Canadian conference on "Greenhouse Gases: Mitigation and Utilization" 8-12 July 2007
Duane Pendergast, February 16, 2007

I recently received a conference notice of potential interest to Terra Preta researchers and developers.

The conference scope provides for papers on the carbon balance, CO2 sequestration in soil and biomass, mitigation of N2O and methane, enhanced agriculture and forestry, regulatory frameworks for carbon capture and
storage and science for policy development and public understanding.

CHEMRAWN-XVII and ICCDU-IX Conference on GREENHOUSE GASES Mitigation and Utilization
8-12 July 2007 Kingston, Ontario, Canada



Students registered in any high school, under graduate or graduate program within Alberta are invited to write an essay of approximately 1000 words on the following topic:

In recent years, North Americans have earned a reputation around the world for wasteful and excessive consumption. Canada now tops all countries in the world in per capita output of greenhouse gases (GHG). Alberta, despite having only 10% of Canada's population, contributes fully 25% of Canada's GHG emissions.

There is global scientific consensus that climate change is now impacting the world at an alarming rate, and many communities around Alberta are now starting to feel the impacts of climate change on their community

Phillip Small Blog: Making Charcoal with an Inverted Downdraft Gasifier
Phillip Small,February 10, 2007

Phillip Small described how he uses an inverted downdraft gasifier inspired by Tom Reed and Ray Garlington to make charcoal for soil fertility experiments.

Inverted downdraft gasifier photos on Flickr

From the Hypography Science Forum - TerraPreta

Effects of Soil Microbial Fertility by Charcoal in Soil
Makoto Ogawa, Kansai Environment Engineering Center, Kansai Electric Power Co. Ltd, UGA Conference 2004

Characteristics and Function of Charcoal

1.Porous substance with high water and air holding capacity; Suitable habitat for some microbes and plant growth, good material for soil amendment, absorption of chemicals and humidity control

2.High alkalinity ; Neutralization of acidic soil and improvement of chemical components of soil and


Verve Integrated Wood Processing (IWP) Plant Narrogin, Western Australia
Steve Schuck, Stephen Schuck and Associates Pty Ltd
, Bioenergy Australia Manager, February 12, 2007


Ellen Baum, CLEAN AIR TASK FORCE, Sean Weitner, ENERGY CENTER OF WISCONSIN For the Clean Air Task Force State Climate Network, November 2006

The use of biomass to create fuel, energy and products is nothing new


Green Charcoal by Pronatura International, France

Two billion people around the world use wood for household energy needs. This contributes significantly to the world's deforestation activities as well as increasing the risk of droughts and desertification. In an attempt to reduce deforestation, Pro-Natura has developed Green-Charcoal.

This technological innovation, using agricultural residues and unused biomass, produces an environmentally friendly and economically competitive alternative to wood and charcoal. It has been awarded the 1st Prize 2002 of the ALTRAN Foundation for technological innovation.

Carbon sequestration is another means of mitigating glbal warming. Reforestation and agroforestry practices allow the excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to be stored in trees and in soil (in the form of organic matter). The consequent revitalization of the soil also improves agricultural productivity. In this field Pro-Natura collaborates with Eco-Carbone.

Pro-Natura International has developed a continuous process of pyrolysis of vegetable waste (agricultural residues, renewable wild-grown biomass) transforming them into green charcoal. This domestic fuel performs the same as
charcoal made from wood, at half the cost. It represents a freeing up from the constraints of scarcity, distance and cost of available fuels in Africa.

The machinery required for the process is of relatively modest scale and functions on practically no outside energy and no emission of toxic fumes, it only takes 8 kW of electric power. When run by two persons, it can produce
more than 4 tonnes of green charcoal a day.

Projects- Brazil: Carvao da biomassa

See Pronatura International web page for documents and links.




Chicken Litter Project & Potential of TP Sequestration
Erich J. Knight, Shenandoah Gardens, February 6, 2007

A professor at Virginia Tech will be starting a pilot project at a poultry farm near me next month.


Please contact me if any of you are interested in joining me on a field trip to Dayton VA. to see Dr. Foster A Agblevor's chicken litter pyrolysis project.





Why does everyone want to stuff CO2 gas down a hole?
No-one knows if it will work or, if it does, for how long.
Terra preta and carbon-soil sequestration is proven.
So why no tax breaks here?

I note there is no provision to select "politics" when making a post?

Montana Legislature
A Messy Start for Carbon Sequestration Bill

By Dan Testa, 1-17-07

Greg Lind, D-Missoula, introduced a bill in the Legislature Wednesday that would give tax breaks to carbon sequestration equipment. File photo by Brian McDermott.

Springer-Verlag and Kluwer Academic Publishers have obviously done well with the first two books. Now they want a third. At $400+ a pop I would want a new volume too !

Call for Contributions

Time to Master the Carbon Cycle
Erich J. Knight, January 16, 2007

Man has been controlling the carbon cycle , and there for the weather, since the invention of agriculture, all be it was as unintentional, as our current airliner contrails are in affecting global dimming. This unintentional warm stability in climate has over 10,000 years, allowed us to develop to the point that now we know what we did and that now we are over doing it.

The prehistoric and historic records gives a logical thrust for soil carbon sequestration.
I wonder what the soil biome carbon concentration was REALLY like before the cutting and burning of the world's virgin forest, my guess is that now we see a severely diminished community, and that only very recent Ag practices like no-till and reforestation have started to help rebuild it. It makes implementing Terra Preta soil technology like an act of penitence, a returning of the misplaced carbon.

