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world-biochar-headlines-07-2017

Webinar – Low-tech Flame Carbonizers for Biochar Production

1 July, 2017
 

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Investigations of Heavy Metal Ion Sorption Using Nanocomposites of Iron-Modified Biochar

1 July, 2017
 

A PDF file should load here. If you do not see its contents the file may be temporarily unavailable at the journal website or you do not have a PDF plug-in installed and enabled in your browser.

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https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1186%2Fs11671-017-2201-y.pdf


Properties of Biochar Prepared from Acacia Wood and Coconut Shell for Soil Amendment

1 July, 2017
 

The biochar constructed from a rural wastes was directed to rectify a impassioned degraded soil. The properties of biochar prepared from Acacia timber and coconut bombard were investigated by opposite pyrolysis conditions in sequence to brand a suitable initial biomass of biochar practical for sandy dirt amendment. The delayed pyrolysis was practical for scheming biochar underneath opposite conditions. The heat was sundry from 300, 400 and 500 oC duration a pyrolysis times were sundry to 1, 2 and 3 hours. The parameters indicating biochar skill are SA, APD, component essence of C, H, O and N, pH, CEC, and WHC. The properties of Acacia biochar and coconut bombard biochar were compared regulating interconnected T-test during 95% assured interlude to investigate a poignant difference. The formula indicated that a forms of a initial biomass and a pyrolysis conditions have an impact on a properties of biochar for both earthy and chemical. The suitable heat was 500 °C for 2 hours. The opposite forms of biomass are significantly outcome on a SA, C and O contents, pH, CEC and WHC of a prepared biochar (P0.05). Properties of Acacia timber biochar prove that it is some-more suitable than coconut bombard biochar to be practical as sandy dirt amendment due to a aloft SA, aloft CEC, and neutral pH. Meanwhile, coconut bombard biochar also can be practical for a standard dirt suitable and boost stand yield.

Inter-department of Environmental Science, Graduate School, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

Chula Unisearch Center, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

Environmental Research Institute, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

This work is protected underneath a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Authors who tell with Engineering Journal determine to send all copyright rights in and to a above work to a Engineering Journal (EJ)’s Editorial Board so that EJ’s Editorial Board shall have a right to tell a work for nonprofit use in any media or form. In return, authors retain: (1) all exclusive rights other than copyright; (2) re-use of all or partial of a above paper in their other work; (3) right to imitate or sanction others to imitate a above paper for authors’ personal use or for association use if a source and EJ’s copyright notice is indicated, and if a facsimile is not done for a purpose of sale.



world-biochar-headlines-07-2017Biochar Project

1 July, 2017
 

Receive Organic Bytes, OCA’s weekly email newsletter

Cool The Planet.
Feed The World.
A project of OCA

Ronnie’s
Blog

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A PDF file should load here. If you do not see its contents the file may be temporarily unavailable at the journal website or you do not have a PDF plug-in installed and enabled in your browser.

Alternatively, you can download the file locally and open with any standalone PDF reader:

https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1186%2Fs11671-017-2201-y.pdf

The biochar constructed from a rural wastes was directed to rectify a impassioned degraded soil. The properties of biochar prepared from Acacia timber and coconut bombard were investigated by opposite pyrolysis conditions in sequence to brand a suitable initial biomass of biochar practical for sandy dirt amendment. The delayed pyrolysis was practical for scheming biochar underneath opposite conditions. The heat was sundry from 300, 400 and 500 oC duration a pyrolysis times were sundry to 1, 2 and 3 hours. The parameters indicating biochar skill are SA, APD, component essence of C, H, O and N, pH, CEC, and WHC. The properties of Acacia biochar and coconut bombard biochar were compared regulating interconnected T-test during 95% assured interlude to investigate a poignant difference. The formula indicated that a forms of a initial biomass and a pyrolysis conditions have an impact on a properties of biochar for both earthy and chemical. The suitable heat was 500 °C for 2 hours. The opposite forms of biomass are significantly outcome on a SA, C and O contents, pH, CEC and WHC of a prepared biochar (P0.05). Properties of Acacia timber biochar prove that it is some-more suitable than coconut bombard biochar to be practical as sandy dirt amendment due to a aloft SA, aloft CEC, and neutral pH. Meanwhile, coconut bombard biochar also can be practical for a standard dirt suitable and boost stand yield.

Inter-department of Environmental Science, Graduate School, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

Chula Unisearch Center, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

Environmental Research Institute, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

This work is protected underneath a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Authors who tell with Engineering Journal determine to send all copyright rights in and to a above work to a Engineering Journal (EJ)’s Editorial Board so that EJ’s Editorial Board shall have a right to tell a work for nonprofit use in any media or form. In return, authors retain: (1) all exclusive rights other than copyright; (2) re-use of all or partial of a above paper in their other work; (3) right to imitate or sanction others to imitate a above paper for authors’ personal use or for association use if a source and EJ’s copyright notice is indicated, and if a facsimile is not done for a purpose of sale.

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Another amateur experiment comparing initial results

1 July, 2017
 

type Exception report

message Argument ‘userAgentString’ must not be null.

description The server encountered an internal error that prevented it from fulfilling this request.

exception

net.sf.qualitycheck.exception.IllegalNullArgumentException: Argument 'userAgentString' must not be null. 	net.sf.qualitycheck.Check.notNull(Check.java:2507) 	net.sf.uadetector.UserAgent$Builder.<init>(UserAgent.java:63) 	net.sf.uadetector.parser.AbstractUserAgentStringParser.parse(AbstractUserAgentStringParser.java:198) 	net.sf.uadetector.parser.AbstractUserAgentStringParser.parse(AbstractUserAgentStringParser.java:39) 	com.javaranch.jforum.url.MobileStatus.isOnMobileDevice(MobileStatus.java:65) 	com.javaranch.jforum.url.MobileStatus.getMobileRequest(MobileStatus.java:52) 	net.jforum.context.web.WebRequestContext.<init>(WebRequestContext.java:107) 	net.jforum.JForum.service(JForum.java:197) 	javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(HttpServlet.java:727) 	org.apache.tomcat.websocket.server.WsFilter.doFilter(WsFilter.java:52) 	net.jforum.JForumFilter.doFilter(JForumFilter.java:64) 	com.javaranch.jforum.url.JSessionIDFilter.doFilter(JSessionIDFilter.java:33) 	com.javaranch.jforum.url.UrlFilter.doChain(UrlFilter.java:78) 	com.javaranch.jforum.url.UrlFilter.doFilter(UrlFilter.java:61) 	net.jforum.util.legacy.clickstream.ClickstreamFilter.doFilter(ClickstreamFilter.java:53) 	net.jforum.JpaFilter.executeFilter(JpaFilter.java:59) 	net.jforum.JpaFilter.doFilter(JpaFilter.java:48) 	com.javaranch.jforum.csrf.CsrfFilter.doFilter(CsrfFilter.java:78) 	net.jforum.JForumExecutionContextFilter.doFilter(JForumExecutionContextFilter.java:39) 	net.jforum.UrlMultiSlashFilter.doFilter(UrlMultiSlashFilter.java:33) 	net.jforum.JForumRequestCharacterEncodingFilter.doFilter(JForumRequestCharacterEncodingFilter.java:34) 

note The full stack trace of the root cause is available in the Apache Tomcat/7.0.57 logs.


Biochar gaining momentum

2 July, 2017
 

Australia’s premier industry field day event, the 2015 Commonwealth Bank AgQuip.Buy rural and agricultural books and DVDs online.Connecting Livestock Buyers & Sellers: Your one-stop shop for livestock news, reports and sale listings.Australia's Horse Trading Magazine. Everything equine - Buy, Sell, Ride.


Nebraska officials seek new uses for downed ash trees

2 July, 2017
 

An invasive insect that threatens millions of ash trees throughout Nebraska is creating a new challenge for state and local officials who will have to chop them down: what to do with all of the wood.

The challenge could fall to Nebraska lawmakers, who are looking at different options in the face of tight budgets that have kept them from pouring money into tree removal programs.

Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln has introduced a legislative study to brainstorm possible uses for the wood from trees threatened by the emerald ash borer. She plans to discuss the issue with city officials and other lawmakers between now and next year’s session.

“We’re trying to figure out if there’s some beneficial use for it,” Pansing Brooks said. “Our whole goal is to see what’s possible, who might be able to benefit from it.”

Nebraska has nearly 47 million ash trees that are at risk, including 1 million on city-owned land, said Scott Josiah, director of the Nebraska Forest Service. The beetle was discovered last year in Omaha and Greenwood, a little more than 15 miles (24 kilometers) northeast of Lincoln.

The emerald ash borer has also settled in neighboring Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado. The insects are native to Asia and were first spotted in the U.S. in 2002, when they showed up in the Detroit area. Infected trees typically die within five years, though healthy trees can be treated to resist the bug.

Josiah said the emerald ash borer is hard to detect at first and spreads exponentially once it gains a foothold, and forestry officials have no way to stop it.

“It’s going to be a big problem, handling all of that and the amount of wood it will generate,” Josiah said. “It overwhelms community budgets. It will hit the big communities hard, and it will hit the smaller communities harder.

Josiah said his agency is experimenting with different uses for the wood to try to offset some of the removal and replacement expenses. Some of the possibilities include mulch for agricultural land and converting it into biochar, a type of charcoal that could be used to improve soil fertility and feed cattle. One of the biggest challenges is a tree’s proximity to a saw mill or other facility that can use it.

“This amount of wood can generate some pretty interesting market opportunities,” he said. “I always say never waste a good crisis — and this is a crisis.”

Lincoln has roughly 14,000 ash trees on public property that city officials will need to remove and replace over at least 15 years, said Lynn Johnson, the parks and recreation director. About 2,000 are in city parks and 12,000 are along streets.

The city is aiming to remove and replace 1,000 trees a year. Officials haven’t confirmed the emerald ash borer’s presence in Lincoln, but Johnson said he’s confident the beetle has arrived.

Johnson said most trees will be converted into wood chips for landscaping and animal bedding, but city officials are interested in partnerships with other local governments or private groups to find other uses. Some communities dealing with the same problem have established relationships with amateur woodworkers or used some of their supply to build new shelves at their public library.

“It’s a very high-quality wood,” Johnson said.

State officials may look to South Sioux City, which has launched a series of clean-energy projects to help replace its trees. Ash trees account for nearly one-fourth of all the trees on city land, said City Administrator Lance Hedquist.

Hedquist said the city built a small energy facility that converts ground-up wood into a gas that produces electricity. The facility powers a local campground. Hedquist said the facility was built with financial help from the Nebraska Forest Service and the Department of Environmental Quality.

South Sioux City also signed a power purchase agreement with Green Star Energy to build a larger wood-gas facility capable of generating up to 3 megawatts of electricity. Power from the plant will feed into the city’s grid.

Hedquist said using the ash tree is part of the city’s broader effort to rely more on renewable energy. With recent purchases of solar and wind energy equipment, the city expects to get more than half of its energy from renewable sources in the next two years.

“It’s a big issue for us,” Hedquist said.


'Farmers Can Climb' tree fodder seminar July 9-15

2 July, 2017
 

Belfast — Farming used to involve a lot of tree-climbing. Tree leaves were a staple food for livestock in Europe for about 8,000 years, archeologists tell us. These traditions are still present, though less common now, in Europe. In many tropical countries, people continue to climb for most of their animals’ fodder.

From Sunday, July 9, through Saturday, July 15, at 3 Streams Farm in Belfast, the public is invited to attend any or all of the presentations that make up the 2017 Tree Fodder Seminar: “Farmers Can Climb; Arboreal Pruning Skills for Livestock Feed Security.”

Registration fees cover expenses only, and are flexible, with organic food barters accepted, and discounts for those who stay to practice harvesting from the 3 Streams Farm “air meadow.”  See 3streamsfarmbelfastme.blogspot.com or call farmer Shana Hanson, 338-3301, for more information.

The following events are free:

Thursday, July 6, 6 to 8:30 p.m., “Farmers can Climb!” Videos from three countries, and discussion of millennial farming in climate change, Abbott Room, Belfast Free Library.

Sunday, July 9, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., open–fire biochar burn of fodder refuse, and potluck community cook-out, 3 Streams Farm, 209 Back Belmont Road, Belfast.  Rain/wind date is Monday, July 10, 7:30 p.m.

Monday, July 10, 6 to 8 a.m., MOFGA day tripping farm tour of 3 Streams Farm, Belfast, with 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. breakfast, pancakes with lots of fruit.  Includes the goats (pigs part-way), for an overview of tree fodder projects.  Please call 338-3301 to reserve a spot.

Thursday, July 13, 7 to 9:30 p.m., bird song (coyotes? frogs?) goat walk in the 3 Streams Farm woodland and surrounding areas, 209 Back Belmont Road.

The full schedule, posted at 3streamsfarmbelfastme.blogspot.com, includes a day and a half of rope and harness instruction with Adam Lynn, licensed arborist; a day about soil with a field trip to Mark and Paula Fulford’s Teltane Farm in Monroe; presentations by clinical herbalist Steve Byers, Carol Kinsey of SeedTree in Nepal, farmer Shana Hanson about her trip to see ancient living fodder trees in England, and others, plus follow-up reports on tree leaf fodder silaging and racking in 2016.

"Trees are most efficient at fixing carbon, neutralizing temperatures, conserving and purifying water, and supporting and protecting life in soil," Hanson said. "In this era of bad air quality, droughts and storms, we are lucky to be in Maine with lots of trees to farm."

Daily Headlines


Making Charcoal From Biomass

3 July, 2017
 

To make biomass into biochar briquettes, the substance must first be dried out. There are numerous of competing methods for drying the biomass, but the most beneficial are carbonization and torrefaction. Torrefaction is carried out at about 200-300 degrees Celsius, and results in a dry and inert substance. Carbonization, also known as destructive distillation, can be a chemical transformation just like how organic matter is transformed into energy sources like oil and coal naturally.

When the biomass has been dried out and rendered inert, meaning it will not spontaneously rot or otherwise decompose, it should be condensed into biochar briquettes. According to the materials used as well as the intended purpose, essentially pressure may be needed to make the briquettes essentially dense. Biomass from wheat and barely, for instance, require extremely high pressure, whereas corn biomass burns more proficiently when it is less compacted. Briquettes will also be often formed in a shape which allows for additional surface, such as a circle with several holes.

The consequence of this technique of making charcoal from biomass is biochar, which is an extremely efficient way of making electricity without releasing lots of greenhouse gasses. Probably the most popular methods is coburning with coal. Coburning means the practice of burning 2 or more materials together. When burning coal and biochar together, the coal helps to retain the furnace hot, whilst the biochar adds lots of energy and produces less pollution per amount of heat. Biochar is generally less than coal, but burns less efficiently. By mixing the two together, it is actually possible to create a furnace which costs less per watt of power generated and causes less pollution.

Biochar is a revolutionary approach to utilize otherwise useless plant waste for energy. While coal is one of the most pollution-heavy means of producing energy, biochar makes it considerably less damaging on the environment. Coburning coal and biochar in the same time is the best way to get the most from a coal power plant from Henan Beston Machinery.

The buying price of charcoal really can tally up should you be buying it frequently. However, there are a number of things that can be done that can save you money. If you pick something similar to a sawdust to charcoal making machine, you’ll be capable of produce your very own charcoal.

If you’re thinking about utilizing a machine like this, below are a few facts you should remember:

You Have To Find The Right Machine

Not every charcoal making machines are the same. Some machines are really easy to use and incredibly efficient. Other machines can’t produce considerable amounts of charcoal. You ought to choose a machine that will do everything that you need it to perform.

How will you ensure you find the right machine? The smartest reaction you can have is read reviews. If you notice the other people have to express about these appliances, you will be able to find some of the best options available on the market.

Find The Correct Place To Order Your Machine

You aren’t always going to see machines such as this in the shelves of your own local retailers. Thankfully, there are several places to get something like this. When you use the internet, you must be able to order what you are interested in.

You ought to order from a web-based store that features a nice selection. Like that, you’ll be able to get a unit that you could be at liberty with. You need to try and decide on a site that will ship your product for you quickly.

Always Read The Manual

If you’ve already bought a machine this way, make sure that you’re using it properly. You ought to make time to look at the manual. The details from the manual should be a huge aid to you.

Many people end up ignoring product manuals. It’s correct that manuals don’t make for exciting reading material. However, you may locate a lot by reading through a manual. Look over the item manual to enable you to discover ways to effectively use the product you possess purchased.

Take Care Of Your Machine

In the event you take care of the machine which you buy, you’ll have the ability to go on using it for a long time. Charcoal making machines will work efficiently if they are provided the proper maintenance. You should ensure you practice great good care of the device that you simply purchase.

You must be able to research more information about care and maintenance from the manual. The maintenance you will need to do shouldn’t be anything too complex. Just some cleaning needs to be enough to maintain your machine in excellent shape. Provide the care it deserves, and you’ll be fine.

Are you currently interested in using a sawdust to charcoal making machine? If you think you should make use of a machine such as this, you can start exploring the options without delay. A unit such as this could find yourself helping you save a substantial amount of money.

Although it is achievable to make use of organic material in order to create charcoal manually, there are certainly machines that may do that for you. Straw charcoal is a thing that may be readily accessible, that numerous people can purchase from local stores, a substitute for using wood. These straw charcoal briquettes are typically long fit and healthy, just like kindling, and can be used in domestic stoves or fireplaces. They may also be used in industrial boilers, and biomass power plants, helping create energy for homes and facilities. Let’s check out the raw materials which can be typically used when coming up with charcoal from straw, and where one can get machines that can automate this process.

Ingredients For Producing Straw Charcoal

The components which are used can be wheat straw, corn stalks, and cotton stalks. You may also use rice husks and peanut shells. These organic materials are readily available from local companies, but you can also use twigs and branches which can be in rural communities, as well as sawdust that is certainly made by sawmills. Some individuals have actually used edible fungus as being an ingredient, along with furfural residue as this may be transformed into a combustible fuel. There are many advantages to using this sort of material when making charcoal from straw, and it boils down to being more eco-friendly.

Advantages Of Using Straw Charcoal

The primary advantages include a more eco-friendly strategy for producing heat, one who will produce much less regarding carbon emissions. This helps the environment by not leading to global warming that has caused global warming to occur. They are also super easy to send out from a single location or other, and are really easy to store. Furthermore, so long as you have a machine that can make your charcoal from straw and other materials, providing you have access to the raw material in your neighborhood, you may make this every day. One other benefit that needs to be mentioned will be the high thermal value connected with charcoal straw. It can produce lots of heat that can reduce your overall heating costs for your house or office. You will have to have a machine that could convert this which acts very similarly into a pyrolysis machine, together with the exception that you will be developing a solid which can be burned as opposed to a liquid like bio oil.

How You Can Find These Appliances

It’s actually super easy to obtain these machines from companies that sell them every day. Some of the finest ones should come from overseas and you will be sold at discount prices. Other techniques for getting them is usually to contact firms that sell them locally, or individuals who are ridding yourself of a well used one that will be needing the cash to get a replacement that they are using for company. In conjunction with a briquette machine as well as a carbonizing furnace, this is often a very great way to create extra heat in your home. It is a useful process that helps environmental surroundings, and might also lessen your overall energy bills, which is the reason you might like to consider this for your household or business.

The technology included in making charcoal from straw will continue to become much more efficient, and may soon be used by many households around the world. Your skill to use deciduous material, and waste elements from around your property, could literally change how we produce and employ electricity.

Charcoal briquettes are very useful. They are cleaner than your traditional lump charcoal for this reason a lot more people prefer them. A block of briquette consists of sawdust, wood chips, coal dust, and charcoal dust. These factors are pressed together to create a beautiful block of briquette which is used to fuel stoves or boilers.

Unlike clay which does not require a binding material for perfect molding, charcoal are unable to be molded and formed that easily. Briquettes are manufactured by combining agglomerating materials using the charcoal dust. The mixture will be pressed together to make the contour of your briquette.

How To Use Sawdust To Produce Fuel Briquettes

Sawdust created once you cut lumber are fine wood particles that are not easily discomposed and utilizing it into something useful is a great idea. Since excessive sawdust can be quite a huge environmental problem, but making use of them for fuel briquettes is gives everyone plenty of benefits.

Sawdust offered free of charge by saw mills and carpenters provides you with and advantage if you’re planning to get involved with the company of selling fuel briquettes, because you’ll surely get a high profit with minimal capital. Using charcoal from sawdust is undoubtedly an amazing way of recycling this by-product into something useful and profitable.

Starch is surely an expensive binding ingredient to make fuel briquettes. However, the sawdust’s lignin can be utilized instead for binding, so you’ll get a good cut for the fee for making your charcoal. For your personal sawdust to become bind if you use lignin, it must be pressed with high pressure. The stress essential for this technique is 60 tons per cm2.

With your high-pressure, your fuel briquette can get charred and scorching. Within this compression, the sawdust will warm up to 120°C and definately will melt the lignin that will bind the sawdust after and may create a briquette ready for use.

For making your briquette, make certain that it can be completely dry with only 8%-12% of moisture content only. Also, it is important to be sure that the sawdust which you’ll be utilizing is the exact same sizes with fines and shavings in the material. One thing that men and women like about fuel briquettes is simply because they are denser plus more compact than wood and occupies less amount of space that is beneficial when transporting or storing them.

The Best Way To Give Enough Pressure To Sawdust

Giving your sawdust the necessary amount of pressure is essential since releasing its lignin for binding your briquette requires this high pressure. Wood pellet making machines are used to get sawdust briquette making machines at the same time which are used to give your briquette a tubular shape.

If you’re likely to make a sawdust charcoal making machine business, this piece of equipment is crucial for producing your briquettes. These machines bought for $6000, with transportation, handling, and clearing costs of $10000 are offered in various countries. Although receiving a machine is fairly expensive, it really is worth all your penny since a high quality one can provide 1000 kg of fuel briquettes an hour.

Sawdust can be a by-product which the majority of people think are already useless. However, the use of charcoal from sawdust turns it into something extremely helpful which will help alleviate environmental problems too. Making sawdust into fuel briquettes may help many people and contains the opportunity to bring you high profit too.

If you interested to generate charcoal included in the business and conserve the atmosphere, you’ll be able to really avail present waste products from lumber mills , farms and waste products from cattle from your area ad change that in to charcoal on everyday. To do this, you will want to get yourself a machine that allow you to to do what is called carbonization process. This process is becoming common for anyone to execute this, particularly large businesses which have availability to everyone these natural waste that may be changed directly into coal. The majority of the contaminants which are usually in the substances are eliminated only at that procedure, creating the coal burning highly friendly to the environment.

Process:

Just understand the process and the making machine. Carbonization is simply the change of any kind of natural substance straight into carbon. This really is certain thing that you simply get possibly performed if you know organic chemistry. The last item will probably be raw coal, coal gas or coal tar. This is just what many people recognized as fossil fuels, the carbonization of the items availed being surviving natural matter. Pyrolysis is a vital role on this procedure. This procedure needs the fabric to be kept in the enclosed place where it can be heated well. Air is eliminated through the place before to heating it up, thus removing it is likely that combustion. What is going to occur is, at the molecular stage, the material will probably be smashed into the individual parts. Aspects of these could have the creation of coal and this is called carbonization.

Machine:

If you’re living in the area in which a huge volume of wood is processed, always making wood chips and sawdust that happen to be just waste material, you’ll be able to contact these lenders to get the residue from your workings hence that one could operate them from the pyrolysis plant. Carbonization which is element of the making process by machine is the procedure of fixing wood in to coal. If you have a good machine and use of natural material, it’ll permit you to perform the work perfectly and you will also make a profitable business with one of these machines. Mostly these products are suitable for sale online. You can use them from overseas industries that happen to be generating more machines each and every year. This is due to of highlight of Eco friendly making activities which this kind of coal making has grown to be very famous.

Profitable business:

In case you burn common coal it could produce large amount of contaminants in to the surrounding, but this does not occur with the coal manufactured by this technique and by using machine. You can observe many those who have factories that necessary to burn coal on everyday that will interestingly buy this alternative towards the coal which is made from mining. If you buy this machine, you’ll begin getting the main advantages of availing this technique for producing charcoal. You will get a company that may have created in purchasers who’re willing and interested to get green coal.

There exists a thermochemical process called carbonization that will actually consider the molecules of wood, or any kind of cellulose, and convert that into a type of carbon that has a lot of carbon content. When it is actually in contrast to general coal that you can extract from your ground, it is far more carbon rich and useful. It’s a wonderful way to conserve on the level of waste which we most often have biomass which simply decomposes and goes into the ground. We can easily utilize this for fuel, and that’s where constructing and making use of a continuous biomass carbonization plant is really the key to helping the environment and also producing sustainable fuel.

Are These Affordable?

These are generally actually very cost-effective in regards to the way will pay for itself within a few years. The larger the plant, the more carbonization can take place. In case a company has access to considerable amounts of biomass such as sawdust and even rice husk, it can be possible so they can run indefinitely if they are in proximity to, for example, a sawmill. It will take a lot of biomass to create a substantial amount of fuel, therefore these are typically typically operated and belonging to major corporations. Also, they are regarded as waste to energy machines, and also as companies be more efficient, it really is entirely possible that this can soon become one of several top sources for fuel over coal.

How Much Do These Plants Cost?

You can actually get these in smaller units, equipped to handle a minor amount of biomass and create something at the personal or family level. The majority of these actually produce a lot more, operating in the dimensions of a sizable factory, and those can actually become extremely profitable in case they have connections to people that want this sort of solid fuel to work their facilities. Essentially, these could be perfect at not simply a lumber mill but at farms where there is so much biomass after harvesting. They might actually use a large part of that to create the fuel that would be necessary to power their facility, yet as well, put enough back into the ground so that you can rejuvenate soil.

Where Is It Possible To Get Them?

You can easily purchase these from different companies that are overseas. China and other large countries produce these regularly. Furthermore you will see them selling small, and large units which do pyrolysis, primarily because it is now commonplace to locate strategies to preserve environmental surroundings as well as the recycling plastic and rubber tires is likewise on top of the list for helping our surroundings recover.

If you wish to get an enterprise that is certainly definitely going to create profits, and you will have usage of a substantial amount of biomass, this could be a really viable business that could produce incredible returns, and at the same time, help our surroundings improve. It is to use existing biomass which we can start to produce a completely new supply of renewable energy utilizing these continuous biomass carbonization plants. China Beston Group is a perfect supplier.

Every modern community is going to have some form of modern municipal solid waste management company. These are generally companies that will pick-up the garbage people in the neighborhood, bringing it straight back to the key facility. It is also feasible for customers to bring their own trash to these places where it can be properly disposed of. For the most part, what is introduced is smashed into cubes that may then be taken into a location where it will either be fully processed, or it will probably be placed in a landfill. For those that are in this industry, new technology has really shown great promise along with the carbonization of a few of this material. Rather than burying it, it really is used. This is what a MSW carbonization furnace can perform for your company.

Why Would You Need A Furnace Such As This?

The primary reason that municipal firms that manage solid waste purchase these appliances is because they find yourself with a considerable amount of biomass. Although it may be placed into the ground next number of years or decades, it’s actually easier to process it immediately. What was lacking before was a niche for the byproducts for example bio oil or biochar. The cabability to produce charcoal using this process will make it profitable for many people, especially when they are producing substantial levels of it. On a standard level, when you are able to work with a MSW carbonization furnace, also you can earn money through the goods that you produce. For instance, if you have a terrific level of plastic that may be getting into your facility, this can be broken down into individual components that can be sold to firms that use diesel fuel.

How Can You Find The Appropriate Company?

Seeking the best business is not really that difficult to do. This is a question of branching out. It is unlikely that there are actually an affordable solution in countries which can be highly developed due to the expense of wages along with the material that will be used. It might be in the best interest in the company owner to check out countries like China where they are manufactured in incredible volume. They may be industry leaders, firms that target individuals and corporations worldwide and this trust these companies due to the quality of the products. So to obtain the right company to provide you with this machinery, just search online for MSW carbonization furnace businesses within the Orient. This website: carbonizer.net is helpful.

How to spend less On Your Investment

One of the most effective ways to economize on any sort of buy for large industrial gear is to continually buy in mass. For instance, if you are responsible for a municipal solid waste facility, and you have a substantial budget to work alongside, you could consider among the many other machines they have that will make life simpler. For those who have substantial numbers of sawdust, rice husk, or perhaps sewage sludge, it’s likely to be quite simple to transform this in a marketable product. Providing you are searching overseas you will find excellent deals on these products which can help your company grow.

Recycling has reached higher levels than some other amount of time in history. People are really recognizing that we are placing a substantial footprint on our natural world. We take a whole lot but we top off the land with the waste materials that people produce. Instead, you should spend money on one of those MSW carbonization furnaces, specifically if you are in this industry. It’s intending to make it much simpler to your employees to process material, and after the morning, you will possess made more money because of this machinery.


Northfield Garden Tour explores nature, art within the community

3 July, 2017
 

Partly cloudy early. Scattered thunderstorms developing in the afternoon. High near 85F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%..

Scattered thunderstorms. Low 66F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

Gardens will present a variety of vegetation and gardening techniques. Detert’s garden include hostas, ferns, milkweed, kiwi trellis, and blueberries to the rain garden, fruit trees, and veggie garden (Photo courtesy of Bart de Malignon). 

Garden Tour

Sharon and Dave Detert, at 2128 Taylor Ct., wanted to show their “true pie shape” property that curves into the privacy of city woods with much buckthorn removed (Photo courtesy of Bart De Malignon).

Gardens will present a variety of vegetation and gardening techniques. Detert’s garden include hostas, ferns, milkweed, kiwi trellis, and blueberries to the rain garden, fruit trees, and veggie garden (Photo courtesy of Bart de Malignon). 

Garden Tour

Sharon and Dave Detert, at 2128 Taylor Ct., wanted to show their “true pie shape” property that curves into the privacy of city woods with much buckthorn removed (Photo courtesy of Bart De Malignon).

The Northfield Garden Club is exploring nature and art through its annual Garden Tour, a walking tour through six unique gardens in Northfield with a local artist at each site.

The event returns this weekend where community members can visit six different local gardens that vary with vegetation and gardening techniques; John Hatch, a retired farmer and featured gardener, experiments with soil enhancing techniques and biochar, charcoal produced from plant matter and stored in the soil as a means of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Including Hatch’s garden, there are several surprises that Northfield residents can see during the tour such as fairy gardens, raised vegetables gardens and stone walls that are more than 90 years old. Sharon and Dave Detert’s garden provides a wide range of fruits like apples, blueberries and kiwis. 

Sharon Detert said she was excited that her and her husband could participate in the Garden Tour this year and share their space with the community. 

“We have a nice combination of spaces that we enjoy very much,” Detert said. “Now we finished most of our landscaping earlier this year, and we wanted to share the spaces with other people.”

Their property was developed about 20 years ago, but the Deterts have added personal touches to the garden including Dave’s vegetable garden and apple trees. Sharon bags the excess apples from the trees and gives them out to the others in the community.

“It will be such a pleasure to see people exploring our backyard and talk with them about questions or just conversation,” Detert said. 

Instead of six local artists featured in this year’s tour, there will actually be seven across the six locations. Two of the artists featured this year are veteran Patsy Dew with her photography, and newcomer Jessie Filzen, a young adult who crafts luxurious backpacks and purses. Other artists will offer watercolors, woodturning, jewelry, natural-dyed silk and pottery.

Lorraine Rovig, president of Northfield Garden Club, said it’s a healthy mix of new artists and gardens featured and it’s 100 percent local whether it’s the art, the gardens, products grown or the ideas expressed. 

There are more plantings around town paid for by this nonprofit educational group, and the tour will be held rain or shine. Rovig points out this means, “If you do not use your ticket for the fabulous tour, it will be a tax-deductible donation.”

The Garden Tour is Saturday and Sunday. Both days it runs 11 a.m.−4 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased from Knecht’s or Eco Gardens, or during the event at each garden. Children, 12 years old and under, enter free when with an adult.

Five of the gardens are close to downtown Northfield and one is near the Senior Center. Rovig said the Garden Tour will be an active and family friendly activity for anyone to enjoy.

Each ticket includes a map with descriptions of each garden and artist, or go to events at TheNorthfieldGardenClub.org for the full list and descriptions. 

Reach Reporter Kelsey O’Hara at 507-645-1117 of follow her on Twitter @APGKelsey.

Teresa and Scott Jensen, 302 Oak Street

This beautiful perennial garden was begun from scratch in 2014. Teresa has mixed perennials including her favorites from San Antonio, Texas and familiar local varieties. 

Kelly Connole and Anne Haddad, 315 Oak Street

This half-acre lot features several distinct spaces like seating areas, an herb garden, a fairy garden and sunny spots allowing for a mixture of plants like fruit-bearing trees and perennials. 

Kathleen Ryor and Jim Smith, 405 Nevada Street

This house dates back to 1869 with stone walls that are more than 90 years old and a planter built from the remnants of an old stone pond. The highlights include a perennial cottage-styled house and a raised-bed vegetable garden. 

John Hatch, 804 South Washington

The front “slope garden” has edible mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash. In back, two trellises support giant scarlet beans. Poles across the trellises hold containers for strawberries, which enjoy a plastic rain gutter watering system.

Ceil and Randy Rasmussen, 806 Water Street South

In three years, the Rasmussens created a peaceful retreat where they entertain family and friends around the fire pit or admire their beautiful flowers. Their garden includes large ferns, canna bulbs and two-tiered deck.

Sharon and Dave Detert, 2128 Taylor Court 

A true pie shape, this property curves into the privacy of city woods, with much buckthorn removed. From the entry area, you can follow around the house through the serene fire pit “room” with its copper art, down the gravel past ferns, milkweed, kiwi trellis and blueberries.

 

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biochar words

3 July, 2017
 

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How A Rice Husk Carbonization Furnace Can Make Waste Into Charcoal

4 July, 2017
 

Agricultural waste is a major problem in the present day. One of several chief offenders is rice husks. Rice is among the most grown crops worldwide, and it is a staple in the diet of vast amounts of people. However, growing rice creates lots of waste. Rice husks would be the leftover areas of rice plants following the edible rice continues to be harvested. Every year, a great deal of rice husk play a role in landfills since there is not any other use for it. However, with a rice husk carbonization furnace, this is no longer the case!

Carbonization is among one of many techniques used to turn biomass, which can be leftover products from plants or other living things, into biochar. Biochar is actually a revolutionary substance that burns similarly to coal, although with a tiny part of the pollution. Biochar solves two problems: one, burning coal for energy creates excessive pollution, as well as 2, agricultural waste contributing a lot of mass to landfills.

Biomass like rice husks is normally considered worthless as it is too complex to destroy down quickly. Even though some biomass could be rotted and turned to compost, allowing more plants being grown using the nutrients contained in the biomass, a lot of agricultural byproducts take a long time to biodegrade to be efficient for this specific purpose. Rice husks, coconut shells, corn husks, nut shells, as well as other hard, sturdy plant matter is simply too much to degrade, and should be thrown out.

Here is where a rice husk carbonization furnace is available in. By heating materials and breaking them down without burning them, the furnace can reduce the biomass into usable, burnable matter called biochar. Biochar, when packed together into briquettes, burns slightly less efficiently than coal, but is much cheaper to have and produces substantially less pollution.

One strategy of energy generation that may be growing in popularity is called coburning. Coburning means the procedure for burning two or more kinds of materials together, allowing one to get the benefits of both materials. In this case, coburning means burning biochar and coal at the same time. Coal burns efficiently, and will help to maintain the furnace hot, while biochar provides far more energy per dollar and possesses less environmental impact. By burning both materials as well, energy could be produced that may be cheaper, more potent, and cleaner than ordinary coal burning.

Rice Hull Carbonizer Machine Trial Running – Beston Group

Biochar can also be used as fertilizer. It could be spread in soil to enhance the nutrition for future crops, by returning the minerals the plants employed to create the biomass to start with. By carbonizing agricultural waste, the useful energy and materials in rice husks as well as other refuse can be unlocked to be used.

A carbonization furnace could be used to turn what had been trash in a valuable source of energy or fertilizer. This material, called biochar, might be burned as well as coal for cleaner and much more efficient energy, or spread in soil to help plants grow better.

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Global Biochar Market 2017 – Diacarbon Energy, Vega Biofuels, Pacific Biochar

4 July, 2017
 

The report Global Biochar Market offers a comprehensive and executive-level overview,including definitions, classifications and its applications. The Biochar market is expected to reflect a positive growth trend in upcoming years. The pivotal driving forces behind the growth and popularity of Biochar market are analysed in depth in this report.

Do Inquiry Before Purchasing Report at: https://market.biz/report/global-biochar-market-icrw/77967/#inquiry

This industry report enlists the preeminent competitors and presents the insights of vital industry Analysis of the key factors influencing the global Biochar market.

Key Manufacturers Analysis of Biochar :-

1 BioChar Products
2 Agri-Tech Producers
3 Hawaii Biochar
4 Pacific Biochar
5 The Biochar Company (TBC)
6 Cool Planet Energy Systems
7 Walking Point
8 ec6Grow
9 RAUCH INTERNATIONAL
10 Diacarbon Energy
11 Vega Biofuels

In-depth data associated with Global Biochar Market is included in this report. This data includes business tactics, development plans, import/export details. The Biochar report also includes the analysis of dominant market players along with their company profile, contact information, their contribution in market share, consumer volume etc.

Analysis of Biochar Market based on Regions (other regions can be added as per the requirement):

1 USA
2 Europe
3 Japan
4 China
5 India
6 South East Asia

Request for Sample Report at: https://market.biz/report/global-biochar-market-icrw/77967/#requestforsample

Analysis of Biochar Market based on wide range of Applications:

1 Agriculture
2 Energy Production
3 Environmental Protection
4 Others

At last, the key constraints having an impact on market growth and reducing the popularity of specific product segments during the forecast period are also listed in this report. The potential growth opportunities and their influence on the Global Biochar Market is analysed in the report.

What Information does this report contain?

> What was the historic Biochar market data from 2012 to 2016?

> What is the Biochar industry growth forecast from 2016 to 2022?

> Which companies lead the Biochar industry, how are they positioned in the market in terms of sustainability, competency, production capacity and strategic outlook?

> What are the technology & innovation trends, how will they evolve by 2022?

> Which are the leading market products, applications & regions and how will they perform by 2022?

> A detailed analysis of regulatory trends, drivers, industry pitfalls, challenges and growth opportunities for participants


forests

4 July, 2017
 

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The Forests Reddit

Forests – a large area dominated by trees. Hundreds of more precise definitions of forest are used throughout the world, incorporating factors such as tree density, tree height, land use, legal standing and ecological function. According to the widely used Food and Agriculture Organization definition, forests covered four billion hectares (15 million square miles) or approximately 30 percent of the world's land area in 2006.

Forests are the dominant terrestrial ecosystem of Earth, and are distributed across the globe. Forests account for 75% of the gross primary productivity of the Earth's biosphere, and contain 80% of the Earth's plant biomass.

Forests at different latitudes and elevations form distinctly different ecozones: boreal forests near the poles, tropical forests near the equator and temperate forests at mid-latitudes. Higher elevation areas tend to support forests similar to those at higher latitudes, and amount of precipitation also affects forest composition.

Human society and forests influence each other in both positive and negative ways.[8] Forests provide ecosystem services to humans and serve as tourist attractions. Forests can also affect people's health. Human activities, including harvesting forest resources, can negatively affect forest ecosystems. Wikipedia: forest

Related Reddits

/r/Agriculture

/r/Agronomy

/r/Biochar

/r/Biomass

/r/BioEnergy

/r/Deserts

/r/Drylands

/r/Environment

/r/EnviroNews

/r/Forestry

/r/Grasslands

/r/Nature

/r/Rainforest

/r/Rainforests

/r/Science

/r/Wetlands

/r/Woodlands


Biochar

4 July, 2017
 

Avail discount of 10% on Single report purchases, use coupon code “SNG10”

Avail discount of 20% on Multiple report purchases, use coupon code “MLT20”

Some of the key players in the global Biochar Market 3R ENVIRO TECH Group, Agri-Tech Producers, ARSTA Eco, Biochar Products, Inc., Biochar Supreme, LLC, Blackcarbon, Carbon Gold, Clean Fuels B.V., Cool Planet Energy Systems Inc., Diacarbon Energy Inc., Earth Systems, Full Circle Biochar, Genesis Industries, Pacific Pyrolysis Pty Ltd., Phoenix Energy., The Biochar Company and Vega Biofuels, Inc.

