Biochar In The News
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A Garfield County ranch will be the site of a 2-year-long pilot study to see if dead, pine beetle-killed trees can be turned into a kind of fertilizer to help improve livestock grazing land.
Niederman, who founded a company called Rich Earth Enterprises to promote biochar, said the process of mixing charcoal with soil was used by residents of ancient Amazon to grow crops on soil that was otherwise too thin and sandy to support production.
Recent studies have also identified modified soils such as terra preta, the Amazon dark earths that were amended by charcoal and compost. Millions of acres of terra preta have been found in the allegedly ?pristine? Amazon rainforest, indications of large sedentary civilizations that persisted for centuries prior to Columbus and the introduction of Eurasian diseases. - A particularly promising path for boosting fertility and productivity in Amazonia is biochar farming techniques similar to those used by pre-Colombian populations. The so-called "terra preta" soils offer the additional benefit of sequestering carbon, helping reduce atmospheric concentrations of CO2.
Reign of Terroir - Hans-Peter Schmidt iives in Switzerland and runs an experimental vineyard conducting a research program on biochar?s effects on vineyard terroir.
Biochar is being rediscovered by soil scientists and organic gardeners in Australia and North America, among other places, and is the focus of research by both Australia?s leading scientific body, CSIRO, and Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan.
Terrestrial ecosystems have lost in the last 3 centuries 200-250 billion tons of carbon. Dr. Lovejoy's proposal is to build up earth's stamina so it will function effectively again as a carbon sink for emissions.
Jan 9, 2009 Terra Preta, What?
Have you heard of terra preta? I hadn't until I listened to a radio interview yesterday in which it was mentioned in passing. The term is Portuguese for "black earth." Why is it important? Two reasons: improving agricultural fertility without petrochemical fertilizers and sequestering carbon dioxide. In effect, terra preta -- a manmade soil originated by pre-Columbian Amazon cultures as long ago as 450 BCE -- could be one of the exciting "new" green industries of the 21st century.
A group of Rice faculty and staff members led by Wiess College senior Jeremy Caves and Earth Science Postdoctoral Research Associate William Hockaday created a proposal to turn the 5.6 million cubic yards of debris, including fallen trees and other green waste, left by Hurricane Ike into atmosphere-friendly biomass charcoal known as Biochar.
Peanut shells may not hold much value to most of us, but to K C Das, from the University of Georgia, US, they are a valuable resource. Dr Das and his colleagues have developed a system that produces both biochar and hydrocarbon oil from biomass that would otherwise be thrown away.
Die derzeitigen Maßnahmen gegen die Maßnahmen zielen auf eine Reduktion des Ausstoßes von Kohlenstoffdioxid ab. Die Pyrolyse von Biomasse in Verbindung mit dem Terra Preta Verfahren erlaubt es jedoch sogar, Kohlenstoffdioxid aus der Luft zu entfernen und in der Erde zu binden.
An ancient agricultural technique from the Amazon rainforest is attracting the interest of scientists in the US and elsewhere for its ability to restore soil fertility, sequester carbon and provide carbon-neutral or even carbon-negative energy.
High on a hillside in the Alps, Hans-Peter Schmidt has begun an experimental vineyard called Mythopia where ancient clues for solving climate change may lie buried in the soil.
University of Georgia researchers say an ancient farming practice once used in the Amazon River basin could slow down global warming. UGA research scientist Christoph Steiner, who studied terra preta for years in Brazil and now is researching ways biochar might help modern humans.
In the search for ways to generate green energy, researchers have been perfecting the heating of biomass in closed, oxygen-free conditions to make an efficient, gaseous fuel. The question, however, was what to do with the substantial amounts of char that was left over after the conversion.
SynGest, Inc. announced that its venture to manufacture bio-ammonia from biomass will be launched in the state of Iowa. Three years from now, when SynGest?s plant goes into operation, Iowa?s renewable corn stover (stalks, cobs, etc.) will help replenish its soil with organic ammonia and bio-char.
James Lovelock thinks humanity has only one remaining option to halt climate change and save ourselves, through the widespread implementation of biochar throughout the world.
