tives and princi­ples of conven­tional farming. Because, whether organic or conven­tional: Already during the produc­tion of biochar, a large part of the carbon contained in the biomass is stably stored in the biochar and not released as CO2. If the “green coal” is spread on the field toge­ther with manure, slurry or compost, the carbon remains bound in the soil for centu­ries, nutrient leaching into the ground­water is reduced, and instead it acce­le­rates the humus forma­tion and thus the storage of a multiple of CO2. It is not without reason that the Inter­go­vern­mental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has declared the use of biochar in conjunc­tion with humus forma­tion to be an important stra­tegy in the fight against global warming.

Click here for Regu­la­tion (EC) No 889/2008 Click here for Regu­la­tion (EU) 2019/ 2164

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