Contact:


Biochar Event 2 at Strawbale Studio

4 July, 2017
 

EVENT DATE: Jul 29, 2017

Michigan Ecovillage is partnering with Strawbale Studio to host our second Biochar Event. Come and take part in a demonstration of this exciting and sustainable method of enriching soil in an eco-friendly and productive way. At the same time, we will have a great conversations about our ecovillage and the fantastic work being done at the Strawbale Studio. The Michigan Ecovillage is in the early stages of creating an intentional, multi-generational, community that is built on the principles of sustainability, holistic wellness, and community development. The Strawbale Studio & Sustainable Living Program seeks to joyfully weave people & nature into a regenerative whole. Re-localize, re-skill, re-connect!

Fundraise online and raise money for charity and causes you’re passionate about. CrowdRise is an innovative, cost-effective online fundraising website for personal fundraising pages, non-profit fundraising and event fundraising. Raise money online for causes and have the most fun in the world while doing it.

We’re setting up your Fundraiser page right now. It will take anywhere from 3 seconds to 27 seconds.


Biomass pyrolysis to produce biochar

4 July, 2017
 

Pyrolysis is
the thermal degradation of a carbonaceous material in the absence of an
externally supplied oxidising agent. The products of biomass pyrolysis in an
inert atmosphere are a black solid material, very porous and mainly composed of
carbon, called biochar; permanent gases; and a pyrolytic liquid (liquid at room
temperature), which is often referred to as bio-oil or pyrolysis-oil and it is
composed by more than 100 species.

Biomass
pyrolysis is a key technology for future bio-refinery concepts, where biomass
conversion processes and equipment are integrated to produce value-added
chemicals, fuels, heat and power. Bio-oil is a promising source for chemicals
and it can also be upgraded to a liquid fuel for combustion engines. Biochar
has plentiful applications, including its use as a fuel, activated carbon after
upgrading, reducing agent in the metallurgical industry, or to improve soil
properties being as well a strong CO2 sink.

The recent
advances in the understanding of the complex pyrolysis process will be
reviewed, including quantum-mechanical calculations which have been performed
to bring more insights into cellulose pyrolysis. Moreover, char structure and
properties will be discussed. Despite several advances since the pioneer work
of Rosalind Franklin, a biochar model structure which fully explains the unique
physical and chemical properties of biochars is not yet available. Biomass char
is a non-graphitizing carbon, in which a complete ordered structure is not
achieved. Therefore, it is a more complex and modulable material
than other carbon forms, which can potentially house more complex functions and
can be, from a scientific point of view, even more interesting and challenging.


Charcoal & Biochar made easy!

5 July, 2017
 

All the seed conservation work I do is voluntary, in fact I pay in order to do it! If you would like to help support me, then drop a tip on Patreon! Much appreciated …

Ehmm.. no, that's not bio-char, that's charcoal.
Making bio-char out of charcoal is a different process.

damn, i just found my remote to turn the volume up, then the song hit at the acceleration timelaps
.

no thats charcoal!!! you want it to be biochar you need to turn that charcoal into a living eco-system for microbes! till then it is nothing more then charcoal (no benefit for my plants what so ever!!!) any who thank you for trying to share!!! it's noted!!!
but please mix flower in with it pee on it turn it into a compost pile to finish it off!!! like a fine wine it improves with age 😉

That, is sandy soil. Makes you wonder how it got in the jungle, eh?

looks like a great way to make it .i will give it a try thanks so much.

Nice full demonstration! Its nice to see more folks showing cone pit method. I've done many many sessions with this style and it's a great way to process a tremendous amount of material. Can I share a trick I like to use with mine? I use a long, sharpened, straight stick to poke and agitate the 'heart' of the fire pretty frequently. It helps crumble the char as it burns and mixes the bits needing to burn into the core. I get much less ash, very few brands, and a well crumbled char at the end. Just a thought. Thanks again!

Thank you for sharing your video, very educational. Now  is it safe to filter with water an to eat ?

you better inoculate that bio char , if you dont it will suck most your minerals from the soil! best to inoculate it with azomite or sea minerals and use biology with beneficial fungi and bacteria. you can't go wrong then.

Hi live in kerala and right here we have clay soil how do I create a better biochar?

I have a field I want to plant on with lots of tall grass and bush. is it advisable to burn the field then do my planting? as I want to stick to the no till method and not till out the weed.
also on the field burn carbon will be available for the young plants

do u need to put the bag over it?

how long do you need to burn the wood?

same chaco ?

This is almost scary how it's like looking at myself.

Cool, way easier way to make biochar. Thank you!

omg almost woke up the whole house jeez

thank you so much for the warning i headed it and turned it down hehe

so what has your plant yields been since you have started using bio-char?

I have really missed seeing your videos on my sub list David. Great to see you back with such a great one. I hope your tropical adventure is as much fun in person as it looks on my screen. All the best to you my friend. 🙂

Great job! I guess I need to find out more about this . Thanks for sharing…

Soil Biology is our only way to rapidly and massively draw down CO2 from the air to offset our ongoing and past carbon emissions, It Can safely and naturally restore the hydrological cycles by increasing biogenic aerosols and cloud albedo that can readily cool the planet by the 3 watts/m2 needed to offset the now locked in greenhouse warming effects and avoid the Storms of Our Grandchildren.

The French have lead the way recognizing Soil Carbons' value and committingto build Soil Carbon by 0.40%  annually.  Putting them on the road to Carbon Negativity before any industrialized country. 25 nations have signed on to 4p1000. 100 of the 196 countries in Paris submitted plans to reduce CO2 via agriculture, forestry and replacing soil carbon into their programmes.
http://4p1000.org/understand

Home Made, Low Tech, Clean Biochar;

TFOD — (for Top-Fed Open Draft)Japanese Cone, Tube and Pyramid Kilns;
http://www.backyardbiochar.net
Moxham’s Ring Kiln;
http://biocharproject.org/charmasters-log/big-biochar-bash/
Can & Can Retort;
http://holon.se/folke/carbon/simplechar/simplechar.shtml
JRO; TLUD / Retort hybrid 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg95KYrH8PI
BioChar Producing BBQ Grill
http://www.chipenergy.com/
The Champion Stove; $160 to turn your B-B-Qs into Char-B-Qs.
http://blueskybiochar.com/products/biochar-tlud-biomass-stove

For a complete review of the current science & industry applications of Biochar please see my 2014 Soil Science Society of America Biochar presentation. How thermal conversion technologies can integrate and optimize the recycling of valuable nutrients while providing energy and building soil carbon, I believe it brings together both sides of climate beliefs.
A reconciling of both Gods' and mans' controlling hands.

Agricultural Geo — Engineering; Past, Present & Future
Across scientific disciplines carbons are finding new utility to solve our most vexing problems

2014 SSSA Presentation;
Agricultural Geo-Engineering; Past, Present & Future.
https://www.soils.org/files/am/ecosystems/kinght.pdf

Its Charcoal ? So why is it now called "biochar" ??

If you haven't seen it yet, checkout the video by Primitive Technology on making charcoal. It's an alternative method, which in your case would help you create a larger amount, given that you're limited in how deep you can go.

Great video! Thanks for the explanation. I'll have to try the pit method. I usually use an old metal barrel and quench the flame with rain water I catch in buckets off the roof.

You weren't joking about the loud music! I didn't have headphones on so I didn't bother lowering the computer speakers…. big mistake!! Btw great video.

2:04 headphones users be prepared……i jumped

Great minds think alike, very nice brother


Making Biochar

5 July, 2017
 


BioChar as a growing medium? : aquaponics

5 July, 2017
 

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The symbiotic cultivation of plants and aquatic animals in a recirculating environment.

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SRAC 454 Aquaponics Overview

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Has anybody used or know of anybody using Biochar as a growing medium, Most use expanded clay or a gravel, my concern is the weight and or cost of these materials, I am of the impression that Biochar will give a greater surface area for conversion nutrients, more oxygen, easier access for root development and cleaning when required. If I am missing something please let me know.

Biochar does nothing but cause issues in aquaponics. First off if it's not saturated it will function more like activated carbon pulling nutrients from your system. Second of all it breaks down in a matter of months because of the microbes in aquaponics. Third it does nothing in side by side o have done everything from 5 gallon pots to 4 acre hemp field and biochar has 0 effect on plant growth and yield. It's just the newest agricultural snake oil. It might be good for adding aeration to heavy clay soil but that's about it. The only biochar iv had any improved results from was rice hulk biochar to boost silica levels.

Hi. I have extensive experience using biochar in aquaponics and other aquatic systems like constructed wetlands. Biochar, to the best of my knowledge and experience, will not hurt your system, as long as you don't crush it up too much. It will not take nutrients away from your plants. I've seen roots grow around and through biochar in my systems, and I think the plants really benefit from the amount of surface area the biochar provides for microbial growth, nitrification, and nutrient conversion processes. I have learned through my own and my colleagues' research that in constructed wetlands, biochar increases the resilience of plants to fluctuations (spikes/drops) in conditions like temperature and nutrient conc. and can actually leach some useful nutrients. Keep in mind that most biochar is alkaline, and will raise the pH of your system. Overall, I think that up to as much as 25% biochar in you r grow beds could be very beneficial. Just use biochar chunks the size of the growing media.

Source: I do research on biochar in a lab that works with biochar use in constructed wetlands and for environmental remediation, and I also have experimented with biochar in my hobby aquaponics system for ~4 yrs.

The issue is it makes a mess and breaks down with out increasing plant growth at all.

increased alkalinity can also lock away alot of nutrients that plants should be uptaking but cant in that pH. Which will def retard plant growth.

Actually its the oposite. Alkalinity is required for microbial replication and is often under valued in aquaponic systems. If we were talking about hydro sure but this is aquaponics. The pH being 6.6 – 7 is important yes but alkalinity is an entirely other topic.

Actually, its not. in terms of alkaline environment. I.e., High pH, no, NOT good for plants. Once pH starts getting above 7.2 nutrient uptake for most plants will slow down and the higher pH they slower the uptake.

"Ideal aquaponics water is slightly acidic, with an optimum pH range of 6–7. This range will keep the bacteria functioning at a high capacity,while allowing the plants full access to all the essential micro- and macronutrients. However, a pH lower than 5 or above 8 can quickly become a critical problem for the entire ecosystem and thus immediate attention is required." Ohio State University Aquaponics Workshop PDF

https://southcenters.osu.edu/sites/southc/files/site-library/site-documents/abc/aquaponics_workshop/aquaponic_resources/WaterQualityStation.pdf

"It is recommended though that pH in aquaponics systems is maintained at a 5.5-7.2 range for optimal availability and uptake by plants."

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27575336

http://growace.com/blog/ph-and-ppm-knowing-what-your-plants-are-eating-and-how-much-they-can-handle/

They are entirely 2 different topics. For instance if im injecting CO2 into the system i can crank up my Alkalinity and still maintain a lower PH. There are reasons to do that as well when maximizing plant growth.

pH above 7.2 is yes but maintaining proper alkalinity is critical for maintaining optimal microbial replication. I grow aquaponic cannabis a MUCH higher demanding crop than any one else growing on a commercial scale in aquaponics and have have a ridiculous amount of data on this topic specifically.

Ideal pH is 6.6 – 7 for optimal plant growth with a few exceptions like berries and a few otheres.

No one said high pH is good only that maintaining proper alkalinity in the 2 – 5 dKH range is critical for proper system health. There is also recent evidence that increased alkalinity plays a role in gene expression in regaurds to plants immune systems genes. Silica and Alkalinity levels play a HUGE role in gene expression when it comes to the plants defenses which is why hydro systems with no alkalinity at all have so many additional problems like pythium, bud rot and other issues that are caused by the lack of alkalinity and silica which in turn lowers the plants defenses. This also is visible in things like powdery mildew outbreaks as well.

Untreated biochar will act as a sponge and absorb nutrients out of your system. You could first soak the char for a few weeks in nutrient solution so that it is saturated before you introduce it. Lots of research out there but no two chars are the same so you cant expect the same result as a researcher if they are using a different char. Check out international biochar association.

From my own research, I would say that this is true to an extent. The biochar will adsorb mostly larger nutrients like ammonia to a certain amount, and then will stop adsorbing nutrients. The ammonia it did adsorb would be converted by bacteria into nitrite and then nitrate, and, because untreated, normal wood biochar can't adsorb nitrate, that would be released.

But I would definitely advocate maturing your biochar in nutrient solution/compost for a while before adding it straight in just to get rid of left over volatile organic compounds and stuff you wouldn't want your fish breathing in.

expanded clay is cheap and reusable.

can you Explain what is in Biochar , because it's Composition would change its (insert word)

Never used it, but the only thing that comes to mind would be would anything wash off of it into the tank?

If so I would wash it first, really, really good, and then once all the crap that was on it, was off it, then I would use it.


Organic Waste Torrefaction – A Review: Reactor Systems, and the Biochar Properties

5 July, 2017
 

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Torrefaction is a biomass/waste thermal decomposition process that produces a carbon-rich product—Biochar [1]. Biomass partly decomposes during this process, generating both condensable and noncondensable gasses. The resulting product is a solid substance rich in carbon, referred to as biochar, torrefaction biomass, or biocarbon [2]. In industry and literature, the torrefaction process is also referred to as roasting, slow and mild pyrolysis, wood cooking, and high-temperature drying [3].

Temperature and retention time are two main parameters that influence torrefaction process efficiency [4]. Torrefaction is usually conducted at temperatures between 200 and 300°C and the designated temperature is maintained for 15–60 min [5]. Choosing specific value of those two key parameters for different types of biomass is essential for cost-effective biomass treatment.

Torrefaction is a biomass treatment method for future utilization in cofiring in gasification process [3]. The process is commonly applied for lignocelluloses biomass treatment [6]. Lignocelluloses are built of three polymers: hemicelluloses, lignin, and cellulose. Hemicelluloses are the most reactive form of those three polymers, and their carbonization and devolatilization occur at temperatures below 250°C [6]. Vegetable biomass is used most commonly as the stock in torrefaction process. This biomass can be divided into two groups—green waste and energetic forestry products. Plants with the highest lignocelluloses percentage compared to sugars and fats have best energy potential [6]. Torrefaction feedstock used commercially or in research is mainly lignocellulosic (wood pellets or chips, crop residue, or tree bark) although organic nonlignocellulosic waste (bagasse from sugarcane industry, olive mill waste, poultry waste and litter, paper sludge, dairy cattle manure, or distillers grain) are being used more often [7].

Furthermore, all the considered biomass types are not just lignocellulosic by nature. Some waste biomass types, such as sewage sludge, digestate from biogas plants and agricultural animal waste, food waste, and spacecraft solid wastes (chemical composition of fecal simulant), consist of fats, proteins, and other organic matter, with very low lignocellulose content [79].

Due to the above studies, torrefied biomass/waste with very low lignocellulose wide-scale urbanization, production of such waste has increased substantially and the torrefaction process may help utilize this large volume of nonlignocellulosic biomass, including refuse derived fuel (RDF). The current absence of direct research in this particular area renders torrefaction decidedly underutilized.

Due to that, this technology is being found perspective, but the relation between process parameters, and biomass, and biocarbon properties should be still optimized. One of the methods is design and application of efficient torrefaction reactor.

Torrefaction process may be conducted in different types of reactors, with diverse technologies. From this variety, two main groups of reactors can be distinguished, with direct and indirect heating. The review of torrefaction reactor types will be presented and discussed.

Torrefaction reactor can be divided into two main groups, based on the substrate heating—reactors with indirect and direct heating. Two subgroups can be distinguished in indirect heating reactors group: auger and rotary type. Direct heating group may be divided because of the oxygen content in the heating medium into several subgroups: (1) the reactors in which the heating medium does not contain oxygen and (2) reactors wherein the heating medium contains a small amount of oxygen and other types (Figure 1).

Torrefaction reactors division based on Ref. [10].

The specific types of torrefaction reactors are described further.

Auger-type reactor is constructed of one or more screw conveyors (auger). Its location relative to the ground may be vertical, horizontal, or at an angle. Biomass is fed to the reactor and then transported by a screw conveyor. During transport, the biomass is indirectly heated by a heating medium or directly by the heating elements located in the reactor wall. In both cases, there is a problem with uneven heating of biomass and excessive charring of the product. This phenomenon is linked to insufficient mixing of the substrate and local heating of the material [11, 12]. The residence time in the reactor depends on the length and speed of the conveyor.

The advantage of auger-type reactors is their relatively low price, simplicity of adaptation to a large industrial scale, and low inert gas demand. The disadvantages include limited production capacity [11]. One example of the auger type reactor with indirect heating was described in patent published 15 October 2015 titled Torrefaction plant, its operation and maintenance. This design consists of five parts: feeder transporting a substrate, drying reactor, torrefaction reactor, ventilation and heating system, and auger. This reactor scheme can be seen in Ref. [13].

The material supplied for processing is fed to the feeding screw from where it is transported to the first reactor, where drying process is conducted. After passing through the first reactor, material falls by gravity into a second reactor, wherein torrefaction is carried out. At the end of the torrefaction reactor in the lower part, there is an opening that allows the material to fall on the conveyor transporting the product to the storage. Lower part of the reactor is equipped with rods that can be replaced when wear down caused by friction of the material during transportation. Auger transporting material inside the reactor for drying and torrefaction are powered by two independent electric motors (which can rotate in both directions). Conveyors drive shafts have been secured by a special latch (couplings), allowing quick removal of the tray in case of failure by inspection hatches located on the side of the engine.

The ventilation system for gases produced during the process is divided into two parts: an exhaust for gases discharge from the drying and torrefaction reactors. Gasses produced in the first process are not used due to the high moisture that affects its low calorific value. Torgas formed in the second reactor is purged of dust and partially of the condensate in cyclone, and is combusted to provide heat for the process (in the case of excessive production gas may be stored). Heating is indirect, provided by heat exchangers inside the reactor. Literature review shows that auger reactors with direct heating system does not differ significantly from the patent described above, due to that fact, their description is omitted. It is worth mentioning that torrefaction technology based on the chamber equipped with several screw conveyors that can create autonomous chambers or one large compartment can be seen [14].

Rotating reactor is a technology that allows for continuous operation without stoppage for loading or unloading. Process heat can be supplied directly or indirectly. In the first type, the heat is usually applied by the medium in the form of gas produced in the torrefaction process, which is recycled to the reactor and heated by the heat generated in the combustion of overabundance torgas. Direct heating is performed by the drum walls. Drum torrefaction reactors can be controlled by rotating speed adjustment or length and angle of drum inclination. The construction of the reactor ensures good substrate mixing, resulting in the uniform heating. This technology is simple and easy to scale. The disadvantages of such solutions include the production of a significant amount of fines that is formed by friction between walls and the substrate. Drum reactors also have a lower capacity than fluidized bed reactors, within the range of 1.5–4.5 mg∙h−1 [15]. In the literature and in registered technologies at the patent office, various torrefaction technologies using the drum reactor can be found.

Patented reactor by Teal W. B. and R. J. Gobel is equipped with screw conveyor or other mechanism for biomass feeding. The inlet is equipped with a gutter, followed by a single or double lock. The lock is designed to prevent the oxidant penetration into the processing chamber during substrate feeding [15, 16]. The reactor heating system consists of three parts: a furnace, heat exchanger, and ventilation system. During reactor start-up, the fuel is supplied from the outside. Heat produced during combustion is used to warm up the air drawn from the outside, which is then transferred to a heat exchanger by a fan, positioned in front of the drum reactor. Heat is exchanged between the air heated in the furnace and the gas circulating in a closed circuit between the drum and the heat exchanger. Following a star up, the surplus torgas produced during torrefaction is burned inside the furnace. It is worth mentioning that biomass is heated before entering the drum reactor [15]. This reactor scheme can be seen in Ref. [16].

Main part of the reactor, the drum, rotates around its vertical axis. It is driven by the electric motor, which can be controlled to regulate the amount of drum rotation. Torrefaction chamber interior is equipped with a special blade to move or mix the processed substrate [16].

Behind the drum, there is a separator, which isolates biocarbon and torgas. Particles of biocarbon descend under gravity to the bottom of the separator and are disposed by screw conveyor or other transporting mechanism. In the bottom of the separator, valves are installed to prevent oxygen from getting to the system, which could adversely affect the process. Produced torgas from the separator is sucked by the fan and then directed to the combustion furnace or heat exchanger. Cyclone is installed before the fan to purify the gas from the fine particles and dust [16].

A. D. Livingston and B. J. Thomas registered patent proposing another drum reactor with indirect heating technology. Fuel delivery and its heating (ventilation inlets) differ this technology from the previously discussed reactor [17]. The biomass fed to the reactor first goes to the screw conveyor driven by an electric motor. This mechanism transports the substrate directly into the drum and in contrast to previous technology is not mixed with the heating medium.

The next element is a drum. In this case, it rotates inside a sealed casing and is driven by an electric motor. Shape of the blades responsible for moving and mixing of the material inside the process chamber differs from previous technology [17].

The system of heating the reactor operates in the same manner as in the first case. The difference is the method of heating medium delivery into the reactor chamber. Three air inlets were installed and located in the upper part of the drum casing. This reactor scheme can be seen in Ref. [17].

Output unit behind the drum acts as a gravity separator. The solid fraction falls to the bottom and the volatiles escape through a hole located in the top of the unit. Openings to receive the products are equipped with locks, tasked with preventing oxidant to enter the reactor. In addition, the separator is equipped with inspection doors, allowing reactor review without the demolition of the individual elements [17].

Direct heating reactor was divided into three parts: the substrate input, the drum reactor, and the products output, where the latter element is coupled with the reactor heating system.

Technical line begins with an airlock, which prevents air from entering into the reactor. Behind the latch, mechanical feeder is located for transporting the substrate into the processing chamber. The next element is the drum, which is mounted on bearings, allowing its rotation. Rotation is provided by electrical motor. The drum itself is sloping toward the outlet end allowing material movement in its interior. The authors assumed that the reactor should be tilted by about ½ inch per foot of the drum length. Collection of solid products takes place at the end of the reactor. Biochar falls by gravity to a conveyor installed at the end of the reactor through the rectangular holes.

The resulting exhaust gasses can be drawn through the ventilation system. The hood is positioned in the upper part of the back of the reactor forming a metal casing through which the process gases escape. This process is mechanical, powered with a fan. Produced gasses can be used for the purpose of the process. Ventilation system allows creating small vacuum for technological purposes.

A heating system is located in the rear part of the reactor. It consists of a rotary joint connecting the inlet and outlet of the reactor heating medium with the wires forming a heat exchanger inside the reactor (they are divided into sections and their number depends on the size of the reactor). The principle of the system is very simple. A heating medium which may be water, oil, propylene glycol, or other thermal transfer fluid is heated in a heating system to 315°C. Then, the medium is transported in tubes to the rotary coupling; there, depending on the size of the reactor, it is split into heat exchanger sections. The tubing forms a ring inside the drum and is attached to it in the front part of the reactor prior to the inlet of the substrate. Pipes forming a heat exchanger are equipped with thermal expansion joint in order to prevent damages during operation. The liquid after transferring heat to the reactor is recycled to the rotary coupling and then to the heating system where the cycle begins again [18]. Schematic drawing of inlet, outlet, and reactor heating systems is shown in Ref. [18].

Multiple Hearth Furnace technology is used on an industrial scale because it scales easily, and it can be adjusted to the individual preferences of the customer. Also, it provides stable process temperatures, mixing of substrate, and leak free gas flow. The disadvantages of this technology should include slow heat transfer to the substrate, compared to other direct reactors, the limited volume of the converted substrate, which results in larger dimensions of the reactor and requires good seal of the shaft [15]. Multiple hearth torrefaction reactors do not differ significantly from each other. Design differs mainly on configuration of heating and ventilation system, and therefore, one design will be presented to describe the principles of this technology. Multiple hearth reactors are cylindrical, and their interior is divided into multiple levels formed of trays which are fixed to the centrally placed shaft which rotates about an axis of symmetry. It is driven by a motor with a built-in gearbox. The substrate is fed to the reactor from above by a mechanical conveyor, equipped with airlock located at the end of the conveyor, preventing oxidant from entering the reactor. Biomass can be predried in a separate drying system. In this case, the reactor has only a section in which the torrefaction process occurs. If separate drying system is not installed, the reactor is divided into a drying and torrefaction section [19, 20].

The substrate supplied to the first level begins to be heated and distributed evenly using a roller located over the tray. After one full rotation, overabundant biomass is pushed by the roller to the hole where it falls by gravity to the lower level and the process begins again.

The product is collected at the bottom of the reactor and goes to the cooling system. Heating system can be divided into two types depending on whether the reactor has a drying zone. In the first case, the heat is supplied with heated gas into the drying and torrefaction zone independently. Reason behind this design is that during the process of drying, the moisture contained in the biomass evaporates, hence decreases the gas calorific value (the resulting gas is not suitable for energy production). After heating medium passes through the drying zone, excessive gas is released to the atmosphere, and the remaining volume is returned to the heat exchanger for reheating and back to the reactor. Torrefaction zone is heated in the same way as described above with the difference that the overabundant gas formed in the torrefaction process is used as fuel to provide the heat for the process [19, 20]. Reactors with only torrefaction zone are heated by the heating medium consisting of inert gases circulating in a closed loop between the reactor and the heat exchanger—same design as a two-zone reactor. Excessive gas is used for the purposes of the process as a fuel [19].

In this type of reactor, the heat is provided by microwave radiation. This technology is characterized by rapid and uniform heating of the material. The process duration depends on the type, size, and microwave radiation absorption capacity of the processed material and on the reactor power [15]. The main problem with this technology is the high energy consumption required for the production of microwave radiation. Torgas is not used for process purposes and it adversely affects the process efficiency and increases the operation costs [12]. Technology shown in patent titled Microwave torrefaction of biomass schematically illustrates a microwave reactor, wherein the authors indicate that besides torrefaction, other processes like pyrolysis and gasification can be performed. Technological line starts from the biomass storage, where material grinding (hammer mills are used most often) and drying occurs. The heat for the drying process is supplied from the heat exchanger located at the end of the process line responsible for the cooling of the product [21]. Behind the hopper, there is a biomass powder compacting device to form pellets or briquettes, which are then collected by a screw conveyor that acts as a process chamber. The front part of the conveyor is also equipped with an inlet of inert gases to ensure anaerobic conditions. Patent authors suggest that the feeding screw should have cylindrical shape with a constant diameter of not more than 50 cm (optimum diameter is in the range 0.5–10 cm) to ensure uniform biomass radiation. The length of the reactor depends on the process parameters, including the diameter of the substrate, feeding rate, the microwave energy, and the numbers of microwave radiation points. The process chamber is equipped with volatile components outlet located at the top and resulting liquid products outlet located at the bottom. Screw conveyor is surrounded by a microwave chamber, which should be equipped with at least one source of microwave radiation. Number of sources depends on the reactor size and process parameters [21]. Screw conveyor is longer than the microwave chamber. Behind the microwave chamber, there is a cooling section of the solid product. Heat is received by a heat exchanger and is used for biomass drying. Diagram of the technological system is shown in Ref. [21, 22].

The reactor consists of a closed process chamber, where biomass is fed from the top. The reactor has no moving parts, responsible for moving the biomass that falls down freely during the process. The substrate is heated by a heating medium, a gas that has an inlet located at the bottom part of the reactor. Torgas outlet is located at the top of the chamber. Single cycle duration range from 30 to 40 min, and the maximum temperature that can be obtained is 300°C [12]. Simple design, high bed density, and a good heat transfer are main advantages of this design. Difficulty of controlling the temperature and maintaining heating medium pressure are clear disadvantages of this technology [15].

The main part of the reactor is a vibrating belt that is responsible for biomass transporting. Flow rate of the substrate is controlled by intensity of vibration. Biomass is heated indirectly by the gaseous heating medium [12].

In order to standardize the resulting product, reactor has many levels. The advantages of this type of reactor include simplicity of process time adjustment and the possibility of converting the biomass of larger dimensions. Clogging of the apertures with tar and dust generated during the process (cleaning of the reactor is associated with a long maintenance brake, since it must be disassembled) is a main disadvantage. Temperature control of the process is difficult, because it must be correlated with flow of the heating medium and the intensity of the vibration. These reactors require a large space, which also causes problems with their use if space is limited. High risk of corrosion is also associated with this design [12].

Presented torrefaction belt reactor consists of four parts: feeder, the reactor chamber with conveyor belts, screw conveyor, and the heating system [23]. This reactor was presented in Ref. [23].

The biomass supplied to the reactor with conveyor goes into the torrefaction chamber, wherein three conveyor belts segments are located. Each of the conveyors is rotating in the opposite direction as the previous one in order to transport the substrate to the bottom of the reactor. Torrefaction chamber is heated directly using a heating medium, produced during the combustion of torgas or the fuel supplied from the outside. The temperature inside the chamber does not exceed 800°C and is controlled by the volume of injected heating medium. Process chamber is equipped with heating ducts, which have been separated from the gas space of the reactor in order to prevent mixing of heating medium and torgas. After the process, biomass goes to the chute located at the bottom of the reactor and then is received by the externally cooled screw conveyor.

Reactor production capacity range from 100 to 500 kg h−1, and the plant can operate in temperature range 220–350°C.

Reactors technology described above has been applied on an industrial scale. There are more than 50 companies involved in the implementation of torrefaction technology [12]. Table 1 shows the characteristics of said technologies.

Survey of existing installations based on Refs. [12, 15].

Torrefaction products (biochar and biocarbon) can be characterised by specific properties. Biochar has high energy density, it contains 80–90% of potential energy, while decreasing its mass to 70–80%, hence energy density can be increased by 30% [24]. Biochar does not absorb moisture or its equilibrium moisture contents drop to 1–3%, thus it can be described as hydrophobic [6]. Fixed carbon content increases during the process, depending on process parameters (temperature and duration), values ranged between 25 and 40%, making biochar a potentially attractive reducing agent [24]. Torrefaction reduced oxygen content significantly, thus reducing O/C ratio, this makes biochar attractive substrate for gasification [6]. Mechanical processing (grindability andpalettization) of biochar improves significantly. The output of a pulverizing mill can increase by 3–10 times [25, 26] comparing it to a raw biomass. Torrefied biomass takes less time to ignite due to lower moisture and it burns longer due to larger percentage of fixed carbon compared to raw biomass [27].

Typical lower calorific value (LCV) of biocarbon from lignocellulosic biomass (LB) wood chips—torrefaction ranges between 18 and 23 MJ/kg [27]. Due to low biocarbon moisture (1–6%), the difference between higher calorific value (HCV), and LCV is small [28]. LB biocarbon has relatively low bulk density 180–300 kg/m3, it is fragile and homogenous [29]. Additional advantage of LB biocarbon is its hydrophobic nature. The absorption of water by torrefied biomass is strongly limited by dehydration processes during thermal decomposition of organic matter. Destruction of OH− groups causes the inhibition of formation of bonds between water and hydrogen. Therefore, biocarbon may be a storage outdoor without risk of biological decay. Torrefaction of LB brings benefits in biocarbon incineration, due to decreasing ignition temperature and shortening the time of ignition [30]. Additionally, many researchers [24, 27, 31] proved that during torrefaction, biocarbon retains potential energy (around 90%), while decreasing substrate mass to 70–80%. All of these properties make biocarbon a desirable fuel for processes like incineration, co-combustion, and gasification.

Another possible pathway is to recycle biocarbon from LB and nonlignocellulosic biomass (NLB) for improving soil properties agent by its application on weak soils (arable and forest) and on the former land after mining of aggregates such as sand or gravel. Soil deposit of biocarbon from lignocellulosic crops (biological coal) according to many research reports has been considered as the method of effective soil improvement and significant element of carbon sequestration in the process of climate change mitigation [32, 33]. It is known that beneficial effect of biocarbon on soil properties is caused by improvement of soil texture, porosity that reflects in modifications of many physical and chemical properties, and soil biology. But simultaneously, the processes of biochar decomposition and impact on soil biology are fragmented and require closer research attention.

Dissolved organic matter is a labile fraction, which can rapidly respond to changes in carbon pools, as they are potentially easy-mineralizable. These labile parts of organic carbon have been suggested as sensitive indicators of soil organic matter changes and important indicators of soil quality [33]. Mineralization of organic carbon compounds promotes the release of carbon dioxide into ambient air as one of greenhouse gases (GHG). Most “active” and susceptible to transformations form of soil organic carbon (SOC) is labile organic carbon. Soil labile organic carbon (SLOC) is composed of amino acids, carbohydrates, microbial biomass, and other simple organic compounds [34]. SLOC is cycling fast in the environment [35]. Circulation of SLOC lasts for not more than several years, while the refractory carbon cycle may last even several thousand years [35]. Soluble carbon and nitrogen are important, as they have a great impact on dissolved organic fraction concentrations in freshwater [36]. Hot water-extractable carbon is the fraction of organic matter, which is naturally labile and its content is correlated with the mass of microorganisms simultaneously being an excellent indicator of qualitative changes in organic matter [36]. This fraction is potentially the most susceptible to oxidation of CO2 [33], and therefore has the greatest impact on global climate change.

Introducing biocarbon into soil causes decrease of solubility of SLOC and finally decreases the GHG emission. Therefore, the interesting aspect of biocarbon recycling into soil is proposed in this project examination of GHG emissions from soil enriched biocarbon and the degree of pollutants elution form biocarbon including organic compounds and heavy metals.

Biocarbon has heterogeneous highly porous structure and its outer and inner surfaces are very big and have a lot of “niches” of different water properties – hydrophilic and hydrophobic of basic and acid reaction etc. It makes biochar important in water holding capacity, which is especially an important treatment on weak soils. Thanks to stable nature of biocarbon (with half-lives estimated in broad ranges from hundreds to thousands of years); the positive impact of biochar may be prolonged for years. In this context, it is also important to build the knowledge on long term impact of biochar on groundwater. Méndez et al. [37] examined the influence of biocarbon obtained from sewage sludge on plants. The concentration of cupper in biocarbon was about 80% higher than in raw sewage sludge and about 40% in case of other heavy metals, but their bioavailability and mobility were significantly lower. The increase of torrefaction temperature caused the increase of heavy metal content in biocarbon, but their bioavailability and mobility decreased. Authors determined also that within the increase of temperature up to 300°C, the content of nitrogen slightly increased, but levels of P and K were constant. Presented data indicate that also in NLB torrefaction, it is possible to generate biocarbon with valuable properties.

Given torrefaction reactors review showed a variety of technical and technological solutions. Most of the differences are related to material flow through reactor, material heating mechanism, the source of heat for the process, and torrgas treatment. As the torrefaction process is classified between high temperature drying and low temperature pyrolysis, most reactor systems are similar to those commonly used in biomass/waste drying, and/or pyrolysis. Actually, it is difficult to distinguish a specific type or solution of the reactor, which would be a characteristic only for torrefaction. Therefore, it seems that application of torrefaction of some biomass may be easily implemented just by adaptation of pyrolysis reactors. The problem may be related to torrefaction energy balance due to relatively low calorific value of torrgas or problem with mechanical movement of the feedstock trough the reactor caused by friction and/or melting of such materials like plastics.

Each presented reactor type has its advantages and disadvantages. Some are cheap, easy to construct, and operate. Some have problems with material mass flow, heat flow. Some are good for laboratory test, but some may have potential for industrial purposes. At this stage of the torrefaction technology development, it is hard to specify which type of reactor should be recommended. The torrefaction may be dedicated for different types of biomass and waste. The choice of torrefaction reactor should be based on the biomass/waste type and properties, the components of energy balance, pollution degree of the torrgas, desired biocarbon properties, energy demand, economy, and the current situation of the biomass/waste, and biocarbon utilization market. The torrefaction technology is relatively new and it is perspective. Not all problems have been solved, yet. Many new ideas arise each day at this field. Therefore, there is a room for innovations and inventions, which may move the torrefaction technology at the higher level of development. Intensive research and development activity in this field is then required and justified.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Example Essay Thesis Statement

5 July, 2017
 

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Bio Char Bengaluru

5 July, 2017
 

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AGNIHOTRA ASH and BIOCHAR: Ancient Remedies for Today's Soil

5 July, 2017
 

 

Written by Dr. Ann Ralles | Arks of Fire Initiative, Faculty Advisor, School of Socio-Economics & EcologyNewEarth University

As I write this on the day of the summer solstice, I wonder about the similarity between the words “sol” and “soil”. Both are essential for life on earth. The sun gives warmth and light for photosynthesis. The soil, in turn, receives the sun’s energy which transforms CO2, water and minerals into living plants that grow and become the basis for our food chain.

The soil, itself, is a living ecosystem with thousands of species of single and multi-cell creatures assisting in aerating, transforming and delivering nutrients to the plant roots.

Our precious soil comprises a miniscule portion of the planet. A few inches deep, it is only located on land that is not too rocky, too marshy or too dry.

The word “agriculture” comes from the Greek root agri meaning land and the Latin culture. To “culture” means to develop, elevate or to bring to a higher level. However, today’s conventional farming is certainly not about culturing the soil, it is really a mining operation, using up all the organic matter and natural fertility leaving a lifeless medium poisoned by chemicals. We know what happens when a mine “plays out”. It shuts down leaving a permanent scar on the land. But this is not about copper, coal or gold, this is our food supply!

Yet, in the midst of this crisis that will only end in malnourishment or even starvation, we can hear the wisdom of our ancestors traveling forward through the centuries to nurture our soil at this critical moment.

In recent decades, two ancient secrets of soil renewal have been uncovered. These old technologies, beautiful in their simplicity, can foster a stunning reversal in the loss and degradation of topsoil and increase food production and food quality by leaps and bounds.

 

Two thousand five hundred years ago, human residents of the Amazon Basin created Biochar, a type of biologically active charcoal, and buried it in the soil. This rich, dark productive soil [known as Terra Preta or black earth] was discovered in the 1950s by a Dutch scientist, Wim Sombrock.

Typically, jungle soils are poor as the nutrients reside mostly in the plants. Mixing Biochar into the soil enabled the retention of vital nutrients, moisture and organic matter for crop growth. This allowed annual cultivation of the same fields rather than slash-and-burn practices required to grow crops on new soil every year or two.

Terra Preta still covers ten percent of the Amazon Basin. Other sites have been discovered in Ecuador, Peru, Benin and Liberia.

Traditional production of Terra Preta was a dirty, environmentally unfriendly process. Modern Biochar production has been refined to burn or recapture the escaping gases in a process called pyrolysis. The carbon is retained in the char, unlike regular wood ash, while the hydrogen and oxygen are driven off. The heat derived from the process can be used to warm a workshop or greenhouse. The char is then “activated” by adding compost or other sources of soil microbes and nutrients.

In addition to vastly improved farming and forest yields, this revolutionary substance can help the planet in many ways;

Captures toxins and excess nitrogen in soil and lakes and streams.

Reduce CO2 emissions by capturing Syngas and bio-fuels from the pyrolysis process and putting heat from the process to use.

Since the rediscovery of this ancient technology, scientists have been researching biochar production and many initiatives have sprung up to uncover Biochar’s potential to address multiple challenges simultaneously.

 

Agnihotra is a small fire of specific natural materials burned in a copper vessel at precise timing related to sunrise and sunset. This practice is well documented to produce myriad positive benefits for all living beings.

Agnihotra is a prescription from Rishis or Wisdom-keepers and codified from six thousand years ago in a body of knowledge called The Vedas. The Vedas bade humans perform Agnihotra in each village to purify and protect the inhabitants, heal the land and provide abundant crops.

 

The ash from the fire is collected and used medicinally and as foliar sprays and soil additives. I will address the many scientific findings on the benefits of Agnihotra ash in a future article. Here I will focus on the enrichment it gives to the soil.

In addition to acting as a fertilizer by adding macro and micro-nutrients, research has proven the following attributes of soil treated with Agnihotra ash:

Agnihotra ash applied to soil combined with the effects generated by the Agnihotra fire itself form a massive bio-active field used in a type of Vedic farming called “Homa”. One study undertaken by the Peruvian government confirmed the vastly improved yields, plant health and fruit quality from Homa farming.

Modern “agriculture” began shifting into high gear following World War II, replacing traditional soil-building practices with soil-killing chemical farming. Did the soil, itself, put out a clarion call so urgent that it resounded through time to a distant past. Did our ancestors hear the alarm and pass the sacred technologies of Agnihotra and Biochar through the eons at just the right moment? Maybe just co-incidence?

In any event, we now have the tools we need to heal the soil and nourish ourselves and the planet. Let us pay heed and put these precious gifts to good use.

_________________________________________________________________

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Biochar Field Tour Open House

5 July, 2017
 

Time: August 11, 2017 all day
Location: Bayfield
Street: Bayfield
City/Town: ON
Phone: 519-888-4567 Ext 37552
Event Type: field, tour
Organized By: OntAG Admin
Latest Activity: yesterday

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Learn how biochar influences soil health

For further information & registration contact:
Maren Oelbermann ;uwsoilbiochar@gmail.com

Registration deadline: July 20, 2017

Limited space available. Register soon!

