Davey Makes Strides Towards Greater Sustainability with New Biochar Facility

The Davey Tree Expert Company opened a biochar facility in East Dundee, Illinois, that will recycle wood waste from client properties and turn it into an environmentally friendly soil additive, biochar.

“Biochar is a carbon-rich charcoal-like substance that offers many benefits to the soil,” says Jim Zwack, vice president and general manager, Davey Institute. “Incorporation of biochar into the soil can help resist soil compaction, improve infiltration and retention of water, hold nutrients and absorb salts. It also doesn’t decompose, unlike compost, so it will continue to provide benefits for many years.”

The biochar produced at this facility is not only made of recycled wood waste from client properties, but the opening of the facility will also help Davey reach one of its 2030 goals, to have zero woodchips go to landfills.

“The biochar we’ll be producing in this facility sets itself apart from other biochar products because it’s created using sustainably-produced wood waste from the work we do on client properties, rather than using non-plant materials or intentionally removing trees just to produce biochar,” says Mike Veney, director, environmental programs, Davey Institute. “We hope our clients see that opening this facility shows that we’re recycling wood waste from the work we do at their properties, which in turn will create a product that’s put back into the environment to benefit the other plants and trees on their landscapes, as well help the environment as a whole due to biochar’s many sustainable benefits.”

The 4,800 square-foot facility is an expansion of Davey’s mulching operations, which are a set of mulch-producing facilities where wood waste from client properties is used to create natural mulch that is used back on client properties and sold.

“Our mulch facilities and this new biochar facility are all not only great examples of turning waste into a sustainable product for the environment, but also turning waste into revenue,” says Veney. “We see the biochar especially having a great impact on the construction and agriculture industries. This biochar facility will be a pilot for us, and we hope to add more biochar-producing facilities in our other markets down the road. We also believe we’re the first green industry company to open a biochar-producing facility, which is something we’re very proud of.”

The facility currently houses one biochar kiln that will operate 24/7 with plans to install a total of three kilns in the future. The biochar produced at the facility will be used on client properties and sold retail.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Click to listen highlighted text!