The article is great....really speaks to the soil food web elephant in the room. but then closes with accounting, said SOC elephant, little weight beyond 3.66 X elemental carbon. The compost & compost tea focus, the 74% NH3 savings, 110,000 plant chemical signals, speaks elegantly to what husbandry of wee-beasties can achieve.
The Meta-Study on Syn-N Research conducted on the Morrow plots, that Barry Hayes mentions in the article, I cite often myself. Even with crop genetics being pushed to concentrate sugars in above ground biomass, that study by Illinois and ISU settled the SOC question.


Laura Sanna, Maim Engineering, Sardinia, Italy

Maim has been studying the potential use or pyrolisis and other treatments in effectively handling chicken wastes. The initial study has been favorable, and the environmental impact minimal.

For more detail see: Positive conclusions from Italian biomass pyrolysis research

Maim EngineeringRunning sports | Men’s shoes


Charcoal, made from wood pellets, and seaweed, were the two additives
Pot tests were run outside, using pots made from tires with one sidewall cut
Tests were run in triplicate as follows:
1: Seaweed only
2: Control soil, no additives
3: Seaweed + charcoal
4: Charcoal only.

Corn was planted in each pot, and watered regularly. Height of corn plant
measured after 30 days. Average plant heights after 30 days were as

1: Seaweed only 55 cm
2: Control soil, no additives 31 cm
3: Seaweed + charcoal 51 cm
4: Charcoal only 23 cm

Results were disappointing, with the charcoal test yielding least height gain. It is felt that the disappointing results were a result of the charcoal absorbing some of the nutrients
that were limiting plant growth, with the result being even less growth potential

Thanks, and Best Wishes,

In the recent past Biochar has become popular among local media. The vernacular media is taking note and recognized the importance of biochar. We are happy that more farmers are showing interest to adopt biochar for management of their soils. About 200000 kgs of biochar compost is adopted by about 200 stakeholders in parts of India, including small and marginal farmers, tribals for horticulture, organisations, institutes and universities. This had been a seven years old Jounery for Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy: learning, understanding, designing technologies for charcoal production, biochar compost preparations, research, studies and developing methods of application. With the support of, France the process of research and dissemination accelerated. Now biochar has become 'biocharculture' with integrated wider applications for co-benefits and value addition.

CNN Biochar coverage

From saibhaskar press

Biocharcoal helps check global warming

From saibhaskar press
From saibhaskar press
From Sai Bhaskar in Press
From Sai Bhaskar in Press
Sornam Alagarsamy

we at Dr MGr Jatropha Biodiesel Project are now engajed in Jatropha oil manufacture
and also we plant bamboosa Vulgaris Bamboo
we have plans to convert all the Bamboo to Charcoal and supply to the world

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Nikolaus Foidl, January, 2012

In a small non scientific trial in my garden i can observe increased resistance against cold. Since 35 days the outside conditions are hovering around - 4 degrees Celsius during the night and 4 degrees Celsius during the day and still all the char plus trace minerals and salicylic acid treated plants are growing and flowering. There are rosemary,sage,roses,perennial flowers strawberries etc. I get fruits on the strawberries and they continue flowering. As well the rose is flowering and new flowerpots are growing. It seems that char with mineral mix and salicylic acid increases frost or cold resistance. In 3 of the foots you can see the through where i did not apply and there only the winter hardy evergreens are surviving, the rose died and the rest of the plants are dead or dormant as well. I in general observed increased drought, heat and cold resistant with this mix. Might be of interest for the char community.
with my best regards Nikolaus

Douglas Clayton and Hugh McLaughlin

Hugh McLaughlin and I have been working on describing our retort over TLUD char maker, which Hugh has christened the Jolly Roger Oven or " J-RO". The current draft of our paper The “Jolly Roger Ovens” family of Biochar-making devices in pdf, and attached to this story

From the YouTube notes:
A 30 gallon retort heated by a 55 gallon TLUD is the basic idea. I've been a biochar enthusiast for 5 years now and riding the learning curve on how to make and use biochar at home. This device can run very cleanly. The cleanest I have seen for a simple batch device.

