Sunday 28 October 2018

TLUD stoves in Bangladesh

The video below subtitles but I include it now because of the comments provided by Julian:

Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2018 20:30:58 -0400
From: Julien Winter
To: Discussion of biomass cooking stoves (
Cc: Mahbubul Islam, Dean Still, vhrapp
Subject: [Stoves] Short Documentary on TLUD and Biochar in Bangladesh (in Bangla)

Hi folks;
Here is a short doc on TLUDs and biochar in Bangladesh.  It is in Bangla,
but I am sure we can all understand the body language for 'migrating
pyrolytic front', 'cation exchange capacity', and 'sodium chloride'.

The significance of this video is that Bangladesh is a nascent hot-spot of
TLUD and biochar research, because it is probably the most ideal country in
the World for these technologies: 3 crops per year, low organic matter
soils, 80% of population cooking with biomass,  >1000 people / km?,
impending loss of land to sea level rise, and plenty of scientists.

It is great the way this video includes both the university professors,
farmers and lots of women.  The CCDB project has collected data showing
that university professors increase the self-esteem of women TLUD users, so
it is recommended that professors should be applied liberally in the
countryside to increase cookstove acceptance.

I hope subtitles in English are forthcoming.

Julien Winter, Cobourg, ON, CANADA

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Successful pot trials - rice, acid soils and biochar


Effect of Rice-straw Biochar Application on Rice (Oryza sativa L.) Root Growth and Nitrogen Utilization in Acidified Paddy Soil

State Key Laboratory of Rice Biology, China National Rice Research Institute, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, 310006, P.R. China 
Rice Research Institute of Guizhou Province, Guiyang, Guizhou, 550006, P.R. China


"Soil acidification and low nitrogen (N) utilization efficiency are serious problems in rice production. Biochar has the potential to provide a liming effect and strong nutrient adsorption, leading to soil improvement. This study was conducted to investigate specific root traits in rice and to assess the effect of rice-straw biochar amendment on nitrogen efficient utilization in acidified soil. Addition of 20 g kg-1biochar and washed biochar significantly promoted rice growth and the yield increased by over 35% and 24%, respectively, when compared with the control. Application of equivalent lime did not increase the rice yield in either low or high N treatments. Biochar application alleviated soil acidity and improved the available nutrient content. Biochar maintained a high available N during the N depletion period by regulating N adsorption and release in the acidified paddy soil. Biochar or washed biochar amendment was found to significantly improve root growth when compared with the control, particularly root mass and adventitious root length. However, application of equivalent lime only significantly promoted the growth of root system before panicle initiation stage. When compared with the liming effect, the adsorption properties of biochar provided a persistent effect in improving acidified soil. Further studies on long-term effects of biochar addition on crop growth as well as its behavior in soil are required in future."
© 2018 Friends Science Publishers

Monday 22 October 2018

Ithaka newsletter: Biochar Journal articles

©Ithaka Institut
Dear Friends of Ithaka,
The prospects of climate change are so increasingly dire that there are times when it may seem inappropriate to celebrate a promising scientific advance or any other good news. Good news, however, is exactly what humanity needs at moments like this. And to produce good news, it helps to share them and to create examples that others might replicate.
One such bright spot in the dark is the inclusion of biochar and pyrogenic carbon capture & storage (PyCCS) into the recent IPCC special report. It took more than ten years of global biochar science, technology development and practice before it finally appeared serious and convincing enough to the world’s leading climate scientists to mention biochar-based carbon sequestration as a technology to consider. It may take another five years until policy makers discover and discuss this most promising solution to keep global warming in a range that may still sustain civilization in all regions where human culture prospered during the last millennia. Five more years for us to prepare the groundwork with sophisticated technology, understanding of mechanisms, sustainable certification, and valuable biochar based products. See linked below our extended comments and the decisive, biochar related passages from the new IPCC special report.
At Ithaka we have been hard at work on various other positive developments which we hope will provide inspiring examples such as the forest gardens with organic biochar-based fertilization that we set-up in Nepal. A local journalist, Abhaya Raj Joshi, recently visited one of the villages where more than 50,000 trees were planted and have been linked to a global carbon subscription model since 2015. He interviewed villagers on how the new climate farming methods have changed their lives and the village.
And last but not least, Kathleen’s new, updated white paper on using biochar in coffee production with lots of new success stories about using biochar in coffee production and processing from three different continents. Thanks to funding received by the Biochar for Sustainable Soils project, you can enjoy the complete white paper with open access.
The Ithaka team will be traveling to Cuba, India, China and the UN climate conference in Poland over the next months to continue with education, research, collaboration and in-field biochar initiatives. As always, we will share with you what we learn and what we believe may be of service to others. We always appreciate hearing about successes and lessons learned by others working collaboratively on biochar projects around the globe, please feel invited to share these with us.
Yours Hans-Peter and Kathleen

