Thursday, 28 August 2014

BiocharCulture - a new book

Dr Reddy has just released a new book on biochar which is freely available via as a PDF file from a web download. The author...
"My latest Book title "Biocharculture - Biochar for Environment and Development" Published by MetaMeta, Netherlands. It took two years to write covering a decade of my endeavour with biochar. I am thankful to all the members in the e-groups for the valuable insights, thanks also to the communities / farmers. This book is declared as open Knowledge.. Available online the links are or or Thanks to MetaMeta for publishing and all the support."

Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy

Click here to download book
"Here is a question often asked with great concern: can agriculture meet the challenges of an expanding world and a global economy that is moving more to ‘middle income’? The projections by the Food and Agricultural Organization for instance are that by 2050 the demand for food and fibres - compared with 2005 - will have expanded by 60% respectively 81%. Is this a challenge that is too hard to meet?

A recent comprehensive review of co-optimizing solution for food, water and energy by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development1 found that we still have many cooptimizing options in hand, but it also means that we need to rejuvenate the way farming is done. Agriculture needs to be more precise. It needs to be better integrated in the landscapes that it is part of and it should be supporting rather than substituting natural processes.

It is in this regard that I am very happy to introduce this book on Biocharculture and also to acknowledge its unfailing energetic author, Sai Bhaskar Reddy. We are happy that much of his overall insights and first hand experiences have become available through this book.

Biocharculture falls very much in a vision of an agriculture that supports and makes use of natural growing mechanism. Biochar is charcoal that is used for other purposes than heating. It can be a byproduct or part of an entire production system. 

Biochar scores on many fronts: it improves the capacity of the soil to retain moisture but also nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus. It helps regulate soil temperature and contribute to climate change mitigation. It improves soil life. I still remember that Sai Bhaskar explained a tiny piece of charcoal to me as being a ‘skyscraper for millions of soil biota’. There is still a world to gain – by better understanding this miraculous microbial world and the way our soils and landscapes work and this book hopes to contribute and give practical suggestions and directions. Interesting in some parts of the world biochar is part of the production process where in other it is not. In other words we need to create new traditions and farming cultures, as this book very much argues."
Frank van Steenbergen
Director, MetaMeta

Dr Reddy also published a book on cooking stoves which is also available for download from:
Understanding Stoves (pdf)  and flash book
S. B. Nakka Reddy, 2012

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

New biochar research from Malaysia related to soil remediation


"Biochar as a new soil amendment has a potential in controlling the fate of trace elements in the soil system. However, the production of biochar from different feedstocks and pyrolysis conditions resulted in variable biochar properties which have an influence on trace elements availability. The experimental works are focused on physical and chemical properties of biochars produced from Empty Fruit Bunch (EFB) and Rice Husk (RH) as heavy metals adsorbents. The morphology of EFB biochar comprise rigid structure with uniform pores size. The surface area of biochars ranged between 23.22-46.32 m2 /g, dominated with mesopores. The chemical characterization of biochars revealed high carbon content in EFB biochar compared to RH biochar (54.08 and 7.78%). Both biochars are alkaline in nature (>pH 9) and contain substantial amounts of N, P, K, Ca and Mg. Fourier transform infra-red spectra showed the heterogenic functional groups on EFB biochar surface and domination of silica content in RH biochar. The batch experiment was employed to determine the adsorption capacity of these biochars for As and Cd. The adsorption data were fitted well in Langmuir isotherm with high correlation coefficient (R>0.9) for As and Cd. The qmax of EFB biochar for As and Cd was higher than RH biochar. The q of EFB biochar was 0.4240 and 15.1515 mg g-1 for As and Cd, respectively. In contrast, the qmax of RH biochar for As and Cd was only 0.3522 and 3.1908 mg g-1. The results show that EFB biochar and RH biochar have potentials as good sorbent for As and Cd. Therefore, it can be suggested that the application of these biochars may possibly reduce the trace elements availability in the contaminated soil." 

Norazlina Abu Sari, Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Plantation and Agrotechnology, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 77300 Merlimau, Melaka, Malaysia
Che Fauziah Ishak and Rosenani Abu Bakar, Department of Land Management, Faculty of Agriculture, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 Serdang, Malaysia

Link to the publication