Sunday, 28 August 2011

Malaysia Agro 2011 - Biochar presentation

Dr Robert Bachmann will be a guest speaker at MY AGRO with a presentation titled, "Production of Biochar to balance the carbon footprint for Agriculture".  This free, one day event will take place at MATRADE on Wednesday, 21 September 2011with Dr Bachmann's presentation scheduled for 9:30AM.
"The first edition of Malaysia Agro 2011 (MY AGRO 2011) is set to be the new benchmark in the agriculture and agro-based industry of Malaysia. Showcasing some of the latest product findings and technology, MY AGRO 2011 is expected to feature approximately 4,000sqm of exhibits, from local and international exhibitors. ..."

Monday, 22 August 2011

Feebates - Sam Carana's vision for a sustainable economy

"Feebates are the most effective way to facilitate the shift towards a sustainable economy"

"Feebates are proposed to facilitate a shift away from fossil fuel toward clean energy. Furthermore, fees are proposed on livestock products, nitrogen fertilizers, Portland cement and similar products with high emissions, to finance rebates on methods that can remove large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, such as biochar burial and olivine grinding..."

Friday, 19 August 2011

IBI August Newletter - draft BIG-SEA contribution

SEA August Report

Biochar Activities in Singapore

Research interest from a number of groups in Singapore and Malaysia has led to an order being placed with BlackEarth in Australia for a 20ft container of biochar. The importation work is being led by Uniseal in Singapore, who are planning to undertake green-roof and other trials on biochar. BSL undertook the initial coordination for this initiative which also includes the research arm of the Singapore Parks Department (CUGE) and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).
Report from CUGE
The Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology (CUGE) Division of Singapore National Parks Board has initiated research using biochar for urban soil improvement. Dr. Subhadip Ghosh, a researcher from CUGE has undertaken some initial trials using commercial charcoal on different types of soil-based root zone mixes typically used for turf grass and rooftop application and the results indicated that application of charcoal significantly increased the organic matter content and nutrient status of the soils. CUGE will conduct further research on efficacy of biochar for restoring soil quality for the growth of trees and grasses. These studies will determine whether biochar can replace sand in the growing media such as ASM (Approved Soil Mix). These studies will help to identify appropriate application rates and economic feasibility of applying biochar as an urban soil amendment compared to other materials currently being used.
Uniseal Singapore Pte Ltd
Uniseal will undertake a number of research activities based around the importation of biochar from Australia, focusing on the following initial work:
  1)  To research on the performance of Biochar application on green roofs to determine the effects of plant growth, carbon sequestration and stormwater water quality after infiltrating through the green roofs. 
  2)  To research on the performance of Biochar application on Bio-swales and Bio-retention basins (rain gardens) to determine the effectiveness of removing pollutants (eg. hydrocarbons) from the stormwater.

Biochar Activities in Malaysia
Two Cambodian students, Bona Moung and Piseth Yu, have completed their 5 months placement with UniKL MICET, and are set to return home to Phom Phen to continue their studies with the Royal University of Agriculture. The students had a very productive time investigating the heat transfer efficiency, specific PM10 emission and biochar yield from EFB pellets and coconut shells using Paul Anderson's TLUD, Crisipin Pendecott's VESTO, a traditional Malaysian clay stove and the three stone fire. In addition the biochar produced was characterised physico-chemically. Bona and Piseth will take back the biochar for pot assay testing early next year. A farewell BBQ was organised using the cooking stoves to prepare the food. That was fun!
While we were sad to see Bona and Moung go we are cheered by the arrival of our first international PhD student from Uganda, Nsamba Hussein Kisiki. He'll be working with Dr Robert Bachmann from UniKL MICET, Prof. Gerard Cornelissen and Dr Sarah Hale from NGI (Norway) on biochar.
Universiti Putra Malysia 
Universiti Putra Malysia, Serdang, are actively conducting research on biochar. The Faculty of Engineering is working on pyrolysis methods for different feedstock and we at the Faculty of Agriculture are carrying out  experiments in the glasshouse and field on the application of the biochars (oil palm empty fruit bunch biochar and rice husk biochar) for cultivation of vegetable and field crop (maize and rice), as M.Sc. and Ph.D. projects. We are excited by the results that we are getting seems promising. We have participated in a few exhibitions to create awareness about biochar and its role for crop production and mitigation of climate change.
Work continues on the BEK research program at MPOB, first reported in the May11 newsletter.  The construction of a new house for the BEK was completed, which is spacious enough to accommodate the BEK this time around. A few batches of the feedstock have been run through since then, and some minor modification on the BEK are needed to optimize the performance of the unit (Suggestions and advices from other BEK’s user will be very helpful). Some properties of the biochar produced have been analyzed, and the results are reported in the extended abstract submitted to APBC 2011. Kong (the student/author) is going to present the poster on his work on this, and he is currently looking for sponsorship or travelling grant offered to students/young scientists to fund his trip to Kyoto this September. Any suggestions or advice in this regard would be most appreciated.

Friday, 12 August 2011

ADB Job Opportunity: Biomass and Biochar Technology Specialist

This follows on from the recent ADB announcement covered in my earlier post...

"The subject regional capacity development technical assistance (R-CDTA) aims to improve utilization of biomass in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam (CLV). This will be achieved through: (i) harmonization of sustainable standards, certification systems, and other mechanisms to enhance regional cooperation on bioenergy development with food security ensured; (ii) implementation of pilot projects to demonstrate mechanisms for scaling up biomass investment projects for bioenergy or food security; (iii) capacity-building support for project stakeholders; and (iv) knowledge products and awareness campaign. The mechanisms for scaling up demonstrated under the R-CDTA are expected to lead to ensuing ADB investment projects in Cambodia, Laos, and Viet Nam" 

"The specialist will be in charge of:
  1. review biomass availability, including seasonality, pricing, quality, and competing demand (if any) and the biomass and charcoal briquetting sector, and logistics issues surrounding feedstock supply for small-sized projects;
  2. design and conduct a beneficiary needs assessment of traditional biomass, feedstock, and charcoal briquetting supply agents and benefit streams, and conduct a comparative analysis of various biomass conversion technologies, including financing models, delivery mechanisms, and program modalities (e.g., compost making, biochar);
  3. provide benchmarks for technical performance and carbon credit potentials;
  4. develop a framework for the application of these technologies, including aspects related to institutional needs, financing needs, and information, awareness, and capacity-building needs, and conduct gender-sensitive capacity-building activities;
  5. conduct gender-sensitive capacity-building activities and interventions; and
  6. design a biomass conversion pilot project for composting, biochar, etc., where deemed appropriate."
  • Extensive knowledge about biomass and biochar use for bioenergy, including the charcoal briquetting sector and various conversion technologies
  • Technical Background
  • Knowledge about the existing biomass use initiatives in GMS region as well as the existing institutional framework in GMS countries
  • Experience in design of biomass conversion pilot projects is an advantage
  • Experienced in capacity building activities on biomass and biochar
  • Previous work experience within international donors funded projects
  • Previous work experience on ADB funded projects is an advantage
  • His/her experience should include assignments in Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam.
  • Citizenship of one of ADB’s member countries is obligatory! (see"

Monday, 8 August 2011

The Big Biochar Experiment

Oxford Biochar is sponsoring a giant experiment 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."