Biochar and PyCCS included as negative emission technology by the IPCC

by Hans-Peter Schmidt
Biochar was included for the first time as a promising negative emission technology (NET) in the new IPCC special report. While the special report’s overall message was alarming, the inclusion of biochar is an important milestone for mitigating climate change and fostering research on pyrogenic carbon. We provide here a short summary on pyrogenic carbon capture and storage (PyCCS) and relevant excerpts from the new IPCC special report with regards to PyCCS and biochar.
... mehr

Carbon sequestration to rejuvenate land, water and economy in Nepal

by Abhaya Raj Joshi
Three years after the first 10,000 forest garden trees were planted in a Nepali mountain village and were linked to a new type of private carbon trading scheme, the village received the visit of a young journalist from a national newspaper. His particular insights into the Nepali way of life and policy, make his report about this acclaimed pilot project combining organic biochar based fertilization, mixed tree garden plantation, water retenition, soil conservation, and crop value chain creation a passionate critic.
... mehr

Pyrogenic carbon capture and storage

In this review, we show that pyrolytic carbon capture and storage (PyCCS) can aspire for carbon sequestration efficiencies of >70%, which is shown to be an important threshold to allow PyCCS to become a relevant negative emission technology. Prolonged residence times of pyrogenic carbon can be generated (a) within the terrestrial biosphere including the agricultural use of biochar; (b) within advanced bio‐based materials as long as they are not oxidized (biochar, bio‐oil); and (c) within suitable geological deposits (bio‐oil and CO2 from permanent pyrogas oxidation).
... mehr

Biochar & Coffee White Paper

by Kathleen Draper
An increasing number of coffee growers use biochar to improve soil fertility and resiliency, reduce dependence on fertilizers, achieve better survival rates for young plants, increase disease resistance and optimize residue management. New peer reviewed information on how biochar can help mitigate coffee rust (roya) and other diseases is presented in addition to benefits related to soil fertility, composting, effluent filtration, renewable energy production, residue management and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions across the entire coffee supply chain. ... mehr (<

Biochar & low fertility soils - meta-analysis

Biochar application to low fertility soils: A review of current status, and future prospects


• Biochar has potential to be the best management practice for low fertility soils.
• Biochar coating with organic materials can result in enhanced crop nutrient supply.
• Biochar may accelerate the composting process and improve the end-product quality.
• The influence of biochar varies strongly according to the types of feedstock/soil.


Rapid industrial development and human activities have caused a degradation of soil quality and fertility. There is increasing interest in rehabilitating low fertility soils to improve crop yield and sustainability. Biochar, a carbonaceous material intentionally produced from biomass, is widely used as an amendment to improve soil fertility by retaining nutrients and, potentially, enhancing nutrient bioavailability. But, biochar is not a simple carbon material with uniform properties, so appropriate biochar selection must consider soil type and target crop. In this respect, many recent studies have evaluated several modification methods to maximize the effectiveness of biochar such as optimizing the pyrolysis process, mixing with other soil amendments, composting with other additives, activating by physicochemical processes, and coating with other organic materials. However, the economic feasibility of biochar application cannot be neglected. Strategies for reducing biochar losses and its application costs, and increasing its use efficiency need to be developed. This review synthesized current understanding and introduces holistic and practical approaches for biochar application to low fertility soils, with consideration of economic aspects.

