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.
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
Tel: (81) 6-6556-6326
Interview with a Kenyan after she viewed a clean charcoal demonstration with the Cookswell Clean Charcoal retort
for more information about the Cookswell retort:
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.
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:
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.
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.
Last summer she did an internship at the Joint Bioenergy Institute at Berkeley. http://www.jbei.org/
Monday, June 10, 2013
9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture
3501 NE 41st St., Seattle, 98195
For more information:
The Northwest Biocarbon Initiative is galvanizing the region’s top biocarbon innovators – farmers, foresters, community leaders, and thinkers – to demonstrate the essential role that natural systems can play in reducing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere to ensure long-term climate stability.
From Kelpie's Web site: Green your Head
Since she wrote the article below, Kelpie discovered another way to make biochar from the brush pile, it's a little easier to do if like me, you get sprinkled on by rain while you're burning your pile.
I revisited an earlier secondary air concept that used 3 triangular ports at 120 degrees around the fuel can. Importantly, the the third side of the triangle was bent down into the fuel can to create a vane to increase turbulence.
What I did today was to add three deflectors above the secondary airports/vanes. The deflectors were positioned midway between the ports and just below the top of the fuel can. Thus when the draft can was added, there was effectively no secondary air gap at all.
While this is only one run to see if the would work, the results were very good. Lots of turbulence. Some good flame noise. At the 15 minute mark I put on a 19 oz can of very cold tap water to boil. It boiled in 15 minutes. After about 30 minutes over the flames and in the flue, there was only a small amount of soot on the "pot". The pot bottom was NOT black. Ambient air temp was about 45f. Little to no wind.
A few pictures:
There are some real Jewels in the Ithaka journal's article 55 uses for Biochar
Mr. Schmidt makes a good point that biochar provides more value when it's used for other purposes before it is worked into the soil, and then he does a nice job of laying out the pathways to do so.
One of my favorites
Cascading uses of biochar in farming with animals.
Perchigation is a means of creating a shallow aquifer using biochar for irrigation.
The advantages are:
It is highly suitable for semi-arid and arid areas to prevent evaporation of water.
Prevent water going deeper into the aquifers there by the ultimate water reaching the plants is limited.
Some of the advantages in this system.
Biochar would absorb the water and other soil nutrients from losses.
The harmful pesticides and chemicals from the soil are taken by biochar
The rainwater is harvested in the ‘biochar aquifer’ created.
The water can be recycled through recovery.
The water gets purified due to biochar in the areas where polluted water is used for irrigation.
Highly suitable for the cultivation of vegetables, tubers, cereals, chillies, cotton, etc.
Suitable for adoption in the fields, green houses, polyhouses, etc.
For details see: http://perchigation.blogspot.in/
For any suggestions and comments contact: Design by Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy, firstname.lastname@example.org http://e-geo.org
The Re:Char team did a nice job synthesizing the results of the second test year on their plots in Bungoma County, Western Kenya.
All test plots are managed by local Kenyan farmers according to local customs and all plots have similar light and rainfall. The study is not scientific or peer reviewed, but it's a good on the ground demonstration of actual farming techniques practiced in that area of Kenya, and can be considered a practical model of biochar inputs.
In this part of Kenya, some farmers use chemical fertilizer, which helps the crops grow, but not as much as manure. However, the cows in this part of the world tend to be open grazed, and it's difficult and time consuming to clean up the manure.
Good straightforward video - small scale system for making biochar from pellets.
Also watch Biochar video 2 for improvements to the system:
Tips on the Korean farming techniques he mentions can be found on the web site: http://www.prokashi.com/videos/
In the Indian project ( http://www.soilfertilityproject.com/Soil_Fertility/Indian_Project.html). The participants started by using the Anila stove to product biochar, but found that it was unworkable. Now they are using a digestor to process wet waste, get some energy, and use the slurry for fertilizer. They are also using a small BiG Char unit to process green waste into biochar.
James Cook University in Australia are working on a research project where biochar is specifically mixed in at an early stage of the composting project, COMBI-mix, to determine the impact on carbon sequestration and model the impacts on the agricultural impacts.
TESS project leader: Michael Bird
More information about the International Biochar Initiative Standards and Testing effort:
The pdf of the current standards:
Hope Mine was one of the first, and certainly the largest, whole-mine reclamation project using biochar. Hope Mine was formerly a silver mine and it's situated close to Aspen, Colorado.
The USFS took charge of it in 2003, and the grey rock taillings had no vegetation and posed a potential threat to Castle Creek, Aspen's water supply. With this project, there was no evidence of heavy metals leeching, but the the bare rock didn't support vegitation, and could potentially pose a threat to the aquifer.
the results are quoted:
The project proved to be incredibly successful. xx test plots were created to study different levels of biochar,compost, and mycorrhizal fungi mix. The preliminary year-one results showed:
In their study in Honduras, the authors carefully mixed rice hull char (made in a TLUD stove) with cassava chips and foliage and fed that to cattle, while doing a careful control, and measuring the health of the cattle as well as their methane emissions. The results are encouraging.
Twelve local “Yellow” cattle with initial live weight ranging from 80 to 100 kg were assigned in a completely randomized block design to a 2*2 factorial arrangement of four treatments with three replications. The factors were: biochar at 0.6% of diet DM or none; and potassium nitrate at 6% of diet DM or urea at 1.83% of diet DM. The basal diet was cassava root chips fed ad libitum and fresh cassava foliage at 1% of LW (DM basis). Sodium sulphate and sodium chloride were added to the diet at the rate of 0.4% and 0.5% in the DM. The trial lasted 98 days following a 21 day adaptation to the diets.
Vuthisa Technologies in South Africa have been working on improving the Portable Metal Kiln Charcoal Making Method and using a retort design to reduce emissions and improve efficiency making charcoal.
They have a great description with lots of detail on their web site: http://vuthisa.com/biochar/
as well as a Google Group:
In short the system is composted of an outer drum, often fabricated of sheet steel enclosing an inner set of 30 gallon drums.
Antioch University's Seattle campus is hosting two more weekend workshops in making Biochar:
- November 17 and 18, 2012
- April 27 and 28, 2013
In the last workshop in August, AUS students and alumni made 6 biochar stoves out of 55 gallon drums.
They used himalayan blackberry and reed canary grass as feedstocks and made some biochar that they use dot amend the soil around several of the cherry trees on the farm. This would be a fun workshop to learn about making and using biochar.
For more information visit the Antioch University web site:
Eric Debner for Iowa State Daily.com
In his article Biochar an Investment in Soil, Mr Debner briefly describes biochar, and describes it as in soil amendment that can help restore fertility and improve crop yields in damaged soils. That's a nice description, and the full article is a good introduction to the topic of biochar.
From the Ithaka journal, "Biochar in poultry farming "
This is a practical article that provides simple advice for using biochar to help manage disease in commercial poultry operations. The authors point out that many birds end up spending time in direct contact with their manure and suggest blending 5-10% by volume biochar into the bedding or silage used to in the coops and poultry houses can help the birds resist diseases in addition to helping filter the ammonia and reducing the impacts of the bird wastes.
The primary article also gives specific recommendations for using biochar in feed to help prevent intestinal diseases, and they recommend the following studies: