SACE Biocarbon Webinar: How Bioenergy Can Help Store Carbon in Soil

Smartly designed and carefully operated bioenergy systems can actually help pull carbon out of the air, and put it in the ground where we need it. Companies that are commercializing these technologies today include Cool Planet Energy Systems, Phoenix Energy, and Burt’s Greenhouses. Surprisingly, this is not new: There are biomass boilers that have been producing durable carbon-ash soil amendments for years.

The following three speakers will help explain how all this works and why it is important for bioenergy to run “carbon negative.”

Dr Jeff Novak, Soil Scientist, USDA Agricultural Research Service
Tom Miles, Professional Engineer, TR Miles Technical Consultants
Dr Andrew Carpenter, Soil Scientist, Northern Tilth

Backyard Biochar Makers

Making the Pyramid
Skewers on the Pyramid
Lighting the Pyramid

Kelpie Wilson has put together an outstanding list of Backyard Charmakers at http://backyardbiochar.net/

This is a great opportunity to upgrade your firepit or burn pile to a cleaner burning biochar-maker.

PLEASE BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE FIRE SAFETY RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR YOUR AREA!!

Ok, now go put a skewer on the biochar-making barbecue!

Dimensions & Instructions from Kelpie's site:

(The Pyramid kilns is) much easier to make than the round kiln. Kevin just cut the pieces from flat sheet steel and welded the edges together, adding some square tubing around the top edge for stability....

Dimensions of the pyramid kiln are 46" top edge; 18" bottom edge; and 27" along the angled edge. It was made from a 4'x8' piece of 11 gauge sheet steel. The sheet was cut into two, 2'x8' strips, and the 4 trapezoidal shaped sides were cut out of that. Square tubing was welded along the top edge for stability.

Converting Wheat and Chicken manure into Biochar in Western Australia

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ABC Rural recently covered Euan Beamont, co-director of Energy Farmers Australia, they've been making a prototype kiln to create biochar

the original news article:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-19/the-sweet-smell-of-bio-char-produc...

and the video:

He is using the system primarily to make biochar from manure and from wheat, and has done some test fires with box thorn.

More info about Energy Farmers Australia
http://www.energyfarmers.com.au

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First T-Plancha prototype in central america TLUD (microgasifier)

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Notes from Paul Anderson

Making Biochar in Jolly Roger Ovens (in the snow)

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Douglas Clayton has updated his video about making Biochar in the Jolly Roger Oven.

He has a bit of help from Hugh (making jokes about steam activating the char). It's a great video, well worth the watch.

If you are new to the Jolly Roger Oven, Doug has more detail in his first video

more about the the line of thought behind the Jolly Roger biochar method can be found here:
http://www.biochar-international.org/regional/ubi

For those of you in New Hampshire, Doug Clayton and Intuitive Biochar is in Jaffrey, NH 03452

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Living Web Farms Biochar Workshop at Grandview Farm

From Living Web Farms in Mills River, North Carolina
http://www.livingwebfarms.org/

Great introduction to making clean biochar lead by Bob Wells, soil scientist Jon Nilsson and Patryk Battle.

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Biochar Burn School Results

Last weekend's Biochar Burn School was fantastically successful! Many thanks to all the participants. I was especially pleased at the diversity of people who attended - young folks and elders, permaculturists and scientists, land owners, nomads and Forest Service professionals. Thanks to everyone who came back for an extra day, just to see what else we could learn about this process.

Special thanks to Peter Hirst of New England Biochar for showing up with tools, educational materials and expertise.

For more information: Kelpie Wilson http://www.greenyourhead.com

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Pyro-Grilling!

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Pyro-grilling

Jock Gill has been demonstrating Pyro-grilling. He adapted a standard weber to use an updated version of his iCan stove. He reports that he hasn't had to buy standard charcoal in over a year. In the process he has been making a nice grade of biochar.

It looks pretty tempting. For details and answers to questions about the grill please download Jock's Pyro-Grilling pdf .

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Grass Tablet Biochar

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Grass Tablet Biochar
Grass Tablets
Grill modified with an iCan reactor

The grass tablet biochar (pyrolytic carbon) shown above was made in an iCan TLUD
with a variable speed blower. This charcoal was air quenched and is thus bone dry.
When wet, it is very soft and can be formed to fit a variety of shapes. I have found, for
example, that grass tablet biochar saturated with cold water is effective at reducing the
pain of burns.

The following pages illustrate some of the ways the above biochar was made.
Note: Grass biochar will be ashy as grass has considerably more ash content that
wood

Grass tablets broken into short sections prior to being loaded into the fuel chamber of
the iCan reactor.
These tablets were made from field grass about 3 years ago in Shelburne, VT. Note
that the longest fibers are about the length of the diameter of the tablet. Shorter is
better.
These tablets are about 4 cm in diameter.

Download the attached Grass Tablet Biochar How To for detailed Reactor photographs and answers to questions posed to Jock by the stoves community.

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Labile Organic Molecules, the "Secret Weapon" of Biochar?

From "Shifting Paradigms on Biochar: Micro/Nano-structures and Soluble Components are Responsible for its Plant-Growth Promoting Ability”, S Joseph, ER Graber, C Chia, P Munroe, S Donne, T Thomas , Nielsen S, C Marjo, H Rutlidge, G X Pan, Xiaorong Fan, P Taylor , A Rawal, J Hook, Carbon Management, Vol 4, No. 3 (2013).