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Organic high quality Biochar

6 July, 2017
 

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Beston Rice Husk Carbonization Furnace

6 July, 2017
 

Agricultural waste is an important problem in the world today. Among the chief offenders is rice husks. Rice is one of the most grown crops worldwide, and is a staple from the diet of millions of people. However, growing rice creates a great deal of waste. Rice husks are the leftover elements of rice plants once the edible rice is harvested. Annually, tons of rice husk bring about landfills as there is hardly any other use for this. However, by using a rice husk carbonization furnace, this is no longer the truth!

Carbonization is just one of many techniques accustomed to turn biomass, which is leftover products from plants or other living things, into biochar. Biochar is actually a revolutionary substance that burns similarly to coal, although with a small part of the pollution. Biochar solves two problems: one, burning coal for energy creates an excessive amount of pollution, as well as 2, agricultural waste contributing lots of mass to landfills.

Biomass like rice husks is generally considered worthless since it is too complex to destroy down quickly. Even though some biomass might be rotted and turned to compost, allowing more plants being grown together with the nutrients within the biomass, a great deal of agricultural byproducts take very long to biodegrade being efficient for this specific purpose. Rice husks, coconut shells, corn husks, nut shells, and also other hard, sturdy plant matter is merely too difficult to degrade, and should be thrown out.

This is why a rice husk carbonization furnace can be purchased in. By heating materials and breaking them down without burning them, the furnace is effective in reducing the biomass into usable, burnable matter called biochar. Biochar, when packed together into briquettes, burns slightly less efficiently than coal, but is quite a bit cheaper to get and produces substantially less pollution.

One method of energy generation that is certainly growing in popularity is named coburning. Coburning signifies the procedure for burning a couple of different kinds of materials together, allowing one to find the advantages of both materials. In this instance, coburning means burning biochar and coal as well. Coal burns efficiently, so it helps to keep the furnace hot, while biochar provides considerably more energy per dollar and contains less environmental impact. By burning both materials simultaneously, energy may be produced that may be cheaper, better, and cleaner than ordinary coal burning.

Biochar can also be used as fertilizer. It could be spread in soil to boost the nutrition for future crops, by returning the minerals how the plants utilized to make the biomass to start with. By carbonizing agricultural waste, the useful energy and materials in rice husks as well as other refuse might be unlocked for use.

Beston carbonization furnace may be used to turn what was previously trash in a valuable way to obtain energy or fertilizer. This product, called biochar, could be burned in addition to coal for cleaner and a lot more efficient energy, or spread in soil to help plants grow better.

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Join Agroecology Land Trust for fantastic Renewable Energy courses

6 July, 2017
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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This one day course covers both practical and theoretical aspects to designing and installing your own off-grid solar PV system. The course will cover the basic maths and physics involved, and well as practical skills for undertaking your own installations.

What will the course cover?

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Time will also be made available to explore wider aspects of renewable energy, such as larger scale community projects and general strategies for sustainable low impact living.

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Global Biochar Market Would Grow at a CAGR of 26.1% from 2017 to 2025

6 July, 2017
 

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6 July, 2017
 

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Guelph gets new beef research facility

7 July, 2017
 

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Public Pass – Day 3 (Family)

7 July, 2017
 

Includes entry for up to 2 Adults and 2 Kids over the age of 12 (due to safety reasons). We will open up ANZBC17 to the public from 2-5pm on Saturday August 12 at Murwillumbah Showgrounds (Walmsley Pavillion) site of the weekly Murwillumbah Farmers Markets. This will allow you a few hours to view biochar technology, visit our trade expo and ask questions of biochar scientists, producers and technology manufacturers.

Come and learn how to make biochar yourself or where to purchase it from.

ANZBC17 is an Initiative of a Working Group of Biochar Producers & Growers from Aust. & N.Z.

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Support the ANZBC17 industry event.


Carbon Negative Flier Biochar PDF e130e55b4f86e284c1ef3cdeb228856b

7 July, 2017
 

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Fabrication of engineered biochar from paper mill sludge and its application into removal of arsenic …

7 July, 2017
 

Fabrication of engineered biochar with paper mill sludge in a single step.

High fraction of Fe- and Ca solid minerals in the biochar.

pH neutralization of acidic wastewater with addition of biochar.

Simultaneous adsorption capability of the biochar for As(V) and Cd(II)

Fabrication of engineered biochar with paper mill sludge in a single step.

High fraction of Fe- and Ca solid minerals in the biochar.

pH neutralization of acidic wastewater with addition of biochar.

Simultaneous adsorption capability of the biochar for As(V) and Cd(II)

An engineered biochar was fabricated via paper mill sludge pyrolysis under CO2 atmosphere, and its adsorption capability for As(V) and Cd(II) in aqueous solution was evaluated in a batch mode. The characterization results revealed that the biochar had the structure of complex aggregates containing solid minerals (FeO, Fe3O4 and CaCO3) and graphitic carbon. Adsorption studies were carried out covering various parameters including pH effect, contact time, initial concentrations, competitive ions, and desorption. The adsorption of As(V) and Cd(II) reached apparent equilibrium at 180 min, and followed the pseudo-second-order kinetics. The highest equilibrium uptakes of As(V) and Cd(II) were 22.8 and 41.6 mg g-1, respectively. The adsorption isotherms were better described by Redlich-Peterson model. The decrease in As(V) adsorption was apparent with the increase in PO43- concentration, and a similar inhibition effect was observed for Cd(II) adsorption with Ni(II) ion. The feasibility of regeneration was demonstrated through desorption by NaOH or HCl.

These authors are equally contributed.

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Biochar Market – Growth, Size, Share, Trends, Analysis and Forecast 2014

7 July, 2017
 

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Biochar Market: Snapshot

 

Biochar is a solid material that is obtained from the carbonization of biomass. It is added to soil to enhance soil quality and reduce emission through carbon sequestration. The use of biochar for carbon sequestration is believed to offset carbon emission from natural and industrial processes. Biochar also improves water quality by retaining the agrochemicals and soil nutrients that could have mixed with water and caused water pollution. In addition to carbon sequestration and soil amendment, sustainable biochar practices can yield products that can be used as fuel.

 

Browse Biochar Market Research Report: http://www.transparencymarketresearch.com/us-biochar-market.html

 

Pyrolysis is a simple and low-cost technique used to produce a wide range of products such as biochar, bio-oil, and bio-chemicals. The biochar obtained as the output of the pyrolysis process can improve soil fertility. Biochar can be obtained either using the slow or fast pyrolysis technique. The biochar industry in the U.S. is in the development phase with several research institutes and companies trying to develop biochar at low cost, which could prove economical for both buyers and sellers. The U.S. market for biochar includes companies that are involved in small and medium scale biochar manufacturing. These companies provide biochar for gardening, research, agriculture (large farms), and household purposes.

 

Manufacturers provide biochar in a pure form and engineered biochar/biochar mixes designed to meet the requirement of small scale users such as gardeners. The second set of manufacturers includes farmers and gardeners who produce biochar for their own use. These manufacturers use low cost practices to develop biochar such as stoves and burners. Various market players are developing gasification, slow pyrolysis, and fast pyrolysis systems for production of biochar. There are a large number of players in the U.S. involved in the manufacture and supply of biochar. Very few technology providers can be observed in the U.S. biochar market. Most of the companies are concentrating on producing biochar – particularly those using the slow pyrolysis systems.

 

Release of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through rising use of fossil fuels has resulted in global warming. Fossil fuel is a carbon-positive fuel that increases the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Moreover, carbon is continually released in the atmosphere as a result of decomposition of plants and animals. Biochar’s ability to act as a carbon sink and its capability to sequester carbon is likely to drive growth in the U.S. biochar market in the future. Furthermore, biochar is a helpful tool to achieve the goal of crop diversity and food security in areas with scarce organic resources. The potential of biochar to improve soil fertility and enhance crop productivity is also likely to act as an important driver of growth in the U.S. biochar market. Additionally, application of biochar for waste management is likely to fuel additional demand for biochar in the U.S. biochar market.

 

Get exclusive sample of this report: http://www.transparencymarketresearch.com/sample/sample.php?flag=S&rep_id=3636

 

Most of the biochar applications (waste water treatment, energy production) are still unexplored and thus raising the finance to carry out biochar projects is one of the major restraints to the biochar market in the U.S. The success of the U.S. biochar market largely depends on research activities directed toward establishing biochar as a prime product with proven benefits. The location of pyrolysis facilities would continue to be an important factor in the development of the biochar industry in the U.S. The location of such facilities in or near to the vicinity of feedstock producing areas or demand centers would help in reducing the cost of production for biochar. The expected introduction of energy credits on use and manufacturing of biochar would further boost the U.S. biochar market in the near future.

 

Key participants in the U.S. biochar market include Agri-Tech Producers, LLC, Biochar Supreme, LLC, Cool Planet Energy Systems, Inc., Full Circle Biochar, and The Biochar Company. The report also analyzes several other players involved in the market, including BioChar Products, CharGrow, LLC, Genesis Industries, LLC, Hawaii Biochar Products, LLC, New England Biochar, LLC, Phoenix Energy, Three Dimensional Timberlands, LLC, Tolero Energy, LLC, Vega Biofuels, Inc., and Victory Gasworks.

 

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GALLERY: Northfield Garden Tour displays beautiful gardens on beautiful day

8 July, 2017
 

Some clouds and possibly an isolated thunderstorm in the afternoon. A few storms may be severe. High 87F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%..

Variably cloudy with scattered thunderstorms. A few storms may be severe. Low 66F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

Patsy Ophaug points Barbara Bofenkamp to features of Kelly Connole and Anne Haddad’s garden. The 2017 Northfield Garden Tour included six stops this year. (Nick Gerhardt/Northfield News)

Garden Tour 1

The Kathleen Ryor and Jim Smith home includes stone walls that are more than 90 years old. The home was one of six of the Northfield Garden Tour. (Nick Gerhardt/Northfield News)

7.12 Garden Tour 2.jpg

The Kathleen Ryor and Jim Smith home dates back to 1869 and the couple utilized the back yard to create a perennial cottage-style garden. It was one of six gardens in the Northfield Garden Tour. (Nick Gerhardt/Northfield News)

7.12 Garden Tour 3.jpg

Scott and Teresa Jensen’s perennial garden was one of the six stops of the Northfield Garden Tour. The tour also includes artists at each stop. (Nick Gerhardt/Northfield News)

7.12 Garden Tour 4.jpg

People gather to check out the artwork of Judy Saye-Willis and Tom Willis at Teresa and Scott Jensen’s home in Northfield. Saye-Willis’ textile work and Wills’ pottery work was on display. (Nick Gerhardt/Northfield News)

7.12 Garden Tour 5.jpg

Scott and Teresa Jensen’s garden is one of six on display this weekend as part of the Northfield Garden Tour. The two-day tour runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday as well. (Nick Gerhardt/Northfield News)

7.12 Garden Tour 7.jpg

Kelly Connole and Anne Haddad’s garden was one of six on display this weekend in Northfield as part of the 2017 Northfield Garden Tour. (Nick Gerhardt/Northfield News)

7.12 Garden Tour 8.jpg

Kelly Connole and Anne Haddad’s home was one of the six stops of the Northfield Garden Tour. The tour showcased gardens and artists at each stop. (Nick Gerhardt/Northfield News)

Patsy Ophaug points Barbara Bofenkamp to features of Kelly Connole and Anne Haddad’s garden. The 2017 Northfield Garden Tour included six stops this year. (Nick Gerhardt/Northfield News)

Garden Tour 1

The Kathleen Ryor and Jim Smith home includes stone walls that are more than 90 years old. The home was one of six of the Northfield Garden Tour. (Nick Gerhardt/Northfield News)

7.12 Garden Tour 2.jpg

The Kathleen Ryor and Jim Smith home dates back to 1869 and the couple utilized the back yard to create a perennial cottage-style garden. It was one of six gardens in the Northfield Garden Tour. (Nick Gerhardt/Northfield News)

7.12 Garden Tour 3.jpg

Scott and Teresa Jensen’s perennial garden was one of the six stops of the Northfield Garden Tour. The tour also includes artists at each stop. (Nick Gerhardt/Northfield News)

7.12 Garden Tour 4.jpg

People gather to check out the artwork of Judy Saye-Willis and Tom Willis at Teresa and Scott Jensen’s home in Northfield. Saye-Willis’ textile work and Wills’ pottery work was on display. (Nick Gerhardt/Northfield News)

7.12 Garden Tour 5.jpg

Scott and Teresa Jensen’s garden is one of six on display this weekend as part of the Northfield Garden Tour. The two-day tour runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday as well. (Nick Gerhardt/Northfield News)

7.12 Garden Tour 7.jpg

Kelly Connole and Anne Haddad’s garden was one of six on display this weekend in Northfield as part of the 2017 Northfield Garden Tour. (Nick Gerhardt/Northfield News)

7.12 Garden Tour 8.jpg

Kelly Connole and Anne Haddad’s home was one of the six stops of the Northfield Garden Tour. The tour showcased gardens and artists at each stop. (Nick Gerhardt/Northfield News)

Lovely weather provided a perfect backdrop for a tour of gardens in Northfield.

The annual Northfield Garden Tour allowed visitors to get inspiration for their own gardens and see what their neighbors have done with their yards.

“It’s just beautiful,” Carol Cole said. “I’m amazed at people’s artistic talents.”

Cole has lived in Northfield for 10 years and took in her first Northfield Garden Tour Saturday. She was impressed with the how others used shade and innovative raised garden beds.

Jim Smith and Kathleen Ryor’s home was one of the six stops throughout the tour. It was the first year they’d participated in the tour and saw a handful of people stop by within the first hour.

They’ve lived in their house since 2001 and put considerable work to revamping the yard, which Smith used to mow. Much of the previous garden was overgrown, Smith said. There were over 100 little trees sprouting that had to come out of the ground, Ryor said.

“We started thinking creatively,” Smith said of the garden.

The gardens were paired with artists on site. Patsy Dew displayed her photography at the Ryor-Smith home.

Other stops on the tour were Teresa and Scott Jensen’s home where they started their perennial garden from scratch in 2014. The garden includes shrubs and trees like Korean maple, pagoda dogwoods, redbuds and Japanese tree lilacs. Artists Judy Saye-Willis and Tom Willis had their work on display at the Jensen home. Judy had her textile work there and Tom had his pottery.

Kelly Connole and Anne Haddad’s garden includes an herb garden, a fairy garden and a large front yard perennial garden. David Peterson showed his wood turning that he uses to create bowls, platters, boxes and vases.

John Hatch’s garden has edible mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, beans and strawberries, all of which he grows using innovative techniques. He uses a rain gutter watering system, a compost pile and a homemade biochar that holds moisture and works as a fertilizer. Jessie Filzen creates luxury backpacks, purses, accessory bags, wallets and pouches, and showed her work at the site.

Ceil and Randy Rasmussen completed an overhaul of their yard to create a garden that includes large ferns, canna bulbs and a raised vegetable garden. Carla Cooper’s CeeCee Designs jewelry that incorporates vintage, recycled, repurposed and unconventional found objects to make unique pieces was part of the stop.

Sharon and Dave Detert’s home contains apple trees with fruit that they bag and offer to walkers who pass by the nearby Roosevelt Park. The garden also includes hostas, ferns, milkweed, kiwi trellis and blueberries. David Hamer’s work in watercolors was showcased at the stop.

The tour continues Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Northfield. Tickets are $10 each and available at Eco Gardens and Knecht’s Nurseries. 

Nick Gerhardt is the Northfield News Associate Editor. You can reach him at 645-1136. Follow him on Twitter @NfldNewsNick.

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Mattew Sponsor Update

8 July, 2017
 

yes, we can change words and style

2017 — Mattew”

Updates

In Thai primary and secondary school, grades are based on a 4 point scale, with 4.0 the highest and 0 the lowest. They align with western “A-B-C-D-F”. The final grade is based on a curve for the class. The school year ended in March and we have the final grades for the year.

Mattew is a fiery third grader who still struggles with school but is getting better.

We have his final grades from second grade. He now has a GPA over 2.1 and is revealing his best subjects.

While he still has a ways to go to make solid letter grades, he has shown a lot of improvement in English and Health & Physical Education.

We are going to keep working hard with Mattew to make sure his ability to learn continues to grow.

Age: 9 Grade: 3

The theme for this art contest was “What is your dream?” Like a lot of the boys, Mattew’s current dream is to be in the military.

Thailand Address
Warm Heart Foundation
P.O. Box 8 T.Wiang
A.Phrao 50190
Chiang Mai Thailand

USA Address
Warm Heart Worldwide Inc.
434 Cedar Avenue
Highland Park, NJ 08904
USA

©Warm Heart Worldwide, Inc./Warm Heart Foundation (Thailand) 2008-2017 Design by ChimpStudio


Biochar Workshop

8 July, 2017
 

Sun. 13 August 2017

10:30 am – 1:00 pm AEST

Longley Organic Farm

1690 Huon Rd

Longley

Hobart, Tasmania 7150

Australia

View Map

Refunds up to 1 day before event

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Presenter Rainer Kurth has developed and adapted a practical design for biochar kilns and approach to making high quality biochar.This efficient and effective time saving system is not only easy and cheap to accomplish, it is also in a format that’s usable and essential for Australian bush blocks and suburban settings alike.

Improve your soil’s carbon storage, cation exchange, water and nutrient holding capacity, drainage and microbial capacity.

This informal workshop is an invaluable hands on guide to a way forward in tackling our responsibilities as first world carbon users and soil/carbon awareness.

There is limited places so please book early.

Sun. 13 August 2017

10:30 am – 1:00 pm AEST

Longley Organic Farm

1690 Huon Rd

Longley

Hobart, Tasmania 7150

Australia

View Map

Refunds up to 1 day before event

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li ne used to make soil amendment

8 July, 2017
 

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Biochar

8 July, 2017
 

 


Biochar — Kathleen Draper, Owner of Finger Lakes Biochar

9 July, 2017
 


Biochar Field Tour Open House

9 July, 2017
 

Discover all events in Bayfield and in the world
recommended on your interests.

Try it now, it’s free!

Biochar Field Tour Open House

Learn how biochar influences soil health

For further information & registration contact:
Maren Oelbermann at uwsoilbiochar@gmail.com

Phone: 519 -888-4567 Ext 37552

Registration deadline: July 20, 2017

Limited space available. Register Soon!

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EBook Soils In Waste Treatment And Utilization Read | Download / PDF / Audio key:6qvadef

10 July, 2017
 

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SynTech Bioenergy Announces Opening of Hawaii Office

10 July, 2017
 
The BioMax® Gen2 Modular Biopower System
BioMax® units installed at a pecan processing facility in Texas.
SynTech Bioenergy

HONOLULU, July 10, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — SynTech Bioenergy, a Denver-based renewable energy technology company, has opened their first Hawaii office for sales and field service in Honolulu.  The office will support local installations of SynTech Bioenergy’s technology for delivering clean energy through advanced thermal conversion of biomass and other waste materials. 

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/df11107e-7ba9-4c72-a618-127a114415c8

The office will be headed by Dr. Chris Guay, who has over 15 years of experience working in the renewable energy industry. A Punahou School graduate, Dr. Guay was born and raised in Hawaii.

Developing viable, cost-effective alternative energy technologies is especially critical for Hawaii, which is impacted by high energy prices and a strong dependence on imported fossil fuels.  “Energy security is a big issue in Hawaii,” said Guay. “SynTech’s biomass energy systems will contribute to the growth of local renewable energy resources and achieving the State’s goal of 100% clean energy by 2045.”

SynTech’s BioMax® systems are housed in standard ISO shipping containers, making them easy to transport and install. The BioMax® units are modular and scalable for electrical output from 165 kW up to 1 MW.  They can be powered by a variety of biomass and waste materials, such as wood chips, nut shells, and fruit pits. The only byproduct is a high grade organic biochar, which can be used as a soil amendment and meets current standards for activated carbon for use in air and water filtration.  The systems are fully automated, can be operated and controlled remotely, and neither use nor produce water.

Additional units are planned for California, Texas and Japan. In addition to BioMax®, SynTech’s technologies include FluiMax®, a fluidized bed gasification system suitable for larger applications and processing a wider range of waste materials, and LiquiMax®, a proprietary Fischer-Tropsch gas-to-liquids technology for producing liquid fuels from natural gas and waste-derived gases.

SynTech Bioenergy LLC is an integrated energy and social solution provider, focused on reducing global dependence on fossil fuels, and delivering energy, environmental, economic and social benefits thru advanced technologies.  Technologies deliver continuous and uninterrupted sustainable clean energy in the form of electricity, heat, fertilizer, and liquid fuels by remediating costly and problematic wastes.  SynTech Bioenergy’s headquarters and manufacturing are in Denver, Colorado. www.syntechbioenergy.com.

SynTech Bioenergy

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BioMax® units installed at a pecan processing facility in Texas.

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Biochar Effect on Cadmium Accumulation and Phytoremediation Factors by Lavender

10 July, 2017
 

Keywords:

The aromatic plants as providing several medicine productions are one of the most important plants which have been considered for phytoremediation as well as the accumulator plants. Phytoremediation is used for removing the contaminated material such as cadmium from the water and soil by plants. Reducing the risks of the pollutants such as heavy metals, trace elements, organic compounds and radioactive materials is concerned to the environmental problems. The heavy metals are contaminants which accumulated in soil, water and plants. The soil after the air and water is the major component of the environment where the contaminants are not easily measurable and traceable [1] .

Cadmium is considered one of the major contaminants in environment and its general amount is increasing in soil and water by using phosphorus fertilizers and wastewater especially in semi-arid and arid regions. Thereby its removal from soil is receiving wide attention because of the discharge of that contaminant is evidenced in the growth of plants and crops. The cadmium accumulation in crop tissues and its introduction in the food chain are harmful for human health and animal life [2] . There are some technologies for remediating of heavy metals from contaminated soils. Phytoremediation is considered as an environmental friendly, cost-effective and inventive method to decrease heavy metals risk in soils [2] [3] [4] . Lavender (Lavandula stoechas L.) is an aromatic plant and can grow in contaminated soils without any decreasing in its final product. The final product will be free from heavy metals [2] .

Biochar as a production from the biomass pyrolysis has been applied for a wide range. Biochar as a stable, recalcitrant organic carbon compound has the potential to increase soil fertility and then reduce nutrient leaching [5] . Its physicochemical properties related to porous structure and active adsorbing surface cause to decrease the release of heavy metals, thereby improving crop growth [6] .

The objective of this study is to evaluate the biochar effect on cadmium uptake from contaminated soils by lavender plant and to assess cadmium accumulation in different lavender tissues.

This study was carried out in the national institute research of medicinal and aromatic plants at Shahed University, Tehran, Iran under greenhouse condition in 2015. The average basic soil physicochemical properties were summarized in Table 1.

Two factors factorial design was laid out in completely randomized design (CRD) with three replications. The treatments were cadmium concentration at four levels including 0, 50, 100 and 150 mg Cd・kg−1 soil from the cadmium sulfate (CdSO4, Merck Germany) and biochar from almond wood chips pyrolysis at

three volumetric ratio including 0, 20 and 40 v/v ratio. The almond wood chips as feedstock were pyrolyzed at the highest heating temperature (HHT), 350˚C. Full control of the heating rate was not possible, but temperature changes and mean heating rates were monitored. The particle size less than 4 mm was the most common in the biochar used in this study. The soil without biochar and cadmium addition was identified as the control.

Three lavender seedlings were planted in 10-kg pot which is filled up by treated soils. One seedling was selected in each pot after 10 days from the planting time. The soil moisture was kept at field capacity by tap water. Air temperature ranged from 30˚C to 19˚C during the day and night, respectively.

The seedlings shoot and root tissues were separately sampled after six months. The fresh samples of shoot and root tissues were dried by oven at 70˚C ± 5˚C for 48 hours to measure their dry weight. The cadmium concentration of root and shoot tissues were measured according to the wet digestion method of Boline and Schrenk 1976 [7] . The samples were homogenized by 4 N HNO3 and heated until 80˚C for 2 hours. The concentration of cadmium in the digested solution was determined by AAnalyst 700, Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (AAS), PerkinElmer, USA.

The absorption factor (AF) and translocation factor (TF) were calculated to determine cadmium accumulation in the soil and the different lavender tissues [8] . Absorption factor, the ratio of cadmium concentration in the lavender root tissue to that in the soil (Formula (1)) and translocation factor, the ratio of cadmium concentration in the lavender root tissue to that in the shoot tissue (Formula (2)) were computed as:

where CSoil,RootandShoot are cadmium concentration in the soil, root and shoot tissues (mg・Cd・kg−1 soil), respectively.

Data analysis was performed using two-way analysis of variance (PROC GLM of SAS, SAS Institute, Cary, NC, USA). Differences between individual means were identified using Duncan test at the 5% significance level.

The data analysis showed that the simple effects of biochar treatments on all the parameters with the exception of translocation factor (TF) were significant (p ≤ 0.01). At the same result, all of the measured parameters were significantly affected by the cadmium treatments. The interaction effects between biochar application and cadmium concentration were only non-significant for translocation factor (TF).

There was significant difference between the root and shoot dry biomass when the biochar and cadmium treatments were applied. As shown in Figure 1(a) and Figure 1(b), the plant dry biomass both the root and the shoot increased from control media (16.5 and 5.55 mg for shoot and root dry biomass, respectively) up to the highest biochar treatment (20.1 and 6.27 mg for shoot and root dry biomass, respectively). However, a significant difference was not found between control and 20 v/v ratio of biochar application (Figure 1(a)).

The results released that there was a significant decrease in the dry biomass including the root and the shoot when the cadmium concentration from control to the highest concentration of cadmium in soil, hereby the cadmium had a toxic effect on the lavender growth (Figure 1(b)). The results emphasized the toxic and the restrictive effect of the cadmium concentration of soil on the root growth [9] . On the other hand, the positive effect of biochar addition on the root and the shoot dry biomass can be observed from Figure 1(a). It was reported that the soil porosity and some soil properties such as cation exchange capacity was amended by biochar addition [10] [11] . It caused that the root development and hereby the plant growth was improved when biochar as a soil amendment was applied. As shown in Figure 1(c) and Figure 1(d), the toxic effect of cadmium concentration in the soil on the lavender plant was reduced by the biochar volumetric ratio increased.

The cadmium content in root, stem and leaf tissues were significantly affected by the biochar and cadmium concentration treatments (p ≤ 0.01). The cadmium content in plant tissues were reduced by biochar application as opposed to a control not receiving biochar (Figure 2(a) and Figure 2(b)). Lavender plant accumulated cadmium in its different tissues from control to the highest cadmium concentration in soil (Figure 2(c) and Figure 2(d)).

The results presented in Figure 3 showed that with receding further from non-biochar treatment (control) to the highest ratio of biochar application a notable trend to reduce the cadmium accumulation by the root, stem and leaf tissues of lavender plant is observed. Biochar application provoked a decrease about 17.5%, 43.8% and 27.0% in the cadmium content of the root, stem and leaf tissue, respectively at the highest cadmium concentration (Figure 3(a)). In view of the clear differences in the cadmium content in different parts, the decrease of cadmium content was the highest for the stem tissue compared with non-biochar treatment (Figure 3(b)). On the other hand, the biochar addition

caused to decrease the cadmium content of the root tissues up to 17.5% (Figure 3(a)).

The effects of biochar and cadmium treatments are presented in Figure 4. The statistical analysis demonstrated a significant (p ≤ 0.01) decrease in the absorption factor due to addition of biochar. The lowest mean value of absorption factor (0.044) was observed in soils treated with 40 v/v biochar, the highest value (0.67) was in the control (Figure 4(a)). However there was a significant (p ≤ 0.01) increase in the absorption factor due to the cadmium concentration increase compared to control (Figure 4(b)). The interaction effect of biochar and cadmium concentration revealed that the biochar played an important role to reduce the cadmium content of root tissue and hereby a significant decrease in the absorption factor (Figure 4(c)). Biochar due to its especial properties such as high surface area and cation exchange capacity (CEC) can adsorb the cadmium cation form (Cd2+) from soil solution. Many studied reported about strong adsorption affinity of biochar due to high surface area, high cation exchange capacity (CEC) and surface sorption capacity [12] . High cadmium adsorption capacity of biochar caused decrease cadmium available in soil solution thereby the treated soil by biochar (40 v/v) attributed a significant decrease in the cadmium content of root tissue and then it caused to reduce the absorption factor (AF).

Cadmium as a heavy metal is accumulated in the plant grown on contaminated soils. Mostly, plants accumulate them in the root tissues or the above- ground biomass [13] . Lavender samples of root, stems and leaves were analyzed to assess the issues of accumulation of cadmium in the vegetative organs. The analysis of variance indicated that the cadmium concentration in soil significantly affected the cadmium translocation (TF) from the root to above-ground parts (p ≤ 0.05). In the meantime, the biochar only affected the cadmium absorption (AF) and its effect on translocation factor (both from root to stem and stem to leaves) was not significant. Figure 5(a) showed the cadmium concentration effect on the cadmium translocation from the root to stem of the lavender plant. The results presented in Figure 5(a) revealed a significant decrease in the cadmium translocation from root to stem by increasing cadmium concentration in soil. This research proved that the lavender can accumulate the cadmium in the root tissue. However there was a significant trend to translocate cadmium from stem to leaves when the cadmium concentration in soil increased (Figure 5(b)).

The results demonstrated that the lavender plant as a hyperaccumulator could accumulate cadmium in root tissue and translocate that to stem and leaves but at different patterns. The entry of heavy metals in plants and their accumulation in the tissues of plants depends on the type of plants, contaminants and soil conditions. Heavy metals can be accumulated in different vegetative parts of the plants. The results emphasized that cadmium was accumulated in the aboveground parts of the lavender particularly in the leaf tissues (Figure 5(b)). The outcome was in agreement with Mashhoor Roodi et al., 2012 [2] .

This study presented that the toxic effect of cadmium concentration in the soil on the lavender plant was reduced by the biochar addition. The results also revealed the biochar effect on cadmium available in the soil solution because the biochar characteristics such as surface area and CEC could improve the soil properties and thereby the lavender plant could withstand the high cadmium concentration by applying biochar. It caused the root development and hereby the plant growth was improved as a result of biochar application as a soil amendment.

High cadmium adsorption capacity of biochar due to its properties caused the cadmium available in soil solution; the root cadmium content and then the absorption factor (AF) significantly reduced. The cadmium accumulation in the all lavender plant tissues decreased because the absorption factor was reduced by biochar applied. The translocation factor was increased from the root to the stem and also from the stem to the leaf by the cadmium concentration increased in the soil. It can be concluded that it can be considered the possibility of planting the lavender with biochar application to amend the cadmium polluted soils whereas the accumulation of heavy metals in essential oil of lavender was not observed.

Hashemi, S.B., Momayezi, M. and Taleei, D. (2017) Biochar Effect on Cadmium Accumulation and Phytoremediation Factors by Lavender (La- vandula stoechas L.). Open Journal of Eco- logy, 7, 447-459. https://doi.org/10.4236/oje.2017.77031

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10 July, 2017
 

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How The Rice Husk Carbonization Furnace Can Change Waste Into Charcoal

11 July, 2017
 

Agricultural waste is a big problem in the world today. Among the chief offenders is rice husks. Rice is one of the most grown crops worldwide, and it is a staple in the diet of vast amounts of people. However, growing rice creates plenty of waste. Rice husks will be the leftover aspects of rice plants once the edible rice is harvested. Each year, a great deal of rice husk bring about landfills because there is not any other use for it. However, with a rice husk carbonization furnace, this is no longer the way it is!

Carbonization is one of many techniques accustomed to turn biomass, that is leftover products from plants or other living things, into biochar. Biochar is really a revolutionary substance that burns similarly to coal, although with a fraction of the pollution. Biochar solves two problems: one, burning coal for energy creates an excessive amount of pollution, and 2, agricultural waste contributing a lot of mass to landfills.

Biomass like rice husks is often considered worthless as it is too complex to destroy down quickly. While some biomass can be rotted and turned to compost, allowing more plants being grown using the nutrients contained in the biomass, plenty of agricultural byproducts take too much time to biodegrade to become efficient for this reason. Rice husks, coconut shells, corn husks, nut shells, as well as other hard, sturdy plant matter is just way too hard to degrade, and must be trashed.

This is where a rice husk carbonization furnace http://carbonationmachine.net/rice-hull-carbonizer-design/ comes in. By heating the type of material and breaking them down without burning them, the furnace helps to reduce the biomass into usable, burnable matter called biochar. Biochar, when packed together into briquettes, burns slightly less efficiently than coal, but is a lot cheaper to get and produces substantially less pollution.

One strategy of energy generation that is certainly growing in popularity is called coburning. Coburning signifies the procedure for burning two or more different types of materials together, allowing one to obtain the great things about both materials. In this case, coburning means burning biochar and coal at the same time. Coal burns efficiently, and helps to maintain the furnace hot, while biochar provides considerably more energy per dollar and has less environmental impact. By burning both materials as well, energy can be produced which is cheaper, better, and cleaner than ordinary coal burning.

Biochar could also be used as fertilizer. It might be spread in soil to improve the nutrition for future crops, by returning the minerals the plants used to create the biomass to start with. By carbonizing agricultural waste, the useful energy and materials in rice husks and other refuse might be unlocked for use.

A charcoal from rice hull machine enables you to turn what used to be trash right into a valuable supply of energy or fertilizer. This material, called biochar, might be burned in addition to coal for cleaner plus more efficient energy, or spread in soil to aid plants grow better.


A Rice Husk Carbonization Furnace

11 July, 2017
 

Agricultural waste is a huge problem these days. One of many chief offenders is rice husks. Rice is one of the most grown crops worldwide, and is also a staple from the diet of vast amounts of people. However, growing rice creates a lot of waste. Rice husks are the leftover elements of rice plants following the edible rice has been harvested. Each and every year, a lot of rice husk give rise to landfills because there is hardly any other use because of it. However, having a rice husk carbonization furnace, this is not really the situation!

Carbonization is just one of many techniques utilized to turn biomass, which is leftover products from plants or any other living things, into biochar. Biochar is a revolutionary substance that burns similarly to coal, although with a tiny part of the pollution. Biochar solves two problems: one, burning coal for energy creates a lot of pollution, and two, agricultural waste contributing lots of mass to landfills.

Biomass like rice husks is generally considered worthless as it is too complex to break down quickly. Although some biomass might be rotted and turned to compost, allowing more plants to get grown using the nutrients within the biomass, plenty of agricultural byproducts take too long to biodegrade to get efficient for this reason. Rice husks, coconut shells, corn husks, nut shells, as well as other hard, sturdy plant matter is merely too hard to degrade, and must be dumped.

This is why a rice husk carbonization furnace will come in. By heating the type of material and breaking them down without burning them, the furnace helps to reduce the biomass into usable, burnable matter called biochar. Biochar, when packed together into briquettes, burns slightly less efficiently than coal, but is a lot cheaper to obtain and produces substantially less pollution.

One strategy of energy generation that may be growing in popularity is known as coburning. Coburning signifies the technique of burning two or more kinds of materials together, allowing one to obtain the great things about both materials. In this case, coburning means burning biochar and coal concurrently. Coal burns efficiently, and helps to help keep the furnace hot, while biochar provides much more energy per dollar and has less environmental impact. By burning both materials as well, energy could be produced that is cheaper, more efficient, and cleaner than ordinary coal burning.

Biochar can also be used as fertilizer. It could be spread in soil to further improve the nutrition for future crops, by returning the minerals the plants employed to create the biomass from the beginning. By carbonizing agricultural waste, the useful energy and materials in rice husks and other refuse might be unlocked for use.

A carbonization furnace may be used to turn what was once trash in to a valuable supply of energy or fertilizer. This product, called biochar, may be burned together with coal for cleaner and much more efficient energy, or spread in soil to assist plants grow better.


Biochar study to target methane in cattle

11 July, 2017
 

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Eastern Announces the Biochar Conference

11 July, 2017
 

Eastern WV Community and Technical College is proud to announce the launch of the Appalachian Biochar Conference.  This inaugural conference brings together world-renowned biochar experts to identify opportunities to increase awareness of biochar and increase its production in the Potomac Highlands, WV and Appalachia more broadly. According to the International Biochar Initiative, biochar is the “practice of converting agricultural waste in a soil enhancer that can hold carbon, boost food security, and increase soil biodiversity.”

“Biochar represents a significant opportunity to increase the agricultural production of our farmlands and creates opportunities to enhance agricultural productivity of former coal mines,” said Dr. Chuck Terrell, President of Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College.” 

“This is a wonderful opportunity to help increase economic diversification within the region,” said Dr. Terrell.  “This conference is a game-changer for Appalachia, as it creates significant economic and entrepreneurial opportunities for the community.

The conference includes internationally recognized speakers including:

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Government of Canada ponies up $1.1M to study cow farts

11 July, 2017
 

It may be a funny thought but the methane gas given off by cattle poses a significant environmental problem.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), right now the world cattle inventory is slightly less than a billion, 12 million of which are in Canada. India has a whopping 303 million. The gas released by all those cows breaking wind adds up.

The federal government announced a $1.1 million investment with the University of Lethbridge on Tuesday to study ways to reduce methane gas emissions in cattle.

It’s one of 20 new research projects supported by the $27 million Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP), a partnership with universities and conservation groups across Canada.

The program supports research into greenhouse gas mitigation practices and technologies that can be adopted on the farm.

“Reducing the amount of greenhouse gases produced by the cattle sector is important both environmentally, economically and helps build public trust,” said Eramus Okine, vice-president of research for the University of Lethbridge.

“Producers want to operate in a sustainable fashion and our study results will help them do that.”

The study will investigate whether the use of biochar, a feed supplement, in beef cattle diets improves the efficiency of digestion and reduces the amount of methane gas produced.  

LABRADOR STRAITS, NL – Labradorians fed up with the dangerous state of the Trans-Labrador Highway began organizing in Forteau Monday evening. 

Emergency response teams with the Salvation Army are stepping up to assist first responders and victims of the ongoing wildfires in British Columbia’s interior.

Local musician Terry Rielly, the "Teddy Bear Man" has composed a song for Cortney Lake.

St. John’s – The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Newfoundland and Labrador has announced its Volunteer Hall of Fame Award inductees.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball should start a forensic audit of Muskrat Falls and appoint an all-party committee of the legislature to examine the project, says potential PC party leadership candidate Ches Crosbie.

A new survey reveals 50 per cent of Atlantic Canadians are worried about the impact rising interest rates will have on their finances.

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CHAR Technologies Ltd. Accepts Delivery of SulfaCHAR Production Equipment

11 July, 2017
 

July 11, 2017 14:32 ET

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – July 11, 2017) –

Not for distribution in the United States or through United States wire services.

CHAR Technologies Ltd. (the “Corporation“) (TSX VENTURE:YES) is pleased to announce that it has received delivery of equipment used to produce SulfaCHAR. The equipment arrived in London, Ontario, today. The arrival of the equipment signifies the commencement of milestone 2 of the Corporation’s SD Natural Gas Fund (supported by Sustainable Development Technology Canada and the Canadian Gas Association) project. The Corporation expects the system installation work to be complete in early October 2017, followed by commissioning.

“The arrival of the SulfaCHAR production equipment is a significant milestone for the company,” said CEO Andrew White. “Once commissioned, we will be able to produce SulfaCHAR with higher margins and greater flexibility. Additionally, the arrival of the equipment triggers payment from the SD Natural Gas fund for our next milestone.”

About CHAR

The Corporation is in the business of producing a proprietary activated charcoal like material (“SulfaCHAR“), which can be used to removed hydrogen sulfide from various gas streams (focusing on methane-rich and odorous air). The SulfaCHAR, once used for the gas cleaning application, has further use as a sulfur-enriched biochar for agricultural purposes (saleable soil amendment product).

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements contained in this press release contain “forward-looking information” (“forward-looking statements“) within the meaning of Canadian securities laws. These forward-looking statements represent the Corporation’s expectations or beliefs concerning future events, and it is possible that the events described in this press release will not be achieved. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside of the Corporation’s control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements.

Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made, and, except as required by law, the Corporation does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for the Corporation to predict all such factors. When considering these forward-looking statements, you should keep in mind the risk factors and other cautionary statements in the Corporation’s MD&A dated May 29th, 2017 and available under the Corporation’s profile on www.sedar.com. Such risks could cause actual events or the Corporation’s actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement.

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – July 11, 2017) –

Not for distribution in the United States or through United States wire services.

CHAR Technologies Ltd. (the “Corporation“) (TSX VENTURE:YES) is pleased to announce that it has received delivery of equipment used to produce SulfaCHAR. The equipment arrived in London, Ontario, today. The arrival of the equipment signifies the commencement of milestone 2 of the Corporation’s SD Natural Gas Fund (supported by Sustainable Development Technology Canada and the Canadian Gas Association) project. The Corporation expects the system installation work to be complete in early October 2017, followed by commissioning.