From Karl J. Frogner,Dacember, 2011

6 Dec ‘11

E, Kelpie, aloha kaua-

It is nice to see your interest in JR Ovens and particularly in getting them on the open source page. I think that they are destined to become the arch-typical biochar oven (Biochar ovens And I think they are destined to play a big role in meeting biochar’s potential in climate change mitigation from thinly distributed feedstock ( July update). I would hate to see any commercial impediments do to profiteering holding back implementation, though it would be nice to see some well made ‘back yard’ ovens on the market for urban/suburban yard trimmings.


from Yury Blagodarov, December 2011

Mobile pyrolysis plant is designed not only to produce charcoal, but also for the production of birch tar from birch bark, automotive recycling tires into liquid fuel. As we know the demand for charcoal depends on the season. In the spring and summer of charcoal taken better in winter, worse. Birch tar is always in demand, but in small quantities. His take veterinary hospitals, pharmacies, some enterprises Chemical Industry. On tire recycling products is a constant demand for steel cord, coke (with a mixture of soot). For liquid heating oil needs a constant source of sales. In addition, the tires are not always in large quantities.and for their storage needs more space. Due to the versatility you can optimally allocate mode setting so that it is not idle, and there was a constant sales.
In the production of charcoal in the mobile uglevyzhigatelnyh facilities for people working in them, you have to manually unload the charcoal, wood dust to breathe, which affects their health.
Mobile uglevyzhigatelnye installation with a few exceptions, much smoke, emit dymogazy, which contains a number of not dogorevshih combustibles.


December, 2011

The Austrialian Department of Agriculture of Fisheries and Forestry has issued a thoughtful summary paper that surveys the existing research on with biochar, and its implications for agriculture and suggests further areas of research.

Download the paper here:
Biochar: implications for agricultural productivity


by way of Xiavier, and Crispin

Peracod, has an excellent Dossier in French:

Dossier : le Biocharbon, une alternative durable au charbon de bois

Extrait du magazine Vert - Information Environnementale "Vie" n° 11 mai-juin 2009 1.7MB pdf

Dossier Biocarbon

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he 2011 ASA/SSSA/CSSA (American Society of Agronomy /Soil Science Society of America/Crop Science Society of America) annual meeting held October 16-19, 2011 in San Antonio, TX featured nearly 60 presentations and posters that involved biochar. More than half of these were concentrated in three oral biochar-focused sessions and 20 presentations were recorded and are available on-line at the meeting website (specific links are embedded below)

Paal Wendelobo, from Africa, November, 2011

A common Miombo forest in Africa will give about 3 ton wood per ha a year. 3 ton of dry wood will give 800 kg of charcoal. A household of 5 consume 2-3 kg charcoal a day or about 800 kg a year. To produce 3 kg of charcoal you need 10-12 kg of dry fire wood in a common kiln. That will give one day cooking on a charcoal stove, and almost no biochar. 10-12kg dry chopped wood will give 3 days of cooking on a TLUD-ND or another FES and 2.5 kg of biochar

Energy forestry using just the sprouting every year can give up to 10 ton wood per ha a year, easy to cut to appropriate fuel for TLUD-ND’s or other types of FES. By adding some biochar to soil of bad quality 20-30 % increased yields can be obtained, which will give more food, more household energy, more jobs, better economy, better health for women and children and saving the forest. It can probably be as simple as this and is that not some of what we are looking for and need?

We know some changes have to take place on the household energy sector and we have to start somewhere. Why not start with small scale farmers on sandy soil, and from there develop the new household bio-energy strategy for developing countries. Probably also with the charcoal business, they have the whole infrastructure intact and can easy change from charcoal to alternative biomass like chopped wood or pellets from agriculture and forestry related waste.