Positive Charcoal=Negative Carbon?
Why adding charcoal to the Earth's soils will also address climate change.
Ron Larson. Chair, American Solar Energy Society, Solar Today, November-December 2006

"We clearly are making progress on global warming education. Scientific American magazine

Jan O. Skjemstad *a,
Donald C. Reicoskyb,
Alan R. Wiltsb and
Janine A. McGowana

High levels of charcoal C resulting from repeated historical burning of grasslands, open woodlands, and agricultural crop residues have been reported in soils from Australia and Germany. In this study, five U.S. soils were selected from long-term research plots in widely different agricultural areas. The charcoal C content was estimated on each soil using a combination of physical separation, high energy photo-oxidation and solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. These analyses showed that all five soils contained measurable amounts of charcoal C,

doi: 10.2136/sssaj2002.1249

Set up only took a few minutes with a metal cutting blade on circular saw. I told Hugh that aluminum angle he found in my scrap pile was a bad idea and indeed a few minutes into the burn the first one melted into the barrel and I went scrambling for some iron angle!

The old auto heater core fan on the variable voltage power supply worked great, generally idling along at very low speed (or not at all) except when we were tempted to goose it up just to see what would happen. Very clean other than the paint burn-off.

These were the shredded pallet chips. Dry. Total burn time was about 75 minutes.

It was dark by the time we banked the bottom and put a tight lid on it.

A satisfying first attempt. Thank you John for the inspiration.

We've upgraded from to a new server this week. The web site sremained accessible through the process, thanks for putting up with the small amounts of chaos during the transition.

Please let me know if/when you notice any problems.

Erin Rasmussen
TR Miles Technical Consultants Inc
and admin for


This is the simplest and convenient method for farmers to convert the crop residue / biomass in the farm lands into Biochar 'Biochar Trench Earth Mound' / 'Staggered Biochar Trench Earth Mound' of 2 to 3 feet depth and 1.5 to 2 feet width could be made using simple tools in a agriculture fields. (deeper trenches can also be made) It is more convenient to make such trenches after ploughing the field. Trenches perpendicular to the slopes also benefit the steep sloppy areas as water harvesting means. All the crop residue otherwise burnt openly can be collected and dumped into these trenches lengthwise. More biomass can be added by pushing it with a stick. Once the trench is filled with biomass and compact, should be covered by grass / weeds / broad leaves / etc. After covering it up, soil should be spread on the trench, a lengthy mound is created. Some water could be used to make the soil compact and for sealing the mound of biomass. A small hole is left open for lighting the biomass at one end and at the other end a very small opening is left open. Once it is lit, white smoke starts emitting at the other end. Small holes to be made in a biochar lenghty trench at every 10 to 15 feet in a biochar trench and light it. Or one could create staggered trenches of 10 to 15 feet in length instead of lengthy single trenches. After 24 hours the biomass is converted into biochar, also one could see that the mound height also reduces. Any little smoke or embers should be quenched with water or covered with soil while removing the biochar from the trench.


Odesola, Isaac. F and Owoseni, T. Adetayo,2010

Small Scale Biochar Production Technologies: A Review

Odesola, Isaac. F and Owoseni, T. Adetayo
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

This paper is set to review the available small scale biochar production technologies. Biochar production technologies are a few of the green technologies that seek to rid the environment of green house gases (GHG). The products of this technology are biochar and biofuels (oil and syngas). Variant methods of this small scale production are known. The use of single (metal) container to two barrels is common, while some units are built of ceramic materials like fired brick. However, there is no published work stating the production of biochar in Nigeria, as at the time of this compilation.

Soil Testing and Available Phosphorus
Antonio Mallarino, assistant professor and John E. Sawyer, associate professor, Department of Agronomy, John Creswell and Michael Tidman, Iowa State University, September 2000

This article is the continuation of a series of articles that provides producers with information that aids in phosphorus (P) management. We address the following: soil testing as a tool, trying to predict availability of P for crops, agronomic testing for P, environmental testing for P versus agronomic testing for P, and environmental perspective and interpretation.

Soil testing as a tool
Trying to predict availability of P for crops
Soil P testing for crop production
Soil P tests interpretation and fertilization requirements
Environmental versus agronomic testing for P
Environmental perspective and interpretation

Phosphorus Facts - Soil, Plant and Fertilizer
David Whitney, Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service, C-665, October 1988
Phosphorus (P) does not exist in soils in the simple elemental form, but is found combined with other elements forming complex minerals (inorganic)and organic compounds. The total phosphorus content of the surface six inches may be as little as 200 pounds per acre on very sandy soils to over 2,500 pounds per acre on fine textured soils.
However, only a small fraction of this total phosphorus is in a form that is readily available to plants. Thus, application of phosphorus fertilizer, or agricultural or municipal wastes are necessary on many soils to meet plant phosphorus needs.
Soil Considerations
Plant Considerations
-Plant Needs
-Accumulation by Plants
-Plant Uptake
Fertilizer Considerations
-fertilizer Terminology
Manufacture of Phosphorus Fertilizer
Phosphorus Sources
Phosphorus Application
Putting it All together

The Nature of Phosphorus in Soils
Lowell Busman, John Lamb, Gyles Randall, George Rehm, and Michael Schmitt, University of Minnesota extension, FO-06795-GO, 1998

Development of a high yield and low cycle time biomass char production system
Jeng-Chyan Muti Lin, Fuel Processing Technology, 2006
Fuel Processing Technology
Volume 87, Issue 6, June 2006, Pages 487-495


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