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Biochar Feasibility Assessment, Costa Rica


Assess potential for biochar to enhance the production of ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration through enhanced biomass production and carbon storage in soils.  Develop a pilot biochar production facility and test the agricultural response of plants to different doses and types of biochar, intercropping oil palm trees and corn to determine yield outcomes of biochar as a replacement for chemical fertilizers.  

How it will work:

  • Two types of biochar production kilns were developed: a 4m3 kiln and a smaller kiln based on rocket stove design principles.
  • Some biochar was reacted with chicken litter, clay, rock phosphate and calcium carbonate to replicate roughly and in an accelerated way to produce a Biochar Mineral Complex (BMC) similar to that which is created naturally over time when biochar is applied to soils.
  • Raw biochar, acid-activated biochar, and BMC were produced and incorporated into the soil alongside controls of chemical fertilizer and untreated soil. Preliminary results show significantly positive plant yield outcomes from both biochar and biochar mineral complex.  

Project Development Support:

  • A preliminary cost/benefit analysis was developed using data for the kiln developed for the pilot facilities.   
  • The Incubator and partners will complete the production facility, produce greater volumes of biochar for local agricultural and restoration efforts, and continue the agronomic yield studies.
  • A business plan will be generated for on-going biochar production at the pilot and / or an expanded facility, including the possibility of eventual carbon crediting for terrestrial carbon sequestration by means of biochar.

Project Partners: International Biochar Initiative, Biocombutibles de Costa Rica, Centro de Producción Nacional Más Limpia (CNP+L) of Costa Rica, Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE)
Location: Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula 

Project Details: Click here to read the biochar feasibility assessment
Project Types: Soil Carbon
Hectares: trial plots only
Status: Feasibility
Standard: None
Developer: Forest Trends
Contact: Phil Covell [pcovell[at]]
Last Updated: August 2010