“The arrival of the SulfaCHAR production equipment is a significant milestone for the company,” said CEO Andrew White. “Once commissioned, we will be able to produce SulfaCHAR with higher margins and greater flexibility. Additionally, the arrival of the equipment triggers payment from the SD Natural Gas fund for our next milestone.”

About CHAR

The Corporation is in the business of producing a proprietary activated charcoal like material (“SulfaCHAR“), which can be used to removed hydrogen sulfide from various gas streams (focusing on methane-rich and odorous air). The SulfaCHAR, once used for the gas cleaning application, has further use as a sulfur-enriched biochar for agricultural purposes (saleable soil amendment product).

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements contained in this press release contain “forward-looking information” (“forward-looking statements“) within the meaning of Canadian securities laws. These forward-looking statements represent the Corporation’s expectations or beliefs concerning future events, and it is possible that the events described in this press release will not be achieved. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside of the Corporation’s control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements.

Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made, and, except as required by law, the Corporation does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for the Corporation to predict all such factors. When considering these forward-looking statements, you should keep in mind the risk factors and other cautionary statements in the Corporation’s MD&A dated May 29th, 2017 and available under the Corporation’s profile on www.sedar.com. Such risks could cause actual events or the Corporation’s actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement.

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

CHAR Technologies Ltd.
Andrew White
Chief Executive Officer
647-968-5347
andrew.white@chartechnologies.com

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Government of Canada invests in Research to Reduce Methane Gas Emissions in Cattle

11 July, 2017
 

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LETHBRIDGE, AB, July 11, 2017 /CNW/ – Farmers know the importance of keeping the land, water and air healthy to sustain their farms from one generation to the next. They also know that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand-in-hand.

Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament (Calgary Centre) Kent Hehr today announced a $1.1 million investment with the University of Lethbridge to study ways to reduce methane gas emissions in cattle.

This project with the University of Lethbridge is one of 20 new research projects supported by the $27 million Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP), a partnership with universities and conservation groups across Canada. The program supports research into greenhouse gas mitigation practices and technologies that can be adopted on the farm.

Quotes

“Canadian farmers are great stewards of the land and the environment. These new investments are part of the government’s commitment to addressing climate change and ensuring our farmers are world leaders in the use and development of clean and sustainable technology and processes.”
Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“The government is committed to help address climate change and this investment will help farmers adopt sustainable practices that will reduce the amount of methane gas produced, while maintaining a productive herd and strengthening farm business.”
Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament (Calgary Centre)

“Reducing the amount of greenhouse gases produced by the cattle sector is important both environmentally, economically and helps build public trust. Producers want to operate in a sustainable fashion and our study results will help them do that.”
Dr. Erasmus Okine, University of Lethbridge Vice-President (Research)

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High Rates of Gasified Rice Hull Biochar Affect Geranium and Tomato Growth in a Soilless Substrate

11 July, 2017
 

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This Coffee Company Wants to Pay Farmers a 50 Percent Premium

11 July, 2017
 

In this four-part mini-series, we’ll unpack how large firms can get down to the grassroots level when it comes to engaging communities around health and wellness.

Sponsored by Aetna Foundation

In this editorial series in partnership with Covanta Environmental Solutions, we’ll explore steps your company can take to edge closer to zero waste targets.

Sponsored by Covanta

In this series sponsored by Procter and Gamble, we’ll explore what it means to practice “responsible forestry” and how trailblazing companies can lead the way.

Sponsored by Procter & Gamble

Brands Taking Stands: The Role of the CR Practitioner as Companies Make Their Voices Heard [REGISTER HERE]

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The global coffee industry has a long history of underpaying and exploiting many of its workers and farmers. The fair trade movement has helped boost the livelihoods of some farmers, but there is still plenty of improvement that could occur in the coffee growing regions of Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America. One coffee roaster based in New York’s Hudson Valley says it is offering a more aggressive tactic so that farmers can earn fairer wages for their beans.

Levanta Coffee describes itself as a “socially-innovative start-up” that can spark much better economic opportunities for the coffee farmers in Honduras with which it partners. This “social microlot model,” should it take off, will provide farmers 50 percent more revenues thanmarket rates currently offer. The social enterprise will launch a crowdfunding on Kickstarter later this month with the goal of raising $35,000 to make this project a reality. Participants in this campaign, along with visitors to the Levanta’s site, will soon learn the stories about the hardships many of these Honduran farmers, who on average clear $2,000 to $4,000 annually, constantly endure.

Levanta joins a long list of companies and non-profits that have attempted to make the coffee industry much more sustainable and more importantly, humane. The strategies are all over the map.

For example, San Francisco’s Blue Bottle Coffee pitched a $16 cup of java sourced from a rare coffee varietal in Yemen in order to revive the country’s long, proud, but now struggling coffee sector. A few years ago, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters launched a biochar project in an attempt to reduce climate change impacts, provide clean cooking fuel and nudge Rwanda’s coffee industry towards a circular economy system. Even 7-Eleven sells a Nicaraguan fair trade brew at many of its corner stores. And some non-profits, such as Cool Effect, want to make sure struggling Peruvian coffee producing communities survive with its carbon credit program.

Levanta’s Kickstarter campaign starts July 18.

Image credit: CIDSE/Flickr

Climate & Environment

Based in Fresno, California, Leon Kaye is a business writer and strategic communications specialist. He has also been featured in The Guardian, Sustainable Brands and CleanTechnica. When he has time, he shares his thoughts on his own site, GreenGoPost.com. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost).

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Waching daily Jul 11 2017

11 July, 2017
 

Welcome everybody, great to see you all attending from different parts of New South Wales.

So welcome to the July Soils Network of Knowledge webinar.

Okay, now I’d like to introduce and I will say it properly, Zhe Weng, hope I got that

right, but I will refer to Zhe as Han, as he’s more commonly known as in Australia,

who is presenting today’s webinar.

And the webinar is ‘What happens to carbon in the soil after biochar is applied?

Han is a third year UNE PhD student of Lukas Van Zwieten, Dr Lukas Van Zwieten up at Wollongbar

Primary Industries Institute and his thesis topic is biochar stability and its role in

native soil carbon and root derived carbon stabilisation with field and laboratory investigations

into those mechanisms.

Han graduated from the University of East Anglia in Norwich in the United Kingdom with

a BSc honors degree in Environmental Sciences but much more excitingly Han received the

prize for the best presentation by an under 35 year old for this year’s, oh last’s

years, National Soil Science Conference held in Melbourne in November last year.

Thank you Luke and thank you for attending today’s webinar.

So today we talk about what happen to soil carbon after biochar is applied.

In a research aspect for those of you not familiar with Biochar I’ll give you quick

introduction.

Biochar is a carbon rich product which derived from thermal desorption of literally any organic

matter in a carbon low environment.

It looks like charcoal here, as you can see, but it’s different.

So the main difference is how we produce it, as I say before, it has been produced in a

no oxygen environment and also it can be made of literally any material.

So what biochar for then?

Why use biochar?

Biochar can use as a soil amendment if you want to improve your soil fertility.

This has been many literature show biochar has ability to improve crop yield, increase

water holding capacity.

Biochar can be also used as approach for waste management.

For instance, the waste water management biochar can use as a sorbent.

Also biochar is kind of a bi-product from biofuel generations and most recently there

is a lot interest in use of biochar as a carbon sequestration approach which I will tell you

more about today.

And there is a term we are going to use very often today, it’s called the ‘Priming

Effect’.

So what is priming effect?

Priming effect is defined as the change in the turnover rate of soil at organic carbon

after you apply some substrates.

In this case we talk about carbon but not necessary, sometimes nitrogen can also introduce

priming but today we focus on the carbon priming.

So how priming works?

As you can see in this diagram, and in these, the texts, this in white bar is a soil organic

carbon, once you put carbon substrate if the soil organic carbon doesn’t change its no

priming.

If after you apply the substrate there is increasing soil organic carbon turnover so

you have more CO2 emissions.

This is a positive priming.

Vice versa if there is a decrease in soil organic carbon turnover this is a negative

priming.

So over the past decades there are thousands of literature based on biochar applications.

Many of them focus on the stability or the longevity of biochar.

However, many of the study has been conducted in a laboratory environment but very few studies

was done in the field, which is where we are going to apply the biochar and not often have

a focus on the biochar plants or biochar-root interactions as you can see in this picture

here.

So, to measure is to know.

We set up two field trials at Wollongbar DPI to assess first how stable is fresh biochar

in the field in a ferrosol and a subtropical climate which also being used as a new (or

annual) ryegrass pasture and how biochar interact with soil organic carbon and plant derived

carbon.

Secondly, we are interested in how biochar interaction with soil carbons can change over

time.

As you can see this famous picture here is terra preta Australis which is created centuries

ago by the Australian Aborigines.

So to start set up of first trial and top picture shows that’s a snapshot of our Wollongbar

DPI, nice and green here and we measure the soil respirations also for the first time

we introduce a soil plus root respiration chambers from which we can study the biochar

plants interactions and we also use a stable isotope technique to quantify the root respirations

which I am going to show in more details in a minute and this all, methodologies and the

results was documented in our latest paper which recently accepted by Soil Biology and

Biochemistry, hopefully will come on line very soon.

So let me tell you more about stable isotype techniques which help you to understand how

we get our results.

Like everybody have a driving license in nature there is a driving license for all the elements

which this driving license is given in terms of the carbons 13 signatures.

Each element such as air, biochar and soil have their own identical signatures which

different from each other as you can see in this diagram here.

They all very different which give us a opportunity to separate each sources.

So we use, an alkaline trap in our respiration chamber here, from which we can capture total

CO2 emissions in the traps then we can determine the total carbon 13 signatures and use a mathematical

equations we can separate the biochar carbon mineralisation and the soil mineralisations

in this two pool system.

So I am not going to show the equation here just you know that’s early start, that’s

too much for mornings you know, if you want to know more please find our paper.

So unlike the two pool system where you only have soils and biochar a planted system has

never been published in literature the reason because this three pool systems have the plants

the soil and the biochar which interact with each other can change the soil, the total

emissions and it is very hard to quantify, for this we introduce a novel group soil respiration

chamber where you can see in the middle it’s exactly like the soil respiration chamber

I show you before but on the side we have a so called root growth chamber from which

the plant is grown and the roots can grow through the root windows which on the column

here inside into the chamber within which we can measure the soil, plus biochar plus

plants respiration.

Just to quickly show you.

This a snapshot taken inside of chamber shortly after harvest.

As you can see there is some white very fine living roots onto the surface and use those

mathematic equations we can quantify the root respiration chamber and as you can see here

there is three different signature.

So for the post labelling we introduce a carbon 13 enrich environment which gave us a higher

root signal from -25 to 150 so can quantify the root respiration in here.

As you can see the biochar had no impact on respiration.

So will plants have the impact on biochar carbon mineralisation then?

Again we show plants actually did not change the biochar mineralisation.

As you can see the difference is within the margin of error and we use a model to estimate

the Mean Residence Time of biochar in our particular system which will quantify, which

we estimate to be around 449 and 483 years in the planted or unplanted system.

Again this is within the error which means it is no difference.

So, you may ask what is different?

Why you talk to me something not different?

Now here as I described before, the priming effects which shows actually in the planted

system, when the plants interact with biochar there is a decrease in soil organic carbon

turnover.

So there will be less CO2 emitted from biochar planted system compare to non amended soils

as you can see here.

In most literature the timescale of the studies only is about three months to half year, so

in that short period you can see there is a plus peak here which means there is increase

of turnover of soil organic matter, however, over time there is a decrease.

The reason it is exciting is because the most studies don’t include plants which as you

can see overall is around zero.

There is no priming.

There is no change.

But in the real world where the planted is, in a practical system we show that this biochar

can reduce the mineralisation of soil organic carbon and now we wonder what happen for this

very impressive results can change over time.

Whether the biochar still can reduce the soil organ carbon loss or not?

So we go back to visit existing trial which was set up in 2006 by Lukas Van Zwieten and

Steve Kimber.

Where they put two type of biochar into the soil system.

One is beef-lot manure biochar and the other one is green waste hardwood biochar and they

found this very rapid increase in soil organic carbon shortly after 36 months and then most

impressive increase was delivered by hardwood biochar back then it’s called green waste

biochar and we wonder what happened to this particular treatment after 9 years aging in

the field.

So I was very fortunate to be offered the opportunity to step back to this historical

site and use the very similar setup as I show you previously.

So we look at four treatments in this site.

The first one is un-amended soils, we call it control.

Secondly we look at 9 year age biochar, which was applied 10 tonne per hectare roughly 1%

to the top 100 mm soil depth and also we apply exactly same biochar at the same dose in the

top 10 cm and also we wonder what happen if we apply fresh biochar to the existing aged

biochar plots.

For instance a farmer’s want to increase their yield before the biochar slowly reduce

the effect so he thinking about doing second application.

So that what this last treatment about.

A secondary application of biochar.

Again this is our old friend and in this case you can see this biochar signature is very

similar to the plants so to avoid this we used the pulse labelling to enrich the root

signal again.

From which we can quantify the root respirations as you can see before treatment here the control,

the fresh biochar, aged biochar and the second application.

Again biochar treatment had no impact on root respiration but interestingly we find that

the field aged biochar can reduce soil organic carbon turnover rate so called the negative

priming.

This time both the planted system and the unplanted system show the same effect, biochar

slowed down the soil organic carbon loss.

This might explain why we still observe a further increase in aged biochar plots even

after nine years.

Again in the second application we applied fresh char into aged char plot you have a

cumulative increase.

It is very rapid shortly after four months and the black line here shows the calculated

total soil carbon which equals to the soils carbons plus the biochar additional carbons

and we find actually there is a margin here.

The green here shows its actual measurement of the total soil and this might partially

be explained by the negative priming we observed earlier.

So, just bear with me, to conclude we show that biochar did not impact root respiration

as we found the roots did not change biochar degradation rates either and this particular

hardwood biochar in our study system induced a significant negative priming of soil organic

carbon so it’s reduced the soil organic carbon loss and such negative priming may

account for the increase in total carbon even after eight years.

So in established trial Lukas and Steve show there’s a rapid increase in total soil carbon

after biochar application and we show if you add more chars in the existing biochar plots

there is a further increase in total soil carbon and we were wondering what happened

if you adding more chars into the soil.

Whether there’s like a limitation?

Whether there’s a capacity to holding more carbon in this pasture system?

So I like to thank this very important people for their emotional and technical support.

Without them, all I could show today is just some titles and some beautiful pictures.

So thank you for your attention.

Back to Luke.

Luke: Well thank you very much Han.

That was very interesting.

I have Peter Entwhistle here.

Peter: My question was the rates of the biochar that

were used in the original trail that Lukas put down.

Han: Yep, its 10 tonne per hectare into the top

ten centimeters of soil, so it is equivalent to about 1%.

Peter: Ok.

Han: So when we do the new trial on top of the

old trials we used exactly the same dose 10 tonne per hectare too and also the same biochar.

Thank you.

Peter: Ok, thank you.

Luke: Ok, we’ve got a question from Eddie Joshua.

Eddie: Hello Han, I’m just wondering if there is

an ability to change commercial compost production systems into a biochar production system so

that when people are composting green waste, we could actually make it into biochar and

spread that instead.

Han: Yes, there has been many literature based

on the use combining compost with char as well and of course there is a way to actually

convert compost system into a char system but I’m no expert in engineering but I know

a lot of people who do, like Stephen Joseph or Lukas Van Zwieten or Steve Kimber and there

is a way to do this but it really depends on whether it’s kind of economic and also

in terms of energy bills and what do you really want this biochar for cause its biochar can

make of any organic matter as I’ve mentioned before and also when you apply biochar you

have to tailor biochar for specific purposes.

Like if you want to use biochar for its fertiliser kind of ability you have to use probably something

like a manure or high ash content chars.

For composting I think char can reduce emissions to start but it depends on the water content

of your compost too.

So I think it is possible but I am no expert in this area so I think you need to ask some

kind of specialist but there are definitely a way Eddie.

Eddie: Thank you.

Han: Thanks.

Luke: Thanks Eddie.

Helen Wheeler, so here is Helen’s question Han ‘For the graph showing fresh biochar

plus fertiliser , aged biochar plus fertiliser then fresh plus aged biochar and Helen’s

question is was the total amount applied larger than the fresh, plus aged than the individual

fresh or aged?

Han: Yes, the fresh plus aged char is 20 tonne

per hectare.

It is large it is not compare with the single dose it just look at the second applications.

So the fresh and aged chars they all 10 tonne per hectare the fresh plus aged is the 10

tonne per hectare fresh char applied in the existing 10 tonne per hectare aged biochar

in the field so it makes it 20 tonne per hectare.

It is larger.

That’s why the black calculated line is much taller than this two line here.

Thank you Helen.

This graph is loads of information so I just pinpoint some very interest findings and just

try not to confuse you but thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify this graph.

Luke: Thanks for that Helen.

Ian Packer has asked a question.

Ian: How you going?

Just gut feelings about the use of biochar in your drier climates and your poorer soils

like your red/brown earths and things like that and the economics of it all.

I know we haven’t got any data.

Han: Yep, so we start with it dry.

It’s actually this is a subtropical environment, we call it a very guarantee rainfall every

year.

It is not really a dry environment.

It is warm and it is humid so it is not dry.

For economics, I haven’t done any economics on this particular trial yet but there are

some life cycle analysis done by Annette Cowie and also in the existing trial.

We find this the hardwood biochar didn’t increase the crop yield if you want to know

something to do with the economics, but as I also say there is a manure biochar which

significantly increased the crop yield because it changed the phosphate availability, so,

but, it is not as stable as the hardwood chars.

It really come back to the point what do you want to use char for, whether you want to

have a shot at increasing yield or you are really kind of thinking the carbon budget

to use as a trading kind of a mechanism but, and there’s a new way is like combine the

two chars or do you also enhance biochar which is clay cultured chars either manure or urea

which is kind of a slow release kind of biochar if you like which can somehow make it more

cost effective if you like but thank you for the questions.

Luke: And just to clarify Han, I think what Ian

was saying in areas like ours that are drier, how does it apply?

Is that right Ian?

Ian: Yeah, well yeah, we probably won’t get the same reaction in the drier climate.

Han: It is very different.

There is also a trial we also involving in Nationwide trials which also down in, there’s

one down in Tasmania on the same, similar soils ferrosols as well, which the climate

is totally different.

It is cold and it is a bit wet too so it is really kind of system specific.

If it is really dry, during our experiment actually we also find if during the dry season

the kind of mineralisation will slow done over all because you have to have water for

the plants also there is not much kind of interaction from the bugs as well in the soil.

So actually it is kind of it’s more likely to slow down but also because of the clay

soil what we use.

If you were talking about sandy soil and those not very fertile soil it is most likely biochar

may not work as a charm did in our specific system.

So again you have to tailor the char to meet your need.

Luke: Great and thanks to Steve Kimber I’ve unmuted

you Steve if you’ve got a phone?

Steve: Just getting back to Ian Packer’s question,

I don’t think the sort of rates we are putting here on the coast would be applicable to your

western systems and Han alluded to the Western Australia work where they were actually banding

at planting using much lower rates, it might even be in the, just in the hundreds of kilos

per hectare because the cost of the biochar is quite significant and if you are doing

that sort of application year after year with the types of residence times that Han’s

talking about you are going to build up your soil carbon in any case.

But I wanted to make a comment originally that this study is in a permanent pasture

system and it would be interesting to look at a cultivated system and see whether you

are still going to get that same sort of accumulation of carbon or whether the oxidating effect

of turning your soil over regularly is going to reverse that process.

Luke: Great Steve, thank you.

Thank you very much for a very informative webinar and thanks for everybody attending

and especially to Han for such a great presentation.

Han: Thank you everybody.

Thank you Luke, I appreciate your time and effort.

Thank you very much.

Luke: Ok.

Thank you everyone, we will end it there.

——————————————-

Hello everyone and welcome to the May Soils Network of Knowledge webinar for 2016.

Today I’d like to introduce Lukas van Zwieten and Lukas gets a gold star from us because

this is his second SNoK appearance, he is the only one who has come back for more!

Lukas is a Principle Research Scientist here at New South Wales DPI and he is located up

at Wollongbar Primary Industries Institute, as I am.

As well as this he is an adjunct Professor in rural climate solutions at the University

of New England and Southern Cross Plant Science and in this capacity he supervises numerous

PhD students.

He is a Churchill Fellow and a scientific panel member of the International Biochar

Initiative.

He has published over sixty scientific papers and book chapters with local and international

collaboration and today he is going to talk to us about a term that I’m sure many of

you would have come across — Soil Functionality.

So what does that really mean and what does it imply for our management of soils.

So thank you Lukas.

Thank you Abby.

Now soil functionality is a very, very broad term and I have been asked this question — What

functions do soils generally play?

And the first one that we are potentially most interested in are the fact that it supports

95% of the global food production and according to the latest FAO figures that means that

soils are feeding over 7 billion people.

We have to recognise that soils support forests which produce 165 gigatonnes, or thereabouts,

of oxygen each year and soils therefore support biodiversity and habitat.

Soils also filter surface and groundwater resources so soil and our water resources

are very, very closely linked and many of you might not realise but it also provides

an engineering medium so whenever we build a house or we put a road or a bridge in place,

these are usually held in place by soil.

So you know here we can see that soils play many, many varied functions.

Now I borrowed this particular slide from the Center for Environmental Transformation

in the United States and I hope my mouse works, yep.

We can see here that agriculture, land and soil is right in the heart of a functioning

society.

Now we’ve got farming here, which drives economic systems, which drives demand for

food and population which also has got another function of our political system.

So really without going into this slide in too much detail, because we don’t have time,

I just wanted to stress here that again that soil is right at the heart of an active functioning

society.

Now, I believe it is really time for soil to perform.

The fact is, and these aren’t my numbers, these are from UNFAO, that the population

is expected to hit 9 billion by 2050 and that is not that far away anymore and it also means

that our food production needs to double from today’s numbers by 2050.

So we’ve got some very, very significant demands on our soil and many farmers have

been trying to double their yields and many industries are finding it difficult just to

sustain or maintain existing yields even with increased inputs.

So, we are going to be asking a lot of our soils over the next thirty or forty years.

Funnily enough, soils are also important for, as I mentioned before, societies and you know

there have been many, many papers and published reports showing that the biggest threat to

global stability is food availability and in developing countries food availability

is often the main cause for the collapse of governments and these crises are made even

more important with changing climate patterns , potentially less rain fall or bigger storm

surges or indeed increase in sea level height and what we need to stress here is that over

time certainly the number of malnourished people globally has been increasing and at

the same time our global stores of grain on an annual basis have been decreasing and the

2013 numbers have got roughly 71 days of stored grain globally.

So again, this is soil being at the heart of society, driving economies.

Most of us have been to the supermarket lately and have noticed that beef is probably nearly

almost double the price of what is was a couple of years ago and you know, this is again,

the, an issue with the increasing demand.

Many countries are demanding greater levels of high quality proteins such as beef and

even in Australia with the price going up, it means that people are probably eating less

beef or they’re paying a larger portion of their salary on trying to maintain these

products.

So, you know, the issue of increasing prices for quality food is certainly not, is not,

just limited to developing countries.

You know we’ve seen these repercussions globally.

So this gets us back to soil and what is soil?

And here we’ve got some wonderful monoliths here done by Roy Lawrie and Brett Enman from

New South Wales DPI up on the right hand corner.

Soil is essentially, around about half of it is mineral material, a quarter of it is

air space or gas space and roughly a quarter of it is soil solution and we’ve got a little

bit of organic matter driving a lot of the soil functions here.

So again, I am going to stress that many of the functions or the biological functions

in soil are driven by this relative small part of what makes up a soil.

So what are the key functions relating to agricultural production?

Now, certainly the one that we probably understand most is nutrient cycling and I’m going to

talk about that in a bit more detail soon.

Certainly water relations is a really important issue and in Australia where much of our agriculture

is water limited, it plays a very important role.

Soil is of course, as I mentioned before, pivotal in driving biodiversity and habitat

for both above ground and below ground organisms.

It filters and buffers, so it is important for keeping waste for example, heavy metals

from waste, from leaching into ground water resources and we have to remember that the

majority of our wastes are put back onto soil so, you know, it is something that you need

to recognise, that not only is it used for agriculture production it is also used as

a waste dump and certainly physical issues, so, soil can also be used there just to hold

plants up.

You know, certainly, the structure of soil is important for root development, root development

is important for maintaining a crop upright and stopping it from lodging.

So there are many, many functions here that soil is playing.

One of the important aspects here is that just looking at the grains industry, and this

information is from a webpage called Yield Gap Australia, and so this is APSIM (Ag.

Production Systems sIMulator) modelling looking at the potential yield and the actual yield

of grains in Australia and this takes into consideration climate and water.

So it takes out a couple of those limiting factors and even with those limiting factors,

those two key limiting factors taken out , I’ll just skip straight to this right hand column

here, basically, across Australia we are lucky to get 50 percent of the maximum yield that

a particular soil, under a given climate and rainfall scenario is capable of delivering.

This gap in yield is essentially due to soil function and probably most likely due to soil

chemical and biological functionality and I’d just like to step through a few of these

points now.

So what are some of the driving forces affecting soil function?

It certainly is clear that soil function is a collaboration between the plants, the soil

microbes and the inherent mineralogy, the mineralogy given to a particular agroecosystem.

So for example different soil types in different regions are going to allow different function

to occur.

And certainly the carbon supply and the carbon cycle is a motor that essentially gets all

of these cogs turning with nutrient cycling and, you know, there are so many aspects to

the carbon cycling that I certainly can’t go through them all today but I’d like to

just give a few examples now.

So here we’ve got a very simplified version of nitrogen cycling.

So we’ve got a nitrogen fertiliser going onto soil.

So that fertiliser could be in the form of urea, it could be in the form of a fixed nitrogen

from a legume or it could be a manure or even a natural nitrogen coming in from the atmosphere.

It enters the soil and ultimately converts through mineralisation into ammonium.

Ammonia/ammonium depending on the soil pH.

During this cycling process it nitrifies through to nitrate.

Nitrate then has got a couple of major loss pathways so it can leach through the soil

profile but it can also then denitrify so this is also a part of the nitrification/denitrification

cycle converting to nitrous oxide and dinitrogen.

How do we quantify this?

And you know why do we want to know these particular factors?

So there are lots of ways to look at this particular cycle and you know some of the

really high-tech expensive methods are based on metagenomics, gene quantification, DNA

profiling and the problem with some of these methodologies is that we are looking at these

specific genes here for example that are responsible for the different pathways.

You know, it’s an expensive process, it is time consuming and using a very small amount

of soil and it is an absolute snap shot of what is happening at a particular point in

time.

It doesn’t tell you what has happened previously and it is not going to tell you what might

happen tomorrow.

So, what you are essentially looking at here, is what genes are present and it really doesn’t

even relate to how active these genes might be.

Another way you might be able to look at these particular soil functions is a technique known

as micro respiration or community structure substrate utilisation.

It uses a larger volume of soil and essentially you can put a substrate into that particular

soil and you can see how it converts to another form through breakdown of carbon substrates

and then capture these carbon substrates.

You can look at enzymes and the beauty with the enzyme technique is you are using a larger

volume of soil and essentially you are looking now at the potential for soil to do a particular

function or you can do a soil test and this is probably the thing that most soil scientists

would be doing on a regular basis.

It is a much larger volume of soil and you are looking for the key things that the plants

are interested in.

So, for example here the ammonium and the nitrate.

The point I want to make here is that each of these particular ways to look at this particular

soil function, they’ve got a different purpose and the purpose for research is trying to

unravel particular mechanisms or what an agronomist might be interested in with regards to cropping

nutrition will require a different way to look at this particular cycle.

So I just wanted to point this out as a particular example of nutrient cycling.

So here is an example of the team, so credit Mick Rose for this particular work, so this

is a part of our CRDC project, looking at the impacts of herbicides on soil functionality.

So here we’ve got a chromosol which has been incubated at moderately high water holding

capacity and in that particular soil we applied herbicides including glyphosate or Roundup

and Diflufenican.

So the first one is glyphosate at the label rate and then glyphosate at five times label

rate, application of diflufenican same deal and Tebuconazole as a fungicide as a bit of

a positive control and here we are just looking at nitrate concentration as I guess an ultimate

indicator of the nitrification cycle.

You can see the control has generated, at this point in time, about 175 milligrams of

nitrate in that particular soil, glyphosate really hasn’t had any impact what so ever

on the nitrification cycle, however here we look at Diflufenican and we’ve had a significant,

a statistically significant inhibition of the nitrification cycle with that particular

herbicide.

Interestingly with the fungicide at label rate application or at low rate application

there was no impact on nitrification, but if we applied a slightly higher rate we had

an impact on nitrification.

So again this is just an example of where a stress factor might impact a particular

cycle in the soil.

Now, I also want to point out here that just because we’ve got nitrification being inhibited

it doesn’t necessarily mean it is a bad thing, remembering that there are many fertilisers

now that have got nitrification inhibitors in them and that is to stop the production,

or lower the production, of nitrate in soils and therefore substrate for nitrous oxide

or nitrate leaching.

So we just need to take this into consideration that this particular example of suppressed

nitrification is not necessarily a bad thing.

And I’d just like to show some data from Ehsan’s experiment in Wagga.

So this is just looking at some enzyme activities after the very common practice of liming,

so most farmers would add lime to soil to fix up a pH constraint such as aluminium toxicity,

but the role of lime goes a lot deeper than just simply changing a soil chemical attribute.

So obviously the farmer is most interested in changing the pH for that soil chemical

constraint, however, other things happen.

So we are looking at some enzyme activities in this particular soil.

So we’ve added, so Ehsan’s added lime, so no lime, lime at 4 tonnes per hectare and

lime at 10 tonnes per hectare.

And they’ve added this at different layers in the soil.

So the surface soil, soil at 10 to 20 centimeters and soil at 20 to 30 centimeters and this

is a part of Ehsan’s soil, ahh sub soil acidity program and we’ve had a look at

the impact of lime on carbon cycling and here we are using an enzyme called beta glucosidase

and in this particular incidence lime has got no significant effect on carbon cycling.

However, we have a look at nitrogen cycling and in this case aminopeptidase and what we

are showing is a very consistent trend of very significant increases in aminopeptidase

activity with lime addition.

So one of the possible reasons for this, and obviously it needs a lot more research here,

is that when you are increasing the pH of soil you are now allowing some of the proteins,

which are mildly positively charged, to release from the soil clay particles so now these

proteins or proteinaceous materials are becoming available in the soil solution at a more neutral

pH which means there’s more substrate now available for microorganisms.

These microbes are seeing this substrate availability and they are going ‘Yum!’ we are going

to now turn these proteins into food for us and you know that’s essentially an outcome

of the aminopeptidase enzyme.

Interestingly when we look at a phosphorus enzyme we are getting pretty much a significant

decrease between the 4 tonnes of lime through to the 10 tonnes of lime per hectare.

We are finding it difficult to explain this result.

It is a little bit against our hypothesis were at this particular point of time but

again when you neutralise or increase the pH of an acidic soil one would expect that

there is more phosphorus availability in that particular soil, therefore, we were expecting

an increase in the phospomonoesterase enzyme but because there is more chemical phosphorus

available in the soil the microbes have to work less hard to actually access phosphorus

for the phosphorus cycling.

So again, we certainly don’t have a very strong handle on the exact mechanisms for

this, but we are seeing this particular outcome from liming and obviously there is a lot more

work to do here.

An example of enzymes being used to unravel some pretty basic soil functions.

Here I’ve got some work from Dr Flavio Fornasier who was here a couple of years ago and he

was looking at enzyme activities and how it related to truffle production for example

and essentially what he was finding is in areas of the paddock, so each dot here represents

a tree and he was finding high truffle contents where there was high alkaline phosphatase

and very low truffle content where there was grass cover and higher beta glucosidase enzymes.

So it is a bit hard to determine which factor is the main cause here for truffle production

but certainly the enzymes were useful in helping to diagnose some of those, the areas, or potentials

for these soils to produce truffles.

Clearly soils provide a very significant biodiversity and habitat and here is an example of an avocado

orchard.

So this is fairly old work but I thought it was quite pertinent to this particular seminar.

One of our collaborators have got an avocado orchard and you can see here a very distinct

layer between the A horizon and the organic horizon.

So we’ve got about 10 centimeters or so of organic material on top of the soil.

Some would say ‘Oh, lots of organic matter!

That’s a great thing.’

However, what we are not seeing is a term called bioturbation and that is essentially

driven by soil animals, things like earthworms and ants.

Earthworms are certainly an important aspect of a healthy functioning biodiverse soil.

Essentially what we diagnosed this issue down to was the fact that this particular soil

has had 30 or 40 years of copper application as a fungicide and essentially this copper

now is quite toxic to earthworms and fairly simple OECD tests, known as earthworm avoidance

tests, here we have our contaminated soil and our non-contaminated soil and we put earthworms

in the middle and we come back three days later and count where they are.

Basically all of these earth worms migrate to the non-contaminated soil.

And here we can see where we’ve done a bit of science.

The threshold seems to be around about 50 part per million.

So if you’ve got copper in your soil at about 50 parts per million or over, they are

the kinds of concentrations where you are going to start getting significant avoidance

by earthworms.

So, again here we’ve got earthworms as an indicator of biodiversity and soil functionality.

And of course, I guess in today’s climate, one of the important aspects for soil functionality

is its ability to sequester carbon and here we’ve got a picture of a global carbon cycle

and basically where carbon sits and this little thin layer on top of the earth’s crust is

known as the soil which we all know and it is a really important store for soil carbon.

Again, this soil is supporting the forests and agriculture, which is driving photosynthesis

and photosynthesis is what is responsible for grabbing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere,

turning it into sequestered forms of carbon as in wood or organic matter in soil and releasing

oxygen back into the environment.

So again here I just wanted to stress the importance of soil both as a store for carbon

but also as a medium allowing these particular carbon cycles to be driven through natural

processes.

And here is just an example of some of the trials at Wollongbar where we’ve been having

a look at, I guess we’ll call it, you know, intercepting the carbon cycle.

So can we use materials such as pyrolysis biomass or better known as biochar for intercepting

the global carbon cycle.

And some of the work here from PhD student Han Weng has shown that we’ve got very significant

opportunities here for storage of new carbon so not only from the carbon added from the

biochar but its carbon now is inducing a process called negative priming whereby stabilising

new carbon inputs from photosynthesis . Look that’s been my 20 minutes.

I’ve covered a lot of topics very, very broadly I guess and Abby asked me just to

give a summary slide at the end which I’ve done here and I’ve just circled the organic

fraction of soil.

Again this is a motor driving much of the soil functionality.

It’s something that we don’t understand as well as we should and I think this is an

area where, if we are going to double our food production within the next 30 years,

we are going to need to exploit soil functionality for this.

We can certainly add increased inputs of fertiliser into soil but we know that that doesn’t

always lead to the desired outcome that we’re after.

What we need to do is drive this soil functionality to get the yield increases for the increased

population.

Thank you.

Abby: Thank you very much Lukas.

That was fantastic and I think you raised some really interesting and important points.

I had one question around the terminology of soil functionality and obviously our interest

here is how that relates to food production but does the definition of it change, or what’s

important change, depending on how you are looking at using the soil, Lukas?

So if you weren’t looking at it from a food production perspective?

Lukas: Sure, look some of your question there actually

dropped out, but I’m gathering it was basically about do inherent soil conditions or the location

of a soil in an agro-climate, agro-environmental climate dictate what the potential of the

soil is and the answer to that is absolutely yes.

So for example if you are looking at a function of a tenosol in Western Australia where they’ve

got 300 millimetres of rainfall, you know, your absolute food production in that particular

situation is going to be much, much lower compared to a vertosol on the Darling Downs

with a rainfall of 1200 millimetres per year.

So, you know, we certainly need to understand that different soils are going to function

very differently.

What we need to try and understand is mechanisms to optimise a particular set of functions

for that particular outcome.

So, for example, soil will function differently for agricultural production compared to producing

a forest for example.

We know that there are very, very, different microorganisms in agricultural soils compared

to a more lignin based forest scenario where you’ve got very different carbon inputs

into soil and different qualities of leaf litter and organic matter being returned to

soil.

So, yes functions are very different and they are dependent upon what you are asking from

the soil in that particular season.

Abby: Yeah, and I think that is a good point to

make.

Thank you.

I have a question here from Eddie Joshua and he said ‘Thank you for the talk’ but what

he also wants to know is ‘Can we influence water content to aid yield increase?’

Would you like to comment on that Lukas?

Lukas: Yes, I believe water content in soil, certainly

water holding capacity in soil, not so much water availability, but certainly water holding

capacity can be influenced through soil microbiology and optimising soil functionality.

We know that increasing organic carbon content can increase soil’s ability to hold water.

There are also opportunities to improve water and gas flow within the soil.

So for example a compacted soil, you know, will have a lot more surface flow than a soil

that is not compacted or a soil with good air space and good pore structure.

And again microbiology and agronomy, so careful selection of plants and building up that soil

structure can certainly influence the water relations in soil.

There is no magic formula though.

Abby: There are a few questions about the Wagga

information that you presented.

Different people wanted to know whether it was surface applied or incorporated and what

the pH of that soil was, I’m assuming it was before the lime was applied.

Lukas: Sure, so each layer was amended individually

and it was incorporated evenly throughout that particular soil profile.

So these were incubation tests where, so F layer was removed, the 10 to 20 centimetre

layer was removed and the 20 to 30 centimetre layer was removed and treated as an individual,

I guess, soil profile where the lime was mixed evenly throughout that particular profile.

And that is a part of Ehsan’s project, where he is looking at mechanisms to get lime, for

example, deeper into the soil profile to alleviate some subsoil acidity constraints.

I understand that the soil had an initial pH of around about 4.7 in calcium chloride.

I can certainly find out but that’s what I understand and it certainly had a slightly

more acidic subsoil.

Abby: And I’ll just add to that for people who

are listening who are unaware, Ehsan is a researcher here at New South Wales DPI who

is located at Wagga, so if you would like to get more information about what he is doing,

or that particular project, you could contact me and I could put you in contact with him.

So that is the addition for that bit.

Um, Greg Chapman also says ‘Thank you’ and he’s got a question here ‘Would you

expect addressing the most limiting factor for production also maximises soil microbial

activity?

Are there any studies that show this?’

Lukas: Yeah, so more microbial activity is not necessarily

what you are trying to achieve.

So, again, every single soil for every single crop is going to have a different limiting

soil function and it might not be related necessarily to soil biology or soil microbial

activity.

But certainly, what’s most important, I think, is to understand the particular functions

of that soil and not performing optimally for that particular crop or situation that

we are asking from the soil.

Again, a lot more work has to be done to actually understand, and I think I’ve stressed this

many times before, what the key functions are in soil.

It might be related, as I said before to water, structure, nutrient availability, nutrient

cycling, carbon cycling.

Certainly improving different functions through applications of organic matter or application

of nutrients or lime are things that are currently being researched globally, but again these

are going to be very different for every soil.

Abby: Thank you.

And I guess a further question which is a bit in that vein from Stephanie, she said

‘Is providing more food for a soil organism to the soil system going to automatically

lead to more nutrient cycling in the organic nutrient pools and if so, how long would you

expect that to happen?’

Lukas: Yeah, look BP would probably be the best person

to answer this question, but essentially if you start driving that soil carbon cycle,

which is based on how much food is available to the microorganisms in the soil you now

start driving nutrient availability.

So, look the two of them are very, very closely linked like a gearbox.

You start driving in one particular gear, which is the carbon cycle, which is central

to everything, you start driving that carbon cycle in soil, you then start driving everything

else that is happening in the soil as well.

So that really is the heart of soil functionality and Stephanie really hit the nail on the head

there.

Abby: I’m just going to unmute BP, he is actually

on line today and would you like to comment further on Stephanie’s question?

BP: Okay, there are a couple of comments I wanted

to make.

First is, about the last slide, the importance of organics, I feel like it’s very, kind

of, important.

We’ve been doing a lot of research on soil organic matter and we are just working on,

you know, we trying to understand organic linking it with productivity.

So we really need to understand that, I mean it is really important.

But, the problem is in Australian conditions the soil organic matter content is very low,

so we really need to enhance a lot of this and how we can increase carbon, what management

practices is going to increase carbon.

So in carbon for example application in the system, so you have photosynthesis enhanced

and if your photosynthesis process is kind of enhanced and carbon allocation enhanced

you have a very close linkage between carbon and nitrogen and obviously this is what we

are going to continue to witness by functionality such as microbiology, those kind of things.

And it is really important, we really need to understand the link between carbon and

nitrogen cycle as Lukas mentioned in one of his slides and I was going to actually ask

or make comments on this questions but good that this question came through.