Nice article on biochar 'state of play'

 Well written summary on biochar IMO. We need to see more these sort of articles in local and regional flavor

NCAT Specialist Pens Biochar Article

NCAT Specialist Pens Biochar Article NCAT’s own Jeff Schahczenski, agriculture and economics specialist, published an article about biochar and organic agriculture that was featured in the Organic Farmer magazine. Jeff writes that biochar in agriculture has become a “movement” but points out the difficulties in even establishing a definition for it.
“The range of topics and issues surrounding biochar are immense and unwieldy,” Jeff says. “If you don’t believe me, just check out the 2015 second edition of the book, Biochar for Environmental Management: Science, Technology and Implementation, edited by biochar leaders Johannes Lehmann and Stephen Joseph. This 928-page tome is only the tip of the iceberg on the many, many topics related to biochar. “
You can read the full article at
You can also read NCAT’s publication on biochar here:
Jeff has expertise in organic and sustainable agriculture public policy, marketing and economics, genetically modified crops in agriculture, organic horticulture, renewable agriculture energy, sustainable building construction, and intercultural communications. He served as executive director of the Western Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (WSAWG), and has been an adjunct instructor for the University of Montana, Western Montana College, and Montana Tech. Jeff received graduate degrees in agricultural economics and political science and served in the Peace Corps in Belize, Central America. He can be reached at or 406-494-4572.

Tuesday 16 October 2018

Biochar benefits turfgrass management

This looks like an important read for all managers and green-keepers of sports grounds, golf courses urban green space. I'm not sure what grasses are used in tropical soils. It would be great see some experimentation happening in this region.

Effects of rice-husk biochar on sand-based rootzone amendment and creeping bentgrass growth

XiaoXiao Lia, XuBing Chena, Marta Weber-Siwirskab, JunJun Caoa, ZhaoLong Wanga,⁎
a School of Agriculture and Biology, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai 200240, PR China
b Institute of Landscape Architecture, Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Wroclaw 50-375, Poland

"Turf provides an irreplaceable surface for recreational and sport activities in urban landscape. Sand-based rootzone is recommended for turf establishment because of its excellent compaction resistance. It is necessary to improve the water and nutrient retention of sand-based rootzone by soil amendments in maintaining healthy turf. The objective of this research was to evaluate the effects of rice-husk biochar on sand-based rootzone amendment and creeping bentgrass (Agrostsis stolonifera) establishment. The results showed that bulk density was linearly decreased in proportion to rice-husk biochar. Total porosity and capillary porosity, water retention, and saturated hydraulic conductivity were significantly increased in proportion to rice-husk biochar. Sand-based rootzone amended with 10% of rice-husk biochar promoted the seed germination and young seedling growth with the significantly higher growth rate, leaf emergence rate, shoot and root biomass, and turf coverage than the control. These results indicate that rice-husk biochar had superior characteristics to previous reported biochars in the sand-based rootzone amendment and could be used to improve soil physical properties and turf healthy in sports and recreation playgrounds."

Sunday 14 October 2018


Dr Ruy Anaya de la Rosa was at the recent ANZBC18 (previous post) and presented on Biochar 4 Sustainable Soils (B4SS) project. See tag below for previous posts.

Ruy's presentation starts at page 47.

ANZBC18 conference proceedings

The ANZBC18 conference proceedings have now been published and made available by AgriFutures Australia...

Richard Upperton from PFS Energy Malaysia describes some of there work related to biochar in 6 slides from page 59.

Sunday 7 October 2018

Dirt Rich - the movie

I posted on the trailer back in March but now it is on temporary general public release (until 12Oct).

