Biochar is now being used by the oil and natural gas industries as an economical method of complying with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) air and water quality regulations.
The EPA recently proposed standards to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and air toxics from oil and natural gas wells. The new rules also aim to significantly reduce the potent greenhouse gas, methane.
To comply during drilling operations, biochar is applied to the soil in oil and gas production areas to decontaminate the well cuttings. In so doing, hydrocarbons and VOCs are captured and sequestered in the biochar and broken down to nontoxic levels before they are off-gassed into the atmosphere. This process compares to traditional off-gassing into the atmosphere. A biochar filtration process is used to purify producer water from wells. Biochar removes pollutants allowing for the discharge of clean water.