So we’ve been working on linking carbon and nitrogen cycling and with allocation in

the system you are going to have more nitrogen utilisation so there could be more nitrogen

going into the grain so you know the quality of the grain and food quality etc XX XX and

probably it as well.

Abby: Thanks BP.

And for those of you listening and you don’t know, BP is also a researcher here at New

South Wales DPI and currently doing some research on soil functionality and carbon and things

like that so thank you very much for those comments BP.

There is one other question Lukas, on my list here from Harry Kibbler.

Harry has asked ‘As a horticulturist, what is the biggest step that we can do to increase

soil functionality?’

Lukas: To increase, look I think again at the heart

of soil function is organic material and carbon and if we can drive increased carbon cycling

in the soil though increased carbon allocation in soil, as BP mentioned before, you know,

that’s going to be the first step to improving nutrient availability and nitrogen availability

in the soil.

What we don’t understand that well yet is how, for example, carbon cycling in soil will

buffer soil against disease, will improve uptake of other nutrients, will improve the

root penetration of soil and you know what we are trying to achieve in soil is roots

that are adventurous and they are going to explore lots of different parts of the soil

profile and if we can maximise that, that gives us the greatest opportunity to them

maximise productivity through, as I said yield, improvements through lower risk of disease,

through improved food quality as well.

Abby: Thank you Lukas.

I guess, would I be right in saying it is a bit like an engine so you are trying to

fine tune the engine so that you get the best performance out of the engine without it chewing

up a lot of fuel and things like that.

So it is not necessarily that you want everything to be more it is just that you want it to

work more efficiently and effectively for what you want.

Would that be right?

Lukas: Yep, very eloquent.

Abby: OK, thank you again Lukas and thank you everyone

for attending today.

See you next month!

Bye.


PDF [Download] Biochar for Environmental Management: Science, Technology and …

11 July, 2017
 


production biocoal used

11 July, 2017
 

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Solar Roots take hold in Myanmar's remote corners

11 July, 2017
 

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By RON EMMONS | FRONTIER

ONE OF the greatest challenges facing Myanmar in coming years will be to provide electrical power to villages in remote regions of the country.

With the national grid reaching barely one-third of homes, advocates of renewable energy believe that solar power is one of the best solutions, especially given the many hours of sunlight that the country is blessed with.

Mr Bruce Gardiner is one such advocate. A retired electrician and solar contractor, in 2010 he established a foundation called Solar Roots to improve the lives of people living in remote areas through photovoltaic (PV) systems.

“The difficulties posed by distance and terrain in Myanmar make solar an automatic choice for remote communities,” Gardiner said. “Also, small solar home systems are perfect for first-time electrical consumers, even if it’s just for lights and phone-charging.”

Over the past 10 years Gardiner has provided free training in the installation and management of PV systems in a range of countries, including Thailand, Myanmar, Haiti and Madagascar. The aim is to ensure communities are getting the most out of their solar systems and show them new ways in which they can be used.

Frontier travelled with Gardiner in March and April to a remote community farm in Tachileik Township, eastern Shan State, where he gave a six-day training in solar energy and the use of biochar to improve crop yields.

Most of the 20 participants had some experience with solar power systems but all had encountered problems due to inferior equipment and lack of knowledge. “Early on,” said Gardiner, “Solar Roots identified end-user knowledge as a key component in rolling out solar in Myanmar, and we have concentrated on that ever since.”

There was no electricity at the farm and the course did not involve PowerPoint presentations or fancy teaching techniques. Instead, Gardiner gave sessions on photovoltaic theory using a whiteboard and these were followed by hands-on practice.

Topics included how PV systems work, installing simple solar systems, series and parallel circuits, using multimeters and troubleshooting.

Much of the troubleshooting focused on the battery, which Gardiner identified as being the weak link in many solar power systems. As he put it, “A full battery is a happy battery and an empty battery will meet an early end.”

Yet he also noted that in Myanmar, batteries are often only charged up to 25 percent through the day and then completely discharged at night.

Another problem is that most solar power systems in Myanmar use car batteries, which are designed for a short, strong discharge – the kind needed to start a car – rather than a long, extended discharge, which is what solar batteries are made for.

The “catch-22” in this situation is that most people cannot afford the better, longer-lasting equipment, so have to make do with whatever they can get hold of.

Nevertheless, by learning about things like sulfation – the build-up of sulfur on the plates in a battery so that it cannot be fully charged – the participants have the opportunity to apply this knowledge and thus make their solar power systems more effective and long-lived.

While the participants were attentive during the sessions of technical theory, they were particularly engaged during the hands-on sessions. Many of them had never seen a water pump powered by solar energy, so were fascinated by an experiment that linked a small pump with solar panels of varying size to produce a flow of water of different strengths.

Despite the seriousness of the topic, the training was peppered with humour, which was much appreciated by all.

Towards the end of the week, Gardiner dispelled several “solar myths” that have acquired credibility in Myanmar and were familiar to many of the participants. These included “never put a battery directly on a concrete floor”, “always disconnect the battery at night”, “lay the solar panel flat on the ground with no attention to shade”, and “the battery should be completely discharged before re-charging again”. None of these, apparently, is true.

Knowing that many of the participants faced equipment limitations – both in terms of what was available to them and what they could afford – Gardiner also gave some tips on how to conserve energy use. One useful habit is to unplug “phantom loads” – appliances that have remote controls and clocks on them – when they are not in use.

Another is to use the most efficient light bulbs that you can afford; as he explained, LED light bulbs may be more expensive than incandescent bulbs, but they are much more energy-efficient, so they lead to savings in the long run. He also emphasised the need to understand how much energy a system is producing and how much of that energy can be used without compromising the battery.

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.

As the training drew to a close, participants were vociferous in their appreciation of Gardiner’s efforts to share his knowledge. U Ah Htuo, a farmer from Kengtung Township, said the training was “so useful”.

“I have used solar power for five years, but didn’t know how to use the charge controller properly,” he said. “Now I do, and I’m also keen to install a solar pump to move water around my farm.”

After receiving a resounding round of applause from the participants, Gardiner concluded by saying how successful he felt the training had been. In watching them link up elements of the photovoltaic systems correctly, and take accurate readings of electrical power generated and used by appliances, he was confident that their experience with solar energy had a bright future.

This article originally appeared in Frontier’s special report on Myanmar’s energy sector. TOP PHOTO: Gardiner established Solar Roots in 2010 after his retirement and has conducted trainings in a range of countries, including Myanmar, Thailand, Haiti and Madagascar. (Ron Emmons | Frontier)

Ron Emmons is a writer and photographer based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He provides stories on Southeast Asian culture for many international publications, and frequently updates guide books for publishers including National Geographic and Rough Guides.

In-depth coverage of news, business and current events in Myanmar, in stores every Thursday.

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Biochar trial in Tanzania achieves stunning results

11 July, 2017
 

A trial in Tanzania of the effectiveness of a highly porous charcoal made from organic waste has demonstrated its potential to significantly improve coffee yields while reducing input costs.

Project Black Earth, which was run by US-registered non-profit Radio Lifeline in partnership with with Tembo Coffee and MIICO, a network of community-based agricultural development organizations based in Mbeya, compared the efficacy of biochar with more conventional farming approaches.

Six mature coffee plots were treated with various combinations of biochar, compost and different formulations of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium
(NPK) fertiliser, with weekly results monitored by field technicians and agronomists associated with Tembo and MIICO.  In a separate trial, coffee seedlings planted in both full sun and shade were treated with applications of either biochar or NPK to evaluate the impact of biochar on the early stages of coffee tree development.

After the first round of harvest, results demonstrated significant yield increases in those trees treated with amendments of biochar vs trees treated with traditional NPK fertiliser applications. Among the trees treated with a combination of biochar and compost, yield increases amounted to more than 43 times over those trees with traditional NPK fertiliser treatments.

This is consistent with results from a trial run in Rwanda in 2012.

In that trial, 18 test plots were constructed among six partner cooperatives, representing each of the major coffee growing regions in the country. Results of these trials demonstrated an average of 35 per cent increase in yield and a 50 per cent reduction in input costs within the first year among coffee trees treated with an application of biochar.

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Re-Source Bio-Tech: Bio-Char Products Made in Washington State

11 July, 2017
 

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Making Charcoal From Biomass

12 July, 2017
 

While coal is certainly a cheap way to obtain energy, additionally, it has serious environmental impacts. Burning coal releases lots of carbon in to the atmosphere, improving the degrees of greenhouse gasses and accelerating the whole process of global warming. Because of this, decreasing the carbon footprint of coal power plants is normally essental to the us government, or can lead to serious tax credits. One of the better methods of accomplishing this really is coburning biochar with coal.

So what is biochar? Biochar is made by making charcoal from biomass. Biomass is waste from living things, usually plants. Examples of good biomass for biochar include rice husks, leaves, hay, sawdust, lawn trimmings, and the like. Many industries, especially food industries, have lots of cast off biomass, making biochar really cheap to produce. Within the developing world, biochar is a very effective replacement for energy sources that need more industrial methods to produce, like coal, gas, and oil.

To turn biomass into biochar briquettes, the substance must first be dried out. There are a number of competing strategies for drying the biomass, but the most efficient are carbonization and torrefaction. Torrefaction is conducted at about 200-300 degrees Celsius, and generates a dry and inert substance. Carbonization, also called destructive distillation, is a chemical transformation just like how organic matter is turned into standard fuels like oil and coal naturally.

As soon as the biomass has been dried out and rendered inert, meaning it does not spontaneously rot or otherwise decompose, it needs to be condensed into biochar briquettes. Dependant upon the materials used and the intended purpose, pretty much pressure may be required to help make the briquettes pretty much dense. Biomass from wheat and barely, by way of example, require extremely high pressure, whereas corn biomass burns more effectively when it is less compacted. Briquettes are also often formed in a shape that permits for more surface area, such as a circle with a number of holes.

The effect of this method of creating charcoal from biomass is biochar, which is definitely an effective way of creating electricity without releasing lots of greenhouse gasses. One of the most popular methods is coburning with coal. Coburning means the practice of burning two or more materials together. When burning coal and biochar together, the coal helps you to keep your furnace hot, as the biochar adds a lot of energy and produces less pollution per level of heat. Biochar is typically cheaper than coal, but burns less efficiently. By mixing the two together, it is actually possible to create a furnace which costs less per watt of power generated and results in less pollution.

Biochar can be a revolutionary way to utilize otherwise useless plant waste for energy. While coal is probably the most pollution-heavy method of producing energy, biochar can make it considerably less damaging towards the environment. Coburning coal and biochar at the sametime is a wonderful way to get the best from a coal power plant.

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University-led study looks to reduce methane gas emissions in cattle

12 July, 2017
 

Seeking to mitigate the greenhouse gas contributions of the region’s agricultural sector, a University of Lethbridge-led study has been granted $1.1 million by the federal government’s Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program.

“Canadian farmers are great stewards of the land and the environment. These new investments are part of the government’s commitment to addressing climate change and ensuring our farmers are world leaders in the use and development of clean and sustainable technology and processes,” says Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Dr. Erasmus Okine, University of Lethbridge vice-president (Research), is principal investigator on the study, which will investigate whether the use of biochar in beef cattle diets reduces the amount of methane they produce.

Because a single cow can produce 200 to 500 litres of methane a day, the cattle industry is estimated to be responsible for about 38 per cent of agricultural greenhouse gases. Cattle release methane and carbon dioxide by silently belching about once a minute. If they don’t release the gas, they begin to bloat, a serious condition that can lead to death in a short time. Okine and his fellow researchers want to find a way to reduce the amount of methane produced while still maintaining a productive herd.

The project, one of 20 across Canada to receive funding through the Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program, is called Assessment of the Potential of Biochar Added to Beef Cattle Diets to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Agriculture.

“Reducing the amount of greenhouse gases produced by the cattle sector is important both environmentally, economically and helps build public trust,” says Okine. “Producers want to operate in a sustainable fashion and our study results will help them do that.”

The researchers will be testing the effects of biochar, a charcoal-rich product that results from pyrolysis of biomass, which can include wood, manure, leaves and organic waste as starter material. Pyrolysis is burning a substance in the absence of oxygen and, in this study, the researchers will use biochar created from wood products.

In the lab, biochar has been shown to create favourable conditions for the growth of bacteria that aid in digestion. The research study will examine whether small amounts of biochar added to cattle feed improves the efficiency of digestion and thereby reduces the amount of methane produced.

“What we are trying to do is a proof of concept in terms of adding biochar to the feed and to see whether there are benefits on the larger scale to the cattle we are testing,” says Okine.

The first step of the study is to analyze the content of six biochar products to determine the best product to use in the study. Once a biochar product has been chosen, the study will move to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lethbridge Research and Development Centre where the biochar will be added to cattle feed, first on individual animals in chambers and then in a feedlot setting. Researchers will calculate the methane produced, measure the average daily gain, monitor the health of the cows, analyze the manure and test its effect on soils. In the feedlot setting, average daily gains and feed conversion efficiency will be evaluated. 

“This research project shows the role the U of L can play in helping mitigate the negative aspects of methane emission by livestock, make livestock production environmentally and economically sustainable, and provide social acceptance due to the impact we have on the reduction of methane and greenhouse gas,” says Okine.

Partners in the study include Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the universities of Manitoba and Alberta, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, and two industry partners—Cool Planet and Blue Rock Animal Nutrition.

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Biochar's First Harvest in Tanzania

12 July, 2017
 


Canada studying ways to reduce methane emissions from cattle

12 July, 2017
 

Kent Hehr, Canad’s minister of veterans affairs, associate minister of national defense and a member of Parliament, announced a $1.1 million investment with the University of Lethbridge on July 11 to study ways to reduce methane gas emissions in cattle.

“The government is committed to help address climate change, and this investment will help farmers adopt sustainable practices that will reduce the amount of methane gas produced while maintaining a productive herd and stren

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Canada studying ways to reduce methane gas emissions from cattle

12 July, 2017
 

Kent Hehr, Canad’s minister of veterans affairs, associate minister of national defense and a member of Parliament, announced a $1.1 million investment with the University of Lethbridge on July 11 to study ways to reduce methane gas emissions in cattle.

“The government is committed to help address climate change, and this investment will help farmers adopt sustainable practices that will reduce the amount of methane gas produced while maintaining a productive herd and stren

This content requires a subscription to Feedstuffs in order to access. If you are a paid subscriber, use your email and password to Log In now.

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University of Lethbridge receives funding to study methane gas emissions in cattle

12 July, 2017
 

LETHBRIDGE –   Everyone is aware of the heightened attention to green house gas emissions.  Usually, the concern is over the process of extracting energy and what comes out of the backend of a vehicle. 
 
Now, Ottawa has turned its sights to the back end of cows.
 
To that end (no pun intended) the federal government has announced a $1.1 million investment with the University of Lethbridge to study ways to reduce methane gas emissions in cattle.

A study led by the U-of-L will investigate whether the use of biochar (a feed supplement) in beef cattle diets, improves the efficiency of digestion and reduces the amount of methane gas cattle produce.

Dr. Erasmus Okine, University of Lethbridge Vice-President (Research), says the research is beneficial to for both the environment and cattle producers.

“Reducing the amount of greenhouse gases produced by the cattle sector is important both environmentally, economically and helps build public trust. Producers want to operate in a sustainable fashion and our study results will help them do that.”

The project is one of 20 being supported by the $27 million Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP), which is a partnership with universities and conservation groups across Canada. The program supports research into greenhouse gas mitigation practices and technologies that can be adopted on the farm.

 The initial AGGP investment provided $21 million for 18 projects undertaken by universities, provincial governments, research institutions and conservation groups.

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Example Essay Thesis Statement

12 July, 2017
 

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Intensive Carbon Sequestration Using Biochar – WWF-Brasil

12 July, 2017
 


The Scoop on Litter

12 July, 2017
 

The days of cat owners only having a handful of litters to choose from are over. Demand for products that address cat owners’ most grievous litter complaints has inspired innovation in the category, which now includes a wide range of options from environmentally friendly and all-natural varieties to products that solve age-old problems.

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Global Granular Biochar Market: Latest Industry Trends and Forecast Analysis 2017-2022

12 July, 2017
 

Jul 12, 2017 3:54 AM ET

The Report on Global Granular Biochar Market added by DecisionDatabases.com to its huge database. This research study is segmented on the basis of applications, technology, geography, and types. The Report provides a detailed Granular Biochar Industry overview along with the analysis of industry’s gross margin, cost structure, consumption value, and sale price. The leading companies of the Granular Biochar Market, manufacturers and distributors are profiled in the report along with the latest Industry development current and future trends.

Access the Report and full TOC @ http://www.decisiondatabases.com/ip/14996-granular-biochar-industry-market-report

This report studies Granular Biochar in Global market, especially in North America, Europe, China, Japan, Southeast Asia and India, focuses on top manufacturers in global market, with capacity, production, price, revenue and market share for each manufacturer, covering
*Diacarbon Energy
*Agri-Tech Producers
*Biochar Now
*Carbon Gold
*Kina
*The Biochar Company
*Swiss Biochar GmbH
*ElementC6?
*BioChar Products
*BlackCarbon
*Cool Planet
*Carbon Terra

Market Segment by Regions, this report splits Global into several key Regions, with production, consumption, revenue, market share and growth rate of Granular Biochar in these regions, from 2011 to 2021 (forecast), like
*North America
*Europe
*China
*Japan
*Southeast Asia
*India

Split by product type, with production, revenue, price, market share and growth rate of each type, can be divided into
*Wood Source Biochar
*Corn Source Biochar
*Wheat Source Biochar
*Others

Download Free Sample Report @ http://www.decisiondatabases.com/contact/download-sample-14996

Split by application, this report focuses on consumption, market share and growth rate of Granular Biochar in each application can be divided into
*Soil Conditioner
*Fertilizer
*Others

Table of Contents-Snapshot
1 Market Overview
2 Global Market Competition by Manufacturers
3 Global Production, Revenue (Value) by Region (2011-2016)
4 Global Supply (Production), Consumption, Export, Import by Regions (2011-2016)
5 Global Production, Revenue (Value), Price Trend by Type
6 Global Market Analysis by Application
7 Global Manufacturers Profiles/Analysis
8 Manufacturing Cost Analysis
9 Industrial Chain, Sourcing Strategy and Downstream Buyers
10 Marketing Strategy Analysis, Distributors/Traders
11 Market Effect Factors Analysis
12 Global Market Forecast (2016-2021)
13 Research Findings and Conclusion
14 Appendix

View Related Reports @
United States Biopesticide Industry 2016 Market Research Report

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Best Ebook Biochar for Environmental Management: Science, Technology and Implementation For …

12 July, 2017
 


Enterprises in Dragon's Den style bids

12 July, 2017
 

We value our content and our journalists, so to get full access to all your local news updated 7-days-a-week — PLUS an e-edition of the Campbeltown Couirer — subscribe today for as little as 56 pence per week.

A group of social entrepreneurs bid for cash in front of thier peers at a Dragon’s Den style event.

The workshop was coordinated by charity Inspiralba and supported by UnLtd Scotland.

Study visits to MACC business park and South Kintyre Development Trust on day one highlighted benefits from securing assets of land and premises for communities.

Entertainment was provided by social enterprises that have formed over the past two years via the Vital Spark programme, from Homesong and Triple Aspect Theatre.

Cultural Connections provided a fusion of food with a Scottish and Bangladeshi flair.

The main event on the second day attracted 50 people from across Argyll plus a live stream, supported by students Paul and Andy from Argyll College.

A spokesperson said: ‘Social enterprises deliver a range of activity, such as: community run cinemas, fuel stations, services for older people, youth work and sport, to name but a few being provided in our communities.

The social enterprise sector in Argyll contributes £40.7 million to the economy, based on a 2015 audit.

UnLtd Scotland has agreed to work with partners in Argyll and Bute for the next five years and committed £100,000 and staff resources.

At the end of the conference pitches included: Inspired by Autism, Keeping It Local, Shopperaide, 3b Design, E Tyler Biochar, K Clark Snack Shack.

Prizes included £3,500 business support from Inspiralba, £1000 and business support from Argyll and Bute Council, and business support and scope for a further £7,000 from Unltd Scotland.

A newsletter is available from info@inspiralba.org.uk

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Biochar Field Tour Open House at Bayfield, ON, Canada, Bayfield

12 July, 2017
 

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Canada invests in methane gas reduction in cattle

12 July, 2017
 

The Univ. of Lethbridge will lead the project, which will examine whether the use of biochar, a feed supplement, in beef cattle diets improves the efficiency of digestion and reduces the amount of methane gas produced by cattle. The research is one of 20 projects supported by the Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP), a partnership with universities and conservation groups across Canada. The $27 million program supports research into on-farm greenhouse gas mitigation practices and technologies.

“Reducing the amount of greenhouse gases produced by the cattle sector is important both environmentally, economically and helps build public trust,” said Erasmus Okine, Ph.D., Univ. of Lethbridge vice president of research. “Producers want to operate in a sustainable fashion and our study results will help them do that.”

to the PRINT edition, or click below for free, INSTANT ACCESS to valuable news & insights in the Digital Edition.


Bio Char

12 July, 2017
 

BioChar is 100 % organic soil amendment/conditioner made from biomass via pyrolysis. BioChar is a stable solid, rich in carbon and can remain in soil for much longer time. It offers a number of benefits for soil health and in turn plant health, increases crop yields, prevents runoff and leaching of nutrients below plant root zone, diminishes contamination and pollution to the surrounding environment, and helps plants through periods of drought more easily. Therefore, it is ideal for organic food production.

 

Greenfield BioChar is manufactured through pyrolysis of woody biomass of Prosopis juliflora i.e. heating the biomass to 400-500oC in a low oxygen environment, and packed in a completely safe and non-toxic environment.

 

Our BioChar is suitable for vegetables, flowers, fruits, home/kitchen gardens, lawns, trees, shrubs, etc. and:

 

Application: Spread on surface and incorporate in top 10-15 cm soil with a hoe

1. New planting of vegetables, flowers, fruits, gardens, lawns, trees and shrubs

0.5-5 kg/m2

2. Existing vegetables, flowers, fruits, gardens, lawns, trees and shrubs

0.5-2.5 kg/m2

 

Physical and Chemical Characteristics of Greenfield BioChar

Type of Wood: Hard Wood of Prosopis juliflora

S. No.

Character

Value*

Remarks

1.

Moisture, %

1.5-2.2

2.

Ash, w/w

1.4-1.9

3.

Mobile Matter, g/kg

38-45

4.

Residual Matter, g/kg

31-36

5.

pH

7.9-8.2

1:10 solid water suspension

6.

EC, dSm-1

1.4-1.5

1:10 solid water extract

7.

CEC, c mol/kg

16-18

8.

Organic carbon, g/kg

715-725

9.

Calorific value, Kcal

7.8-7.9

10.

Total nitrogen, g/kg

1.6-1.9

11.

C:N Ratio

382-446

12.

Total Phosphorus, g/kg

1.9-2.1

13.

Total Potassium, g/kg

24-26

14.

Calcium, g/kg

11-13

15.

Magnesium, g/kg

0.45-0.51

*The values are mean of 3 representative samples

E-mail us

Send Inquiry

Contact Us:

Greenfield Eco Solutions Pvt. Ltd. 
11/895 
CHB, 
Nandanvan

Jodhpur, Rajasthan

PIN 342001

India

Phone: +91 291 2711895

Mob: +91 97999 84400

E-mail: info@greenfieldeco.com

 

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About Us

Products

Services

Inquiry Form

Distributors Required

Enquiries are solicited for

Area-wise and Country-wise Distributors for Marketing & Sales of Organic and Eco friendly Natural fertilizers,Bio inputs, Minerals & Soil Amendment for Organic Cultivation.

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Biochar Hydrodrip System!

13 July, 2017
 

Plus, a new gene therapy treatment to battle leukemia in children and young adults.

The US Missile Defence Agency successfully tests theTerminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD). Report by Charlotte Brehaut.

北 ICBM 쏘자 美 사드 요격시험 성공 발표…”100% 명중률” The United States says its THAAD anti-ballistic missile system in the state of Alaska has successfully…

北 ICBM 쏘자 美 사드 요격시험 성공 발표…”100% 명중률” no Our top story this afternoon.. The United States has confirmed its THAAD anti-ballistic missile system…

北 ICBM 쏘자 美 사드 요격시험 성공 발표…”100% 명중률” Our top story this morning… The United States has confirmed its THAAD anti-ballistic missile system in…

The Missile Defense Agency successfully shot down an intermediate-range missile over the Pacific using a THAAD system; Jennifer Griffin reports for…

北 ICBM 쏘자 美 사드 요격시험 성공 발표…”100% 명중률” Our top story this morning… The United States has confirmed its THAAD anti-ballistic missile system in…

The test, on U.S. soil, follows the launch of a long-range missile by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In the meantime, China has been…

The U.S. once again successfully tested the THAAD Anti-Missile System amid heightened North Korean tensions. Here’s how THAAD works

(6 Jul 2017) Poland’s defence minister says the Trump administration has agreed to sell Poland a new batch of medium-range Patriot missiles to…

State of the Nation is a nightly newscast anchored by award-winning broadcast journalist, Jessica Soho. It airs Mondays to Fridays at 9:00 PM (PHL…

24 Oras is GMA Network’s flagship newscast, anchored by Mike Enriquez, Mel Tiangco and Vicky Morales. It airs on GMA-7 Mondays to Fridays at 6:30…

It is no wonder people are disillusioned with politics, says Hugh Muir, because the system is broken. Subscribe to The Guardian ►…

In this Quick Tip video, learn how to use the out-of-the-box segments in Google Analytics to drive your analysis efforts


Making Charcoal From Biomass Helps To Reduce CO2 Emissions

13 July, 2017
 

To transform biomass into biochar briquettes, the substance must first be dried out. There are a number of competing options for drying the biomass, but the best are carbonization and torrefaction. Torrefaction is carried out at about 200-300 degrees Celsius, and generates a dry and inert substance. Carbonization, also called destructive distillation, can be a chemical transformation much like how organic matter is transformed into fossil fuels like oil and coal naturally.

Once the biomass continues to be dried out and rendered inert, meaning it does not spontaneously rot or else decompose, it needs to be condensed into biochar briquettes. Based on the materials used along with the intended purpose, essentially pressure may be required to help make the briquettes basically dense. Biomass from wheat and barely, as an example, require extremely high pressure, whereas corn biomass burns more proficiently should it be less compacted. Briquettes can also be often formed in the shape that enables for additional surface, for instance a circle with one or more holes.

The effect of this method of making charcoal from biomass is biochar, which is definitely an effective way of earning electricity without releasing a lot of greenhouse gasses. Probably the most popular methods is coburning with coal. Coburning refers back to the practice of burning several materials together. When burning coal and biochar together, the coal enables you to retain the furnace hot, whilst the biochar adds a great deal of energy and produces less pollution per level of heat. Biochar is generally less expensive than coal, but burns less efficiently. By mixing the two together, it can be possible to create a furnace which costs less per watt of power generated and results in less pollution.

Biochar is a revolutionary method to utilize otherwise useless plant waste for energy. While coal is one of the most pollution-heavy method of producing energy, biochar makes it considerably less damaging to the environment. Coburning coal and biochar in the sametime is a great way to get the most from a coal power plant.

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Vega Biofuels, Inc. (VGPR: OTC Pink Current) | Vega Biofuels Packages Biochar for Retail Market

13 July, 2017
 

Vega Biofuels Packages Biochar for Retail Market
Jul 13, 2017
OTC Disclosure & News Service
Norcross, GA –

This release includes additional documents. Select the link(s) below to view.
Vega PR 7-13-17.pdf
Copyright © 2017 OTC Markets. All Rights Reserved
The above news release has been provided by the above company via the OTC Disclosure and News Service. Issuers of news releases and not OTC Markets Group Inc. are solely responsible for the accuracy of such news releases.

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Vega Biofuels Packages Biochar for Retail Market

13 July, 2017
 

NORCROSS, Ga., July 13, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Vega Biofuels, Inc. (OTCPink:VGPR) announced today that as a result of interest from retail outlets, the Company has created a five gallon package of its Biochar product.  The new packaging called “Big Bucket of Char” is designed specifically for the retail agricultural market.

Vega Biofuels recently announced that it has entered into a five year Reseller Agreement to provide the Company’s Biochar to legal cannabis growers in Alaska.  Large growers will still purchase the product in super sacks that ship on pallets via common carrier.  The new five gallon design can easily be shipped to smaller growers using UPS or FedEx.  New legislation in Alaska allows every resident to grow cannabis plants in their own home.  The new “Big Bucket of Char” provides these growers with the same super soil enhancement that the larger commercial growers use.

Biochar is a highly absorbent specially designed charcoal-type product primarily used as a soil enhancement for the agricultural industry to significantly increase crop yields.  Biochar offers a powerfully simple solution to some of today’s most urgent environmental concerns.  The production of Biochar for carbon sequestration in the soil is a carbon-negative process.  Biochar is made from timber waste using torrefaction technology and the Company’s patent pending manufacturing machine.  When put back into the soil, Biochar can stabilize the carbon in the soil for hundreds of years.  The introduction of Biochar into soil is not like applying fertilizer; it is the beginning of a process.  Most of the benefit is achieved through microbes and fungi.  They colonize its massive surface area and integrate into the char and the surrounding soil, dramatically increasing the soil’s ability to nurture plant growth and provide increased crop yield.

The first production run of the Company’s “Big Bucket of Char” product will be shipped to Anchorage to be marketed to growers throughout the State of Alaska.  In addition, Vega is redesigning its website to provide small growers from all over the world the ability to order the product directly from the Company.   

“This is an area that we have been studying for some time,” stated Michael K. Molen, Chairman/CEO of Vega Biofuels, Inc. “We think there is a large market for smaller amounts of our Biochar product.  We are also in discussions with retail chains about carrying the new ‘Big Bucket of Char.’  We are planning to showcase the new packaging in our marketing material starting this summer.  This is not just for the cannabis market.  When mixed with normal soil, our Biochar product provides the perfect environment for any agricultural crop.  Biochar holds valuable nutrients in the soil instead of washing them away when watering, and then releases the nutrients as the plant grows, thus increasing the plant’s yield.  Flowers and indoor plants can also benefit from our Biochar product.  Our goal is to place our ‘Big Bucket of Char’ product in big box and garden stores throughout the country and online.”

Biochar can improve water quality, reduce soil emissions of greenhouse gases, reduce nutrient leaching, reduce soil acidity, and reduce irrigation and fertilizer requirements. Biochar was also found under certain circumstances to induce plant systemic responses to foliar fungal diseases and to improve plant responses to diseases caused by soil-borne pathogens. The various impacts of Biochar can be dependent on the properties of the Biochar, as well as the amount applied. Biochar impact may depend on regional conditions including soil type, soil condition (depleted or healthy), temperature, and humidity. Modest additions of Biochar to soil reduces nitrous oxide N2O emissions by up to 80% and eliminates methane emissions, which are both more potent greenhouse gases than CO2.

About Vega Biofuels, Inc. (OTCPink:VGPR):

Vega Biofuels, Inc. is a cutting-edge energy company that manufactures and markets a renewable energy product called Bio-Coal and a soil enhancement called Biochar, both made from timber waste using unique technology called torrefaction.  Torrefaction is the treatment of biomass at high temperatures under low oxygen conditions.  For more information, please visit our website at vegabiofuels.com.   

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the following words: “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “ongoing,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “should,” “will,” “would,” or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology, although not all forward-looking statements contain these words. Forward-looking statements are not a guarantee of future performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of the times at, or by, which such performance or results will be achieved. Forward-looking statements are based on information available at the time the statements are made and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainty and other factors that may cause our results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from the information expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements in this press release.

CONTACT:

Vega Biofuels, Inc.: 800-481-0186

info@vegabiofuels.com

vegabiofuels.com

@vegabiofuels


Vega Biofuels Packages Biochar for Retail Market

13 July, 2017
 

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NORCROSS, Ga., July 13, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Vega Biofuels, Inc.(OTCPink:VGPR) announced today that as a result of interest from retail outlets, the Company has created a five gallon package of its Biochar product.  The new packaging called “Big Bucket of Char” is designed specifically for the retail agricultural market.

Vega Biofuels recently announced that it has entered into a five year Reseller Agreement to provide the Company’s Biochar to legal cannabis growers in Alaska.  Large growers will still purchase the product in super sacks that ship on pallets via common carrier.  The new five gallon design can easily be shipped to smaller growers using UPS or FedEx.  New legislation in Alaska allows every resident to grow cannabis plants in their own home.  The new “Big Bucket of Char” provides these growers with the same super soil enhancement that the larger commercial growers use.

Biochar is a highly absorbent specially designed charcoal-type product primarily used as a soil enhancement for the agricultural industry to significantly increase crop yields.  Biochar offers a powerfully simple solution to some of today’s most urgent environmental concerns.  The production of Biochar for carbon sequestration in the soil is a carbon-negative process.  Biochar is made from timber waste using torrefaction technology and the Company’s patent pending manufacturing machine.  When put back into the soil, Biochar can stabilize the carbon in the soil for hundreds of years.  The introduction of Biochar into soil is not like applying fertilizer; it is the beginning of a process.  Most of the benefit is achieved through microbes and fungi.  They colonize its massive surface area and integrate into the char and the surrounding soil, dramatically increasing the soil’s ability to nurture plant growth and provide increased crop yield.

The first production run of the Company’s “Big Bucket of Char” product will be shipped to Anchorage to be marketed to growers throughout the State of Alaska.  In addition, Vega is redesigning its website to provide small growers from all over the world the ability to order the product directly from the Company.   

“This is an area that we have been studying for some time,” stated Michael K. Molen, Chairman/CEO of Vega Biofuels, Inc. “We think there is a large market for smaller amounts of our Biochar product.  We are also in discussions with retail chains about carrying the new ‘Big Bucket of Char.’  We are planning to showcase the new packaging in our marketing material starting this summer.  This is not just for the cannabis market.  When mixed with normal soil, our Biochar product provides the perfect environment for any agricultural crop.  Biochar holds valuable nutrients in the soil instead of washing them away when watering, and then releases the nutrients as the plant grows, thus increasing the plant’s yield.  Flowers and indoor plants can also benefit from our Biochar product.  Our goal is to place our ‘Big Bucket of Char’ product in big box and garden stores throughout the country and online.”

Biochar can improve water quality, reduce soil emissions of greenhouse gases, reduce nutrient leaching, reduce soil acidity, and reduce irrigation and fertilizer requirements. Biochar was also found under certain circumstances to induce plant systemic responses to foliar fungal diseases and to improve plant responses to diseases caused by soil-borne pathogens. The various impacts of Biochar can be dependent on the properties of the Biochar, as well as the amount applied. Biochar impact may depend on regional conditions including soil type, soil condition (depleted or healthy), temperature, and humidity. Modest additions of Biochar to soil reduces nitrous oxide N2O emissions by up to 80% and eliminates methane emissions, which are both more potent greenhouse gases than CO2.

About Vega Biofuels, Inc. (OTCPink:VGPR):

Vega Biofuels, Inc. is a cutting-edge energy company that manufactures and markets a renewable energy product called Bio-Coal and a soil enhancement called Biochar, both made from timber waste using unique technology called torrefaction.  Torrefaction is the treatment of biomass at high temperatures under low oxygen conditions.  For more information, please visit our website at vegabiofuels.com.   

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the following words: “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “ongoing,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “should,” “will,” “would,” or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology, although not all forward-looking statements contain these words. Forward-looking statements are not a guarantee of future performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of the times at, or by, which such performance or results will be achieved. Forward-looking statements are based on information available at the time the statements are made and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainty and other factors that may cause our results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from the information expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements in this press release.

This article appears in: News Headlines

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Vega Biofuels Packages Biochar for Retail Market

13 July, 2017
 

NORCROSS, Ga., July 13, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Vega Biofuels, Inc. (OTCPink:VGPR) announced today that as a result of interest from retail outlets, the Company has created a five gallon package of its Biochar product.  The new packaging called “Big Bucket of Char” is designed specifically for the retail agricultural market.

Vega Biofuels recently announced that it has entered into a five year Reseller Agreement to provide the Company’s Biochar to legal cannabis growers in Alaska.  Large growers will still purchase the product in super sacks that ship on pallets via common carrier.  The new five gallon design can easily be shipped to smaller growers using UPS or FedEx.  New legislation in Alaska allows every resident to grow cannabis plants in their own home.  The new “Big Bucket of Char” provides these growers with the same super soil enhancement that the larger commercial growers use.

Biochar is a highly absorbent specially designed charcoal-type product primarily used as a soil enhancement for the agricultural industry to significantly increase crop yields.  Biochar offers a powerfully simple solution to some of today’s most urgent environmental concerns.  The production of Biochar for carbon sequestration in the soil is a carbon-negative process.  Biochar is made from timber waste using torrefaction technology and the Company’s patent pending manufacturing machine.  When put back into the soil, Biochar can stabilize the carbon in the soil for hundreds of years.  The introduction of Biochar into soil is not like applying fertilizer; it is the beginning of a process.  Most of the benefit is achieved through microbes and fungi.  They colonize its massive surface area and integrate into the char and the surrounding soil, dramatically increasing the soil’s ability to nurture plant growth and provide increased crop yield.

The first production run of the Company’s “Big Bucket of Char” product will be shipped to Anchorage to be marketed to growers throughout the State of Alaska.  In addition, Vega is redesigning its website to provide small growers from all over the world the ability to order the product directly from the Company.   

“This is an area that we have been studying for some time,” stated Michael K. Molen, Chairman/CEO of Vega Biofuels, Inc. “We think there is a large market for smaller amounts of our Biochar product.  We are also in discussions with retail chains about carrying the new ‘Big Bucket of Char.’  We are planning to showcase the new packaging in our marketing material starting this summer.  This is not just for the cannabis market.  When mixed with normal soil, our Biochar product provides the perfect environment for any agricultural crop.  Biochar holds valuable nutrients in the soil instead of washing them away when watering, and then releases the nutrients as the plant grows, thus increasing the plant’s yield.  Flowers and indoor plants can also benefit from our Biochar product.  Our goal is to place our ‘Big Bucket of Char’ product in big box and garden stores throughout the country and online.”

Biochar can improve water quality, reduce soil emissions of greenhouse gases, reduce nutrient leaching, reduce soil acidity, and reduce irrigation and fertilizer requirements. Biochar was also found under certain circumstances to induce plant systemic responses to foliar fungal diseases and to improve plant responses to diseases caused by soil-borne pathogens. The various impacts of Biochar can be dependent on the properties of the Biochar, as well as the amount applied. Biochar impact may depend on regional conditions including soil type, soil condition (depleted or healthy), temperature, and humidity. Modest additions of Biochar to soil reduces nitrous oxide N2O emissions by up to 80% and eliminates methane emissions, which are both more potent greenhouse gases than CO2.

About Vega Biofuels, Inc. (OTCPink:VGPR):

Vega Biofuels, Inc. is a cutting-edge energy company that manufactures and markets a renewable energy product called Bio-Coal and a soil enhancement called Biochar, both made from timber waste using unique technology called torrefaction.  Torrefaction is the treatment of biomass at high temperatures under low oxygen conditions.  For more information, please visit our website at vegabiofuels.com.   

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the following words: “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “ongoing,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “should,” “will,” “would,” or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology, although not all forward-looking statements contain these words. Forward-looking statements are not a guarantee of future performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of the times at, or by, which such performance or results will be achieved. Forward-looking statements are based on information available at the time the statements are made and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainty and other factors that may cause our results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from the information expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements in this press release.

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Global Biochar Market Size, Trends, Shares & Forecast to 2022

13 July, 2017
 

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The main objective of the report titled Global Biochar Market is to give a complete idea of the Biochar market for the duration of 2017-2022. The Biochar report focuses on market overview, market growth factors, market segmentation, regional analysis and competitive players involved in Biochar market. 

Global Biochar market report provides qualitative and quantitative knowledge about Biochar industry. The Biochar report also provides various evaluation tools, the current market scenario and the outlooks for future. The Biochar report gives the brief details about challenges the competitors would face and opportunities they will get in Biochar market. The aforementioned research report covers Biochar market segments based on product application, product type, potential users and key areas. 

Enquire for the sample report here: Global Biochar Market

The Biochar market report targets North America Biochar market(Canada, USA and Mexico), Biochar market in Europe (Germany, Italy, Russia and UK), Asia-Pacific Biochar Market (China, India, Japan, South-east Asia and Korea), Latin America Biochar market (Middle and Africa). 

Key features of the Global Biochar Market report:
*In-depth Biochar market segmentation

*Detailed audit of parent Biochar market

*Biochar market Historical, current and projected market size in terms of volume and expense

*Approach of key manufacturers and products offered

*Recent Biochar market trends and advancements

*An impartial outlook on Biochar market performance

Segmentation of Global Biochar Market:
 This Biochar report determines the Biochar Market by the following segments:

Analysis of Biochar Market based on Key Players:
Diacarbon Energy
Agri-Tech Producers
Biochar Now
Carbon Gold
Kina
The Biochar Company
Swiss Biochar GmbH
ElementC6
BioChar Products
BlackCarbon
Cool Planet
Carbon Terra
Pacific Biochar
Vega Biofuels
Liaoning Jinhefu Group
Hubei Jinri Ecology-Energy
Nanjing Qinfeng Crop-straw Technology
Seek Bio-Technology (Shanghai)

Analysis of Biochar Market based on Types:
Wood Source Biochar
Corn Stove Source Biochar
Rice Stove Source Biochar
Wheat Stove Source Biochar

Analysis of Biochar Market based on Applications:
Soil Conditioner
Fertilizer

To purchase the entire report  Click here

The Biochar report consists of 15 clauses that serve the Biochar market globally:
Clause 1, describes the global Biochar market introduction, market overview, product image, market opportunities, market summary, market risk, development scope, global Biochar market presence;

Clause 2 and 3 studies the key Biochar market competitors, their sales volume, market profits and price of Biochar in 2016 and 2017;

Clause 4,5 and 6, introduces the global Biochar market by regions, with sales, market revenue, and share of Biochar market for each region from 2017 to 2022; 

Clause 7, conducts the region-wise study of the global Biochar market based on the sales ratio in each region and market share from 2012 to 2017;

Clause 8 displays the market by type and application, with sales global Biochar market share and growth rate by application, type, from 2012 to 2017;

Clause 9 and 10 describes the global Biochar market prediction, by regions, application, and type with global Biochar market revenue and sales, from 2017 to 2022.

Clause 11, 12 and 13 present the competitive situation among the top manufacturers, with sales, revenue and global Biochar market share in 2016 and 2017;

Clause 14 and 15gives the specifics about Biochar sales channel, distributors, dealers, traders, Research Findings and Results, addendum and data source;

Lastly, this global Biochar market research report gives sensitive information on current and future Biochar market movements, organizational needs and industrial innovations.  

Browse more category related reports here: http://journalismday.com/category/industry-news/chemicals-and-materials/

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Download Video Bio-Char, Bio-Oil & Syngas from Wood Pyrolysis

13 July, 2017
 

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Biochar Impact On Plant Resistance To Disease PDF 580f9fbaf5747a7755c14d4240b89a27

13 July, 2017
 

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Biochar impact on plant resistance to disease some fundamental way responsible for their impact on disease for example biochar adsorption capacity for toxins . Biochar impact on plant resistance to disease 45 well as the susceptibility of plant organs to pathogen infection are some of the useful means of disease suppression . Biochar amendment increases resistance to stem lesions may lead to increased resistance to plant disease biochar impact on development and . Biochar impact on plant development and disease resistance in pot trials biochar impact on plant impact by biochar on plant resistance to disease has . Chapter 2 biochar impact on plant resistance to disease e r graber and y elad citation information

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Decreased Soil Nitrification Rate with Addition of Biochar to the Acid Soils

13 July, 2017
 

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Terrafix biochar additive – land remediation

13 July, 2017
 

TerrAffix biochar is made in Wales, from sustainably managed woodlands combined with organic certified materials, unlike many biochars which are made using African or South American woods and not always from sustainable sources.

Used in conjunction with our HydraCX system it ensures an extremely rapid establishment of plants, even on the most depleted of soils.
It also assists in getting the soil ecosystem functioning.

TerrAffix can be used on land remediation projects where heavy metals and other contaminants are present. A cost-effective approach to regenerating brown field sites.

TerrAffix-C can be used on acidic soils whilst TerrAffix-G is suitable for neutral to alkaline soils.

We use this in conjunction with TerraRhizae, a combination of 9 different types of endomycorrhizal fungi, critical to the establishment of vegetation on substrates low in available mineral nutrients such as engineered sub-base and sub-soils .

By using this product you are investing in the soil ecosystem, which means much better and functioning soil over the long-term. Better functioning soils improve the local habitats and environment.

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The key role of biochar in the rapid removal of decabromodiphenyl ether from aqueous solution by …

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Waste and Biomass Valorization


The Way A Rice Husk Carbonization Furnace Can Change Waste Into Fuel

13 July, 2017
 

Agricultural waste is a huge problem these days. Among the chief offenders is rice husks. Rice is among the most grown crops worldwide, which is a staple from the diet of huge amounts of people. However, growing rice creates a great deal of waste. Rice husks would be the leftover elements of rice plants right after the edible rice continues to be harvested. Annually, a lot of rice husk give rise to landfills since there is no other use for it. However, by using a rice husk charcoal making machine, this has stopped being the truth!

Carbonization is one of many techniques used to turn biomass, which is leftover products from plants or another living things, into biochar. Biochar is really a revolutionary substance that burns similarly to coal, although with a small part of the pollution. Biochar solves two problems: one, burning coal for energy creates an excessive amount of pollution, and two, agricultural waste contributing plenty of mass to landfills.

Biomass like rice husks is generally considered worthless since it is too complex to interrupt down quickly. Although some biomass could be rotted and turned into compost, allowing more plants to be grown with all the nutrients found in the biomass, lots of agricultural byproducts take too long to biodegrade to get efficient for this reason. Rice husks, coconut shells, corn husks, nut shells, along with other hard, sturdy plant matter is actually too much to degrade, and should be trashed.

This is why a rice husk carbonization furnace can be purchased in. By heating the types of materials and breaking them down without burning them, the furnace is able to reduce the biomass into usable, burnable matter called biochar. Biochar, when packed together into briquettes, burns slightly less efficiently than coal, but is quite a bit cheaper to get and produces substantially less pollution.

One method of energy generation that is certainly growing in popularity is referred to as coburning. Coburning means the process of burning several different types of materials together, allowing one to get the benefits of both materials. In this instance, coburning means burning biochar and coal at the same time. Coal burns efficiently, and will help to hold the furnace hot, while biochar provides a lot more energy per dollar and has less environmental impact. By burning both materials as well, energy might be produced that may be cheaper, more effective, and cleaner than ordinary coal burning.

Biochar can also be used as fertilizer. It might be spread in soil to further improve the nutrition for future crops, by returning the minerals the plants accustomed to create the biomass to begin with. By carbonizing agricultural waste, the useful energy and materials in rice husks as well as other refuse could be unlocked to use.

A carbonization furnace could be used to turn what was previously trash in to a valuable supply of energy or fertilizer. This material, called biochar, might be burned along with coal for cleaner plus more efficient energy, or spread in soil to aid plants grow better.

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Biochar And Bioenergy Co Production PDF f77f733e715f4ab1aaaa7ca06f0c2f74

13 July, 2017
 

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Biochar production bioenergy and biochar can be co produced from thermal treatment of biomass feedstocks the thermal conversion of biomass . Biochar production bioenergy and biochar can be co 219 230 9 2 economics of biochar systems the co production of biochar from a portion of the biomass . Biochar production produces 3 9 times more biochar liquid bio oil and gas syngas bioenergy products biochar and bioenergy co production from . Biochar production bioenergy and biochar are co produced from thermal treatment of biomass feedstocks biochar and bioenergy co production . Distributed biochar and bioenergy coproduction a regionally specific case study of environmental benefits and economic impacts john l field catherine m h

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Finally I get this ebook, thanks for all these Advanced Analytics with Spark: Patterns for Learning from Data at Scale I can get now!

I was suspicious at first when I got redirected to the membership site. Now I’m really excited I found this online library….many thanks Kisses

I did not think that this would work, my best friend showed me this website, and it does! I get my most wanted eBook

I found out about Playster in the New York times and I’m very happy about it: �One of the newest contenders in the crowded field, a company based in Montreal called Playster, offers music, games, TV shows, movies and e-books through its service. Playster recently struck a deal with HarperCollins to include 14,000 backlist books in its service.�

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I stumbled upon Playster 2 months ago. I’ve upgraded to a premium membership already. The platform now carries audiobooks from: Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, HarperCollins UK, Recorded Books, Tantor, and Highbridge. HarperCollins US titles are already in the library. Great service.

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Industry Outlook, Competitive Insights & Forecasts, 2014 – 2020

14 July, 2017
 

Latest market research report published on Biochar provides detailed industry analysis and in-depth market data for the period from 2012 to 2024. Biochar market has been broken down by major regions, with complete market estimates on the basis of products/applications on a regional basis

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14 July, 2017
 

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Biochar For Environmental Management Science And Technology

14 July, 2017
 

 

Biochar For Environmental Management Science And Technology -> http://bit.ly/2tmz9AX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biochar For Environmental Management Science And Technology

 

985d112f2e Like this:Like LoadingHow to Make Biochar Using a 55-Gallon Drum (eHow.com)”Charcoal has been used as a fuel for at least 3,500 yearsWater flows slowly in from the bottom of the kilnFor example, pyrolytic char produces over 1600 pounds of stored carbon per acre per year compared to 1200 pounds of carbon storage from no-till switchgrass and less than 100 pounds from plow-tilled cornMajor, J.; Lehmann, J.; Rondon, M.; Goodale, CLee, and Don Reicosky, Economical CO 2, SO x, and NO x capture from fossil-fuel utilization with combined renewable hydrogen production and large-scale carbon sequestration, 30 Energy 2558, 2560 ^ Elad, Y.; Rav David, D.; Meller Harel, Y.; Borenshtein, M.; Kalifa Hananel, B.; Silber, A.; Graber, E.RField experiments were initiated at the Embrapa Amazonia Ocidental, Manaus, Brazil, in late 2000Soil amendment[edit]Further, biochar has a huge amount of variability depending on the type of feedstock material and pyrolysis conditions used to make itHardlump Charcoal by Cowboy Charcoal Company A natural hardwood charcoal marketed for barbecuing which can be used as a soil amendment

 

The sustainability of the companies listed on this site is unknown as are charcoal production methodsThe charcoal makers were very happy with the metal kiln, particularly regarding ease of operation and the time it savedFunding: USAID SANREM, Bradfield Award Claim to have state-of-the art environmentally compatible wood retort plantConsideration should be given to the role of soils in carbon sequestration, including through the use ofbiocharand enhancing carbon sinks in drylands.Read the Copenhagen working draft hereThis allows a family to cook for hours, even once the initial gasification is complete.” 09-12

 

Pyrolysis gases are often called ‘syngas’In 2009, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC) included biochar in the first draft negotiation text of the post-Kyoto Copenhagen agreementNew Zealand Science ReviewWoolf, Dominic; Amonette, James E.; Street-Perrott, FThe potential to combine bio-energy production, sustainable agriculture and waste management while reducing greenhouse gas emissions into one approach using biochar offers in many cases significant synergism for a combined strategy (see Figure 2)The use of biochar on fields such as these could actually improve soil conditions while also producing a valuable feedstock material”A handful of carbon”doi:10.1016/j.agee.2011.08.015

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biochar aggregate particles

14 July, 2017
 

Biochars and methods for producing biochar aggregate particles where the method for producing the aggregate particles comprise the steps of (i) producing or collecting biochar fines; (ii) adding a binding agent to the biochar fines; and (iii) forming the biochar fines and binding agent into solid aggregate particles.

The application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 62/290,026, filed on Feb. 2, 2016, titled BIOCHAR AGGREGATE PARTICLES and U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 62/293,160, filed on Feb. 9, 2016, titled BIOCHARS FOR USE IN COMPOSTS; this application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/419,976, filed on Jan. 30, 2017, titled BIOCHAR FOR USE WITH ANIMALS, which application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 62/288,068, filed Jan. 28, 2016, titled BIOCHAR FOR USE WITH ANIMALS, U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 62/290,026, filed on Feb. 2, 2016, titled BIOCHAR AGGREGATE PARTICLES, U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 62/293,160, filed on Feb. 9, 2016, titled BIOCHARS FOR USE IN COMPOSTS and U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 62/344,865 filed on Jun. 2, 2016 titled MINERAL SOLUBILIZING MICROORGANISMS INFUSED BIOCHARS; this application is also a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/393,176, filed on Dec. 28, 2016, titled ADDITIVE INFUSED BIOCHAR, which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 62/271,486 filed on Dec. 28, 2015 titled ADDITIVE INFUSED BIOCHARS; this application is also a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/393,214, filed on Dec. 28, 2016, titled BIOCHAR AS A MICROBIAL CARRIER, which claims priority to of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 62/271,486 filed on Dec. 28, 2015 titled ADDITIVE INFUSED BIOCHARS; this application is also a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/156,256, filed on May 16, 2016, titled ENHANCED BIOCHAR, which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/162,219, filed on May 15, 2015, titled ENHANCED BIOCHAR; this application is also a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/873,053 filed on Oct. 1, 2015, titled BIOCHARS AND BIOCHAR TREATMENT PROCESSES, which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/058,445, filed on Oct. 1, 2014, titled METHODS, MATERIALS AND APPLICATIONS FOR CONTROLLED POROSITY AND RELEASE STRUCTURES AND APPLICATIONS and U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/058,472, filed on Oct. 1, 2014, titled HIGH ADDITIVE RETENTION BIOCHARS, METHODS AND APPLICATIONS.

The invention relates to a biochar product and methods of producing a biochar aggregate particle.

Biochar has been known for many years as a soil enhancer. It contains highly porous, high carbon content material similar to the type of very dark, fertile anthropogenic soil found in the Amazon Basin known as Terra Preta. Terra Preta has very high charcoal content and is made from a mixture of charcoal, bone, manure, among other substances. Biochar is created by the pyrolysis of biomass, which generally involves heating and/or burning of organic matter, in a reduced oxygen environment, at a predetermined rate. Such heating and/or burning is stopped when the matter reaches a charcoal like stage. The highly porous material of biochar is perfectly suited to host beneficial microbes, retain nutrients, hold water, and act as a delivery system for a range of beneficial compounds suited to specific applications.

During the production of biochar, large portions of biochar fines or dust particles are created. Along with the loss of useful product, these dust particles can cause problematic, or even hazardous conditions for biochar manufacturing, packaging and in application, including in use through agricultural application equipment, in animal feed, or in application to compost. The various particle size distributions created during biochar manufacturing lead to distribution and application problems with equipment and cause the necessity of sizing equipment and costly capital expenditures. The low density of the biochar fines and dust particles also makes mixing of growth enhancers such as fertilizers or microbes difficult as it allows for settling, separation, and distribution problems.

Given the known benefits of biochar, a need remains for: (i) a means to produce biochar in such a way that it has consistent granular particle sizes and distributions and can meet application needs in commercial agriculture, animal feed or maintenance, and composting using standard equipment and (ii) a method to utilize residual biochar dust or biochar fines to create a product with consistent size and physical/chemical properties that can be uniformly distributed in large and small scale applications to have the highest positive impact in its application including but not limited to agriculture, animal feed or maintenance, and composting.

The present invention relates to a method for producing biochar aggregate particles, including, but not limited to agglomerates, extrudates, pellets, or granules, from biochar using starch or other binding material and/or additives to ease application, enhance soil health, and increase water retention in the soil.

The method includes producing a biochar aggregate particle that may contain biochar, or a mixture of biochar, binders, fillers, and other additives such as microbial products, bacteria, plant nutrients, minerals, agricultural chemicals, fertilizers or animal vitamins, medications, or supplements.

In one example, the method includes, collecting treated and/or untreated biochar particles, mixing said biochar particles with water and one or more binders, such as a starch, polymer, clay, or lignin, to create a slurry, filter pressing or de-watering the slurry to create a paste and extruding the paste through an extruder and creating biochar aggregate particles. Optionally, additives can be mixed with the slurry or paste. If collecting treated biochar particles, the particles may be treated in advance, for example pH adjusted or treated to remove deleterious substances.

When extruding the paste, the paste may be cut into desired length pieces and dried. In certain applications, depending upon the extruder, the cutting of the extrudate can be done in conjunction with the extrusion process. Through this process, a specific sized, dust free, biochar aggregate particle is created that can be easily used in agricultural distribution equipment.

Using biochar aggregate particles allows for better application in both the industrial and individual sectors by allowing for the utilization of diverse processing and distribution equipment. For example, the application of biochar aggregate particles into soil results in more consistently fuller plants with unvarying vitality and longevity that can ultimately be maintained with less water.

Other devices, apparatus, systems, methods, features and advantages of the invention are or will become apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following figures and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the invention, and be protected by the accompanying claims.

The invention may be better understood by referring to the following figures. The components in the figures are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention.

FIG. 1 illustrates a cross-section of one example of a raw biochar particle.

FIG. 2a is a SEM (10 KV×3.00K 10.0 μm) of pore morphology of treated biochar made from pine.

FIG. 2b is a SEM (10 KV×3.00K 10.0 μm) of pore morphology of treated biochar made from birch.

FIG. 2c is a SEM (10 KV×3.00K 10.0 μm) of pore morphology of treated biochar made from coconut shells.

FIG. 3 is a chart showing porosity distribution of various biochars.

FIG. 4 is a flow chart process diagram of one implementation of a process for treating the raw biochar in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 4a illustrates a schematic of one example of an implementation of a biochar treat processes that that includes washing, pH adjustment and moisture adjustment.

FIG. 4b illustrates yet another example of an implementation of a biochar treatment processing that includes inoculation.

FIG. 5 is a schematic flow diagram of one example of a treatment system for use in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a chart showing the water holding capacities of treated biochar as compared to raw biochar and sandy clay loam soil and as compared to raw biochar and sunshine potting soil.

FIG. 7 illustrates the different water retention capacities of raw biochar versus treated biochar measured gravimetrically.

FIG. 8 is a chart showing the retained water in vacuum impregnated biochar over other biochars after a seven week period.

FIG. 9 is a chart showing the weight loss of treated biochars versus raw biochar samples when heated at varying temperatures using a TGA testing method.

FIG. 10 illustrates the plant available water in raw biochar, versus treated biochar and treated dried biochar.

FIG. 11 is a graph showing the pH of various starting biochars that were made from different starting materials and pyrolysis process temperatures.

FIG. 12 is a chart showing various pH ranges and germination for treated biochars.

FIG. 13 is a Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) plot showing the measurement of water content, heavy organics and light organics in a sample.

FIG. 14 is a chart showing the impact of treatment on pores sizes of biochar derived from coconut.

FIG. 15 is a chart showing the impact of treatment on pores sizes of biochar derived from pine.

FIG. 16 is a chart showing the measured hydrophobicity index raw biochar, vacuum treated biochar and surfactant treated biochar.

FIG. 17 is a flow diagram showing one example of a method for infusing biochar.

FIG. 18 illustrates the improved liquid content of biochar using vacuum impregnation as against soaking the biochar in liquid.

FIG. 19a is a chart comparing total retained water of treated biochar after soaking and after vacuum impregnation.

FIG. 19b is a chart comparing water on the surface, interstitially and in the pores of biochar after soaking and after vacuum impregnation.

FIG. 20 illustrates how the amount of water or other liquid in the pores of vacuum processed biochars can be increased varied based upon the applied pressure.

FIG. 21 illustrates the effects of NPK impregnation of biochar on lettuce yield.

FIG. 22 is a chart showing nitrate release curves of treated biochars infused with nitrate fertilizer.

FIGS. 23 and 24 are images that show how different sized bacteria will fit in different biochar pore size structures.

FIG. 25 illustrates release rate data verse total pore volume data for both coconut shell and pine based treated biochars inoculated with a releasable bacteria.

FIG. 26 is a chart comparing examples of biochars.

FIGS. 27a, 27b, 27c are charts comparing different examples of biochars.

FIG. 28 is a chart comparing shoot biomass when the biochar added to a soilless mix containing soybean seeds is treated with microbial product containing bradyrhizobium japonicum. and when it is untreated.

FIG. 29 shows the comparison of root biomass in a treated verses an untreated environment.

FIG. 30 is a chart comparing the nitrogen levels when the biochar is inoculated with the rhizobial inoculant verses when it is not inoculated.

FIG. 31 illustrates the three day release rates of water infused biochar compared to other types of biochar.

FIG. 32a is a SEM (10 KV×3.00K 10.0 μm) of pore morphology of raw biochar.

FIG. 32b is a SEM (10 KV×3.00K 10.0 μm) of pore morphology of raw biochar of FIG. 32a after it has been infused with microbial species.

FIG. 32c is a SEM (10 KV×3.00K 10.0 μm) of a pore morphology of another example of raw biochar of FIG. 17a after it has been infused with microbial species.

FIG. 33 contains charts illustrating improved results obtained through the use of biochars.

FIG. 34 is an example of carbon dioxide production captured as a continuous gas bubble in BGB (left two tubes) and LTB (right two tubes) growth medium.

FIGS. 35 and 36 illustrate improved growth rates of colonies of Streptomyces lydicus using biochars.

FIG. 37a is an image of biochar aggregate particles of the present invention made in the form pellets.

FIG. 37b is an image of biochar aggregate particles of the present invention made in the form an extrudates.

FIG. 37c is an image of the biochar aggregate particles made in the form of biochar sulfur prills.

FIG. 38 is a flow diagram of one example of a method for producing biochar aggregate particles.

FIGS. 39af illustrates the effects of size and grinding on particle structure of a biochar derived from a first biomass.

FIGS. 40af illustrates the effects of size and grinding on particle structure of a biochar derived from a second biomass.

FIG. 41a shows the effect of size fraction on water holding capacity of two different biomass based treated biochars.

FIG. 41b shows the effect of size fraction on pH of two different biomass based treated biochars.

FIG. 41c shows the effect of size fraction on Cl— concentration of two different biomass based treated biochars.

FIG. 41d shows the effect of size fraction on electrical conductivity of two different biomass based treated biochars.

FIG. 42 is a diagram illustrating one example of the workflow for a food composting operation.

FIG. 43 is a chart showing the pH of compost as the percent of lactic acid increases.

FIG. 44 is a chart showing how pH is influenced in compost when mixing greens, woods and foods.

FIG. 45 is a chart showing the impact on composting temperatures when treated biochar is added to compost.

FIG. 46 is a chart showing the decrease of lactic acid production in compost by adding treated biochar.

FIG. 47 is a chart showing the increase in pH in compost by adding treated biochar.

FIG. 48 is a chart showing the increase in oxygen levels in compost by adding treated biochar.

FIG. 49 is a chart showing the impact of the addition of both raw and treated biochar in a CASP compost environment to volatile fatty acids (VFAs).

FIG. 50 is a chart showing the impact of the addition of both raw and treated biochar in a CASP compost environment to NH3 levels.

FIG. 51 is a chart showing the impact on volatile organic compounds (“VOC”) by adding treated and raw biochar to CASP compost.

FIG. 52 is a chart shows a test of evaporative water loss from control compost against blended treatments with raw or processed biochars at 1, 3 and 5% by volume.

FIG. 53 is a chart showing the effect that the addition of treated biochar has on percent mass water loss in a CASP compost environment.

FIG. 54 is a chart showing in impact of the addition of the inoculated biochar to compost on microbial abundance.

FIG. 55 is a chart showing in impact of the addition of the inoculated biochar to compost on VOCs.

FIG. 56 is a chart showing in impact of the addition of the inoculated biochar to compost on NH3.

FIG. 57 is chart illustrating biochar capacity to absorb Cadmium.

As illustrated in the attached figures, the present invention relates to a method for producing biochar aggregate particles that can be used in processing and distribution equipment for improved industrial application including but not limited to agriculture, animal health and maintenance, and compositing, when increased density or uniform particle size, composition or distribution is preferred or required in order to achieve the highest positive impact in its application.

For the purposes of this application, prior treatment of the raw biochar, as described below, is not required as part of the production of the biochar aggregate particles. However, often treatment is preferred as the properties of the raw biochar can be modified to significantly increase the biochar’s ability to retain water and/or nutrients while also, in many cases, creating an environment beneficial to microorganisms. The processing of the biochar can also ensure that the pH of biochar used in the present application is suitable for its application, which has been a challenge for raw biochars. In certain application, it may be desirable to produce the biochar aggregate particles from treated biochars or the fines of treated biochars.

Biochars derived from different biomass or produced with differing parameters, such as higher or lower pyrolysis temperature or variations in residence time, will have different physical and chemical properties and can behave quite differently in different applications. For example, some chars will have a fairly uniform granular particle size and shape with a high density and relatively high crush strength that flows well, while others will have a low density and a low crush strength which means they breakdown easily creating many fines and dust particles and will also lead to poor flow characteristics. But these biochars with poor particle characteristics might be more economic or due to their other physical or chemical characteristics more effective in a specific application. Thus, turning these biochars into an aggregate of the present invention, allows them to be more useful and effective through standard processing and application equipment.

A good example of aggregate need is when a biochar will be used as a component of an animal feed or be mixed with a granular fertilizer prior to application in agriculture. Mixing of particles that are significantly different in shape, size, or density will generally lead to segregation during shipping, handling, or application. Thus aggregating the biochar into a similar particle shape, size, or density of the rest of the mixture, say fertilizer or animal feed pellet, will allow for a uniform mix and rate to be achieved when fed to the animal or applied to the soil.

Currently biochar has mostly been a scientific curiosity, not found in wide spread use or large scale commercial applications, and instead has been relegated to small niche applications. It is, however, known, that biochar, having certain characteristics can host beneficial microbes, retain nutrients and supplements, hold liquids for agricultural applications. Accordingly, these same characteristics of biochar can be harnessed for other application such as composting, remediation, or animal maintenance, care and feeding.

For purposes of this application, the term “biochar” shall be given its broadest possible meaning and shall include any solid carbonaceous materials obtained from the pyrolysis, torrefaction, gasification or any other thermal and/or chemical conversion of a biomass. For purposes of this application, the solid carbonaceous material may include, but not be limited to, BMF char disclosed and taught by U.S. Pat. No. 8,317,891, which is incorporated into this application by reference. Pyrolysis is generally defined as a thermochemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperatures in the absence of, or with reduced levels of oxygen. When the biochar is referred to as “treated” or undergoes “treatment,” it shall mean raw, pyrolyzed biochar that has undergone additional physical, biological, and/or chemical processing.

As used herein, unless specified otherwise, the terms “carbonaceous”, “carbon based”. “carbon containing”, and similar such terms are to be given their broadest possible meaning, and would include materials containing carbon in various states, crystallinities, forms and compounds.

As used herein, unless stated otherwise, room temperature is 25° C. And, standard temperature and pressure is 25° C. and 1 atmosphere. Unless stated otherwise, generally, the term “about” is meant to encompass a variance or range of ±10%, the experimental or instrument error associated with obtaining the stated value, and preferably the larger of these.

Typically, biochars include porous carbonaceous materials, such as charcoal, that are used as soil amendments or other suitable applications. Biochar most commonly is created by pyrolysis of a biomass. In addition to the benefits to plant growth, yield and quality, etc.; biochar provides the benefit of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere by serving as a method of carbon sequestration. Thus, biochar has the potential to help mitigate climate change, via carbon sequestration. However, to accomplish this important, yet ancillary benefit, to any meaningful extent, the use of biochar in agricultural applications must become widely accepted, e.g., ubiquitous. Unfortunately, because of the prior failings in the biochar arts, this has not occurred. It is believed that with the solutions of the present invention may this level of use of biochar be achieved; and more importantly, yet heretofore unobtainable, realize the benefit of significant carbon dioxide sequestration.

In general, one advantage of putting biochar in soil includes long term carbon sequestration. It is theorized that as worldwide carbon dioxide emissions continue to mount, benefits may be obtained by, controlling, mitigating and reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the oceans. It is further theorized that increased carbon dioxide emissions are associated with the increasing industrial development of developing nations, and are also associated with the increase in the world’s population. In addition to requiring more energy, the increasing world population will require more food. Thus, rising carbon dioxide emissions can be viewed as linked to the increasing use of natural resources by an ever increasing global population. As some suggest, this larger population brings with it further demands on food production requirements. Biochar uniquely addresses both of these issues by providing an effective carbon sink, e.g., carbon sequestration agent, as well as, an agent for improving and increasing agricultural output. In particular, biochar is unique in its ability to increase agricultural production, without increasing carbon dioxide emission, and preferably reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. However, as discussed above, this unique ability of biochar has not been realized, or seen, because of the inherent problems and failings of prior biochars including, for example, high pH, phytotoxicity due to high metals content and/or residual organics, and dramatic product inconsistencies.

Biochar can be made from basically any source of carbon, for example, from hydrocarbons (e.g., petroleum based materials, coal, lignite, peat) and from a biomass (e.g., woods, hardwoods, softwoods, waste paper, coconut shell, manure, chaff, food waste, etc.). Combinations and variations of these starting materials, and various and different members of each group of starting materials can be, and are, used. Thus, the large number of vastly different starting materials leads to biochars having different properties.

Many different pyrolysis or carbonization processes can be, and are used, to create biochars. In general, these processes involve heating the starting material under positive pressure, reduced pressure, vacuum, inert atmosphere, or flowing inert atmosphere, through one or more heating cycles where the temperature of the material is generally brought above about 400° C., and can range from about 300° C. to about 900° C. The percentage of residual carbon formed and several other initial properties are strong functions of the temperature and time history of the heating cycles. In general, the faster the heating rate and the higher the final temperature the lower the char yield. Conversely, in general, the slower the heating rate or the lower the final temperature the greater the char yield. The higher final temperatures also lead to modifying the char properties by changing the inorganic mineral matter compositions, which in turn, modify the char properties. Ramp, or heating rates, hold times, cooling profiles, pressures, flow rates, and type of atmosphere can all be controlled, and typically are different from one biochar supplier to the next. These differences potentially lead to a biochar having different properties, further framing the substantial nature of one of the problems that the present inventions address and solve. Generally, in carbonization most of the non-carbon elements, hydrogen and oxygen are first removed in gaseous form by the pyrolytic decomposition of the starting materials, e.g., the biomass. The free carbon atoms group or arrange into crystallographic formations known as elementary graphite crystallites. Typically, at this point the mutual arrangement of the crystallite is irregular, so that free interstices exist between them. Thus, pyrolysis involves thermal decomposition of carbonaceous material, e.g., the biomass, eliminating non-carbon species, and producing a fixed carbon structure.

As noted above, raw or untreated biochar is generally produced by subjecting biomass to either a uniform or varying pyrolysis temperature (e.g., 300° C. to 550° C. to 750° C. or more) for a prescribed period of time in a reduced oxygen environment. This process may either occur quickly, with high reactor temperature and short residence times, slowly with lower reactor temperatures and longer residence times, or anywhere in between. To achieve better results, the biomass from which the char is obtained may be first stripped of debris, such as bark, leaves and small branches, although this is not necessary. The biomass may further include feedstock to help adjust the pH and particle size distribution in the resulting raw biochar. In some applications, it is desirous to have biomass that is fresh, less than six months old, and with an ash content of less than 3%. Further, by using biochar derived from different biomass, e.g., pine, oak, hickory, birch and coconut shells from different regions, and understanding the starting properties of the raw biochar, the treatment methods can be tailored to ultimately yield a treated biochar with predetermined, predictable physical and chemical properties.

In general, biochar particles can have a very wide variety of particle sizes and distributions, usually reflecting the sizes occurring in the input biomass. Additionally, biochar can be ground or crushed after pyrolysis to further modify the particle sizes. Typically, for agricultural uses, biochars with consistent, predictable particle sizes are more desirable. By way of example, the biochar particles can have particle sizes as shown or measured in Table 1 below. When referring to a batch having ¼ inch particles, the batch would have particles that will pass through a 3 mesh sieve, but will not pass through (i.e., are caught by or sit atop) a 4 mesh sieve.

TABLE 1 U.S. Mesh Microns Millimeters (i.e., mesh) Inches (μm) (mm) 3 0.2650 6730 6.370 4 0.1870 4760 4.760 5 0.1570 4000 4.000 6 0.1320 3360 3.360 7 0.1110 2830 2.830 8 0.0937 2380 2.380 10 0.0787 2000 2.000 12 0.0661 1680 1.680 14 0.0555 1410 1.410 16 0.0469 1190 1.190 18 0.0394 1000 1.000 20 0.0331 841 0.841 25 0.0280 707 0.707 30 0.0232 595 0.595 35 0.0197 500 0.500 40 0.0165 400 0.400 45 0.0138 354 0.354 50 0.0117 297 0.297 60 0.0098 250 0.250 70 0.0083 210 0.210 80 0.0070 177 0.177 100 0.0059 149 0.149 120 0.0049 125 0.125 140 0.0041 105 0.105 170 0.0035 88 0.088 200 0.0029 74 0.074 230 0.0024 63 0.063 270 0.0021 53 0.053 325 0.0017 44 0.044 400 0.0015 37 0.037

For most applications, it is desirable to use biochar particles having particle sizes from about 3/4 mesh to about 60/70 mesh, about 4/5 mesh to about 20/25 mesh, or about 4/5 mesh to about 30/35 mesh. It being understood that the desired mesh size, and mesh size distribution can vary depending upon a particular application for which the biochar is intended.

FIG. 1 illustrates a cross-section of one example of a raw biochar particle. As illustrated in FIG. 1, a biochar particle 100 is a porous structure that has an outer surface 100a and a pore structure 101 formed within the biochar particle 100. As used herein, unless specified otherwise, the terms “porosity”, “porous”, “porous structure”, and “porous morphology” and similar such terms are to be given their broadest possible meaning, and would include materials having open pores, closed pores, and combinations of open and closed pores, and would also include macropores, mesopores, and micropores and combinations, variations and continuums of these morphologies. Unless specified otherwise, the term “pore volume” is the total volume occupied by the pores in a particle or collection of particles; the term “inter-particle void volume” is the volume that exists between a collection of particle; the term “solid volume or volume of solid means” is the volume occupied by the solid material and does not include any free volume that may be associated with the pore or inter-particle void volumes; and the term “bulk volume” is the apparent volume of the material including the particle volume, the inter-particle void volume, and the internal pore volume.

The pore structure 101 forms an opening 121 in the outer surface 100a of the biochar particle 100. The pore structure 101 has a macropore 102, which has a macropore surface 102a, and which surface 102a has an area, i.e., the macropore surface area. (In this diagram only a single micropore is shown. If multiple micropores are present than the sum of their surface areas would equal the total macropore surface area for the biochar particle.) From the macropore 102, several mesopores 105, 106, 107, 108 and 109 are present, each having its respective surfaces 105a, 106a, 107a, 108a and 109a. Thus, each mesopore has its respective surface area; and the sum of all mesopore surface areas would be the total mesopore surface area for the particle. From the mesopores, e.g., 107, there are several micropores 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119 and 120, each having its respective surfaces 110a, 111a, 112a, 113a, 114a, 115a, 116a, 117a, 118a, 119a and 120a. Thus, each micropore has its respective surface area and the sum of all micropore surface areas would be the total micropore surface area for the particle. The sum of the macropore surface area, the mesopore surface area and the micropore surface area would be the total pore surface area for the particle.

Macropores are typically defined as pores having a diameter greater than 300 nm, mesopores are typically defined as diameter from about 1-300 nm, and micropores are typically defined as diameter of less than about 1 nm, and combinations, variations and continuums of these morphologies. The macropores each have a macropore volume, and the sum of these volumes would be the total macropore volume. The mesopores each have a mesopore volume, and the sum of these volumes would be the total mesopore volume. The micropores each have a micropore volume, and the sum of these volumes would be the total micropore volume. The sum of the macropore volume, the mesopore volume and the micropore volume would be the total pore volume for the particle.

Additionally, the total pore surface area, volume, mesopore volume, etc., for a batch of biochar would be the actual, estimated, and preferably calculated sum of all of the individual properties for each biochar particle in the batch.

It should be understood that the pore morphology in a biochar particle may have several of the pore structures shown, it may have mesopores opening to the particle surface, it may have micropores opening to particle surface, it may have micropores opening to macropore surfaces, or other combinations or variations of interrelationship and structure between the pores. It should further be understood that the pore morphology may be a continuum, where moving inwardly along the pore from the surface of the particle, the pore transitions, e.g., its diameter becomes smaller, from a macropore, to a mesopore, to a micropore, e.g., macropore 102 to mesopore 109 to micropore 114.

In general, the biochars have porosities that can range from 0.2 cm3/cm3 to about 0.8 cm3/cm3 and more preferably about 0.2 cm3/cm3 to about 0.5 cm3/cm3. (Unless stated otherwise, porosity is provided as the ratio of the total pore volumes (the sum of the micro+meso+macro pore volumes) to the solid volume of the biochar. Porosity of the biochar particles can be determined, or measured, by measuring the micro-, meso-, and macro pore volumes, the bulk volume, and the inter particle volumes to determine the solid volume by difference. The porosity is then calculated from the total pore volume and the solid volume.

As noted above, the use of different biomass potentially leads to biochars having different properties, including, but not limited to different pore structures. By way of example, FIGS. 2A, 2B and 2C illustrate Scanning Electron Microscope (“SEM”) images of various types of treated biochars showing the different nature of their pore morphology. FIG. 2A is biochar derived from pine. FIG. 2B is biochar derived from birch. FIG. 2C is biochar derived from coconut shells.

The surface area and pore volume for each type of pore, e.g., macro-, meso- and micro- can be determined by direct measurement using CO2 adsorption for micro-, N2 adsorption for meso- and macro pores and standard analytical surface area analyzers and methods, for example, particle analyzers such as Micrometrics instruments for meso- and micro pores and impregnation capacity for macro pore volume. Mercury porosimetry, which measures the macroporosity by applying pressure to a sample immersed in mercury at a pressure calibrated for the minimum pore diameter to be measured, may also be used to measure pore volume.

The total micropore volume can be from about 2% to about 25% of the total pore volume. The total mesopore volume can be from about 4% to about 35% of the total pore volume. The total macropore volume can be from about 40% to about 95% of the total pore volume. By way of example, FIG. 3 shows a bar chart setting out examples of the pore volumes for sample biochars made from peach pits 201, juniper wood 202, a first hard wood 203, a second hard wood 204, fir and pine waste wood 205, a first pine 206, a second pine 207, birch 208 and coconut shells 209.

As explained further below, treatment can increase usable pore volumes and, among other things, remove obstructions in the pores, which leads to increased retention properties and promotes further performance characteristics of the biochar. Knowing the properties of the starting raw biochar, one can treat the biochar to produce controlled, predictable and optimal resulting physical and chemical properties.

The rationale for treating the biochar after pyrolysis is that given the large pore volume and large surface are of the biochars, it is most efficient to make significant changes in the physical and chemical properties of the biochar by treating both the internal and external surfaces and internal pore volume of the char. Testing has demonstrated that if the biochar is treated, at least partially, in a manner that causes the forced infusion and/or diffusion of liquids into and/or out of the biochar pores (through mechanical, physical, or chemical means), certain properties of the biochar can be altered or improved over and above simply contacting these liquids with the biochar. By knowing the properties of the raw biochar and the optimal desired properties of the treated biochar, the raw biochar can then be treated in a manner that results in the treated biochar having controlled optimized properties.

For purposes of this application, treating and/or washing the biochar in accordance with the present invention involves more than a simple wash or soak, which generally only impacts the exterior surfaces and a small percentage of the interior surface area. “Washing” or “treating” in accordance with the present invention, and as used below, involves treatment of the biochar in a manner that causes the forced, accelerated or assisted infusion and/or diffusion of liquids and/or additivities into and/or out of the biochar pores (through mechanical, physical, or chemical means) such that certain properties of the biochar can be altered or improved over and above simply contacting these liquids with the biochar or so that treatment becomes more efficient or rapid from a time standpoint over simple contact or immersion.

In particular, effective treatment processes can mitigate deleterious pore surface properties, remove undesirable substances from pore surfaces or volume, and impact anywhere from between 10% to 99% or more of pore surface area of a biochar particle. By modifying the usable pore surfaces through treatment and removing deleterious substances from the pore volume, the treated biochars can exhibit a greater capacity to retain water and/or other nutrients as well as being more suitable habitats for some forms of microbial life. Through the use of treated biochars, agricultural applications can realize increased moisture control, increased nutrient retention, reduced water usage, reduced water requirements, reduced runoff or leaching, increased nutrient efficiency, reduced nutrient usage, increased yields, increased yields with lower water requirements and/or nutrient requirements, increases in beneficial microbial life, improved performance and/or shelf life for inoculated bacteria, and any combination and variation of these and other benefits.

Treatment further allows the biochar to be modified to possess certain known properties that enhance the benefits received from the use of biochar. While the selection of feedstock, raw biochar and/or pyrolysis conditions under which the biochar was manufactured can make treatment processes less cumbersome, more efficient and further controlled, treatment processes can be utilized that provide for the biochar to have desired and generally sustainable resulting properties regardless of the biochar source or pyrolysis conditions. As explained further below, treatment can (i) repurpose problematic biochars, (ii) handle changing biochar material sources, e.g., seasonal and regional changes in the source of biomass, (iii) provide for custom features and functions of biochar for particular soils, regions or agricultural purposes; (iv) increase the retention properties of biochar, (v) provide for large volumes of biochar having desired and predictable properties, (vi) provide for biochar having custom properties, (vii) handle differences in biochar caused by variations in pyrolysis conditions or manufacturing of the “raw” biochar; and (viii) address the majority, if not all, of the problems that have, prior to the present invention, stifled the large scale adoption and use of biochars.

