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Wednesday, 10 February 2010

SEA regional report to IBI for January

Academics from Universiti Kuala Lumpur; Universiti Putra Malaysia; Santo Tomas University, Philippines; Eritrea Institute of Technology, Eritrea; St. Peter's Engineering College, India; Sheffield University, UK; and Cornell University, USA have been working together in different constellations on various biochar-related projects since 2006. The group participated in the Mondialogo Engineering Award competition with projects titled "Biochar to enhance sustainability of crop production, reduce fertilizer usage and greenhouse effect" and "Application of Biotechnology for the Treatment of Dyehouse Effluents in India and Philippines". Recent research activities (2009) include the production of biochar from rubberwood sawdust and data modelling for optimum biochar production using DesignExpert software. For specific researchers and more information on these topics, please see: http://www.biocharinternational.org/regionalgroups/southeastasia.

The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAORAP) is planning to support a biochar related study in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (GMS) under the GMS Economic Cooperation Program. The study methodology is based on conducting investigations into the potential for adapting biochar to existing agricultural and bioenergy systems. Further information will be available once the terms of reference have been finalized and project participants have been identified.

In conjunction with the University of Edinburgh's UK Biochar Research Centre (www.biochar.org.uk), there are two projects underway in India and Cambodia. The first, Biochar for Carbon Management, Sustainable Agriculture and Soil Management (BIOCHARM) involves field trials in India and Cambodia, as well as some analysis in the Philippines. This 12 month project funded through the Asia Pacific Network on Global Change (APN) includes partners from four countries, and it is led by the Appropriate Rural Technology Institute (ARTI) in India. The other partners are the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), SME Cambodia and the University of Edinburgh. The second, Participative Distributed Innovation Processes and Biochar: Smoke Reduction, Sustainable Agriculture and Soil Management received funding through the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). This project is led by the University of Edinburgh, working closely with ARTI to investigate the potential of gasification cook stoves which produce biochar.

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