Hugh McLaughlin, June, 2010

CHAB Camp 2010: Hands-on Development of

Ron Larson, June, 2010

Jason Aramburo has just received a nice honor (and some funds) from the group "Echoing Green". See a 1.5 minute video

Jason's regular "re:char" newsletter is available at http://www.re-char.com/

There is some more information there - including this Bloomberg site with another competition Biochar advocates can vote on http://images.businessweek.com/ss/10/06/0608_socialentrepreneurs/20.htm

David Yarrow and Jim Welch, June 2010

Last summer, Jim Welch built a rocket stove on a concrete pad in my backyard to make biochar in a 55/30-gallon nested kiln & retort. this first test of a hybrid biochar burner was a great success, despite a few troublesome difficulties with the process, beginning with having large, still-moist logs of red pine timber for feedstock.

This spring, Jim scaled his experiment down to a 5-gallon retort nested in an 18-gallon kiln, with a shoebox-size rocket stove to fire up the retort. last saturday jim brought his modest unit to my biochar workshop at Saratoga apple, and gave us an inspiring demonstration of how simple, effective and easy pyrolysis can be:

Read more at http://www.carbon-negative.us/JWelch/

From the IBI June Newsletter

China Biochar Network (CBN)

The China Biochar Network (CBN) was officially inaugurated June 12, 2010. The CBN is comprised of more than 20 organizations within China, which are universities, institutes of China Academy of Science, and local agricultural research institutes. They come from Anhui, Beijing, Chongqing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Hunan, Hubei, Inner Mongolia, Jilin, Shanxi, Shengyang, Sichuan, Xinjiang, Yunnan, and Zhejiang, covering most of the country. The China Agricultural University (CAU) will be the headquarters of CBN.

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Ben Driscoe, June, 2010

I gave a 40-minute talk on biochar recently to the Kona Coffee Grower's Association (here on the island of Hawai'i).

10 minutes of it got uploaded: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42gr_1whjc8

It covers the basic carbon cycle, biochar's agricultural use, interaction with nutrients and microbes, reversing fossil fuel use, appropriate sources of renewable biomass.. my sources of information are, basically, this mailing list, and my own experiences making and using biochar.

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Art Donnelly, SeaChar.Org June, 2010

It was not quite 9 months ago, when I sent out an email to a small group of collaborators, with a Subject line that asked the question: "How do we get biochar stoves to Central America?" Of course, like the punch line to the old vaudeville joke, the answer is "lots of hard work". I could not have imagined 9 months ago was how rewarding all that work would feel. I want to share that feeling with all of you.

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James Joyce, June 2010

Mackay-based company, Black is Green, was named a finalist in the Innovation in ClimateSmart

Technologies category of the Queensland ClimateSmart Sustainability Awards, at the awards ceremony on Friday night in Brisbane.

On the eve of World Environment Day, the recognition was for BiG

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Rob Lerner, May, 2010

From Rob's Biochar Blog: http://biocharlog.blogspot.com/
Also take a look at his Captioned Slideshow: http://picasaweb.google.com/bajarob/RockinRocketRetort#.


From Magh Biochar Retort 2

Magh Bichar retort - 1 is a simple low-cost biochar making retort. In this design a two hundred liter steel drum is used. The top and bottom portions of the drum were cut open. One of the lids is used for covering the open side. The biomass is dumped into the drum and lit at the top and more biomass is added while it is still lit to fill it up to the brim. In TLUD condition the flame continuous. After some time the intensity of the flames lessen. Now the lid is placed over the flames and using soil the lid is sealed, so that no smoke is seen leaking out. Now the smoke appears at the pipe, which is attached through a connecting pit at the bottom of the drum. Leave it for more than 12 hours. The biochar continues to form and also the retort cools down. This second situation is the downdraft condition.

Note: Precaution should be taken to keep oneself as far as possible from the flames. The efficient production of the biochar also depends on the producers experience. For more details see http://maghbiocharretort.blogspot.com/

Magh Biochar Retort is demonstrated to the community under the GSBC Project. GEO is implementing the project with support of GoodPlanet, France.

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David Yarrow, May 2010

Using Biochar in Soil

Preparation & Application

Biochar Preparation

Applying raw biochar to soil can inhibit plant growth one or two
years while microbes inhabit the char, form diversified, stable,
functional communities, and gather balanced mineral supplies.
Microbes also consume tar residues that inhibit water absorbtion.
Several weeks to a few months are needed to age char for
soil. Proper preparation can reduce this time to two weeks, and
reduce char volume needed for vigorous plant response. Four
simple steps assure rapid response, high yield and healthy plants.

Moisture

Biochar’s first service to soil is water digestion, retention and
slow release from its sponge-like micropore matrix. Char must
soak up water to be an effective substrate for microbial cultures
and mobilize minerals for ion exchange with plant roots. To
moisten char, hydrophobic residues must be broken down and
removed—a task done mostly by microbes.

Nathaniel Mulcahy , World Stove May 2010

I'm slowly catching up on all the things that I had to place on hold while I was in Haiti. Haiti, and the up coming tests in other countries are clearly providing a wide range of of verifications into the effectiveness of biochar as a soil amendment. As valuable as field work is, there is something to be said for the opportunities to control the environment so as to isolate a few variables.


I am very lucky to have a great team working with me and wanted to share a bit of how it's going. (more updates soon)

Tom Miles, Kelpie Wilson

The kids are so enthusiastic about doing these projects. They love the hands on aspects and the team work in problem solving. Their teacher, Darlyn Wendlandt does a wonderful job of involving them. Darlyn and I will be writing this up for Green Teacher magazine. I will also be presenting this work at the upcoming USBI conference and hopefully at the IBI conference in Brazil in September.

