Jason advocates for biochar, growing your own food, and buying locally manufactured goods as ways to reduce total carbon impact of our activities.

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Kansai Corporation of Japan has developed an Automated Rice Husk Carbonizer to create biochar out of rice husks. Rice husk charcoal has been used in Japan to improve soil fertility, to improve plant products and filter and retain nutrients in the soil.

http://www.biwako.ne.jp/~kansai/e-pr-carbo0.html

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MASS Laboratory has been working with Bartlet Tree Experts on an series of plot tests, and field tests to study the use of biochar in caring for trees, particularly urban street trees.

MASS Laboratory has a great description of the work here:
http://www.masslaboratory.org/arbochar---arboriculture-and-biochar.html

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Using a Zeiss 5LIVE microscope, a 3D projection of a lettuce root (blue), fungal hyphae(blue), and bacteria (green) colonization is visualized.

Dyes: Syto 13, Calcofluor white
Property of Robert Cirino
Bioimaging Center, Delaware Biotechnology Institute, University of Delaware

Student set up using two 15 oz cans and a larger outer can for safety and to protect the fire from wind gusts.
Outer can removed. The secondary air gap is about 1.2 cm
This shows the three 3 cm washers used to create draft deflection back into the mixing chamber in the top half of the bottom can.
Botom can as it will be used.
4 lbs tuna fish can used as the feedstock can, or the bottom can, standing on its three small angle brackets. The primary air gap is about 2 cm
The simple draft can, both ends removed, is supporting the Feedstock can for this photo.
Smaller cans are being used inside this larger grill

Below are a few photos of a novel, at least to me, use of draft deflectors in
combination with a secondary air gap and a mixing chamber above the feedstock,
but below the secondary air gap.

This design is typically yielding abut 22% of the feedstock's weight as biochar.
Passes all of the usual simple tests. Run times in the larger tuna fish cans are in the
42 minute range with 500 grams of soft wood pellet feedstock. I load the bottom
can, of the feedstock chamber, to only about 50% of capacity. This leaves the top
half of the can as a mixing chamber into which the draft is deflected. This creates
thorough mixing of the combustible gases with the secondary air. The result is very
clean stack gas. I wish the many small diesels out there burned nearly as cleanly.

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2012 US Biochar Conference, http://2012.biochar.us.com/

Presentations from the Biomass Conference:
http://2012.biochar.us.com/299/2012-us-biochar-conference-presentations

Join us at the

2012 US Biochar Conference

July 29 - August 1, 2012

at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California

The 2012 US Biochar Conference is designed to advance our understanding of the economic, science and policy issues related to biochar as both an amendment for soils as well as an agent to sequester carbon. California’s reputation for progressive policy and venture capital resources provide an excellent setting to showcase new innovative technologies like biochar. The conference is focused on practical results, especially regarding biochar use in agriculture.

For more information see the web site: http://2012.biochar.us.com/

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If you are interested in carbon negative energy and in biochar come to
A Presentation by Dr. Jerry Whitfield
Thursday May 24 at 3pm
At the Coach Barn at

Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont

Dr. Jerry Whitfield (Whitfield Biochar LLC), inventor of the pellet stove in the early 80’s, is developing a continuous flow, pyrolitic technology that converts numerous biomass types to elemental carbon (biochar) and clean, renewable syngas. The syngas is typically used onsite to create carbon negative thermal energy. The Biochar co-product has many valuable attributes for improving soil fertility and water quality.

Anyone interested in biochar and carbon negative energy is welcome.

Please forward this notice to others you know who may be interested. There is no fee for attending, but please email Julia Penca (jpenca@shelburnefarms.org) with biochar in the subject line, or call 802 985 0341 if you plan to attend.

We look forward to seeing you on May 24th.

Traditional methods of making charcoal in the Philippines, can be inefficient, and the Village Coco Project would like to improve that, as well as creating a fair trade certified coconut char product, that they could sell to help improve life for the coconut farmers in Palawan.

The Village Coco Project has just built their First High Efficiency Kiln, and they look forward to testing the new kiln between now and the end of May.

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The Elsevier Journal, Soil Biology and Biochemistry has a special online issue on Biochar this month:

http://www.journals.elsevier.com/soil-biology-and-biochemistry/virtual-s...

(smaller link to the same place) http://bit.ly/HZjf6d

Caroline Masiello with Rice University and her team of researchers has recently published a paper that studies the effect of the temperature used to create the biochar on field capacity and hydrophobicity.

In the study, they made biochar out of tree leaves, corn stalks and found that wood chips, and found that it was the pyrolisis temperature that had the biggest impact on field capacity and hydrophobicity. Their study recommends a pyrolisis temperature of 400 °C–600 °C.

This is a quick summary of the work:
http://phys.org/news/2012-03-cooking-biochar-recipe-soil-additive.html

The journal article is here:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0961953412000438
(support your local college and/or technical library, or contact the authors for a copy of the article).

the 3rd Annual Southern Utah Biomass Field Day will be held
September 18, 19 & 20, 2012

If this recently posted video is any indication, it looks like they'll be talking about Biochar:

Nice introduction to the practice and history of Biochar, and great pictures of master gardeners using biochar + compost blends.