For more information about this cooking stoves project see:

W. Bogale, Published in the Ethiopian Journal of Education and Sciences, Vol 5, No 1 (2010)

Mr. Bogale has been working in Ethiopia, and has developed a carbonizer that would allow a small land-holder to make charcoal out of agricultural residues and then dry and package that charcoal either for their own use, or for sale.

His paper has a very good table that helps make the case for the carbonizer, extruder system and it is available online through African Journals Online:

the abstract:

 2012 US Biochar Conference

TheSonoma Biochar Initiative Sonoma Biochar Initiative (SBI) in partnership with the Sonoma Ecology Center have been selected by United States Biochar Initiative (USBI) to host the

2012 US Biochar Conference

in Sonoma County

from July 29 to August 1, 2012.

USBI director Gloria Flora notified the Sonoma organization of the Advisory Board selection. Sonoma was selected for its practical, enterprising focus on Biochar opportunities, the abundance of agricultural partners in the region and the County’s national standing as a leader in addressing climate change.

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 agent for carbon sequestration. California’s reputation for progressive policy and venture capital resources provide an excellent setting for showcasing new innovative technologies like biochar.


GTZ funded the above project in late 1980s. At that time we used the term "Biocoal" (rather than "Biochar")for charcoal produced from solid organic residues such as agricultural residues and waste wood. In hindsight, as the Principal Investigator of the project, I find the project findings were quite interesting. The findings of the project were reported in a book titled "Biocoal Technology and Economics" published in 1990 by "Regional Energy Resources Information Center (RERIC)" ( The chapters of the 495-page book were: 1. State of the art of biocoal technology, 2. Biocoal technology: A comparison of options and recommendations, 3. Carbonisation of sawdust briquettes, 4. Laboratory-scale batch carbonisation selected residues, 5. Cost and availability of selected residues in Thailand, 6. Characterisation of selected residues, 7. Biocoal: Market requirements and Opportunities in Thailand, 8. Economics of biocoal production in Thailand, and 9. Economics of biocoal production in Thailand.

Biomass pyrolysis for chemicals
authors: Paul de Wild, Hans Reith & Erik Heeres
Published in Biofuels
March 2011, Vol. 2, No. 2, Pages 185-208 , DOI 10.4155/bfs.10.88


With the addition of biochar compost, the cluster beans plant has grown upto 11 feet. With maximum of 20 beans in a cluster. I have not seen any records yet of such magnitude. This achievement is through the use of biochar compost. Hope the farmers could produce their own fertilizers using biochar and increase the productivity. On an average the plants have grown above 9 feet. Whereas the control plants (in plots without biochar compost) they have grown only 5 feet in height. This project is being implemented by GEO supported by, France

From Cluster beans at GEO RC
From Cluster beans at GEO RC
From Cluster beans at GEO RC
Sunflowers growing on the Balcony

Nikolaus Foidl, September, 2011

Trying to get my balcony garden to be more productive, i digged out the whole through and layed a layer of pebble stones on the bottom 10 cm of wood cuttings ontop and then a mix of the digged out soil with bark mulch and char( 50 tons per ha).

Then i planted 8 sunflowers per 2 m2 half of them with additional salicylic acid. As the birds where eating up already the half ripe seeds i had to harvest the already bigger heads. The non salicylic acid treated are about 10 days slower in ripening and somehow smaller.

Head diameter average of the salicylic treated is 34 cm( between 32 to 35 cm).The only char treated are around 24 cm diameter(22 to 27 cm). I have no non char non salicylic treated samples as i have not enough space on my balcony.
But the trial serves as an anectotal trial not as a scientific trial.