The report will also cover a biochar education project I am doing at an elementary school. One part of this project is making a tin can TLUD that I designed to be made using only simple hand tools. Inspired by designs from Hugh McLaughlin and Christa Roth. You can find a 6 page illustrated guide to making the stove at my website www.greenyourhead.com. This is where I post all my biochar project reports. Here's the link to the stove instructions:

http://www.greenyourhead.com/2010/04/the-dome-school-stove.html

Jock Gill, Northeast Biochar Assn, April, 2010

Vermont Public Radio Coverage
http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/87888/

A new biochar story in Seven Days, a Vermont newspaper:
Shelburne Farms Experiments with "Biochar" to Clean Water and Revitalize Soil
http://www.7dvt.com/2010shelburne-farms-experiments-biochar-clean-water-...

And:
Television coverage of Biochar Demonstration at Shelbourne Farms, Vermont

http://www.wcax.com/global/video.asp?clipId=4691863&autostart=true

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David Yarrow, April 2010

very nicely done, simple 11 minute video demonstration on Fish Lake Biochar website
https://sites.google.com/site/fishlakebiochar/

Biochar
Uploaded by globalstewardship. - Discover more science and tech videos.

Fish Lake Biochar plan to develop a pyrolysis system for 12,000 acres of Alfalfa in a high mountain valley in Nevada.

Spring Grower Gathering, David Yarrow April, 2010

Spring Grower Gathering

How to Make and Use Biochar

Sponsored by Transition Town Great Barrington (MA)

1

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Peter Ongele, April, 2010

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Ben Discoe, April 2010, update August,2010

I built a small kiln/retort on my farm in Ahualoa, Hawaii. Description, photos and observations from my first trial run at on my blog here:
http://washedashore.com/eggsntea/2010/04/biochar1/

Summary: it's a hybrid of the two-barrel and twin-oaks approaches, aiming for higher volume than the two-barrel and lower cost/complexity than the twin-oaks. My approach needs tuning, but it seems promising.

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Adam Retort at FlowFarm, North Carolina
April 12, 2010

Fredde Needle reports:
Hello everyone, I just returned from a Bio Char workshop in North Carolina where they have the first Adam Retort in the USA.

It was exciting to see such simple technology being put to use here, the name of the farm is Flow Farm and you can see their website at flowfarm.org

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Thermya, The Carbstyl Process
April 5, 2010

http://thermya.com/en/index_thermya.php?id=23

THERMYA is an engineering company dedicated to design, develop and build plants to produce Carbon and energy from

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Commercial production of charcoal from greenwaste using BigChar technology
Presentation by
James Joyce, Black is Green Pty Ltd, Australia, March 27, 2010

About BiG

Background to BiG and BiGchar

Features and Benefits of the technology

- Fast Rotary Hearth Capabilities and Features:
1. Designed specifically for biochar production from

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JF Biocarbon developed a portable pyrolysis unit for demonstration purposes, as well as larger pyrolyzers that convert beetle killed wood into biochar and bio-oils. See the attached presentation for details.

From the detail

  • JF BioCarbon will enhance and promote faster growth for newly planted seedlings thus making for stronger start to a new forest.
  • This will also speed up reforestation in beetle effected areas.
  • Charcoal in soil also acts as a carbon sink and can qualify for carbon credits.
  • This has been proven by soil scientists. (see Terra Preta & biochar)
  • Using charcoal in soil will also minimize the need for engineered fertilizer.

JF BioCarbon Systems LTD has licensed his technology to Dia Carbon BioEnergy ( http://www.diacarbon.com/ )

For more information about the JF Biocarbon System contact John Flottvik directly ( jovick@telus.net )

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PAH is an acronym for Poly-Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH), a chemical compound that contains more than one fused benzene ring. They are commonly found in petroleum fuels, coal products, and tar; e.g. Naphthalene, Anthracene, Phenanthrene

For more information take a look at the EUGRIS Portal for Soil and Water Management in Europe:
http://www.eugris.info/FurtherDescription.asp?Ca=2&Cy=0&T=Poly-Aromatic%20Hydrocarbons&e=7
(it includes references to peer reviewed articles)

Some of the chemistry is nicely outlined in this wiki article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aromatic_hydrocarbon
and this more comprehensive detail : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycyclic_aromatic_hydrocarbon

George Wightman Wallace Activated Carbon Reactor 1926
Jeff Davis, January 24, 2010

This patent changed the way I look at pyrolysis:

http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=FX15AAAAEBAJ&dq=1,639,356

Every word counts and it deserves special attention. It reminds me of the TLUD design.

Some good background information:
http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=XdRVAAAAEBAJ&dq=1565129
http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=iPxAAAAAEBAJ&dq=1536696

I don't know about you guys but Monday I'm hitting Lowes for some flue pipe supplies before going to work.

Jeff

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Hugh McLaughlin, PhD, PE, Alterna Biocarbon Inc. , January 2010

Biochar is a vague term that applies to a potentially broad class of charcoal materials intended for addition to soils. Many raw materials and conversion processes can lay claim to producing biochar, and the resulting biochars will have different characteristics. The purpose of this discussion is to formulate a simple scheme for characterizing biochars before addition to soils. Efforts will be made to discuss the logic behind the individual characteristics, in addition to the limitations of the individual assays.

The presentation and content here is consistent with the paper titled

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