You can view the film from this link:

Their FB page:

EFB biochar for improved maize production - Indonesia

The efficiency of phosphorus uptake by plants in an Ultisol soil is very low because most of soil phosphorus is precipitated by Al and Fe. Oil palm empty fruit bunches can be used as basic materials of biochar and compost, and as sources of isolates of phosphate solubilizing fungi. This study was aimed to elucidate the effect of application of phosphate solubilizing fungi with biochar and compost generated from oil palm empty fruit bunches on growth and yield of maize an Ultisol of Central Kalimantan. This study consisted of two experiments. The first experiment was inoculation of four isolates of phosphate solubilizing fungi isolated from of oil palm empty fruit bunches, i.e. Acremonium (TB1), Aspergillus (TM7), Hymenella (TM1) and Neosartorya (TM8) to 'biocom' media (mixture of biochar and compost generated from oil palm empty fruit bunches) to obtain phosphate solubilizing fungi that can adapt to the media. In the second experiment, the best results in the first experiment were applied to an Ultisol soil planted with maize. The results showed that isolates that were best adapted to biocom media were Aspergillus-TB7 with 60:40 proportion (60% biochar + 40% compost) and Neosartorya-TM8 with 70:30 proportions (60% biochar + 40% compost). The application of the first experiment results to the second experiment showed that the application of biocom plus Neosartorya-TM8 (BTM) on an Ultisol soil significantly improved growth and yield of maize, as well as phosphorus uptake and efficiency of phosphorus uptake by maize.

Research from Timor on biochar

Improving mungbean growth in a semiarid dryland system with agricultural waste biochars and cattle manure

Center for Dryland Studies, Universitas Timor, Indonesia 


Mungbean (Vigna radiata L.) productivity in dryland decreased recently due to the soil fertility degradation. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of biochar types and cattle manure rates on the growth of mungbean in semi-arid dark soil. The factorial completely randomized block design 3 x 5 with four replicates was set to arrange treatments for the field trial. Two biochars (rice husk and sawdust) at 10 t/ha in combination with four rates of cattle manure (1, 3, 5 and 10 t/ha) and control (without biochar and cattle manure) were applied to the soil, incubated for three weeks and then planted with mungbean cv. Fore Belu. The results revealed that additions of biochar and cattle manure increased soil moisture and soil electrical conductivity by 2-4% and 0.15-0.20, respectively; decreased soil temperature and bulk density by 1-2oC and 0.2 g/cm3, respectively; increased plant height, stem diameter, root length, total, shoot and root dry weights by 4 cm, 0.1 cm, 5 cm, 7 g, 0.9 g and 6 g, respectively, compared to the control. The best growth of mungbean was obtained from the additions of sawdust biochar at 10 t/ha and cattle manure at 3 t/ha.


Biochar as a animal feed supplement - Cambodia

 The work of Preston and Leng continues in Cambodia. I first reported their work back in 2012 from a publication from Lao (shortcut here). There are plenty of other related reports on feed trials which can be found via the 'feed supplement' label.

Rice distillers’ byproduct and molasses-urea blocks containing biochar improved the growth performance of local Yellow cattle fed ensiled cassava roots, cassava foliage and rice straw

Kong Saroeun, T R Preston1 and R A Leng2

Faculty of Agriculture, Svay Rieng University, Cambodia
1 Centro para la Investigación en Sistemas Sostenibles de Producción Agropecuaria (CIPAV), Carrera 25 No 6-62 Cali, Colombia
2 University of New England, Armidale NSW, Australia


Twenty male cattle of local Yellow breed with an average body weight of 92.6 kg were allocated in individual stalls to a 2*5 factorial arrangement of treatments with two replicates. The two factors were: biochar inclusion in urea-molasses blocks at levels of: 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8%; and rice distillers’ byproduct (RDB) at zero or 4% in diet DM. The basal diet was ensiled cassava root, dried cassava foliage, rice straw and molasses-urea blocks.
Growth rates of local Yellow cattle were increased when the molasses-urea blocks contained from 2 to 8% biochar (intakes of biochar ranged from 0.05 to 0.33% of diet DM); and when rice distillers’ byproduct was fed at 4% of diet DM. There were related improvements in feed conversion with both additives. There were no additional benefits from combining the two additives.