BIOCHAR PIT KILN is one of the simplest method of converting the crop residue and other biomass into Biochar / charcoal The farmers can easily create pits / trenches and convert the biomass residue (apart from using for compost, mulch, etc) otherwise wasted by burning in the fields openly. The tribals at Yerragondapalem (supported by NABARD / Sri Sai Educational Society), in Andhra Pradesh were trained in this method (GSBC Project), they are able to produce the biochar, preparing biochar compost and applying to their fields.
For more details see

GSBC Project is supported by, France and being implemented by GEO, Hyderabad


* About 30% biochar production
* 3 to 4 days for a batch of charcoal production
* Continuous hot water access (pot 1)
* Highly suitable for institutional cooking and as well making biochar
* Additional heat generated by flaring the pyrolysis gases, used for cooking
* Mitigation of the emissions during the pyrolysis by flaring
* Costs about Rs. 3000 for a 2’ width x 5’ depth x 6’ hight (in feet) “GEO Biochar pit stove”. (cost including, tin sheet for cover, digging the pit, three pot stove and chimney.)
*_"GEO BIOCHAR STOVE" is designed by Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy, CEO, GEO. Demonstrated to farmers under the project Good Stoves and Biochar Communities Project, being supported by, France


created by Media Sanctuary, Summer, 2011

great explanation of biochar and how it works in the soil

Bio-char with David Yarrow from mediasanctuary on Vimeo.

or view it on their web site:

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Wes Graff by way for Trevor Richards, September, 2011

Thought of this pic the other day and thought you would like to see it. This is a charcoal building that was used as the cold room at a tented camp I stayed at in Kenya in the bush. They would pour water down the walls and the evaporative effect would cool the room down pretty well, probably around 15C. So they kept all the food for the camp in there.Best Authentic Sneakers | Nike Air Force 1 High


Jock Gill, Vermont, 2011

Jock's new TLUD Design. It has a passing similarity to Lanny Henson's Sidewinder, but instead of 4 symettrical slits, to provide the 'vortex' at the heart of the cooker. The iCan D uses only three secondary air apertures for maximum turbulence and asymmetry. It also uses a more triangular cut arranged such that the resulting tab is at 45 degrees and can, when folded into the can, act as both a vortex generator and a concentrator.

Currently I have only tested the mid-sized coffee can unit with 142 grams of fuel. This gives me a runtime of about 27 minutes -- start to flame out. It has yielded 21.8%% biochar as a percent of weight of fuel -- soft wood pellets.

It gets good results when loaded with 25% of the capacity of the can - in this case about 142 grams of wood pellets. Run time: 27 minutes. Smoke gone in well under two minutes. Biochar was very clean, 100% charred fuel with no floaters in a water quench. Minimal ash. Biochar harvest was 21.8% of the weight of the starting fuel load. Only minimal soot in the stack gases for about 3 minutes at the peak period.

Peter Ongele, August 2011

Dear All,
I would very much appreciate your response and comments on this report and to know any further information I should have included in the report. As I mentioned early in previous letter, we are to run organic farming seminar training from 22/8/20011 to 26/8/2011 to the farmers. I've got already experts to help me conduct the training. I kindly need to confirm the possibility of financial help to facilitate the training.
Thank you all for taking your time to consider and support to us.
Peter Onegle

See the attached
Visit With Paul Anderson

and please see the attached Suba Biochar Farmers Group Report.


Oxford Biochar, Summer, 2011

Oxford Biochar is sponsoring a giantexperiment to test the effectiveness of Biochar in standard garden plots all across Britain.

The Big Biochar Experiment

The web site does a nice job of explaining what biochar is, and showing the benefits of adding it to your soil. Then it asks home gardeners to set up 2 plots, one a test, and one a control. Add the biochar, and record data about what types of things they added to both plots, the pest control needed and the yields from that plot are. It looks like it will do a nice job of seeing whether regular gardeners are likely to see results from biochar in the first year.

It's too late for spring planting, but it's just the right time for summer planting for fall crops. Information about the plot test, and tips for getting started and recording data are on the web page:



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