Sunday, 15 March 2015

Biochar commercialisation in Malaysia

A Malay language newspaper has recently included an article on biochar based around work emanating from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). The online article is in Malay here. I've used an online translation service that provides a rather poor English translation.
The article describes UPM work with biomass from the palm oil industry and product development activities leading to trial product sales at a horticulture event last November. I'm sure we will hear more about this at the biochar workshop (previous post).

Malaysian Biochar Workshop


"We are pleased to announce that the Biochar Malaysia Association (Persatuan Biochar Malaysia) will be organizing the Biochar Malaysia Workshop 2015 on the 6th of April 2015 in the Faculty of Engineering, UPM with the theme 'Biochar Production & Utilization for Cleaner Environment & Crop Production in Malaysia'. The objective of this workshop is to obtain the latest updates regarding biochar production and utilization in sustainable agriculture system.
Therefore, we would like to extend an invitation to (you) for attending this workshop. We would also be delighted if (you) could help us disseminate the announcement of this workshop. For further information, please refer to the attached brochure. With this email also attached the BMA membership form and the brochure to Soil Science Conference of Malaysia 2015."

Reply or email to me if you want to get hold of the attachments that accompanied this email invitation. febiochar(at)

Thursday, 5 March 2015

International Biochar Symposium 28-29 May

This biochar conference in Germany has strong Malaysian links via UPM. It has an impressive lineup of speakers. Check out the website.
International Biochar Symposium 2015
Biochar – Contribution to Sustainable Agriculture
28 – 29 May 2015, Seminaris SeeHotel Potsdam, Germany
"During the last years the application of biochar to arable land has been suggested as a method to improve soil fertility and plant growth, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon for decades or centuries. But holistic scientific research to identify environmental as well as economic potentials of biochar in the tropics and especially in the temperate zones is limited and needs to be improved. Furthermore, biochars may differ substantially in their chemical, physical and biological properties and therefore in their fate after soil application depending on the biomass material and conversion technology used. Hence, the identification of biochar properties responsible for positive (and negative) impacts on soil fertility, greenhouse gases and carbon sequestration is needed, followed by the development of methods to optimize these biochar properties and soil improvement. The projects “Biochar in Agriculture – Perspectives for Germany and Malaysia” ( and APECS (Anaerobic Pathways to Renewable Energies and Carbon Sinks) ( focus on these research questions. Within this symposium the results of both projects and related research results by other scientists shall be presented and discussed."

This German-Malaysian research link was reported previously here...

Monday, 23 February 2015

Climate change and biochar

I've recently posted to the NZ biochar interest group (AllBlackEarth) on 3 very interesting video presentations that tie biochar into climate change and other environmental issues. Do check them out if this subject is of interest to you...

Friday, 20 February 2015

Hugh McLaughlin - Biochar: A Powerful Tool for Carbon Farming

Very informative 10min from Hugh McLaughlin on biochar production fundamentals. 

"Hugh McLaughlin, an engineer and expert in biochar and activated carbon, discusses the many applications of biochar for environmental improvement and its role in reversing global warming."

The presentation was part of "Biodiversity for a living climate" event. If you have trouble with the viewing frame size here, then look for it and connect via the link above (plenty of other great presentations to be found) or click on the YouTube link.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Biochar, compost and tree growth research from Singapore

 Dr Subhadip Ghosh from the Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology, National Parks Board, Singapore and two colleagues from the University of New England in NSW, Australia published the following paper early last year. The paper is listed with IBI but I managed to miss the release...

Influence of biochar and compost on soil properties and tree growth in a tropical urban environment

Abstract (<

Research relating to the use of organic amendments on soils has focused largely on agricultural soils, and there is a lack of information worldwide on their efficacy as amendments for urban soil management, especially in tropical urban environments. A pot experiment was conducted to assess the influence of biochar and organic compost on urban soil properties and on tree growth performance in Singapore. Biochar and compost were mixed with topsoil in different proportions, and two urban tree species commonly grown in Singapore (Samanea saman and Suregada multiflora) were used. There were significant additional height increments for both the tree species following application of biochar. S. saman exhibited greater stem elongation compared with S. multiflora in response to organic amendments. A significantly higher foliar N content was found in both tree species in biochar-amended treatments along with significant increases in P and K. Increases in soil nutrient concentrations were also observed in combined biochar–compost treatments for both species. Combined compost and biochar had the strongest effects on soils and growth of the two urban tree species examined and applications containing biochar resulted in the most significant soil improvements.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

GreenGen TLUD / retort stoves from Vietnam
GreenGen Stove: is a TLUD (top lit up-draft) can save 50%-70% wood compare to traditional stoves. 
GreenGen Stove: is designed to use with optional Biomass Boxes. Lose biomass such as rice husk, straw, garden leaves,... can be put in biomass box(es) for cooking. Depending on avalablity of the biomass, users can have flexible choice of using wood only or in combination with 1 or 2 biomass boxes.
GreenGen Stove create Biochar: the biomass boxes create biochar as a byproduct at the end of the cooking process. The harvested Biochar can be used as soil enrichment or to make char briquette to cook again.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Biochar demonstration projects in Myanmar, Indonesia and Vietnam

This job advertisement identifies existing biochar demonstration projects in Myanmar, Indonesia and Vietnam. Closing date is 23Feb so still time to get your CV in! It is not clear what organisation is running this program. If you have some idea, please let us know - it would be nice to know more about these SEA projects.

Project Director - Sustainable Land Management

Job Summary
This innovative not-for-profit organisation has a proven record in supporting regional sustainability throughout Australia and beyond.  They are excited to be working on their largest initiative to date and seeking to appoint a passionate, capable and suitably qualified Project Director to lead this important global project. 
The purpose of the project is to demonstrate and promote the adoption of sustainable land management practices involving the use of innovative organic amendments, based on biochar. Funded by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Global Environment Fund (GEF), the project's duration will be 2.5 - 3 years commencing early 2015.
Reporting to the Executive Director with accountability to a Technical Steering Committee, you will lead the project working with six existing biochar demonstration projects in the developing world locations of:  Peru, Myanmar, Aceh, China (Henan, Hunan, Anhui and Jiangsu), Kenya, Ethiopia and Vietnam.  Your responsibilities will include evaluation of the role and potential of biochar in SLM; building awareness, knowledge and improved understanding and establishing knowledge management dissemination systems – particularly for small landholders and farming groups; establishing local and international networks of demonstration sites and farming groups and providing training in the use of bochar.  Further aiding your success will be your strengths in coordinating and delivering in a complex project arena and establishing strong relationships and working effectively with a broad range of stakeholders including the six in-country partner organisations, the UNEP and GEF, agricultural landholders and farming groups.