Contamination of drinking water sources by synthetic organic compounds (SOCs – e.g. pesticides, pharmaceuticals, fuel compounds, etc.) is a growing worldwide problem. Many of these chemicals accumulate in the human body and cause cancer, birth defects and diseases of the reproductive system, and disrupt endocrine and neurological systems. However, few low-cost, sustainable and appropriate treatment technologies are available to rural and developing communities for SOC removal.

Water filtration using charcoal is an ancient practice that continues today in non-industrialized regions around the world, though it has not yet been rigorously demonstrated for removal of modern industrial pollutants. Unfortunately, charcoal production by traditional kiln systems is often a resource-intensive and highly polluting process, and kiln processes are typically not optimized for production of good water filter char. Low cost, energy efficient, environmentally sustainable and scalable local production of optimal water filter char can be accomplished with biomass gasification (e.g. cookstoves and larger units using the TLUD design).

The video and print resources available on the Aqueous Solutions website (www.aqsolutions.org) are intended to

  1. summarize current results of collaborative field and laboratory research pertaining to the use of traditional kiln charcoals and gasifier chars in decentralized water treatment that targets SOCs,
  2. provide instructional materials for construction and operation of small- and intermediate- scale gasifier char production units using local materials, and
  3. provide instructional materials for integration of biochar filtration into a multi-barrier small- and intermediate- scale water treatment systems constructed from inexpensive and widely available materials.
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David Yarrow, Four Oaks Farm

sunday we conducted our 18th test burn with our TLUD biochar burn barrel.
this time brad mostly loaded wood chips in the barrel.
this burn ran over 95 minutes, quietly, smoothly
and produced over 15 gallons of solid, dense biochar,

for more details see: http://www.dyarrow.org/18thBurn/

monday brad did two more wood chip burns.
the first ran 90 minutes.
the second ran over 2 hours.
we like burning wood chips!!

REMINDER:
this weekend is our first biochar workshop at four oaks farm.
saturday at 10am, sunday at 1pm, and monday at 6pm

http://www.dyarrow.org/biochar/

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Nice video from Biochar NSR :

Ignore the terrible 'indian' stereotype at the beginning of the video, the rest of it does a good job of explaining what biochar is, and what it can do.

Pyrolysium.org is a web platform for the promotion and development of pyrolysis as an efficient way to dispose of human remains using the least amount of energy possible.

Pyrolysium

is a low-tech, viable alternative to current standard burial and cremation practices and to expensive modern high-tech alternatives, which are based on the assumption of endless resources and which depend on sophisticated practices and steady supply lines. Pyrolysium tries to make the whole process so simple that in principal no controls and no electricity are needed.

Pyrolysium.org

will be a forum for collaboration in an “open source” kind of way to improve, develop and divulge this idea, and to make sure that it is not patented so that it is available to the whole human race as a tool to be used on the down-slope towards a sustainable future.

For more information visit our website at Pyrolysium.org

Here is a note on the concept of Biochar Urban Gardens, designed by Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy. For more details visit: http://biocharurbangardens.blogspot.com/

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Today Chris fired up his own creation, which took an oil drum (with Texaco logo still intact) and a butane tank with the bottom cut off. Total cost, including welding & machining labor, was US$40. He stuffs the inner chamber (inverted gas tank -- the top handles serve as a stand) with guadua (bambusa vulgaris) -- great for the cellular structure -- and the outer chamber with woody scraps from the farm as he limbs trees, opens trails, etc. It takes about 20 min from the time he fires the barrel to get up to pyrolysis temperature, at which point the smoke coming from the barrels ignite and the burn is pretty clean. He puts food for his pigs -- breadfruit, chocho, bananas -- on top, to use some of the heat (it comes to a boil in a minute or two), but I have to say there is still a lot of waste heat that would be good to find some uses for.

The nice thing about this rig is that it is so simple and easy to operate that it can be used every day by either the farmer or his wife or son. Chris throws the bamboo-char into his pig pen for the pigs to pulverize. They ate it the first time, which was even better, but haven't eaten it again since.

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In this methods are explored for giving water and other inputs through use of biochar.

Rootigation 1 and Rootigation 2, Sapigation and Floatigation
Some of these methods are being applied in the field for mango plantation. Floatigation methods are being applied for poly houses.

http://biocharwaterconservation.blogspot.in/

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Check out Amanda Ravenhill's ETHOS presentation:
The Commercialization and Advantages of Biochar Stoves

Great points, great pictures. Nicely done!

Jock Gill, IBI, USBI, Biochar Northwest and NASA

Posted here: http://www.greaterdemocracy.org/archives/1316

A lesson for Students Grades 9 - 12 in Biochar:
This is an interdisciplinary activity for grades 9 – 12, revolving around use of biochar to mitigate climate change and promote sustainable agriculture / horticulture. It involves climate science, plant science, and chemistry. Advanced students will also encounter some elementary combustion science and thermodynamics, soil science, and botany. The activity includes hands-on construction and use of a device to make biochar, as well as planning and conducting a controlled experiment to test the effects of biochar on plants in their native soil.

Biochar compost is an excellent media for all kinds of applications. Recently I had been experimenting using biochar compost for mobile gardens and floating gardens. Although here it is used on a small scale, it could be used for large scale applications too.

Biochar mobile gardens
Biochar floating gardens

Other common applications are for urban gardens

From Biochar Floating Gardens
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