Saturday 28 May 2011

Pinoy Biochar Initiative - Philippines

Ronald Rafer Villaluz has kicked off a Philippine language biochar facebook page ...

May 2011 IBI Newsletter - SEA reports

The May IBI newsletter features 3 reports that have been covered by BIG-SEA...
Also featured is the setting up of large scale field trials in North Carolina ( It is this scale of research that is badly needed in the tropical plantation setting, to rapidly develop our understanding on the agricultural benefits that are predicted in tropical SEA with the development of a biochar industry.

Large scale field trials are being discussed and planned but are constrained by the availability of suitable biochar.  This supply constraint is one of the issues I am currently focusing on.

Report from the May 2011 IBI newsletter...

"World Bank Study of Biochar Projects in Developing Countries Nearing Completion

IBI and Cornell University have been working since October 2010 on a study of developing country biochar projects for the World Bank. The IBI network has played a critical role in the study by providing information on projects in various stages of implementation through two surveys of IBI members and subscribers. IBI wishes to thank everyone who participated in the surveys and who submitted project information. Through these efforts we have learned a great deal of valuable information about biochar feedstocks, technologies, and applications. A follow-up survey helped identify potential barriers and incentives for implementing household and village scale biochar projects in the developing world.

The final report will include a Life Cycle Assessment of four biochar projects. The report is scheduled for completion by the end of June 2011 and the World Bank plans to make it available to the public. Earlier this month, IBI presented the survey results to the World Bank at a review meeting in Washington DC, where IBI board chair, Johannes Lehmann, also presented a current summary of biochar research that will be included in the final report. Thea Whitman, from Cornell University, presented a system dynamics model used to evaluate the climate change impact of biochar cook stoves in Western Kenya, and Kelli Roberts, also from Cornell, presented preliminary results from the Life Cycle Assessment case studies that will appear in the final report. The survey data from 150 biochar projects located in 38 developing countries is available now on the IBI website at:"

My review of the SEA biochar related project development scorecard is...
Indonesia  12
Thailand     6
Vietnam     5
Philippines  4
Malaysia    4
Laos          2
Cambodia  2

The full report is due end of June - it will be very interesting to see more details about these projects & plans. 

Sunday 1 May 2011

Biochar - An Organic House for Soil Microbes

Bryan Hugill (Co-founder and Environmental Manager, Raitong Organics Farm, Sisaket Province, Thailand) has submitted the following linked article on biochar for ECHO Asia Notes publication. It is a general biochar introduction for ECHO Asia readers but also draws upon biochar field activities in Thailand.

"The ECHO Asia Regional Office seeks to extend the services of ECHO to help those working with the poor in Asia to be more effective, especially in the area of agriculture. The ECHO Asia Regional Office functions primarily as a technical support organization helping community development organizations and workers operate more effectively."

The Terra Preta Sanitation – Biochar (TPS-B) Initiative of the WAND Foundation is given a Boost with an award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Grand Challenges Explorations

The Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development (WAND) Foundation is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Elmer V. Sayre will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled “Ecological Sanitation for the Base of the Pyramid”.

Elmer Sayre inspecting specialized dry toilet bowls
Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds scientists and researchers worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. Dr. Elmer V. Sayre’s project is one of over 85 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 6 grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:

You can follow Dr Elmer V. Sayre's project activities in the Philippines at the Mindanao Terra Preta - Biochar Initiative website:

Please also note that Proposals are now open for Round 7 funding up until 19 May: