Thursday 20 July 2017

Low-Cost Biochar Application in Tanzania Shows Astounding Increases

Bana grass project in Philippines mentions biochar

$10-M bio-charcoal facility to be built in Nueva Ecija

By Robert R. Requintina
Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija – A $10 million bio-charcoal facility will be built here later this year that is expected to be a major source of renewable and sustainable energy, and will provide more employment in the province, according to the MacKay Green Energy, Inc. (MGE).
“It’s European standard. So no emissions,” said MGE Chairman James R. MacKay when asked about the safety of the facility, during ground-breaking ceremonies for the newest plantation in this province recently.
The newly acquired three hectares of land where the new bio-charcoal will be put up is expected to hire more than 1,000 people when completed. “In this facility, you will have charcoal, methane, bio-char, and bio-oil.”
MacKay also said that the energy firm is getting closer to its goal in helping the country become more environment-friendly.
“You don’t have enough biomass in the Philippines. So at some stage, the market will come to a point when it will have to purchase,” MacKay explained.
MGE, he said, has secured the best technologies.
“It has superior qualities to fossil based coal and can be co-fired in existing cola power plants without the need to make drastic changes. It is a key factor for power plants since the Greenhouse Gas Emissions can be directly reduced,” said Mackay.
The whole project will be dedicated to MacKay variety Bana Grass, which is a crop imported by MGE that can be turned into fuel to produce energy.
MacKay said that Bana Grass is a perennial hybrid variety (pennisetum purpureum X pennisetum americanum) which is highly tolerant to drought and typhoons, pest-resistant and is also non-allergic.

FAO Global Soil Partnership Newsletter

Lots of interesting stuff here that overlaps with biochar community interest...

GSP Newsletter 
  July 2017, Issue #12


Global Soil Partnership Newsletter

Wednesday 19 July 2017

More exciting results from biochar use in Nepal

Biochar-Based Fertilization with Liquid Nutrient Enrichment: 21 Field Trials Covering 13 Crop Species in Nepal


  • This article has been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but has not been through the copyediting, typesetting, pagination and proofreading process, which may lead to differences between this version and the Version of Record. Please cite this article as doi: 10.1002/ldr.2761


Biochar produced in cost-efficient flame curtain kilns (Kon-Tiki) was nutrient enriched either with cow urine or with dissolved mineral (NPK) fertilizer to produce biochar-based fertilizers containing between 60-100 kg N, 5-60 kg P2O5 and 60-100 kg K2O, respectively, per ton of biochar. In 21 field trials nutrient-enriched biochars were applied at rates of 0.5-2 t ha-1 into the root zone of 13 different crops. Treatments combining biochar, compost and organic or chemical fertilizer were evaluated; control treatments contained same amounts of nutrients but without biochar. All nutrient-enriched biochar substrates improved yields compared to their respective no-biochar controls. Biochar enriched with dissolved NPK produced on average 20% ± 5.1% (N=4 trials) higher yields than standard NPK fertilization without biochar. Cow urine-enriched biochar blended with compost resulted on average in 123% ± 76.7% (N=13 trials) higher yields compared to the organic farmer practice with cow urine-blended compost and outcompeted NPK-enriched biochar (same nutrient dose) by 103% ± 12.4% (N=4 trials), respectively. Thus, the results of 21 field trials robustly revealed that low-dosage root zone application of organic biochar-based fertilizers caused substantial yield increases in rather fertile silt loam soils compared to traditional organic fertilization and to mineral NPK- or NPK-biochar fertilization. This can be explained by the nutrient carrier effect of biochar, causing a slow nutrient release behavior, more balanced nutrient fluxes, and reduced nutrient losses, especially when liquid organic nutrients are used for the biochar enrichment. The results open up new pathways for optimizing organic farming and improving on-farm nutrient cycling.