Malcolm Turnbull will today attempt to trump Kevin Rudd on climate change by unveiling a multi-pronged carbon emissions reduction policy promising extra spending on alternative energy sources, mass forestry plantings and research into storing carbon in soil.
Malcolm Turnbull is moving to get on the front foot over climate change, proposing measures to cut emissions substantially more than the Government guarantees under its emissions trading scheme. Biochar plays a central role in his proposals.
Back in the May 2008 issue of Reason magazine I wrote of the adventures and travails of a group of Berkeley-based art-gearheads experimenting with gasification and its resulting biochar as means of transportation, power generation, and perhaps even carbon footprint reduction.
Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull has used a visit to Crucible Carbon?s Newcastle R&D centre to renew his attack on the Rudd Government?s Carbon Pollution Reduction Strategy, saying it overlooks the ?enormous opportunity? of turning organic waste into biochar and sequestering carbon in soil, potentially absorbing close to 20% of Australia?s emissions.
The first comprehensive assessment of the climate cooling potential of different geoengineering schemes has been conducted by researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA). The results are published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions.
Jan 29, 2009 Why Biochar?
Tim Flannery loves it, Malcolm Turnbull wants it on the political agenda, and ancient Amazonian cultures used it to make soil that is still fertile after hundreds of years. Why aren't we knee-deep in biochar?
A quick review here on the subject of terra preta and we are sort of due. New information is this tale about confederate soldiers who took up farming on such soils and discovered their value and obviously told the story to a research group.
The University of New South Wales is accelerating research into biochar, an organic product derived from biological waste that harnesses carbon emissions, boosts crop yields and improves sustainable land use for horticulture and forestry.
Last year, I committed one of the great sins of gardening: I let weeds go to seed. Cleaning up in fall, I faced down a ton of seed-bearing foxtail, burdock and crabgrass. I decided to try something different. I dug a ditch, added the weeds and lots of woody prunings, and burned it into biochar, thus practicing a ?new? soil-building technique that?s at least 3,000 years old.
Biokohle, wie Sie schon vor tausenden Jahren von den Völkern am Amazonas zur Verbesserung der Bodenfruchtbarkeit verwendet wurde, kann einen entscheidenden Beitrag gegen den Klimawandel und gegen den Hunger auf der Welt leisten.
... with carbon sequestration potential in soils. With the potential for carbon sequestration in Australian soils such a hot topic at the moment, NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has dedicated two up-to-date and informative web pages to the issue.
The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has submitted to the fifth Session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA 5) a proposal stressing the need to include in the UNFCCC negotiation agenda practical approaches, such as biochar-related (charcoal) mitigation, focusing on increased land productivity.
Biokohle kann weder die Klimaerwärmung aufhalten noch den Hunger oder die Armut auf der Welt beseitigen. Aber sie kann einen nachhaltigen Beitrag zur Lösung all dieser Probleme leisten. Und sie kann auch bei uns für gesunde Böden sorgen, sagt der deutsche Bodenphysiker Bruno Glaser, der auf der ganzen Welt mit Biokohle experimentiert.
January 23 through 25, 2009, about 100 ?stovers? gathered in Kirkland, Wash., for the annual ETHOS (Engineers in Technical and Humanitarian Opportunities of Service) conference devoted to meeting household energy needs in the developing world.
Feb 25, 2009 Flux Farm Research
Flux Farm is currently investigating the feasibility of processing biomass (mountain pine beetle kill, dedicated energy crops, municipal solid waste, cop residues, etc.) through a distributed network of pyrolyzers. We wish to identify possible markets for the bioenergy produced, and better understand how western pasturelands respond to the application of biochar.
Marlborough, New Zealand charcoal technology company Carbonscape has two reasons to celebrate: it has sent the first batch of charcoal created with its microwave technology off for testing, and has welcomed Tim Flannery from Australia to its board.
AUSTRALIA is lobbying for changes to global greenhouse accounting rules to allow it to count more of its carbon storage in soils, trees and biochar. The Rudd Government has been pursuing the options, despite publicly criticising Malcolm Turnbull for pinning too much hope on the biosequestration techniques.