Treatment can wash both the interior and exterior pore surfaces, remove harmful chemicals, introduce beneficial substances, and alter certain properties of the biochar and the pore surfaces and volumes. This is in stark contrast to simple washing which generally only impacts the exterior surfaces and a small percentage of the interior surface area. Treatment can further be used to coat substantially all of the biochar pore surfaces with a surface modifying agent or impregnate the pore volume with additives or treatment to provide a predetermined feature to the biochar, e.g., surface charge and charge density, surface species and distribution, targeted nutrient addition, magnetic modifications, root growth facilitator, and water absorptivity and water retention properties. Just as importantly, treatment can also be used to remove undesirable substances from the biochar, such as dioxins or other toxins either through physical removal or through chemical reactions causing neutralization.

FIG. 4 is a schematic flow diagram of one example treatment process 400 for use in accordance with the present invention. As illustrated, the treatment process 400 starts with raw biochar 402 that may be subjected to one or more reactors or treatment processes prior to bagging 420 the treated biochar for resale. For example, 404 represents reactor 1, which may be used to treat the biochar. The treatment may be a simple water wash or may be an acid wash used for the purpose of altering the pH of the raw biochar particles 402. The treatment may also contain a surfactant or detergent to aid the penetration of the treatment solution into the pores of the biochar. The treatment may optionally be heated, cooled, or may be used at ambient temperature or any combination of the three. For some applications, depending upon the properties of the raw biochar, a water and/or acid/alkaline wash 404 (the latter for pH adjustment) may be the only necessary treatment prior to bagging the biochar 420. If, however, the moisture content of the biochar needs to be adjusted, the treated biochar may then be put into a second reactor 406 for purposes of reducing the moisture content in the washed biochar. From there, the treated and moisture adjusted biochar may be bagged 420.

Again, depending upon the starting characteristics of the raw biochar and the intended application for the resale product, further processing may still be needed or desired. In this case, the treated moisture adjusted biochar may then be passed to a third reactor 408 for inoculation, which may include the impregnation of biochar with beneficial additives, such as nutrients, bacteria, microbes, fertilizers or other additives. Thereafter, the inoculated biochar may be bagged 420, or may be yet further processed, for example, in a fourth reactor 410 to have further moisture removed from or added to the biochar. Further moisture adjustment may be accomplished by placing the inoculated biochar in a fourth moisture adjustment reactor 410 or circulating the biochar back to a previous moisture adjustment reactor (e.g. reactor 406). Those skilled in the art will recognize that the ordering in which the raw biochar is processed and certain processes may be left out, depending on the properties of the starting raw biochar and the desired application for the biochar. For example, the treatment and inoculation processes may be performed without the moisture adjustment step, inoculation processes may also be performed with or without any treatment, pH adjustment or any moisture adjustment. All the processes may be completed alone or in the conjunction with one or more of the others.

For example, FIG. 4a illustrates a schematic of one example of an implementation of biochar processing that includes washing the pores and both pH and moisture adjustment. FIG. 4b illustrates yet another example of an implementation of biochar processing that includes inoculation.

As illustrated in FIG. 4a, raw biochar 402 is placed into a reactor or tank 404. A washing or treatment liquid 403 is then added to a tank and a partial vacuum, using a vacuum pump, 405 is pulled on the tank. The treating or washing liquid 403 may be used to clean or wash the pores of the biochar 402 or adjust the chemical or physical properties of the surface area or pore volume, such as pH level, usable pore volume, or VOC content, among other things. The vacuum can be applied after the treatment liquid 403 is added or while the treatment liquid 403 is added. Thereafter, the washed/adjusted biochar 410 may be moisture adjusted by vacuum exfiltration 406 to pull the extra liquid from the washed/moisture adjusted biochar 410 or may be placed in a centrifuge 407, heated or subjected to pressure gradient changes (e.g., blowing air) for moisture adjustment. The moisture adjusted biochar 412 may then be bagged or subject to further treatment. Any excess liquids 415 collected from the moisture adjustment step may be disposed of or recycled, as desired. Optionally, biochar fines may be collected from the excess liquids 415 for further processing, for example, to create a slurry, cakes, or biochar extrudates.

Optionally, rather than using a vacuum pump 405, a positive pressure pump may be used to apply positive pressure to the tank 404. In some situations, applying positive pressure to the tank may also function to force or accelerate the washing or treating liquid 403 into the pores of the biochar 402. Any change in pressure in the tank 404 or across the surface of the biochar could facilitate the exchange of gas and/or moisture into and out of the pores of the biochar with the washing or treating liquid 403 in the tank. Accordingly, changing the pressure in the tank and across the surface of the biochar, whether positive or negative, is within the scope of this invention.

As illustrated FIG. 4b, the washed/adjusted biochar 410 or the washed/adjusted and moisture adjusted biochar 412 may be further treated by inoculating or impregnating the pores of the biochar with an additive 425. The biochar 410, 412 placed back in a reactor 401, an additive solution 425 is placed in the reactor 401 and a vacuum, using a vacuum pump, 405 is applied on the tank. Again, the vacuum can be applied after the additive solution 425 is added to the tank or while the additive solution 425 is being added to the tank. Thereafter, the washed, adjusted and inoculated biochar 428 can be bagged. Alternatively, if further moisture adjustment is required, the biochar can be further moisture adjusted by vacuum filtration 406 to pull the extra liquid from the washed/moisture adjusted biochar 410 or may be placed in a centrifuge 407 for moisture adjustment. The resulting biochar 430 can then be bagged. Any excess liquids 415 collected from the moisture adjustment step may be disposed of or recycled, as desired. Optionally, biochar particulates or “fines” which easily are suspended in liquid may be collected from the excess liquids 415 for further processing, for example, to create a slurry, biochar extrudates, or merely a biochar product of a consistently smaller particle size. As described above, both processes of the FIGS. 4a and 4b can be performed with a surfactant solution in place of, or in conjunction with, the vacuum 405.

While known processes exist for the above described processes, research associated with the present invention has shown improvement and the ability to better control the properties and characteristics of the biochar if the processes are performed through the infusion and diffusion of liquids into and out of the biochar pores. One such treatment process that can be used is vacuum impregnation and vacuum and/or centrifuge extraction. Another such treatment process that can be used is the addition of a surfactant to infused liquid, which infused liquid may be optionally heated, cooled, or used at ambient temperature or any combination of the three.

Since research associated with the present invention has identified what physical and chemical properties have the highest impact on plant growth and/or soil health, the treatment process can be geared to treat different forms of raw biochar to achieve treated biochar properties known to enhance these characteristics. For example, if the pH of the biochar needs to be adjusted to enhance the raw biochar performance properties, the treatment may be the infusion of an acid solution into the pores of the biochar using vacuum, surfactant, or other treatment means. This treatment of pore infusion through, for example, the rapid, forced infusion of liquid into and out the pores of the biochar, has further been proven to sustain the adjusted pH levels of the treated biochar for much longer periods than biochar that is simply immersed in an acid solution for the same period of time. By way of another example, if the moisture content needs to be adjusted, then excess liquid and other selected substances (e.g. chlorides, dioxins, and other chemicals, to include those previously deposited by treatment to catalyze or otherwise react with substances on the interior or exterior surfaces of the biochar) can be extracted from the pores using vacuum and/or centrifuge extraction or by using various heating techniques. The above describes a few examples of treatment that result in treated biochar having desired performance properties identified to enhance soil health and plant life.

FIG. 5 illustrates one example of a system 500 that utilizes vacuum impregnation to treat raw biochar. Generally, raw biochar particles, and preferably a batch of biochar particles, are placed in a reactor, which is connected to a vacuum pump, and a source of treating liquid (i.e. water or acidic/basis solution). When the valve to the reactor is closed, the pressure in the reactor is reduced to values ranging from 750 Torr to 400 Torr to 10 Torr or less. The biochar is maintained under vacuum (“vacuum hold time”) for anywhere from seconds to 1 minute to 10 minutes, to 100 minutes, or possibly longer. By way of example, for about a 500 pound batch of untreated biochar, a vacuum hold time of from about 1 to about 5 minutes can be used if the reactor is of sufficient size and sufficient infiltrate is available to adjust the necessary properties. While under the vacuum the treating liquid may then be introduced into the vacuum chamber containing the biochar. Alternatively, the treating liquid may be introduced into the vacuum chamber before the biochar is placed under a vacuum. Optionally, treatment may also include subjecting the biochar to elevated temperatures from ambient to about 250° C. or reduced temperatures to about −25° C. or below, with the limiting factor being the temperature and time at which the infiltrate can remain flowable as a liquid or semi-liquid.

The infiltrate or treating liquid is drawn into the biochar pore, and preferably drawn into the macropores and mesopores. Depending upon the specific doses applied and pore structure of the biochar, the infiltrate can coat anywhere from 10% to 50% to 100% of the total macropore and mesopore surface area and can fill or coat anywhere from a portion to nearly all (10%-100%) of the total macropore and mesopore volume.

As described above, the treating liquid can be left in the biochar, with the batch being a treated biochar batch ready for packaging, shipment and use in an agricultural or other application. The treating liquid may also be removed through drying, subsequent vacuum processing, centrifugal force (e.g., cyclone drying machines or centrifuges), with the batch being a treated biochar batch ready for packaging, shipment and use in an agricultural application. A second, third or more infiltration, removal, infiltration and removal, and combinations and variations of these may also be performed on the biochar with optional drying steps between infiltrations to remove residual liquid from and reintroduce gasses to the pore structure if needed. In any of these stages the liquid may contain organic or inorganic surfactants to assist with the penetration of the treating liquid.

As illustrated in FIG. 5, a system 500 for providing a biochar, preferably having predetermined and uniform properties. The system 500 has a vacuum infiltration tank 501. The vacuum infiltration tank 501 has an inlet line 503 that has a valve 504 that seals the inlet line 503. In operation, the starting biochar is added to vacuum infiltration tank 501 as shown by arrow 540. Once the tank is filled with the starting biochar, a vacuum is pulled on the tank, by a vacuum pump connected to vacuum line 506, which also has valve 507. The starting biochar is held in the vacuum for a vacuum hold time. Infiltrate, as shown by arrow 548 is added to the tank 501 by line 508 having valve 509. The infiltrate is mixed with the biochar in the tank 501 by agitator 502. The mixing process is done under vacuum for a period of time sufficient to have the infiltrate fill the desired amount of pore volume, e.g., up to 100% of the macropores and mesopores.

Alternatively, the infiltrate may be added to the vacuum infiltration tank 501 before vacuum is pulled on the tank. In this manner, infiltrate is added in the tank in an amount that can be impregnated into the biochar. As the vacuum is pulled, the biochar is circulated in the tank to cause the infiltrate to fill the pore volume. To one skilled in the art, it should be clear that the agitation of the biochar during this process can be performed through various means, such as a rotating tank, rotating agitator, pressure variation in the tank itself, or other means. Additionally, the biochar may be dried using conventional means before even the first treatment. This optional pre-drying can remove liquid from the pores and in some situations may increase the efficiency of impregnation due to pressure changes in the tank.

Pressure is then restored in the tank 501 and the infiltrated biochar is removed, as shown by arrow 541, from the tank 501 to bin 512, by way of a sealing gate 511 and removal line 510. The infiltrated biochar is collected in bin 512, where it can be further processed in several different ways. The infiltrated biochar can be shipped for use as a treated biochar as shown by arrow 543. The infiltrated biochar can be returned to the tank 501 (or a second infiltration tank). If returned to the tank 501 the biochar can be processed with a second infiltration step, a vacuum drying step, a washing step, or combinations and variations of these. The infiltrated biochar can be moved by conveyor 514, as shown by arrow 542, to a drying apparatus 516, e.g., a centrifugal dryer or heater, where water, infiltrate or other liquid is removed by way of line 517, and the dried biochar leaves the dryer through discharge line 518 as shown by arrow 545, and is collected in bin 519. The biochar is removed from the bin by discharge 520. The biochar may be shipped as a treated biochar for use in an agriculture application, as shown by arrow 547. The biochar may also be further processed, as shown by 546. Thus, the biochar could be returned to tank 501 (or a second vacuum infiltration tank) for a further infiltration step. The drying step may be repeated either by returning the dry biochar to the drying apparatus 516, or by running the biochar through a series of drying apparatus, until the predetermined dryness of the biochar is obtained, e.g., between 50% to less than 1% moisture.

The system 500 is illustrative of the system, equipment and processes that can be used for, and to carry out the present inventions. Various other implementations and types of equipment can be used. The vacuum infiltration tank can be a sealable off-axis rotating vessel, chamber or tank. It can have an internal agitator that also when reversed can move material out, empty it, (e.g., a vessel along the lines of a large cement truck, or ready mix truck, that can mix and move material out of the tank, without requiring the tank’s orientation to be changed). Washing equipment may be added or utilized at various points in the process, or may be carried out in the vacuum tank, or drier, (e.g., wash fluid added to biochar as it is placed into the drier for removal). Other steps, such as bagging, weighing, the mixing of the biochar with other materials, e.g., fertilized, peat, soil, etc. can be carried out. In all areas of the system referring to vacuum infiltration, optionally positive pressure can be applied, if needed, to enhance the penetration of the infiltrate or to assist with re-infusion of gaseous vapors into the treated char. Additionally, where feasible, especially in positive pressure environments, the infiltrate may have soluble gasses added which then can assist with removal of liquid from the pores, or gaseous treatment of the pores upon equalization of pressure.

As noted above, the biochar may also be treated using a surfactant. The same or similar equipment used in the vacuum infiltration process can be used in the surfactant treatment process. Although it is not necessary to apply a vacuum in the surfactant treatment process, the vacuum infiltration tank or any other rotating vessel, chamber or tank can be used. In the surfactant treatment process, a surfactant, such as yucca extract, is added to the infiltrate, e.g., acid wash or water. The quantity of the surfactant added to the infiltrate may vary depending upon the surfactant used. For example, organic yucca extract can be added at a rate of between 0.1-20%, but more preferably 1-5% by volume of the infiltrate. The infiltrate with surfactant is then mixed with the biochar in a tumbler for several minutes, e.g., 3-5 minutes, without applied vacuum. Optionally, a vacuum or positive pressure may be applied with the surfactant to improve efficiency, but is not necessary. Additionally, infiltrate to which the surfactant or detergent is added may be heated or may be ambient temperature or less. Similarly, the mixture of the surfactant or detergent, as well as the char being treated may be heated, or may be ambient temperature, or less. After tumbling, excess free liquid can be removed in the same manner as described above in connection with the vacuum infiltration process. Drying, also as described above in connection with the vacuum infiltration process, is an optional additional step. Besides yucca extract, a number of other surfactants may be used for surfactant treatment, which include, but are not limited to, the following: nonionic types, such as, ethoxylated alcohols, phenols—lauryl alcohol ethoxylates, Fatty acid esters—sorbitan, tween 20, amines, amides-imidazoles; anionic types, such as sulfonates—arylalkyl sulfonates and sulfate—sodium dodecyl sulfate; cationic types, such as alkyl—amines or ammoniums—quaternary ammoniums; and amphoteric types, such as betaines—cocamidopropyl betaine.

Optionally, the biochar may also be treated by applying ultrasonics. In this treatment process, the biochar may be contacted with a treating liquid that is agitated by ultrasonic waves. By agitating the treating liquid, contaminants may be dislodged or removed from the biochar due to bulk motion of the fluid in and around the biocarbon, pressure changes, including cavitation in and around contaminants on the surface, as well as pressure changes in or near pore openings (cavitation bubbles) and internal pore cavitation.

In this manner, agitation will cause contaminants of many forms to be released from the internal and external structure of the biochar. The agitation also encourages the exchange of water, gas, and other liquids with the internal biochar structure. Contaminants are transported from the internal structure to the bulk liquid (treating fluid) resulting in biochar with improved physical and chemical properties. The effectiveness of ultrasonic cleaning is tunable as bubble size and number is a function of frequency and power delivered by the transducer to the treating fluid

In one example, applying ultrasonic treatment, raw wood based biochar between 10 microns to 10 mm with moisture content from 0% to 90% may be mixed with a dilute mixture of acetic acid and water (together the treating liquid) in a processing vessel that also translates the slurry (the biochar/treating liquid mixture). During translation, the slurry passes near an ultrasonic transducer to enhance the interaction between the fluid and biochar. The biochar may experience one or multiple washes of dilute acetic acid, water, or other treating fluids. The biochar may also make multiple passes by ultrasonic transducers to enhance physical and chemical properties of the biochar. For example, once a large volume of slurry is made, it can continuously pass an ultrasonic device and be degassed and wetted to its maximum, at a rapid processing rate. The slurry can also undergo a separation process in which the fluid and solid biochar are separated at 60% effectiveness or greater.

Through ultrasonic treatment, the pH of the biochar, or other physical and chemical properties may be adjusted and the mesopore and macropore surfaces of the biochar may be cleaned and enhanced. Further, ultrasonic treatment can be used in combination with bulk mixing with water, solvents, additives (fertilizers, etc.), and other liquid based chemicals to enhance the properties of the biochar. After treatment, the biochar may be subject to moisture adjustment, further treatment and/or inoculation using any of the methods set forth above.

As illustrated above, the treatment process, whether using vacuum, surfactant or ultrasonic treatment, or a combination thereof, may include two steps, which in certain applications, may be combined: (i) washing and (ii) inoculation of the pores with an additive. When the desired additive is the same and that being inoculated into the pores, e.g., water, the step of washing the pores and inoculating the pores with an additive may be combined.

While not exclusive, washing is generally done for one of three purposes: (i) to modify the surface of the pore structure of the biochar (i.e., to allow for increased retention of liquids); (ii) to modify the pH of the biochar; and/or (iii) to remove undesired and potentially harmful compounds or gases.

1. Increases Water Holding Capacity/Water Retention Capacity

As demonstrated below, the treatment processes of the invention modify the surfaces of the pore structure to provide enhanced functionality and to control the properties of the biochar to achieve consistent and predicable performance. Using the above treatment processes, anywhere from at least 10% of the total pore surface area up to 90% or more of the total pore surface area may be modified. In some implementations, it may be possible to achieve modification of up to 99% or more of the total pore surface area of the biochar particle. Using the processes set forth above, such modification may be substantially and uniformly achieved for an entire batch of treated biochar.

For example, it is believed that by treating the biochar as set forth above, the hydrophilicity of the surface of the pores of the biochar is modified, allowing for a greater water retention capacity. Further, by treating the biochars as set forth above, gases and other substances are also removed from the pores of the biochar particles, also contributing to the biochar particles’ increased water holding capacity. Thus, the ability of the biochar to retain liquids, whether water or additives in solution, is increased, which also increases the ability to load the biochar particles with large volumes of inoculant, infiltrates and/or additives.

A batch of biochar has a bulk density, which is defined as weight in grams (g) per cm3 of loosely poured material that has or retains some free space between the particles. The biochar particles in this batch will also have a solid density, which is the weight in grams (g) per cm3 of just particles, i.e., with the free space between the particles removed. The solid density includes the air space or free space that is contained within the pores, but not the free space between particles. The actual density of the particles is the density of the material in grams (g) per cm3 of material, which makes up the biochar particles, i.e., the solid material with pore volume removed.

In general, as bulk density increases the pore volume is expected to decrease. When the pore volume is macro or mesoporous, the ability of the material to hold infiltrate, e.g., inoculant is directly proportional to the pore volume, thus it is also expected to decrease as bulk density increases. With the infiltration processes, the treated biochars can have impregnation capacities that are larger than could be obtained without infiltration, e.g., the treated biochars can readily have 30%, 40%, 50%, or most preferably, 60%-100% of their total pore volume filled with an infiltrate, e.g., an inoculant. The impregnation capacity is the amount of a liquid that a biochar particle, or batch of particles, can absorb. The ability to make the pores surface hydrophilic, and to infuse liquid deep into the pore structure through the application of positive or negative pressure and/or a surfactant, alone or in combination, provides the ability to obtain these high impregnation capabilities. The treated biochars can have impregnation capacities, i.e., the amount of infiltrate that a particle can hold on a volume held/total volume of a particle basis, that is greater than 0.2 cm3/cm3 to 0.8 cm3/cm3. Resulting bulk densities of treated biochar can range from 0.1-0.6 g/cm3 and sometimes preferably between 0.3-0.6 g/cm3 and can have solid densities ranging from 0.2-1.2 g/cm3.

Accordingly, by using the treatment above, the water retention capacity of biochar can be greatly increased over the water retention capacities of various soil types and even raw biochar, thereby holding water and/or nutrients in the plant’s root zone longer and ultimately reducing the amount of applied water (through irrigation, rainfall, or other means) needed by up to 50% or more. FIG. 6 is a chart showing the water retention capacities of soils versus raw and treated biochar. The soils sampled are loam and sandy clay soil and a common commercial horticultural mix. The charts show the retained water as a function of time.

In chart A, the bottom line represents the retained water in the sandy claim loam soil over time. The middle line represents the retained water in the sandy clay soil with 20% by volume percent of unprocessed raw biochar. The top line represents the retained water in the sandy clay loam soil with 20% by volume percent of treated biochar (adjusted and inoculated biochar). Chart B represents the same using a soilless potting mix rather than sandy clay loam soil.

As illustrated in FIG. 7, testing showed a treated biochar had an increased water retention capacity of approximately 1.5 times that of the raw biochar from the same feedstock. Similar results have been seen with biochars derived from various feedstocks. With certain biochar types, the water retention capacity of treated biochar could be as great as three times that of raw biochar.

“Water holding capacity,” which may also be referred to as “Water Retention Capacity,” is the amount of water that can be held both internally within the porous structure and in the interparticle void spaces in a given batch of particles. While a summary of the method of measure is provided above, a more specific method of measuring water holding capacity/water retention capacity is measured by the following procedure: (i) drying a sample of material under temperatures of 105° C. for a period of 24 hours or using another scientifically acceptable technique to reduce the moisture content of the material to less than 2%, less than 1%; and preferably less than 0.5% (ii) placing a measured amount of dry material in a container; (iii) filling the container having the measured amount of material with water such that the material is completely immersed in the water; (iv) letting the water remain in the container having the measured amount of material for at least ten minutes or treating the material in accordance with the invention by infusing with water when the material is a treated biochar; (v) draining the water from the container until the water ceases to drain; (vi) weighing the material in the container (i.e., wet weight); (vii) again drying the material by heating it under temperatures of 105° C. for a period of 24 hours or using another scientifically acceptable technique to reduce the moisture content of the material to less than 2% and preferably less than 1%; and (viii) weighing the dry material again (i.e., dry weight) and, for purposes of a volumetric measure, determining the volume of the material.

Measured gravimetrically, the water holding/water retention capacity is determined by measuring the difference in weight of the material from step (vi) to step (viii) over the weight of the material from step (viii) (i.e., wet weight-dry weight/dry weight). FIG. 8 illustrates the different water retention capacities of raw biochar versus treated biochar measured gravimetrically. As illustrated, water retention capacity of raw biochar can be between 100-200%, whereas treated biochar can have water retention capacities measured gravimetrically between 200-400%.

Water holding capacity can also be measured volumetrically and represented as a percent of the volume of water retained in the biochar after gravitationally draining the excess water/volume of biochar The volume of water retained in the biochar after draining the water can be determined from the difference between the water added to the container and water drained off the container or from the difference in the weight of the wet biochar from the weight of the dry biochar converted to a volumetric measurement. This percentage water holding capacity for treated biochar may be 50-55 percent and above by volume.

Given biochar’s increased water retention capacity, the application of the treated biochar and even the raw biochar can greatly assist with the reduction of water and/or nutrient application. It has been discovered that these same benefits can be imparted to agricultural growth.

Treated biochar of the present invention has also demonstrated the ability to retain more water than raw biochar after exposure to the environment for defined periods of time. For purposes of this application “remaining water content” can be defined as the total amount of water that remains held by the biochar after exposure to the environment for certain amount of time. Exposure to environment is exposure at ambient temperature and pressures. Under this definition, remaining water content can be measured by (i) creating a sample of biochar that has reached its maximum water holding capacity; (ii) determining the total water content by thermogravimetric analysis (H2O (TGA)), as described above on a sample removed from the output of step (i) above, (iii) exposing the biochar in the remaining sample to the environment for a period of 2 weeks (15 days, 360 hrs.); (iv) determining the remaining water content by thermogravimetric analysis (H2O (TGA)); and (v) normalizing the remaining (retained) water in mL to 1 kg or 1 L biochar. The percentage of water remaining after exposure for this two-week period can be calculated by the remaining water content of the biochar after the predetermined period over the water content of the biochar at the commencement of the two-week period. Using this test, treated biochar has shown to retain water at rates over 4× that of raw biochar. Testing has further demonstrated that the following amount of water can remain in treated biochar after two weeks of exposure to the environment: 100-650 mL/kg; 45-150 mL/L; 12-30 gal/ton; 3-10 gal/yd3 after 360 hours (15 days) of exposure to the environment. In this manner, and as illustrated in FIG. 8, biochar treated with a process consistent with those described in this disclosure can increase the amount of retained water in biochar about 3 times compared to other methods even after seven weeks. In general, the more porous and the higher the surface area of a given material, the higher the water retention capacity. Further, it is theorized that by modifying the hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity of the pore surfaces, greater water holding capacity and controlled release may be obtained. Thus, viewed as a weight percent, e.g., the weight of retained water to weight of biochar, examples of the present biochars can retain more than 5% of their weight, more than 10% of their weight, and more than 15% of their weight, and even more than 50% of their weight compared to an average soil which may retain 2% or less, or between 100-600 ml/kg by weight of biochar.

Tests have also shown that treated biochars that show weight loss of >1% in the interval between 43-60° C. when analyzed by the Thermal Gravimetric Analysis (TGA) (as described below) demonstrate greater water holding and content capacities over raw biochars. Weight loss of >5%-15% in the interval between 38-68° C. when analyzed by the Thermal Gravimetric Analysis (TGA) using sequences of time and temperature disclosed in the following paragraphs or others may also be realized. Weight percentage ranges may vary from between >1%-15% in temperature ranges between 38-68° C., or subsets thereof, to distinguish between treated biochar and raw biochar.

FIG. 9 is a chart 900 showing the weight loss of treated biochars 902 versus raw biochar samples 904 when heated at varying temperatures using the TGA testing described below. As illustrated, the treated biochars 902 continue to exhibit weight loss when heated between 40-60° C. when analyzed by the Thermal Gravimetric Analysis (TGA) (described below), whereas the weight loss in raw biochar 804 between the same temperature ranges levels off. Thus, testing demonstrates the presence of additional moisture content in treated biochars 902 versus raw biochars 904.

In particular, the treated biochars 902 exhibit substantial water loss when heated in inert gas such as nitrogen following treatment. More particularly, when heated for 25 minutes at each of the following temperatures 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60° C. the treated samples lose about 5-% to 15% in the interval 43-60° C. and upward of 20-30% in the interval between 38-68° C. The samples to determine the water content of the raw biochar were obtained by mixing a measured amount of biochar and water, stirring the biochar and water for 2 minutes, draining off the water, measuring moisture content and then subjecting the sample to TGA. The samples for the treated biochar were obtained by using the same measured amount of biochar as used in the raw biochar sample and using treatment process consistent with those described in this disclosure. The moisture content is then measured and the sample is subjected to TGA described above.

The sequences of time and temperature conditions for evaluating the effect of biochars heating in inert atmosphere is defined in this application as the “Bontchev-Cheyne Test” (“BCT”). The BCT is run using samples obtained, as described above, and applying Thermal Gravimetric Analysis (TGA) carried out using a Hitachi STA 7200 analyzer under nitrogen flow at the rate of 110 mL/min. The biochar samples are heated for 25 minutes at each of the following temperatures: 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60° C. The sample weights are measured at the end of each dwell step, at the beginning and at the end of the experiment. The analyzer also continually measures and records weight over time. Biochars treated with a process consistent with those described in this disclosure to enhance water holding or retention capacities typically exhibit weight loss of >5% in the interval between 38-68° C., >1% in the interval between 43-60° C. Biochars with greater water holding or retention capacities can exhibit >5% weight loss in the interval between 43-60° C. measured using the above described BCT.

Lastly, as illustrated in FIG. 10, plant available water is greatly increased in treated biochar over that of raw biochar. FIG. 10 illustrates the plant available water in raw biochar, versus treated biochar and treated dried biochar and illustrates that treated biochar can have a plant available water percent of greater than 35% by volume.

“Plant Available Water” is the amount of unbound water in a material available for plants to uptake. This is calculated by subtracting the volumetric water content at the permanent wilting point from the volumetric water content at field capacity, which is the point when no water is available for the plants. Field capacity is generally expressed as the bulk water content retained in at −33 J/kg (or −0.33 bar) of hydraulic head or suction pressure. Permanent wilting point is generally expressed as the bulk water content retained at −1500 J/kg (or −15 bar) of hydraulic head or suction pressure. Methods for measuring plant available water are well-known in the industry and use pressure plate extractors, which are commercially available or can be built using well-known principles of operation.

2. Adjusts pH

With regard to treatment for pH adjustment, the above described vacuum infiltration processes and/or surfactant treatment processes have the ability to take raw biochars having detrimental or deleterious pHs and transform those biochars into a treated biochar having pH that is in an optimal range for most plant growth, and soil health. Turning to FIG. 11, a graph 1100 is provided that shows the pH of various starting raw biochars that were made from different starting materials and pyrolysis process temperatures, including coconut shells 1104, pistachio shells 1101, corn at 500° C. 1105, corn at 900° C. 1102, bamboo 1103, mesquite 1106, wood and coffee 1108, wood (Australia) 1109, various soft woods 1110, 1111, 1112, 1113, 1114, 1115, 1116, 1117, red fir at 900° C. 1107, various grasses at 500° C. 1118, 1119, 1120, grass 1121, and grass at 900° C. 1123. The treatment processes described in this disclosure, can be used to alter the pH from the various undesirable pH levels and bring the pH into the preferred, optimal range 1124 for most plant growth, soil health and combinations of these. FIG. 12 is a chart 1200 showing percentage of germination for lettuce plants for particular pHs, and a desired germination range 1201. A control 1204 is compared with an optimal pH range 1202, and a distribution 1203 of growth rates across pHs is shown.

If treated for pH adjustment, the treated biochar takes a few days after treatment for the pH to normalize. Once normalized, tests have proven that pH altered biochar remains at a stable pH, typically the treatment is used to lower the stable pH to below that of the raw biochar, for up to 12 months or more after treatment. Although in certain situations, the pH could be altered to be higher than the raw biochar when needed.

For example, the treatment process of the present invention can remove and/or neutralize inorganic compounds, such as the calcium hydroxide ((CaOH)2), potassium oxide (K2OK2OK2O), magnesium oxide (MgO), magnesium hydroxide (Mg(OH)2), and many others that are formed during pyrolysis, and are fixed to the biochar pore surfaces. These inorganics, in particular calcium hydroxide, adversely affect the biochar’s pH, making the pH in some instances as high as 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 11.2. These high pH ranges are deleterious, detrimental to crops, and may kill or adversely affect the plants, sometimes rendering an entire field a loss.

The calcium hydroxide, and other inorganics, cannot readily and quickly be removed by simple washing of the biochar, even in an acid bath. It cannot be removed by drying the biochar, such as by heating or centrifugal force. It is theorized that these techniques and methodologies cannot reach or otherwise affect the various pore surfaces, e.g., macro-, meso- and micro- in any viable or efficacious manner; and thus cannot remove or otherwise neutralize the calcium hydroxide.

Upon modification of the pore surface area by removal and/or neutralization of deleterious substances, such as calcium hydroxide, the pH of the biochar can be reduced to the range of about pH 5 to about pH 8, and more preferably from about pH 6.4 to about 7.2, and still more preferably around 6.5 to 6.8, recognizing that other ranges and pHs are contemplated and may prove useful, under specific environmental or agricultural situations or for other applications. Thus, the present treated biochars, particles, batches and both, have most, essentially all, and more preferably all, of their pore surfaces modified by the removal, neutralization and both, of the calcium hydroxide that is present in the starting biochar material. These treated biochars have pHs in the range of about 5 to about 8, about 6.5 to about 7.5, about 6.4 to about 7, and about 6.8. Prior to and before testing, biochar is passed through a 2 mm sieve before pH is measured. All measurements are taken according to Rajkovich et. al, Corn growth and nitrogen nutrition after additions of biochars with varying properties to a temperate soil, Biol. Fertil. Soils (2011), from which the International Biochar Initiative (IBI) method is based.

There are a wide variety of tests, apparatus and equipment for making pH measurements. For example, and preferably when addressing the pH of biochar, batches, particles and pore surfaces of those particles, two appropriates for measuring pH are the Test Method for the US Composting Council (“TMCC”) 4.11-A and the pH Test Method promulgated by the International Biochar Initiative. The test method for the TMCC comprises mixing biochar with distilled water in 1:5 [mass:volume] ratio, e.g., 50 grams of biochar is added to 250 ml of pH 7.0±0.02 water and is stirred for 10 minutes; the pH is then the measured pH of the slurry. The pH Test Method promulgated by the International Biochar Initiative comprises 5 grams of biochar is added to 100 ml of pH=7.0±0.02 and the mixture is tumbled for 90 minutes; the pH of the slurry is measured at the end of the 90 minutes of tumbling.

3. Removing/Neutralizing Deleterious Materials

Further, the treatment processes are capable of modifying the pore surfaces to remove or neutralize deleterious materials that are otherwise difficult, if not for all practical purpose, impossible to mitigate. For example, heavy metals, transition metals, sodium and phytotoxic organics, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and perhaps other phytotoxins. Thus, by treating the biochar in accordance with the treatment processes set forth and described above, the resulting treated biochar has essentially all, and more preferably all, of their pore surfaces modified by the removal, neutralization and both, of one or more deleterious, harmful, or potentially harmful material that is present in the starting biochar material.

For example, treatment can reduce the total percentage of residual organic compounds (ROC), including both the percentage of heavy ROCs and percentage of VOCs. Through treatment, the total ROC can be reduced to 0-25% wt. %, percentage heavy ROC content can be reduced to 0-20% wt. % and VOC content can be reduced to less than 5% wt. %. For purposes of this application, “Residual organic compounds” (ROCs) are defined as compounds that burn off during thermogravimetric analysis, as defined above, between 150 degrees C. and 950 degrees C. Residual organic compounds include, but are not limited to, phenols, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, monoaromatic hydrocarbons, acids, alcohols, esters, ethers, ketones, sugars, alkanes and alkenes. Of the ROCs, those that burn off using thermogravimetric analysis between 150 degrees C. and 550 degrees are considered light organic compounds (volatiles or VOCs), and those that burn off between 550 degrees C. and 950 degrees C. are heavy residual organic compounds. It should be noted that there may be some inorganic compounds which also are burned off during TGA analysis in these temperature ranges, but these are generally a very low percentage of the total emission and can be disregarded in the vast majority of cases as slight variations. In any of these measurements, a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer may be used if needed for higher degrees of precision.

The percent water, total organic compounds, total light organic compounds (volatiles or VOC) and total heavy organic compounds, as referenced in this application as contained in a biochar particle or particles in a sample may all be measured by thermogravimetric analysis. Thermogravimetric analysis is performed by a Hitachi STA 7200 analyzer or similar piece of equipment under nitrogen flow at the rate of 110 mL/min. The biochar samples are heated for predetermined periods of time, e.g., 20 minutes, at a variety of temperatures between 100 and 950° C. The sample weights are measured at the end of each dwell step and at the beginning and at the end of the experiment. Thermogravimetric analysis of a given sample indicating percentage water in a sample is determined by % mass loss measured between standard temperature and 150 degrees C. Thermogravimetric analysis of a given sample indicating percentage of residual organic compounds is measured by percentage mass loss sustained between 150 degrees C. and 950 degrees C. Thermogravimetric analysis of a given sample indicating percentage of light organic compounds (volatiles) is measured by percentage mass loss sustained between 150 degrees C. and 550 degrees C. Thermogravimetric analysis of a given sample indicating percentage of heavy organic compounds is measured by percentage mass loss sustained between 550 degrees C. and 950 degrees C. FIG. 13 is an example of a Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) plot outlining the above explanation and the measure of water, light organics and heavy organics.

As noted above, treatment can remove or neutralize heavy metals, transition metals, sodium and phytotoxic organics, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), other phytotoxins, and even dioxins. Thus, by treating the biochar in accordance with the treatment processes set forth and described above, the resulting treated biochar has essentially all, and more preferably all, of their pore surfaces modified by the removal, neutralization or both, of one or more deleterious, harmful, or potentially harmful material that is present in the starting biochar material.

Dioxins may also be removed through the treatment processes of the present invention. Dioxins are released from combustion processes and thus are often found in raw biochar. Dioxins include polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) (i.e., 75 congeners (10 are specifically toxic)); polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) (i.e., 135 congeners (7 are specifically toxic)) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (Considered dioxin-like compounds (DLCs)).

Since some dioxins may be carcinogenic even at low levels of exposure over extended periods of time, the FDA views dioxins as a contaminant and has no tolerances or administrative levels in place for dioxins in animal feed. Dioxins in animal feed can cause health problems in the animals themselves. Additionally, the dioxins may accumulate in the fat of food-producing animals and thus consumption of animal derived foods (e.g. meat, eggs, milk) could be a major route of human exposure to dioxins. Thus, if biochar is used in animal applications, where the animals ingest the biochar, the ability to remove dioxins from the raw biochar prior to use is of particular significance.

Results have proven the removal of dioxins from raw biochar by applying the treatment process of the present invention. To demonstrate the removal of dioxins, samples of both raw biochar and biochar, treated within the parameters set forth above, were sent out for testing. The results revealed that the dioxins in the raw biochar were removed through treatment as the dioxins detected in the raw biochar sample were not detected in the treated biochar sample. Below is a chart comparing the test results of measured dioxins in the raw verses the treated biochar.

Amount Detected Amount Detected in Raw Biochar in Treated Biochar Dioxins Sample Sample Tetradioxins 26.4 ng/Kg-dry Not detectable Pentadioxins 5.86 ng/Kg-dry Not detectable Hexadioxins 8.41 ng/Kg-dry Not detectable

A number of different dioxins exist, several of which are known to be toxic or undesirable for human consumption. Despite the test results above, it is possible that any number of dioxins could be present in raw biochar depending on the biomass or where the biomass is grown. It is shown, however, in the above testing, that the treatment process of the present invention can be used to eliminate dioxins present in raw biochar.

Seventeen tetra-octo dioxins and furan congeners are the basis for regulatory compliance. Other dioxins are much less toxic. Dioxins are generally regulated on toxic equivalents (TEQ) and are represented by the sum of values weighted by Toxic Equivalency

TEQ=Σ[Ci]×TEFi

2,3,7,8-TCDD has a TEF of 1 (most toxic). TEQ is measured as ng/kg WHO-PCDD/F-TEQ//kg NDs are also evaluated. Two testing methods are generally used to determine TEQ values: EPA Method 8290 (for research and understanding at low levels (ppt-ppq); and EPA Method 1613B (for regulatory compliance). Both are based on high resolution gas chromatography (HRGC)/high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS).

The required EU Feed Value is equal to or less than 0.75 ng/kg WHO-PCDD/F-TEQ//kg. Treated biochar, in accordance with the present invention, has shown to have TEQ dioxins less than 0.5 ng/kg WHO-PCDD/F-TEQ//kg, well below the requirement for EU Feed limits of 0.75 ng/kg WHO-PCDD/F-TEQ//kg. As further set forth above, treatment can reduce the amount of detectable dioxins from raw biochar such that the dioxins are not detectible in treated biochar. Two methods are used: EPA Method 8290 (for research and understanding at low levels (ppt-ppq); and EPA Method 1613B (for regulatory compliance). Both are based on high resolution gas chromatography (HRGC)/high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS).

4. Pore Volume

Generally, a treated biochar sample has greater than 50% by volume of its porosity in macropores (pores greater than 300 nanometers). Further, results indicate that greater than 75% of pores in treated biochar are below 50,000 nanometers. Also, results indicate that greater than 50% by volume of treated biochar porosity are pores in the range of 500 nanometers and 100,000 nanometers. Bacterial sizes are typically 500 nanometers to several thousand nanometers. Bacteria and other microbes have been observed to fit and colonize in the pores of treated biochar, thus supporting the pore size test results.

