Monday, 20 March 2017

Composting with Biochar Training Workshop - Malaysia, 5-6 April

Following on from the success of the Thailand biochar workshop (see earlier post below) the organisers of new workshop in Malaysia have agreed to open this up for public participation. Less than 3 weeks away so act fast if you are interested...

Composting with Biochar Training Workshop - Batu Pahat, 5-6 April

Top Fruits Sdn Bhd are the leading durian production, processing and exporting company in Malaysia. They will be hosting a compost training workshop at their farm and processing facilities near Batu Pahat on the 5th and 6th of April.

The training will be a mix of theory and practice (mainly practice), based on underlying permaculture principles and will draw in new innovation around the inclusion of biochar into the compost system. The training will be led by Harbir Gill, a well know local permaculturist, garden innovator and expert in compost production. He will be assisted by Trevor Richards, long time Malaysian resident and local expert on all things related to biochar.

The target audience is small to medium scale commercial horticulture and orchards /plantations. Don’t believe the entrenched dogma that composting in the tropics is not practical or economic... carbon is the future for sustainable soils and agriculture.

Program (preliminary)

Day 1
Composting production and application principles
Field session: Compost evaluation
Field session: Build a 3-bin compost system
Plantation tour - identify / recover biomass sources

Day 2
Biochar introduction
Building 1st compost heap
Compost amendments
Compost monitoring and improvement

Cost: RM250 /day
Transport: Car sharing from KL anticipated
Accommodation: plenty of options in and around Batu Pahat
Needs: outdoor clothing, hat, sunscreen,
Morning and afternoon tea will be provided.

For queries and booking:
Trina Wong:, 012-223 3615
Trevor:, 012-659 1430

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Kelpie's new Jro design for light weight biomass

"It uses two barrels, but I find it much easier to handle than a tall, wiggly stack. And it holds in heat better. The stack tends to send your heat shooting out the top. With this plenum burner design, you don't have to worry so much about controlling primary air because the draft is slower. The slits are kind of cute, but I don't think they are giving me the swirl I was after, so any shape of hole would probably work as well."

Monday, 13 March 2017

Thailand biochar workshop report

Warm Heart Biochar Workshop - Phrao, Northern Thailand

Here is a link to a short report on the workshop. Please get in touch if you are interested in organising biochar workshops in your area.
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Foreground: TFOD trough for bamboo biochar production

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

More news on Philippines mine remediation

DENR issues guidelines providing livelihood for mining communities

"Lopez said the Biochar Program calls for the wise utilization of abundant agricultural waste materials into marketable products created by rural communities for green energy, soil enhancement, mine revegetation, and a host of environmental products and services, making it a remarkable climate-change mitigation technology with poverty alleviation through community enterprise.

Biochar is charred biomass strictly from agricultural waste like rice hull and straw, bagasse, pili shell, mango seed, coconut husk and shell and corn cobs, which are produced by high heating with very limited oxygen. Lopez clarified that cutting of trees to serve as raw materials for biochar is “strictly prohibited.”

IBI Webinar - Biochar Analytical Methods, 27Mar.

International Biochar Initiative – Educational Webinar Series

Biochar Analytical Methods

The soon to be released book “Biochar: A Guide to Analytical Methods” provides procedures and guidelines for biochar characterization as well as backgrounds for the various proposed analytical techniques and procedures.  Dr. Balwant Singh is one of the lead editors for this book and will highlight some of the most useful information from this book including the proper way to obtain biochar samples and a selection of analytical techniques.  He will address proximate & elemental analysis, as well as testing of pH, electrical conductivity, liming potential, and cation exchange capacity.  This webinar will be of interest to biochar producers, researchers, laboratories and more.  An interactive Q&A period will follow Dr. Singh’s presentation. Questions may be submitted before or during the event.

IBI members are eligible for a 20% discount on Biochar: A Guide to Analytical Methods.  IBI Members may use the Promo Code on the IBI Members Only page.
When?             Date: March 27th, 2017              Time: 4:30 – 6:00 pm ET
Cost?               Free to IBI Members or $40 for non-members
IBI Members may register for free using the link which has been emailed to all current IBI Members or is available on the IBI Members Only page.
To renew or join IBI, please go to our Join page. If you have issues joining or renewing, please send an email to: For other registration-related questions, please send an email to

Registration includes access to the slides and a recording of the webinar.
KD-001Moderator: Kathleen Draper
Kathleen is a member of the IBI Board and Chair of IBI’s Information Hub. She is also the US Director of the Ithaka Institute for Carbon Intelligence. The Institute is an open source network focusing on beneficial carbon sequestration strategies which simultaneously provide economic development opportunities both in the developed and developing world. She is an editor and writer for The Biochar Journal, sponsored by the Ithaka Institute. Kathleen also works with various different universities and individuals on projects that are investigating the use of biochar in cement and other building and packaging products to develop products with lower embodied carbon which can be made from locally available organic waste. She has written extensively about various topics related to biochar and is a co-author of the book “Terra Preta: How the World’s Most Fertile Soil Can Help Reverse Climate Change and Reduce World Hunger”.
Image result for dr. balwant singh biocharPresenter: Dr. Balwant Singh
Dr. Balwant Singh is a Professor of Soil Science in the Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney.  He is the current Chair of the Soil Mineralogy Commission of the International Union of Soil Sciences and a Councilor of the Association Internationale pour l’Etude des Argiles (AIPEA) and the Clay Mineral Society.  Dr. Singh is joint Editor-in-Chief of the journal Soil Research and an Associate Editor for three other journals.

For More Information

What questions do you have about biochar quality and use? Please send your questions by March 23rd to

For more information or if you have any questions about registration please email Vera Medici at

Want to become an IBI member?  Visit our membership page to help support IBI! 
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Monday, 6 March 2017

The Great Change: Climate Ecoforestry

The Great Change: Climate Ecoforestry: "Want to leap the social barrier to cool living? Behold: a stargate."   In 2008 we asked Frank Michael a tough question. Frank...

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Philippines Biochar Association in the news

"One alternative livelihood the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is looking at is for miners to take part in the rehabilitation of agricultural lands affected by mining activities through Biochar.
DENR Undersecretary Philip Camara said a lot of the mines that Secretary Gina Lopez ordered closed or suspended involved operations that removed from the ground around 10- to 20-meters- deep of subsoil.
Because of this, he said, the community is left with an environment that can hold very little water.
Biochar, along with other ingredients, can remedy this, he said.
"I’m talking about using 30 tons per hectare. We’d be able to provide a hospitable environment for plants and trees to regrow and to stabilize the area so that further erosion is controlled," he said.
Camara, who also serves as Philippine Biochar Association president, said he estimates that for every 200 hectares of full rehabilitation, a thousand jobs would be created.
But the real reason for rehabilitating the area, he said, is to repurpose it for a "green economy" which becomes "a sustainable, long-term, progressive virtuous cycle development in the area, providing a lot more jobs than what would have come from extracting the subsoil and shipping it."