In Brazil?s Amazon basin, farmers have long sought out a special form of fertiliser ? a locally sourced compost-like substance prized for its amazing qualities of reviving poor or exhausted soils. They call it the terra preta do indio ? literally, ?the dark earth of the Indians?. Dense, rich and loamy, this earth forms a stark contrast with the thin, poor soils of the region.
Mar 4, 2009 What is Biochar?
Biochar is a type of charcoal produced by the conversion of biomass or feedstock to a charred product under oxygen-limited conditions in a reactor, a process known as pyrolysis, says biogeochemist Dr Evelyn Krull from CSIRO Land and Water.
Developing methods of sequestration for carbon emissions is essential to reducing the greenhouse effect. A new book titled, Soil Carbon Sequestration and the Greenhouse Effect: Second Edition, addresses this topic and provides new perspectives as the field of carbon sequestration advances.
Biochar techniques are one of the various agricultural processes being experimented with by the Enoch Olinga College (ENOCIS) at their Agricultural Extension Center ?New Era Farms? in Chepo, Panama
Two young engineers from Lambeth are celebrating success in an international environmental competition. Their idea uses a method called hydro-pyrolysis, which turns waste into oil and gas to be used as fuel. This method can also produce biochar.
The European Commission (EC) has released a report that underlines the role that soils can play in mitigating climate change. The report is a synthesis of the best available information on the links between soil and climate change.
Giant microwave ovens that can "cook" wood into charcoal could become our best tool in the fight against global warming, according to Chris Turney, a leading British climate scientist. Turney has built a 5m-long prototype of his microwave, and plans to launch his company, Carbonscape, in the UK this month.
We can now add India to the list of countries with evidence of a long-standing tradition of agriculture supplemented with charcoal. According to Dr. Nakka Sai Bhaskar Reddy, members of the Munda tribe living in Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal use biochar enriched with cow and chicken dung to increase crop production.
BBC - Green guru James Lovelock claims that the only hope of mitigating catastrophic climate change is through biochar - biomass "cooked" by pyrolysis. There's a flurry of worldwide interest in the technology, but is the hype justified?
There is a new threat to African land rights, people and ecosystems, parading as a corporate solution to Climate Change. It is known as "Biochar".
The Guardian - George Monboit - The latest miracle mass fuel cure, biochar, does not stand up; yet many who should know better have been suckered into it.
The Guardian - James Lovelock - George Monbiot is wrong to dismiss biochar out of hand ? burying carbon is one way to tackle climate change.
George Monbiot is right to tell biochar enthusiasts to calm down. Nevertheless in his eagerness to get us to tone down our enthusiasm he goes too far. Biochar is a useful and important way to help reduce atmospheric concentrations of CO2.
Guardian - Pushker Kharecha and Jim Hansen - George Monbiot's implication that we believe biochar is a miracle solution to CO2 reduction is grossly misunderstood. An attentive reader would know his insinuation is false by simply examining our land use-related assumptions in our recently published peer-reviewed paper, Target atmospheric CO2: Where should humanity aim?
CNN - Biochar is considered by many scientists to be the "black gold" for agriculture. Worldwide use of biochar could cut CO2 levels by 8 parts per million within 50 years, according to NASA scientist James Hansen.
CNN - Scientists hope 'biochar' can reduce greenhouse gases, improve farming and create clean energy.
Sus defensores afirman que absorbería el CO2 extra de la atmósfera, produciría bioenergía y frenaría la deforestación.
Apr 30, 2009 Bound to Burn
Humanity will keep spewing carbon into the atmosphere, but good policy can help sink it back into the earth.
May 24, 2009 Char Grilled
ABC News Australia - The rules of engagement for the new carbon economy are still being formulated but already there's lively political debate over the role for biochar.
Biochar, the charcoal-like residue when biomass (such as agricultural or council waste) undergoes pyrolysis (combustion at 400-550 degrees, without oxygen), has the potential to pull large amounts of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
When it comes to the agricultural space, we turn to bio-char/agri-char and why Boulder might have the most important meeting in America. Very simply, we have the potential for a carbon-negative fuel that will, over time, also foster improve fertility in soil.
Biochar, or amending soil with biomass-derived carbon, shows great potential to improve the productivity of soils, as well as to increase the utilization of fertilizers by plants, while sequestering carbon to reduce the drivers of climate change. On August 10, I went to the 2009 North American Biochar Conference to look at the potential for investors.