Thursday 13 July 2017

Biochar for water treatment

Biochar and its importance in adsorption of antibiotic and heavy metals from aqueous solutions

Hesham M. Aly 
Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Key Laboratory of Plant Nutrition and Fertilizer, Ministry of Agriculture, China-New Zealand Joint Laboratory for Soil Molecular Ecology, Beijing 100081, China, 
Department of Forestry, Horticulture Institute, Agriculture Research Center, Antoniadis Botanical Garden, Alexandria, 21554, Egypt 


This short communication relates to carbon-rich material referred to as biochar. In the subsequent sections, the text presents old and modern methods of production, physiochemical characteristics and miscellaneous applications of biochar in environmental protection, e.g. treatment of contaminated soil and water, as well as in agriculture for soil fertilization. The final part of the text deals with further possible, more extensive use of biochar in these two economic sectors, particularly to create carbon sink for CO2 sequestration in land cultivation, and to remove heavy metals and pharmaceutical compounds from soil and water in environmental protection.

B4SS have been active in Indonesia & Vietnam

Check out B4SS activities in Vietnam and Indonesia.
From: Ruy Korscha Anaya de la Rosa [biochar] 
Date: 13 July 2017 at 16:17
Subject: [biochar] B4SS Adventure Experience in Peru

Starfish's Biochar for Sustainable Soils (B4SS) project is entering its final year and things are getting really exciting. The results of the last 2-3 years of research are coming in and our focus is now shifting to sharing this practical and important knowledge. Check it out and you could win a trip to Peru!

Dr Ruy Anaya de la Rosa
Project Director | Biochar for Sustainable Soils
  a collaboration of Starfish Initiatives
/Inline image 1

Tuesday 11 July 2017

Mayanmar biochar action

Solar Roots take hold in Myanmar's remote corners

"Gardiner’s trainings are not limited to solar power. He also advocates the use of fuel-efficient stoves, in order to cut energy consumption, and biochar, which he says mitigates the effects of climate change.

Since all of the participants live in rural areas and most of them make their living from the land, the Tachileik training included an introduction to biochar.

It’s basically the same as charcoal but instead of being used as a fuel, it is used as a soil component that is rich in carbon. Because of its porous nature, biochar provides an ideal habitat for microorganisms that improve the fertility of soil, as well as increasing water retention.

After a brief introduction to the benefits of biochar, Gardiner took the participants outside to dig a pit and burn some sticks of wood and bamboo that had been chopped into small pieces.

Once the biochar was prepared, he had them prepare layers of sticks, dried leaves, green weeds, manure and urine, to which the biochar was added to form a rich compost. He mentioned that results are not always noticed in the first year after mixing the biochar compost with earth, but from the second year the soil’s increased fertility is evident. It is also particularly effective in dry soils, which are found in many parts of Myanmar."

Monday 10 July 2017

Low-tech Flame Carbonizers for Biochar Production - webinar

Utah State University, Forestry Extension: Learn at Lunch Webinar

Low-tech Flame Carbonizers for Biochar Production: Theory and Applications
Kelpie Wilson, Wilson Biochar Associates
Date: Tuesday, July 25

Time: 12 pm (
Biochar is made by applying heat to biomass in the absence of oxygen. Flame carbonization uses the flame itself to exclude oxygen. Flame carbonization methods can produce high quality biochar from low value biomass waste found in fields and forests without investing in expensive equipment. Kelpie Wilson will explain the theory and design principles for using flame carbonizing techniques in various applications such as forestry, farming and urban tree care.
This webinar is good (only if viewed live) for 1 CEU from: Society of American Foresters OR International Society of Arboriculture.
Kelpie Wilson is a mechanical engineer and analyst with 30 years of experience in renewable energy, sustainable forestry and resource conservation. Since 2008, she has focused on biochar as a tool to move excess carbon from the atmosphere to soil, where it can improve soil health and sequester carbon. She consults with farmers, private industry, and government agencies through her company Wilson Biochar Associates. She serves on the board of the US Biochar Initiative, works with several local groups in Oregon promoting sustainable forestry and agriculture, and presents many classes and workshops on small scale biochar production and use every year.