Monday, 26 March 2012

Biochar Field Trials in Indonesia and Malaysia

IBI are currently profiling biochar research activities from the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI) and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB)...

Profile: Biochar Field Trials in Zambia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nepal as well as New Biochar Characterization Research from a Team in Norway

"Field trial work in Indonesia began in January 2012 with several sites set up in collaboration with the Indonesian Soil Research Institute and UN Development Program. They are based in Sumatra (acid ultisol; corn, dry and wet rice), Kalimantan (acid sulphate soil; wet rice), West-Timor (alfisol; corn), and Sulawesi (sandy, acid soil; corn and cacao).

In June 2012, the team will establish field trials in Malaysia on degraded sandy soils using biochar produced from rice husk. Rice husk is one of the main waste biomass materials in the area and it will be produced at local rice mills (where the pyrolysis heat is used for drying the raw rice) and then compared to a material produced in a more controlled system based on the Belonio stove (a different stove model). The Malaysian partners include the University of Kuala Lumpur and the Malaysian Agricultural Institute (MARDI). The university of Kuala Lumpur has experience with producing biochar and possesses small scale equipment including a biochar experimental kit (BEK) which can produce a “designer biochar”.

Research associated with the production and containment of organic contaminates during the production and utilisation of biochar will also be undertaken...

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Biochar results from Tropical Hawaii

Josiah Hunt - Biochar and the Future of Farming 

"Josiah Hunt has worked extensively with biochar for several years now. A young farmer and agriculturalist, he has been researching the topic, educating on the topic and created a business focused on the production and distribution of biochar. While biochar is multi-faceted involving waste management, energy production, climate change mitigation and agriculture, biochar in agriculture has been the focus of his work. Josiah is a graduate of UHH and has been a resident of Hawaii since 2002.
In Josiah's TEDxHilo Talk, "Biochar and The Future of Farming" Mr. Hunt describes the process he employs on Hawaii Island for biochar use farming food crops. He clearly shows the benefits of using biochar in multiple farming efforts by clear players in our local agricultural community. Demonstrable yields were highlighted in this articulate and easy to follow talk. Organic farmers everywhere should watch this video..."

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Thailand: Sustainable Decentralized Water Treatment for Rural and Developing Communities Using Gasifier Biochar

For some years colleagues and I in Thailand and the US have been working on charcoal/biochar as low-cost locally derived sorbents for drinking water treatment targeting pesticides and other hazardous synthetic organic contaminants.

We've just published some instructional videos and documents available for public distribution on the web. In particular, I would draw your attention to our new handbook: Sustainable Decentralized Water Treatment for Rural and Developing Communities Using Gasifier Biochar

Please have a look, let me know what you think, and feel free to forward far and wide! We're hoping to get these materials into the hands of practitioners, as well as to invite feedback, modification, adaptation and advancement of the research and field applications.

Warm regards - Josh

Josh Kearns

PhD Candidate
Environmental Engineering
Engineering for Developing Communities
University of Colorado-Boulder
Mobile (Thailand): +66 082 764 2523
Skype: joshkearns

Ed............ and now also in Thai.....

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Call for Papers: Conversion Prospects of Biomass into Biochar in Indonesia - Malang 26-27 June 2012

UNITRI 2012 National Seminar - Malang, Indonesia 26-27 June 2012

Further to my earlier post (, the brochure for the seminar is now available and can be down-loaded from the following link:

Abstract deadline in 1 May.

Friday, 9 March 2012

International Training Course on Biochar Production, Testing and Utilisation

Nanjing Agricultural University in collaboration with the University of New South Wales and Newcastle University is considering holding an International Training Workshop if there is sufficient numbers of people who wish to attend. We are asking for expressions of interest.

1. Target Audience: This training course will target the following groups of people.
  • Decision makers in organisations who wish to develop policies and programs at national or regional level,
  • Project managers who are designing and/or implementing either R and D, demonstration of commercial projects
  • Senior extension personnel in agricultural and low carbon technology sector
  • Owners or senior executives who are or have set up an enterprise that includes the manufacture of biochar or biochar related products.
2. Location: Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China

3. Timing: Sept 10th to 15th

4. Duration and Format: 6 days.
Lectures and discussion will be held in the morning and testing and practicals in the afternoon. A field trip to a pilot field trial will be organized.

5. Cost and numbers.
Participants from developing countries will not be charged a tuition fee but will have to pay their airfare, food and accommodation. Participants from developed countries and China are requested to pay a registration fee of EU350 for NGO’s and EU750 for commercial business and organisations. They are responsible for the airfare, accommodation and food. The registration fee is to cover cost of accommodation, airfare and food of trainers. A training certificate will be issued by the end of the course.
Maximum number of participants 30

For Course content and application details please refer to the following linked ...

Professor Genxing Pan;
Professor Stephen Joseph;

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Biochar related research proposal for Laos and Thailand

Research Proposal:
Producing Biochar from Waste Biomass to Improve Food Security, Enhance Villager Livelihoods, and Reduce GHG Emissions:
Lao PDR and Thailand Case Studies1

An abstract of this proposal, which includes the establishment of Adam Retorts in each location, can be down-loaded from the following link...
1 Prepared by Richard J. Frankel, Ph.D. and David Morell, Ph.D., Adjunct Professors, Natural Resources and Environmental Management Center, Mae Fah Luang University, 333 Moo 1 Tambol Thasud, Muang District, Chiang Rai 57100, THAILAND; Phone: +(66) 53-916850-1; Fax: +(66) 53-916852;;

Monday, 5 March 2012

More Biochar activity in Vietnam

Dr Stephen Joseph has reported on biochar production and application in northern Vietnam...

Enclosed is a report on work that has been going on in the North of Vietnam funded by CARE.
Large scale field trials of mixed biochar produced in TLUD drums is underway and about 60 stoves should be going into households now (or very soon).
Download Development of TLUD cookstoves and Drum Ovens in North Vietnam  from

Just out of interest I have integrated my TLUD with an aquaponics/vermiculture system in my back yard.
First harvest of lettuce, pak choi and Radiccio after 2 weeks.  Used this to make Pho
Download Schematic biochar aquaponics with vermiculture
Stephen Joseph

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Biomass Gasification and the Benefits of Biochar - Dr Paul Olivier

If you are interested in biomass stoves (TLUD) or the multiple applications for small scale biomass gasification then I highly recommend a review of Dr Paul Olivier's work in Vietnam with rice husk biomass. His 10 page report (link below) includes reports on biochar agriculture trials in Cambodia and Laos using rice hulls. His report also includes an interesting summary of possible future distributed energy pathways for biomass.

Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2012 06:11:11 +0700
From: Paul Olivier <>
To: Discussion of biomass cooking stoves <>
Subject: [Stoves] the 150 gasifier in operation in Vietnam

This is a TLUD forced air gasifier in operation on rice hulls.

Here you see the burner with burner housing:

When a wire mesh dome is placed on top of the burner and burner housing,  this roughly doubles the amount of heat being transferred to a pot:

Here it took 3 minutes and 42 seconds to bring a liter of water to a boil:

For more details on this gasifier, see:


Paul A. Olivier PhD
27C Pham Hong Thai Street

Louisiana telephone: 1-337-447-4124 (rings Vietnam)

Mobile: 090-694-1573 (in Vietnam)
Skype address: Xpolivier