Satellite Could Find Hidden Archaeological Sites by Remote Sensing

From Wired Science:
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/12/satellite-sensing-black-earth-...

Light reflected by the Amazon rainforest’s vegetation could help an orbiting satellite find the elusive fertile patches of soil known as terra preta — or ‘black earth’ — that mark archaeological sites where pre-Columbian populations settled.

Finding these rich patches of earth has been a challenge. They’re sprinkled throughout the enormous Amazon basin, hidden beneath an impenetrable forest, and embedded in a land with few roads.

So a team of scientists is testing whether satellite measurements of the light reflected by tree canopies could help researchers panning for black soil gold...

Root Zone Biochar Application with Grapevines

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tractor-powered (PTO) spray equipment with water tank
root-injection sonde

We tried several different methods, but ended-up having to develop our own equipment and techniques. A couple of these methods show promise for commercial-scale work, I believe. Basically our approach involves a few components:

  • tractor-powered (PTO) spray equipment with water tank, pressure adjustments
  • root-injection sonde (available commercially, but we ended-up making our own)
  • slurry tank with a Venturi pump, mixing equipment
  • various hoses and connections
  • a lot of trial and error…

A lot of the success of this type of method is related to the choice of biochar and the formulation of the slurry. We’re continuing work this summer to try to improve these methods for larger scale commercial work, but are also evaluating, of course, whether the use of biochar applied in this manner will have any effect on the crop quantities or quality.

Barry Husk
President
BlueLeaf Inc. http://www.blue-leaf.ca

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2013 North American Biochar Symposium Oct 13-16 2013

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North American Biochar Symposium Register Now http://symposium2013.pvbiochar.org/

October 13, 2013 - October 16, 2013
7:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Eastern Time Zone

at
University of Massachusetts
One Campus Center Way
Amherst, Massachusetts 01003
413-265-3892

For more information: http://symposium2013.pvbiochar.org/

Biochar Blends

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Biochar blends
Biochar blends is for creating value added products using biochar and different types of matter (living and non-living) for soil amendments and also multiple uses before ultimately reaching the soil. This is a simple chart to explore the possibilities of using biochar considering diversity of conditions in the field such as soils, types of crops, environments, climatic conditions, availability of raw materials, socio-economic, cultural, traditional, etc.
http://www.slideshare.net/saibhaskar/biochar-blends

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Super Stone Clean 530 Iwamoto Super Mineral Biochar

This is a great process flow Diagram from Super Stone Clean International, you can learn more about their biochar maker on their web site: http://superstoneclean.com/iwamoto-mineral-biochar-machine/

Super Stone Clean International
Osaka City
Minato Ward
Chikko 4-3-20
552-0021
Japan

Tel: (81) 6-6556-6326

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FOREBIOM Workshop Proceedings are Online

Proceedings of the The 1st FOREBIOM Workshop:
Potentials of Biochar to mitigate climate change
are posted to their website: http://www.oeaw.ac.at/forebiom/conference.htm

On the 4 -5 April, 2013 the Austrian Academy of Science hosted a Workshop exploring the responsible use of biomass energy, and the potential for using biochar to mitigate climate change.

their description:

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Online Biochar Database

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UC Davis Biochar Wheel Image

The Soils Lab at UC Davis has put together an Online Biochar Database
http://biochar.ucdavis.edu/

he UCD Biochar Database has been established to present an online resource of biochar physical and chemical characterization data. The database exists only as resource, with the specific objectives to:

  • provide an open-access tool for end users interested in biochar as a soil amendment to examine and compare data for a variety of biochar feedstocks;
  • provide a reliable resource for academics and researchers by distinguishing between peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed data;
  • provide a user friendly site for sharing biochar characterization data; and
  • provide a mechanism for biochar manufacturers to present the characterization data of their biochar products to potential end users.

Find them on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/UCDavisBiochar

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Japanese Cone Kiln

Kelpie Wilson has been playing with the Japanese Cone Kiln for Biochar see the latest on her site: http://www.greenyourhead.com/

She's finding that the Cone Kiln is easier to use than the alternatives and it produces more char too.

in her words:

I love my Japanese Cone Kiln. ... It is basically just a cone-shaped fire ring - a truncated cone. All you do is start a small fire in the bottom, and once that is all burned to glowing coals, you add small stick wood or branches on in layers. Each time the wood gets black and starts to ash, you add another layer. The layers underneath continue to cook out tar and gas, but they don't burn because air is excluded. When the cone is full you quench it with water. If you like, you can throw a grill on it and cook your dinner before you put it out.

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Biochar in the 2013 White House Science Fair

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Meghana Rao attends Jesuit High School and spoke to President Obama about Biochar in the 2013 White House Science Fair

From Tom Miles:
John Miedema and I have been mentoring her biochar projects for about three years. She did her basic research as a high school freshman at Oregon State University under Dr. Markus Kleber with a graduate student in soil science. She won regional competitions and went to the nationals in the Intel Science competitions as a Freshman. She presented that work in Kyoto in 2011 and at Sonoma 2012. That is also the work she described to the President.

http://2012.biochar.us.com/sites/2012.biochar.us.com/files/presentations...

Last summer she did an internship at the Joint Bioenergy Institute at Berkeley. http://www.jbei.org/

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