Biochar is a form of charcoal believed by many to present enormous opportunities in enhancing crop growth, remediating contaminated soil and preventing climate change causing carbon emissions.
Some of us are not ready to give up on prevention quite yet. I recently attended the North American Biochar Conference to learn more about the possibility for lowering temperature by reversing the carbon flow from the soil to the atmosphere.
Prepared by CSIRO at the request of the Queensland Premier?s Council on Climate Change, the report 'An analysis of Greenhouse Gas Mitigation and Biosequestration Opportunities from Rural Land Use' estimates the amount of greenhouse gases that can be stored or mitigated by changes in rural land use in Queensland and more broadly, Australia.
A chocolate maker and music promoter aim to create a £1bn biochar industry, in a controversial effort to fight climate change.
As a bioengineering solution, UK?s Institution of Mechanical Engineering suggests using algae to harvest CO2 and produce a combination of fuel and biochar.
The Economist - Before the industrial revolution, whole forests disappeared into the charcoal-burners? maw to provide the carbon that ironmakers need to reduce their ore to metal. It is a sweet irony, therefore, that the latest fashion for dealing with global warming is to bring back charcoal.
Carbon Gold is about to announce its first deal with the government of the Maldives. It is to develop biochar projects on three islands in the Maldives, taking waste from agriculture and fishing and turning it into charcoal by roasting it in a low-oxygen atmosphere.
If there's one thing Douglas County has plenty of, it's wood waste. In fact, Douglas County Commissioner Joe Laurance has dubbed our region ?the Saudi Arabia of biomass.? A fast pyrolysis pilot project to produce biochar and bio-oil in the county is being undertaken by Renewable Oil International.
If there's one thing Douglas County has plenty of, it's wood waste. In fact, Douglas County Commissioner Joe Laurance has dubbed our region ?the Saudi Arabia of biomass.? A fast pyrolysis pilot project to produce biochar and bio-oil in the county is being undertaken by Renewable Oil International.
Our focus on raising the equity of farming communities and improving sustainability and replicability of the model means that we have to address the impact of Agricultural Productvity, we are exploring our community based supply chains from our cropcycles to create biochar.
Scientists should not meddle with the Earth's complex climate by experimenting with futuristic "hard" geo-engineering options when softer approaches are available, says Frank Raes, head of the climate change unit at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. "We'd rather go with what I call geo-renovating," Raes argued. As an example of a "win-win" soft geo-engineering approach, Raes singled out biochar technology, which turns agricultural waste into charcoal to enhance soil, while the gases can be used as fuel.
The speed and scope of global warming is now overtaking even the most sobering predictions of the last report of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change, finds a new report issued by the United Nations Environment Programme, entitled "Climate Change Science Compendium 2009." Management alternatives suggested include large-scale translocation or assisted colonization of species; eco-agriculture, in which landscapes are managed to sustain a range of ecosystem services, including food production; and the use of biochar, biologically-derived charcoal that is mixed in soils, increasing fertility and potentially locking up carbon for centuries.
A temperature increase of two degrees above pre-industrial levels has been proposed as a useful target to prevent dangerous climate change. But curbs on carbon dioxide emissions will not result in cooling for around 1000 years or so. With that in mind a team from the US, India and Kenya has proposed four solutions that are not based on carbon dioxide, can be implemented fast and will produce a climate response within decades.
Agricultural land could be the focus of an "economic opportunity of unparalleled scale", according to the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, which has called for a re-write of Australian emissions trading legislation to properly recognise "terrestrial carbon".
Trees and grasses are approximately 50% carbon. The critical question at hand is simply this: Can the carbon captured by photosynthesis and converted by pyrolysis to stable agricultural charcoal, Biochar, be used today to create a sustainable system of agriculture in the following 7 critical areas
The 2009 Bio eConference??Growing the Bioeconomy: Solutions for Sustainability??is a 12-state alliance of simultaneous state conferences. Keynote address by James E. Lovelock, Ph.D. One of the world?s most renowned thinkers on global environmental science, Dr. Lovelock has called upon farmers to convert agricultural residues to biochar for incorporation into the soil as the only solution to global climate change.
