5 Questions with Jim Loar

Special Advertising Section - Special Advertising Section | Ask the experts: Biochar

Growers are using the ancient material biochar in their cultivation operations. To understand biochar’s history and important technological advancements that have made it possible to harness biochar’s unique properties to deliver substantial soil-health benefits, we talked with Cool Planet’s CEO, Jim Loar.

July 10, 2018

1. What is biochar, and how are growers using it?

Biochar has long been used as a carbon-rich soil enhancer and is acknowledged for its potential to support soil health. It is created by pyrolyzing (heat in the absence of oxygen) biomass, and the result is a fixed carbon skeleton that sequesters carbon and locks it in place. Biochar is different from compost because it resists chemical and microbial degradation. The material’s exceptional porosity offers nooks and crannies (a habitat) for microbes that are vital to support strong soil root zones and can promote water retention and nutrient efficiency. Growers who are interested in optimizing their soil and root environments use biochar as an enhancement to their nutrient and fertilizer regimes.

2. How is Cool Terra different from raw biochar?

Raw biochar can perform unpredictably, and not all biochar is created equal. The source material and processing conditions can mean the difference between measuring product usage in tons per acre or pounds per acre. Cool Terra Organic is a biochar-based, consistent and predictable soil enhancer that is produced to a strict specification.

We use modern techniques to select the proper biomass and then clean and treat the raw biochar. We then post-treat the raw biochar: adjusting the pH to neutral, flipping it from hydrophobic to hydrophilic so that it attracts water and doesn’t repel it, and removing detrimental residues. This means that Cool Terra is ready to be used right out of the bag.

3. How does Cool Terra enhance the root zone?

Cool Terra is highly porous, which is beneficial for water holding. It has a high ion exchange capacity and can promote nutrient exchange and availability, holding nutrients in the root zone longer and making them easily accessible to roots for uptake. Lastly, this porous structure made from neutral, strong and durable fixed carbon walls, acts like a coral reef, to provide a habitat that can optimize microbial populations that can protect against stressors and diseases.

4. How can growers incorporate Cool Terra into their operations?

For growers interested in increasing yield, quality and plant resiliency, begin by adding Cool Terra at 3-5% v/v in the soil or growth media. Most growers have a favorite soil-management practice. I would suggest incorporating Cool Terra into their existing practice. For those using perlite or vermiculite, try replacing them in part with Cool Terra as it provides key benefits of both!

5. What is the ROI of using Cool Terra?

The bottom line is what matters at the end of the day. Cool Terra has shown consistent yield and quality improvements and a greater than 3:1 grower ROI. Not only that, but Cool Terra sequesters carbon providing environmental and societal benefits. Contact your local retailer today to find out what Cool Terra can do for you!