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Difference between "biochar" and "activated carbon"?  RSS feed

 
Stephen Hall
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Location: OKC Oklahoma
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I was under the assumption that biochar and activated charcoal were the same thing. But after reading a little while on biochar-international.org/definitions I am a little confused. Is there a significant difference? Can exhausted aquarium carbon be used as biochar?

Any information, links, opinions is appreciated.
 
James Freyr
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Biochar is the charred remnants of usually wood burned in a low oxygen environment rendering a near pure carbon that is then usually ground into dust and inoculated with biological good guys, hence the bio part. Charcoal contains coal, and those briquettes folks use on the barbecue grill has other stuff in it like petroleum paraffin as a binder so they briquettes hold their shape. Activated carbon is essentially the charred remnants of wood again and is often used as the filtering media in water filters. You can totally add your used aquarium carbon media to a compost pile, turning it into biochar. This is how it's been explained to me and how I understand it, and if I'm in error, someone please correct me. :)
 
Harry Soloman
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For too much information on biochar

Biochar compilation
 
Stephen Hall
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Location: OKC Oklahoma
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Thank you guys! What about used drinking water filters? Would that activated carbon not be a good choice because of the potential pollutants that the carbon may have absorbed?
 
Todd Parr
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Stephen Hall wrote:Thank you guys! What about used drinking water filters? Would that activated carbon not be a good choice because of the potential pollutants that the carbon may have absorbed?


I would use the aquarium filters straight from the aquarium into the garden.  I also wouldn't hesitate to use drinking water filters unless you are filtering lead or something that I would be afraid to use in the garden.  Personally, I'm not concerned about bacteria or the like.  I assume nature will take care of that for me.
 
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