Monday, 29 October 2012

UniKL - MPOB biochar trials update

The following report has been provided by Dr Robert Bachmann from UniKL on their biochar collaboration work with MPOB...

PKS biochar from BEK
"The Biochar Experimenter Kit (BEK) at the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has now received a shelter place with concrete flooring and flue gas extraction system (Figure 1). Mr Kong Sieng-Huat, master student at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), has established that the BEK is able to give 30 % yield of palm kernel shell (PKS) biochar from the current controlled conditions in batch production (retort mode). The biochar is then subjected to a series of physico-chemical characterizations to determine the most suitable biochar to be used in the designed field trial study (see below). A mini workshop was also conducted recently from 17-19 October 2012 to give local participants a better understanding on the operation of the BEK. "
BEK protected from elements in its new shelter

Rainshelter with automatic irrigation system with drips for 200 plants
"In March 2012, construction of a plant nursery facility began at Universiti Kuala Lumpur (MICET), Melaka, funded by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) (Figure 2). The purpose of this facility is to study the effect of biochar produced from oil palm plantation waste such as PKS, oil palm trunk, empty fruit bunch (EFB) and fronds on the growth of oil palm seedlings. Parameters such as cation exchange capacity (CEC), soil pH and water holding capacity, biomass yield, and chlorophyll content of palm oil leafs are investigated. The nursery has a capacity for 200 plants with an automatic irrigation system. The project is conducted by postgraduate (Arasu Uttran) and final year undergraduate students (Farain Zainal and Subki Awang) from the Environmental Engineering Technology Section supervised by Dr Robert Thomas Bachmann (UniKL MICET and Dr Loh Soh Kheang (MPOB). "

Reported by:
Sieng-Huat Kong (free2rhyme0628(at) &
Arasu Uttran (arasu_biotech(at)

For further enquiries kindly contact:
Dr Loh Soh Kheang (MPOB): lohsk(at)
Dr Robert Thomas Bachmann (UniKL): bachmann(at)

Bamboo, Pyrolysis, Bio-Char, ...

" Charlotte O'Brien, Director of Bio Bamboo and CO2 Drawdown Solutions, explains how to significantly draw down Carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it as a Bio-Char soil conditioner using Bamboo to fuel Pyrolysis. Adding the Bio-Char to depleted soil fosters the spread of Mycorrhizal fungus in the soil, which in turn creates Glomalin (which sequesters even more Carbon). The enriched soil then produces more biomass which can be processed into more biochar...the result is an exponential carbon draw down!
The process also generates a bevy of marketable bi-products."

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Tapping oil palm biomass

It seems I've managed to get some main-stream press coverage here for biochar...

"A recent conference looks at ways to tap oil palm biomass.
At a recent conference on oil palm biomass, one of the presenters brought up the story of the mythical Lost City of El Dorado in the Amazon, reputedly a place with untold gold riches. Many treasure hunters had tried to locate it, but unsuccessfully. They found something else though – naturally occurring biochar.
Biochar is the resulting material when biomass (biological material derived from agricultural or forest produce) undergoes carbonisation under high temperatures. The same substance can be churned out from oil palm residues – along with a whole lot of other products. And so participants at the Malaysian Palm Oil Board’s (MPOB) International Oil Palm Biomass Conference on Sept 20 and 21 were rightly informed that oil palm biomass is a veritable goldmine. In fact, it might well be the El Dorado of Malaysia."

You can contact me for a copy of my presentation, if of interest.