In order to combat certain farming practices, he believes governments should subsidize no-till farming and other carbon sequestration technologies. For example, Gore thinks biochar, which is basically porous charcoal, may be able to sequester 40 percent of annual carbon dioxide emissions. He also believes that most of the solutions should be enacted on their merits alone, regardless of their effect on the climate.
In the world of climate change solutions, biochar is the celebrity option ... The industry acknowledges the need for further study, but argues the basics are proven.
The juwi Group and Joachim Böttcher, head of areal GmbH, today founded the joint venture Palaterra GmbH&Co.KG at juwi?s company headquarters in Wörrstadt, Germany. In this joint venture, juwi and areal together will produce and market a groundbreaking new product, which will make an important contribution not only toward solving world hunger but also to climate protection: Terra Preta, or "dark earth".
Researchers around the world are trying to economically convert cellulosic biomass such as corn stover into "cellulosic ethanol." But Agricultural Research Service scientists have found that it might be more cost-effective, energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable to use corn stover for generating an energy-rich oil called bio-oil and for making biochar to enrich soils and sequester carbon.
Instead of allowing the plant matter to decompose, pyrolysis can be used to seize and store carbon in a much more stable charcoal form known as biochar. Biochar is used to absorb atmospheric CO2 and stores it virtually permanently in a carbon negative process.
The Palaterra project will use waste product from the nearby biogas facility to recycle tons of material into useable feedstock. As a self-proclaimed solution to both global climate change and human hunger, Terra Preta hopes to take the simple act of "composting" to a commercial scale using a rediscovered formula that was thought to be lost with the great Amazonian cultures.
Agricultural Research Service scientists have found that it might be more cost-effective, energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable to use corn stover for generating an energy-rich oil called bio-oil and for making biochar to enrich soils and sequester carbon.
Sustainability scientists from Cornell University will attend the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. Johannes Lehmann, associate professor of soil fertility management and soil biogeochemistry and head of Cornell?s delegation, will speak about carbon-sequestering and soil-amending biochar at three panels Dec. 7, 9 and 12.
For renewable energies, forest waste materials can be burned, chemically converted into liquid fuels such as ethanol, or heated without oxygen to produce bio-oil, bio-char and gasses. Last summer, the Umpqua and Umatilla National Forests coordinated experiments to test one technology, called fast pyrolysis, to heat waste wood chips to produce useful products.
To offset the increasing CO2 levels, we urgently need to go beyond the goal of achieving carbon neutrality. We must actually become carbon negative, removing CO2 from the atmosphere faster than we are putting there. A number of companies are already developing such carbon-negative technologies that capture CO2 directly from the air. A couple of the more promising innovations include biochar.
There is a better alternative than cap and trade, one that would be more efficient and less costly: ?fee and dividend.? Under this approach, a gradually rising carbon fee would be collected at the mine or port of entry for each fossil fuel (coal, oil and gas). All of the collected fees would then be distributed to the public.
Representatives of IBI and many other biochar supporters have been attending the UNFCCC COP15 meetings in Copenhagen Denmark, which began last week and continue to December 18. As of today, Tuesday 15 December, the draft negotiation text that has been released by the Conference Chairs and Parties is very short on details pertaining to agricultural sector solutions and technologies, but placeholder text is included for domestic agricultural and land use activities of industrialized countries as well as for the financing of cooperative agricultural sector mitigation activities between developed and developing countries.
Could soil engineered specifically to maximize carbon storage dampen some effects of climate change? Very possibly, while rejuvenating depleted agricultural soils. "We have 6.7 billion people now. We'll have 10 billion in a few more decades. How are we going to feed them if we don't take care of our soils?"
?Terra preta? (Portuguese for ?black earth?) are anomalous deposits of deep, rich soil found in large pockets of land throughout the Amazon. Once thought to be 100% comprised of thin, fragile soil that would immediately desertify if the trees were removed, it now turns out there are significant sections of Amazonia where this terra preta is abundant.
This research will investigate using crop trials the impact of biochar on soil. Changes to the chemical and physical properties of the soil will be measured before and after biochar addition, and also the yield of crop will be measured. Biochar trial plots will be located in the North West of Cambodia, in Siem Reap