Macropore volume is determined by mercury porosimetry, which measures the meso and/or macro porosity by applying pressure to a sample immersed in mercury at a pressure calibrated for the minimum pore diameter to be measured (for macroporosity this is 300 nanometers). This method can be used to measure pores in the range of 3 nm to 360,000 nm. Total volume of pores per volumetric unit of substance is measured using gas expansion method.

Depending upon the biomass from which the biochar is derived, mercury porosimetry testing has shown that washing under differential pressure, using the processes described above, can increase the number of both the smallest and larger pores in certain biochar (e.g., pine) and can increase the number of usable smaller pores. Treatment of biochar using either vacuum or surfactant does alter the percentage of total usable pores between 500 to 100,000 nanometers and further has varying impact on pores less than 50,000 nanometers and less than 10,000 nanometers.

FIG. 14 is a chart 1400 showing the impact of treatment on pores sizes of biochar derived from coconut. The majority of the coconut based biochar pores are less than 10 microns. Many are less than 1 micron. Vacuum processing of the biochar results in small reduction of 10 to 50 micron pores, with increase of smaller pores on vacuum processing. The mercury porosimetry results of the raw biochar are represented by 1402 (first column in the group of three). The vacuum treated biochar is represented by 1404 (second column in the group of three) and the surfactant treated biochar is 1406 (third column in the group of three).

FIG. 15 is a chart 1500 showing the impact of treatment on pores sizes of biochar derived from pine. The majority of the pine based biochar pores are 1 to 50 microns, which is a good range for micro-biologicals. Vacuum processing results in significant reduction of the 10 to 50 micron pores, with an increase of smallest and largest pores. The mercury porosimetry results of the raw biochar are represented by 1502 (first column in the group of three). The vacuum treated biochar is represented by 1504 (second column in the group of three) and the surfactant treated biochar is 3006 (third column in the group of three).

5. Electrical Conductivity

The electrical conductivity (EC) of a solid material-water mixture indicates the amount of salts present in the solid material. Salts are essential for plant growth. The EC measurement detects the amount of cations or anions in solution; the greater the amount of ions, the greater the EC. The ions generally associated with salinity are Ca2+, Mg2+, K+, Na+, H+, NO3, SO42−, Cl, HCO3, OH. Electrical conductivity testing of biochar was done following the method outlined in the USDA’s Soil Quality Test Kit Guide and using a conventional EC meter. The biochar sample is mixed with DI water in a 1:1 biochar to water ratio on a volume basis. After thorough mixing, the EC (dS/m) is measured while the biochar particles are still suspended in solution. Treatment, as outlined in this disclosure can be used to adjust the ions in the char. Testing of treated biochar shows its EC is generally greater than 0.2 dS/m and sometimes greater than 0.5 dS/m.

6. Cation Exchange Capacity

One method for cation exchange capacity (“CEC”) determination is the use of ammonium acetate buffered at pH 7.0 (see Schollenberger, C. J. and Dreibelbis, E R. 1930, Analytical methods in baseexchange investigations on soils, Soil Science, 30, 161-173). The material is saturated with 1M ammonium acetate, (NH4OAc), followed by the release of the NH4+ ions and its measurement in meq/100 g (milliequivalents of charge per 100 g of dry soil) or cmolc/kg (centimoles of charge per kilogram of dry soil). Instead of ammonium acetate another method uses barium chloride according to Mehlich, 1938, Use of triethanolamine acetatebarium hydroxide buffer for the determination of some base exchange properties and lime requirement of soil, Soil Sci. Soc. Am. Proc. 29:374-378. 0.1 M BaCl2 is used to saturate the exchange sites followed by replacement with either MgSO4 or MgCl2.

Indirect methods for CEC calculation involves the estimation of extracted Ca2+, Mg2+, K+, and Na+ in a standard soil test using Mehlich 3 and accounting for the exchangeable acidity (sum of H+, Al3+, Mn2+, and Fe2+) if the pH is below 6.0 (see Mehlich, A. 1984, Mehlich-3 soil test extractant: a modification of Mehlich-2 extractant, Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 15(12): 1409-1416). When treated using the above methods, including but not limited by washing under a vacuum, treated biochars generally have a CEC greater than 5 millieq/l and some even have a CEC greater than 25 (millieq/l). To some extent, treatment can be used to adjust the CEC of a char.

7. Anion Exchange Capacity

Similar to CEC measurements, anion exchange capacity (“AEC”) may be calculated directly or indirectly-saturated paste extraction of exchangeable anions, Cl, NO3, SO42−, and PO43− to calculate anion sum or the use of potassium bromide to saturate anions sites at different pHs and repeated washings with calcium chloride and final measurement of bromide (see Rhoades, J. D. 1982, Soluble salts, p. 167-179. In: A. L. Page et al. (ed.) Methods of soil analysis: Part 2: Chemical and microbiological properties; and Michael Lawrinenkoa and David A. Laird, 2015, Anion exchange capacity of biochar, Green Chem., 2015, 17, 4628-4636). When treated using the above methods, including but not limited by washing under a vacuum, treated biochars generally have an AEC greater than 5 millieq/l and some even have an AEC greater than 20 (millieq/l). To some extent, treatment can be used to adjust the CEC of a char.

8. Hydrophilicity/Hydrophobicity

The ability to control the hydrophilicity of the pores provides the ability to load the biochar particles with larger volumes of inoculant. The more hydrophilic the more the biochars can accept inoculant or infiltrate. Tests show that biochar treated in accordance with the above processes, using either vacuum or surfactant treatment processes increase the hydrophilicity of raw biochar. Two tests may be used to test the hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity of biochar: (i) the Molarity of Ethanol Drop (“MED”) Test; and (ii) the Infiltrometer Test.

The MED test was originally developed by Doerr in 1998 and later modified by other researchers for various materials. The MED test is a timed penetration test that is noted to work well with biochar soil mixtures. For 100% biochar, penetration time of different mixtures of ethanol/water are noted to work better. Ethanol/Water mixtures verses surface tension dynes were correlated to determine whether treated biochar has increased hydrophilicity over raw biochar. Seven mixtures of ethanol and deionized water were used with a sorption time of 3 seconds on the biochar.

Seven solutions of deionized (“DI”) water with the following respective percentages of ethanol: 3, 5, 11, 13, 18, 24 and 36, were made for testing. The test starts with a mixture having no DI. If the solution is soaked into the biochar in 3 seconds for the respective solution, it receives the corresponding Hydrophobicity Index value below.

Ethanol % Hydrophobicity Index 0: DI Water 0 Very Hydrophillic  3% 1  5% 2 11% 3 13% 4 18% 5 24% 6 36% 7 Strongly hydrophobic

To start the test the biochar (“material/substrate”) is placed in convenient open container prepared for testing. Typically, materials to be tested are dried 110° C. overnight and cooled to room temperature. The test starts with a deionized water solution having no ethanol. Multiple drips of the solution are then laid onto the substrate surface from low height. If drops soak in less than 3 seconds, test records substrate as “0”. If drops take longer than 3 seconds or don’t soak in, go to test solution 1. Then, using test solution 1, multiple drops from dropper are laid onto the surface from low height. If drops soak into the substrate in less than 3 seconds, test records material as “1”. If drops take longer than 3 seconds, or don’t soak in, go to test solution 2. Then, using test solution 2, multiple drops from dropper laid onto the surface from low height. If drops soak into the substrate in less than 3 seconds, test records material as “2”. If drops take longer than 3 seconds, or don’t soak in, go to test solution 3. Then, using test solution 3, multiple drops from dropper laid onto the surface from low height. If drops soak into the substrate in less than 3 seconds, test records material as “3”. If drops take longer than 3 seconds, or don’t soak in, go to solution 4.

The process above is repeated, testing progressively higher numbered MED solutions until the tester finds the solution that soaks into the substrate in 3 seconds or less. The substrate is recorded as having that hydrophobicity index number that correlates to the solution number assigned to it (as set forth in the chart above).

Example test results using the MED test method is illustrated below.

MATERIAL HYDROPHOBICITY INDEX Raw Biochars 3 to 5 Treated Biochars 1 to 3

Another way to measure and confirm that treatment decreases hydrophobicity and increases hydrophilicity is by using a mini disk infiltrometer. For this test procedure, the bubble chamber of the infiltrometer is filled three quarters full with tap water for both water and ethanol sorptivity tests. Deionized or distilled water is not used. Once the upper chamber is full, the infiltrometer is inverted and the water reservoir on the reserve is filled with 80 mL. The infiltrometer is carefully set on the position of the end of the mariotte tube with respect to the porous disk to ensure a zero suction offset while the tube bubbles. If this dimension is changed accidentally, the end of the mariotte tube should be reset to 6 mm from the end of the plastic water reservoir tube. The bottom elastomer is then replaced, making sure the porous disk is firmly in place. If the infiltrometer is held vertically using a stand and clamp, no water should leak out.

The suction rate of 1 cm is set for all samples. If the surface of the sample is not smooth, a thin layer of fine biochar can be applied to the area directly underneath the infiltrometer stainless steel disk. This ensures good contact between the samples and the infiltrometer. Readings are then taken at 1 min intervals for both water and ethanol sorptivity test. To be accurate, 20 mL water or 95% ethanol needs to be infiltrated into the samples. Record time and water/ethanol volumes at the times are recorded.

The data is then processed to determine the results. The data is processed by the input of the volume levels and time to the corresponding volume column. The following equation is used to calculate the hydrophobicity index of R

I=at+b√{square root over (t)}

    • a: Infiltration Rate, cm/s
    • b: Sorptivity, Cm/s1/2

R = 1.95 * b ethanol b water

FIG. 16 illustrates one example of the results of a hydrophobicity test performed on raw biochar, vacuum treated biochar and surfactant treated biochar. As illustrated, both the vacuum treated and surfactant treated biochar are more hydrophilic than the raw biochar based upon the lower Index rating. In accordance with the test data in FIG. 16, the hydrophobicity of raw biochar was reduced 23% by vacuum processing and 46% by surfactant addition.

As an example, raw biochar and treated biochar were tested with ethanol and water, five times for each. The results below show that the hydrophobicity index of the treated biochar is lower than the raw biochar. Thus, tests demonstrate that treating the biochar, using the methods set forth above, make the biochar less hydrophobic and more hydrophilic.

MATERIAL HYDROPHOBICITY INDEX Dried Raw Biochar 12.9 Dried Vacuum Treated Biochar 10.4 Dried Surfactant Treated Biochar 7.0 As Is Raw Biochar 5.8 As Is Vacuum Treated Biochar 2.9

Further, through the treatment processes of the present invention, the biochar can also be infused with soil enhancing agents. By infusing liquid into the pore structure through the application of positive or negative pressure and/or a surfactant, alone or in combination, provides the ability to impregnate the macropores of the biochar with soil enhancing solutions and solids. The soil enhancing agent may include, but not be limited to, any of the following: water, water solutions of salts, inorganic and organic liquids of different polarities, liquid organic compounds or combinations of organic compounds and solvents, mineral and organic oils, slurries and suspensions, supercritical liquids, fertilizers, plant growth promoting rhizobacteria, free-living and nodule-forming nitrogen fixing bacteria, organic decomposers, nitrifying bacteria, phosphate solubilizing bacteria, biocontrol agents, bioremediation agents, saprotrophic fungi, ectomycorrhizae and endomycorrhizae, among others.

9. Impregnation and/or Inoculation with Infiltrates or Additives

In addition to mitigating or removing deleterious pore surface properties, by treating the pores of the biochar through a forced, assisted, accelerate or rapid infiltration process, such as those described above, the pore surface properties of the biochar can be enhanced. Such treatment processes may also permit subsequent processing, may modify the pore surface to provide predetermined properties to the biochar, and/or provide combinations and variations of these effects. For example, it may be desirable or otherwise advantageous to coat substantially all, or all of the biochar macropore and mesopore surfaces with a surface modifying agent or treatment to provide a predetermined feature to the biochar, e.g., surface charge and charge density, surface species and distribution, targeted nutrient addition, magnetic modifications, root growth facilitator, and water absorptivity and water retention properties.

By infusing liquids into the pores of biochar, it has been discovered that additives infused within the pores of the biochar provide a time release effect or steady flow of some beneficial substances to the environment, e.g. root zones of the plants, and also can improve and provide a more beneficial environment for microbes which may reside or take up residence within the pores of the biochar. In particular, additive infused biochars placed in the soil prior to or after planting can dramatically reduce the need for high frequency application of additives, minimize losses caused by leaching and runoff and/or reduce or eliminate the need for controlled release fertilizers. They can also be exceptionally beneficial in animal feed applications by providing an effective delivery mechanism for beneficial nutrients, pharmaceuticals, enzymes, microbes, or other substances.

For purposes of this application, “infusion” of a liquid or liquid solution into the pores of the biochar means the introduction of the liquid or liquid solution into the pores of the biochar by a means other than solely contacting the liquid or solution with the biochar, e.g., submersion. The infusion process, as described in this application in connection with the present invention, includes a mechanical, chemical or physical process that facilitates or assist with the penetration of liquid or solution into the pores of the biochar, which process may include, but not be limited to, positive and negative pressure changes, such as vacuum infusion, surfactant infusion, or infusion by movement of the liquid and/or biochar (e.g., centrifugal force and/or ultrasonic waves) or other method that facilitates, assists, forces or accelerates the liquid or solution into the pores of the biochar.

Prior to infusing the biochar, the biochar, as described in detail above, may be washed and/or moisture adjusted. FIG. 17 is a flow diagram 1700 of one example of a method for infusing biochar with an additive. Optionally, the biochar may first be washed or treated at step 1702, the wash may adjust the pH of the biochar, as described in more detail above, or may be used to remove elemental ash and other harmful organics that may be unsuitable for the desired infused additive. Optionally, the moisture content of the biochar may then be adjusted by drying the biochar at step 1704, also as described in further detail above, prior to infusion of the additive or inoculant at step 1706.

In summary, the infusion process may be performed with or without any washing, prior pH adjustment or moisture content adjustment. Optionally, the infusion process may be performed with the wash and/or the moisture adjustment step. All the processes may be completed alone or in the conjunction with one or more of the others.

Through the above process of infusing the additive into the pores of the biochar, the pores of the biochar may be filled by 25%, up to 100%, with an additive solution, as compared to 1-20% when the biochar is only submerged in the solution or washed with the solution for a period of less than twelve hours. Higher percentages may be achieved by washing and/or drying the pores of the biochar prior to infusion.

Data have been gathered from research conducted comparing the results of soaking or immersion of biochar in liquid versus vacuum impregnation of liquid into biochar. These data support the conclusion that vacuum impregnation provides greater benefits than simple soaking and results in a higher percentage volume of moisture on the surface, interstitially and in the pores of the biochar.

In one experiment, equal quantities of pine biochar were mixed with equal quantities of water, the first in a beaker, the second in a vacuum flask. The mixture in the beaker was continuously stirred for up to 24 hours, then samples of the suspended solid were taken, drained and analyzed for moisture content. The mixture in the vacuum flask was connected to a vacuum pump and negative pressure of 15″ was applied. Samples of the treated solid were taken, drained and analyzed for moisture content. FIG. 18 is a chart illustrating the results of the experiment. The lower graph 1802 of the chart, which shows the results of soaking over time, shows a Wt. % of water of approximately 52%. The upper graph 1804 of the chart, which shows the results of vacuum impregnation over time, shows a Wt. % of water of approximately 72%.

FIGS. 19a and 19b show two charts that further illustrate that the total water and/or any other liquid content in processed biochar can be significantly increased using vacuum impregnation instead of soaking. FIG. 19a compares the mL of total water or other liquid by retained by 1 mL of treated biochar. The graph 1902 shows that approximately 0.17 mL of water or other liquid are retained through soaking, while the graph 1904 shows that approximately 0.42 mL of water or other liquid are retained as a result of vacuum impregnation. FIG. 19b shows that the retained water of a biochar subjected to soaking consists entirely of surface and interstitial water 1906, while the retained water of a biochar subjected to vacuum impregnation consists not only of surface and interstitial water 1908a, but also water impregnated in the pores of the biochar 1908b.

In addition, as illustrated by FIG. 20, the amount of moisture content impregnated into the pores of vacuum processed biochars by varying the applied (negative) pressure during the treatment process. The graphs of four different biochars all show how the liquid content of the pours of each of them increase to 100% as the vacuum is increased.

The pores may be substantially filled or completely filled with additives to provide enhanced performance features to the biochar, such as increased plant growth, nutrient delivery, water retention, nutrient retention, disadvantageous species control, e.g., weeds, disease causing bacteria, insects, volunteer crops, etc. By infusing liquid deep into the pore structure through the application of positive or negative pressure, surfactant and/or ultrasonic waves, alone or in combination, provides the ability to impregnate the mesopores and macropores of the biochar with additives, that include, but are not limited to, soil enhancing solutions and solids. It should be noted that using these infusion techniques allows for impregnating the pores with additives that are more fragile. For example, since heating is not a requirement for these infusion techniques, microbes, chemicals, or compounds can be infused without risk of destroying the microbes or changing chemicals or compounds due to high temperatures. Also the process can be done at low temperatures to infuse chemicals that have low boiling points to keep them a liquid.

The additive may be a soil enhancing agent that includes, but is not be limited to, any of the following: water, water solutions of salts, inorganic and organic liquids of different polarities, liquid organic compounds or combinations of organic compounds and solvents, mineral and organic oils, slurries and suspensions, supercritical liquids, fertilizers, PGPB (including plant growth promoting rhizobacteria, free-living and nodule-forming nitrogen fixing bacteria, organic decomposers, nitrifying bacteria, and phosphate solubilizing bacteria), enzymes, biocontrol agents, bioremediation agents, saprotrophic fungi, ectomycorrhizae and endomycorrhizae, among others.

Fertilizers that may be infused into the biochar include, but are not limited to, the following sources of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium: urea, ammonium nitrate, calcium nitrate, sulfur, ammonium sulfate, monoammonium phosphate, ammonium polyphosphate, potassium sulfate, or potassium chloride.

Similar beneficial results are expected from other additives, such as: bio pesticides; herbicides; insecticides; nematicides; plant hormones; plant pheromones; organic or inorganic fungicides; algicides; antifouling agents; antimicrobials; attractants; biocides, disinfectants and sanitizers; miticides; microbial pesticides; molluscicides; bactericides; fumigants; ovicides; repellents; rodenticides, defoliants, desiccants; insect growth regulators; plant growth regulators; beneficial microbes; and, microbial nutrients or secondary signal activators, that may also be added to the biochar in a similar manner as a fertilizer. Additionally, beneficial macro- and micro-nutrients such as, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, boron, zinc, iron, manganese, molybdenum, copper and chloride may also be infused into the biochar in the form of a water solution or other solvent solution.

Examples of compounds, in addition to fertilizer, that may be infused into the pores of the biochar include, but are not limited to: phytohormones, such as, abscisic acid (ABA), auxins, cytokinins, gibberellins, brassinosteroies, salicylic acid, jasmonates, planet peptide hormones, polyamines, karrikins, strigolactones; 2,1,3-Benzothiadiazole (BTH), an inducer of systemic acquired resistance that confers broad spectrum disease resistance (including soil borne pathogens); signaling agents similar to BTH in mechanism or structure that protects against a broad range or specific plant pathogens; EPSPS inhibitors; synthetic auxins; photosystem I inhibitors photosystem II inhibitors; and HPPD inhibitors.

In one example, a 1000 ppm NO3N fertilizer solution is infused into the pores of the biochar. As discussed above, the method to infuse biochar with the fertilizer solution may be accomplished generally by placing the biochar in a vacuum infiltration tank or other sealable mixing vessel, chamber or tank. When using vacuum infiltration, a vacuum may be applied to the biochar and then the solution may be introduced into the tank. Alternatively, the solution and biochar may both be introduced into the tank and, once introduced, a vacuum is applied. Based upon the determined total pore volume of the biochar or the incipient wetness, the amount of solution to introduce into the tank necessary to fill the pore of the biochar can be determined. When infused in this manner, significantly more nutrients can be held in a given quantity of biochar versus direct contact of the biochar with the nutrients alone.

When using a surfactant, the biochar and additive solution may be added to a tank along with 0.01-20% of surfactant, but more preferably 1-5% of surfactant by volume of fertilizer solution. The surfactant or detergent aids in the penetration of the wash solution into the pores of the biochar. The same or similar equipment used in the vacuum infiltration process can be used in the surfactant treatment process. Although it is not necessary to apply a vacuum in the surfactant treatment process, the vacuum infiltration tank or any other mixing vessel, chamber or tank can be used. Again, while it is not necessary to apply a vacuum, a vacuum may be applied or the pressure in the vessel may be changed. Further, the surfactant can be added with or without heat or cooling either of the infiltrate, the biochar, the vessel itself, or any combination of the three.

The utility of infusing the biochar with an additive is that the pores in biochar create a protective “medium” for carrying said additive to the environment. As an example when the additive is a fertilizer the nutrient infused biochar provides a more constant supply of available nutrients to the soil and plants and continues to act beneficially, potentially sorbing more nutrients or nutrients in solution even after introduction to the soil. By infusing the nutrients in the pores of the biochar, immediate oversaturation of the soil with the nutrients is prevented and a time released effect is provided. This effect is illustrated in connection with FIGS. 18 and 19 below. As demonstrated in connection with FIGS. 18 & 19 below, biochars having pores infused with additives, using the infusion methods described above, have been shown to increase nutrient retention, increase crop yields and provide a steadier flow of fertilizer to the root zones of the plants.

FIG. 21 is a chart showing improved mass yield in lettuce with fertilizer infused biochar using vacuum impregnation. FIG. 21 compares the mass yield results of lettuce grown in different environments. One set of data measurements represents lettuce grown in soil over a certain set time period with certain, predetermined amounts of fertilizer infused into the biochar. A second set of data represents lettuce grown in soil over a certain set period of time with the same amount of unimpregnated biochar added at the beginning of the trial and certain predetermined amounts of NPK solution added to the soil over time. Growth comparisons were made between the same amount of fertilizer solution infused into the biochar as added directly to the soil, using the same watering schedule. As illustrated, the test results demonstrated a 15% yield increase in growth when infusing approximately 750 mg/pot of NPK into the biochar than when applying it directly to the soil. Similarly, the same mass yield of lettuce is achieved at 400 mg NPK/pot with infused biochar than at 750 mg/pot when adding the fertilizer solution directly to the soil.

FIG. 22 is a chart illustrating the concentration of nitrate (N) found in distilled water after washing differentially treated biochar. In the illustrated example, two biochar samples (500 ml each) mixed with 1000 ppm NO3N fertilizer solution were washed with distilled water. The resulting wash was then tested for the presence of nitrate (N), measured in ppm. In one sample, the biochar was submerged in and mixed with the nutrient solution. In the other example, the biochar was mixed or washed with a nutrient solution augmented with 1% surfactant by volume (i.e., 1 ml of surfactant per 100 ml of fertilizer solution) in a tumbler. In both examples, the biochar was not dried completely before infusion with the NO3N fertilizer solution, but used as received with a moisture content of approximately 10-15%. In both examples, the biochar was mixed with solution and/or surfactant (in the case of a second sample) with a bench scale tumbler, rotating the drum for four (4) minutes without vacuum. The results demonstrate that the biochar treated with the 1% surfactant increases the efficiency of infiltrating nitrate fertilizer into biochar and then demonstrates the release of the nutrient over time. To yield the above data, the test was repeated six times for each treatment sample, with 10 washes for each sample per repeat test.

The above are only a few examples of how additive infused biochar may be produced for different uses. Those skilled in the art will recognize that there may be other mechanisms for infusing fertilizer or other soil additives into the pores of the biochar without departing from the scope of the invention. Those skilled in the art will further recognize that the present invention can be used on any type of soil application, including, but not limited to, the following: crops, turf grasses, potted plants, flowering plants, annuals, perennials, evergreens and seedlings, as will be further described below.

For example, in another implementation, additive infused biochar may be produced for use for consumption by animals and/or humans. Biochar may be infused in the same manner as described above with nutrients (such as carbohydrates, minerals, proteins, lipids), vitamins, drugs and/or other supplements (such as enzymes or hormones, to name a few), or a combination of any of the foregoing, for consumption by either humans and/or animals. Coloring, flavor agents and/or coating may also be infused into the pores of the biochar or applied to the surface. The foregoing may be included to enhance the performance of the substance in the digestive tract or to ease or facilitate the ingestion of the biochar.

Biotechnology, specifically the use of biological organisms, usually microorganisms, to address chemical, industrial, medical, or agricultural problems is a growing field with new applications being discovered daily. To date, much research has focused on identifying, developing, producing and deploying microbes for various uses. However, despite much work on the microbes themselves, relatively little work has been performed on how to carry, deliver, and encourage the successful establishment of these microbes in their targeted environment. Most current technology for microbial carriers in agriculture is based on technologies or products that are highly variable and, in many cases, lead to highly unpredictable performance of microbes in the field. For example, many commercial microbes in agricultural settings are delivered on peat, clay, or other carriers derived from natural sources, accompanied by limited engineering or process control.

Biochar have a proclivity to interact positively with many microbes relevant to plant health, animal health, and human public health applications. In fact, there has been a level of initial research focused on inoculating biochar with microbes and/or using biochar in conjunction with microbes or materials with microbes, e.g. compost. See co-owned U.S. Pat. No. 8,317,891 Method for Enhancing Soil Growth Using Bio-char and Fischer et al., and Synergisms between compost and biochar for sustainable soil amelioration 2012 http://www.intechopen.com/source/pdfs/27163/InTech-Synergisms_between_compost_and_biochar_for_sustainable_soil_amelioration.pdf.

However, biochars, especially in raw form, often suffer from many characteristics which make their interaction with microbial organisms extremely unpredictable. Key among these undesirable characteristics is a high degree of variability. Because of this and other factors, biochar has been, to date, unused in large scale commercial biotechnology applications. There are several methods by which this variability can be ameliorated. At a high level, the methods to overcome these challenges fall into two categories: (i) making the biochar a more favorable habitat for the microbes—either by modifying its properties, adding materials beneficial to microbes, or removing materials deleterious to microbes, or (ii) inoculating, applying, or immobilizing the microbes on the biochar in ways that mitigate the underlying variability in the material. Both of these high-level methods can be used independently or in conjunction and have been shown to have a significant impact on the suitability of biochar in many biotechnology applications.

Before delving into the varying treatment methods that will turn the biochar into a microbial carrier or co-deploying with microbes, it is important to be able to view biochar as a habitat for microbes. Biochar, especially treated biochar, has many physical properties that make it interesting as a microbial habitat. The most obvious of these is its porosity (most biochars have a surface area of over 100 m2/g and total porosity of 0.10 cm3/cm3 or above). Furthermore, many biochars have significant water holding and nutrient retention characteristics which may be beneficial to microbes. Previous disclosure has outlined how these characteristics can be further improved with treatment, e.g., U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/156,256, filed on May 16, 2016, and titled Enhanced Biochar.

However, recent data indicates that the Earth may be home to more than one trillion independent species of microbes (See Kenneth J. Locey and Jay T. Lennon, Scaling laws predict global microbial diversity, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, vol. 113 no. 21 (see full text at http://www.pnas.org/content/113/21/5970.full). Clearly, each of these microbial species does not require an identical habitat. In fact, many have evolved in different conditions and thrive in different environments. Biochar, due to its organic origins, porosity, and amenability to treatment seems to be an extremely desirable base product to be used in the construction of microbial carriers or co-deployment of microbes. If the properties of the biochar can be made to match the properties expected by particular microbes, or groups of microbes, empirical data has shown that a much greater impact can be delivered in many applications—whether the targeted biochar is used as a carrier, substrate, co-deployed product, or merely is introduced into the same environment at a separate time. It stands to reason, as many real-world environments are composed of very complex microbial ecosystems, that giving certain microbes in these ecosystems a more favorable habitat, can ultimately help those microbes to become more successfully established, and potentially shift the entire ecosystem based on their improved ability to compete for resources. Clearly this is a very desirable characteristic when the successful deployment and establishment of a targeted microbe into a new environment is a desired outcome.

There are many properties of a habitat which may be important to certain microbes, but some of the most important are: pH, hydrophobicity or hydrophilicity, ability to hold moisture, ability to retain and exchange certain types of nutrients, ion exchange capacity (cationic and anionic), physical protection from predatory or competitive microbes or protozoa (usable and inhabitable porosity), presence or absence of nutrients, micronutrients, or sources of metabolic carbon, ability to host other symbiotic microbes or plant systems (such as plant root tissue), or others which may be important to various types or species of microbes. Ability to either enhance or suppress the availability of certain enzymes can also be an extremely important factor in building a viable habitat. This invention focuses on methods and systems that can be used to consistently produce biochar which has these targeted characteristics, methods that can be used to effectively create a particular formulation of biochar targeted to match a particular microbe, or group of microbes, and techniques for deploying the desired microbes along with this targeted biochar, through inoculation, co-deployment, integrated growth/fermentation, or other methods.

By using treatment properties disclosed previously, proper feedstock selection, and control of the pyrolysis process, the following are some, but not all, of the properties that can be consistently targeted and controlled at production scales to improve the biochar for use with microbes or as a microbial carrier. Examples of those properties include (1) pH, (2) hydrophobicity, (3) sodium levels, (4) usable pore size distribution and usable pore volume, (5) particle size and distribution, (6) exterior and interior surface geometry, (7) nutrient exchange, (8) exterior and interior surface geometry, (9) useable carbon or energy source, (10) toxic materials or compounds, (11) surface structure/crystals/tortuosity, (12) compatibility with biofilm formations, and (13) enzyme activity.

1. pH

It is well known that various microbes prefer varying levels of acidity or alkalinity. For example, acidophiles have evolved to inhabit extremely acidic environments. Likewise, alkaliphiles prefer more basic (alkali) environments. It has been clearly shown that the methods outlined for treating hiochars can product targeted pH values that can be sustained over long periods of time.

2. Hydrophobicity

There are several common sources of hydrophobicity in porous carbonaceous materials. One of them is the occurrence of hydrophobic organic compounds on the surface of the char—typically residual from the pyrolysis process. Targeted removal of these compounds is a method to improve the hydrophobicity of porous carbonaceous substances. These compounds can be removed in a non-selective, way by increasing the pyrolysis temperature of the biomass to a level at which the compounds will disassociate with the material and become gaseous. This method, while useful, is very broad, and can also remove other desirable compounds as well as changing the surface chemistry of the residual carbon, increasing ash percentages, or reducing carbon yield by reacting and removing more carbon than is necessary. These compounds can also be selectively removed by the application of a targeted solvent using the mechanisms previously disclosed to infiltrate liquids into the pore volume of the material. This method is also effective, and has shown to be much more predictable in the removal of certain compounds. Since the vast majority of microbes rely heavily on water for both transport and life, the easy association of water with a material has a large bearing on its ability to sustain microbial life.

3. Sodium Levels

Differing types of microbes have varying proclivities for the presence of sodium. Some microbes Halobacterium spp. Salinibacter ruber, Wallemia ichthyophaga prefer high levels of salinity, while others prefer moderate or limited levels of sodium. Sodium can be removed from biochar by either simple washing, or more preferably and effectively, treatment methods which infuse a solvent (most commonly water, although others may be used) into the pores of the material. Sodium can be added, by using the same methods except instead of using a solvent, the liquid being washed with or infused is a solution high in sodium content. Additionally, since sodium usually manifests itself as a cation in solution, temporary or permanent adjustment of the cationic exchange capacity (CEC) of the material through treatment which impacts the ability of the material to exchange cations. Lowering the CEC of the material will in many cases reduce its ability to exchange sodium cations, while raising the CEC will typically enhance the ability of the material to exchange sodium cations, with exceptions occurring if other cations are present in quantities that cause them to preferentially exchange instead of the sodium cations present. Finally, differing biomass feedstock contains differing levels of sodium—selecting an appropriate feedstock prior to pyrolysis will result in a raw or untreated biochar with reasonably controlled levels of sodium. For example, pine wood, when pyrolyzed, results in a raw char with lower levels of sodium, while coconut shells result in char with higher levels of sodium after pyrolysis.

Untreated Untreated Coconut Untreated Pine Pine ASH Composition Shell Biochar Biochar #1 Biochar #2 Ultimate Analysis- Moisture free results Ash 6.7% 9.2% 3.6% Ash Composition Sodium Oxide, as 5.7% 1.2% 0.8% Na2O

Regardless, it should be clear that there are various methods available to produce final product with a targeted sodium level, making it suitable for various microbes depending on their preference for an environment with a certain sodium level.

4. Usable Pore Size Distribution and Usable Pore Volume

One very important quality of a microbial habitat is the availability of shelter from environmental or biological hazards. A few examples of environmental hazards are high temperature, UV radiation, or low moisture, while an example of a biological hazard is the existing of predatory multicellular microbes such as protozoa, including both flagellates and ciliates. Ifs order for a particle or material to provide shelter for microbes, at least two conditions must be present: (i) The material must consist of pores or openings of a size which can be inhabited by the microbe in question (ii) but prevent the hazard from entering (e.g. pore size smaller than the size of predators, such as protozoa, or deep enough to be shaded from UV rays) and, (iii) the pores mentioned previously must be usable—namely, they should not be occupied by solid matter (clogged) and/or they should not contain substances that are toxic or undesirable for the microbe in question. In some cases, the pore size distribution of a biochar can be adjusted by the selection of the biomass feedstock to be pyrolyzed and the conditions of the pyrolysis process itself. For example, pine wood has a relatively narrow pore size distribution, with most pores falling in the range from 10-70 μm. Coconut shells, on the other hand, have a much wider size distribution, with many pores below 1 μm, and also a high percentage of porosity above 100 μm. It is theorized that materials with pores of a single size or where most pores are of similar size can potentially be good carriers or habitats for certain, targeted microbes, while materials consisting of broader ranges of pore sizes may be better habitats for communities, consortia or groups of microbes, where each microbe may prefer a slightly different pore size. Furthermore, the pore size of a material may also be controlled during the pyrolysis process by increasing temperature or performing “activation” or other steps common in activated carbon production to react or remove carbon, leaving larger pores, or exposing availability of pores that were once inaccessible from the exterior surface of the material. Adjusting the particle size of the material may also change the pore size distribution in at least two ways: (i) exposing pores that were not available or accessible previously, or (ii) destroying larger pores by fracturing, splitting, or dividing them. In many cases, raw biochar may contain a proper pore size distribution, but for one reason or another, the pores are not usable by the microbes in question. In other cases, the pore size distribution provided by the natural feedstock may be undesirable. Both properties may also be impacted through treatment of the raw biochar itself. Larger pores can be created using strong acids or other caustic substances either by simple washing or through forced or rapid infusion into the pores. Conversely, a material with fewer usable pores may be created by intentionally “clogging” or filling the larger pores with either solids, gums, or liquids designed to stay resident in the pores themselves. This treatment may be done in a controlled way to only partially fill the pores. For example, one could infuse a limited amount of heated liquid, such as a resin, that will become solid at normal atmospheric temperatures. If the volume of liquid used is less than the available pore volume of the material being infused, some of the porosity of the material will be left untreated and available for use. Most importantly, and most commonly, usable pore volume may be increased through the act of simply removing contaminants (physical or chemical) from the pores. Rapid infusion and extraction of liquids may be used to accomplish this. As discussed previously, appropriate solvents may be infused or extracted to remove chemical contaminants. Additionally, gasses or liquids may be driven into or out of the pores to force the removal of many solid obstructions, such as smaller particles of ash or simply smaller particles of raw biochar which may have become lodged in the pore in question. Regardless of the mechanism used, it has been shown that the available, uncontaminated, usable pore volume and pore size has a major role in determining the efficacy biochars in microbial roles.

FIGS. 23 and 24 are images that show how different sized bacteria will fit in different biochar pore size structures. FIG. 23 is rod-shaped gram-positive bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, in a treated pine biochar, with pore openings of ˜10-20 μm and bacteria of ˜2-5 μm. FIG. 24 is rod-shaped gram-negative bacteria, Serratia liquefaciens, in a treated coconut shell biochar, with pore openings of ˜2-10 μm and bacteria of ˜1-2 μm.

In addition, total pore volume in the size of 5-50 μm has been shown to correlate with microbial release rate after inoculation on treated biochar. FIG. 25 illustrates release rate data verse total pore volume data for both coconut shell and pine based treated biochars inoculated with a releasable bacteria. As illustrated in FIG. 25, the data was plotted in a graph, and clearly shows that as pore volume increases so does the release rate.

5. Exterior and Interior Surface Geometry

Two important properties of microbial carriers are: (i) their ability to release microbes from their surfaces and (ii) their ability to immobilize or stabilize microbes on their surfaces. Depending on the final application or use of the carrier, one or both of these properties may be desired. For example, for carriers designed to quickly release a microbe into a targeted domain such as a lake, river, or other waterway, the release characteristics of the material are paramount. For other applications, such as applications of certain symbiotic microbes in agriculture, rapid release may be undesirable, rather it may be important to sustain the microbes within the porosity of the material until plant tissue, such as root biomass, is nearby to provide nutrition for the microbes in question. The surface and pore geometry of the material used as a carrier can be critical to determine this behavior. For example, material with generally smooth, uniform surfaces will typically release many microbes much more effectively, while material with more rugged, varied, tortuous pore surfaces and geometry will typically retain and immobilize microbes more effectively. The biomass used in the production of the final material is one of the most important factors in surface geometry. However, even this quality can be altered through treatment. Specifically, smooth surfaces may be etched by implementing the treatment and infusion processes previously disclosed with strong acids, rendering them rougher. Conversely, rough surfaces may be treated with either organic or inorganic compounds to coat and remove contour. Mechanical means may also be used to affect changes in particle geometry. Many forms of charred material have relatively low crush strength and are relatively brittle. The method used to grind, or size particles can have a large impact on the geometry of the final particles. For example, particles milled using a ball mill or other type of grinding technology will typically have a smoother exterior geometry after the milling is complete and may lose a good amount of their porosity through the simple mechanical crushing of pores. However, particles sized using ultrasonic vibrations or even simple physical vibrations to shatter, rather than crush larger particles into smaller ones, will typically retain their geometry, or sometimes result in smaller particles with more rugged geometries than the particles at the beginning. It should be apparent to one skilled in the art that there are various mechanical mechanisms available to effect these changes, but the resulting particles can be tailored to meet a particular microbial release or immobilization outcome.

6. Particle Size and Distribution

It is well known that the particle size and particle size distribution of a material has a key impact on its formulation as a microbial carrier. In many cases, these factors are very different for porous carbonaceous materials than they are for other common microbial carriers. In standard carriers, typically the reduction of particle size is a method used to increase surface area, and thus the area available to support, immobilize, and carry microbes. However, in porous materials, specifically materials with a large volume of usable interior porosity, sometimes a reduction in particle size does not cause a large increase in the usable surface area—specifically because the interior surfaces of the material were already exposed, and reducing the size of the particle does not change that fact. This leads to a somewhat counterintuitive behavior in some cases in which the reduction of the particle size of a porous material actually degrades its performance as a microbial carrier, due to the phenomena that surfaces that were once sheltered inside the material are exposed as exterior surfaces when the material is split or crushed, making the material less desirable as a habitat for microbes that require shelter from the surrounding environment. Additionally, at times the actual distribution of particle sizes can be a key factor in performance. As a simple example, imagine an aggregated material which consists of only two particle sizes: 1 mm and 1 μm. Furthermore, imagine that 50% of the mass of the aggregate resided in the 1 mm particles with the remainder in the 1 μm particles. Lastly, imagine that the 1 mm particles were porous carbonaceous particles with an average pore size of approximately 50 μm. It should be clear that if this aggregate was placed in a container and agitated, that a good portion of the 1 μm particles would end up inhabiting the pore volume of the 1 mm particles, impacting their usability. In fact, this is the behavior that we see in practice. Therefore, for certain microbial applications, it is desirable to remove extremely small particles, often referred to as fines, from the aggregate. This has the additional benefit of reducing dust during application, which is particularly important in aerial applications, and reducing the level of surface runoff for applications in water, which also is important in certain microbial applications. The small particles may be removed through several methods such as sieving, blowing or aerodynamic removal, separation with either stationary or moving liquids (hydrostatic or hydrodynamic separation) of various viscosities, temperatures, flow rates, etc. However, at times, having a mixture of smaller and larger particles can be desirable. The most common cases are when communities of microbes are to be deployed, or the aggregate is to remain generally intact for a period of time (fermentation applications, long term storage applications, or preparation for other formulation uses such as pelletization), in which case, the interparticle void space is also an important factor and can be optimized for a particular microbe or set of microbes by providing a range of particle sizes and geometries.

7. Nutrient Exchange

The ability of a material to hold or exchange nutrients is an incredibly important characteristic, not only for microbial, but also for general agricultural applications. There are two primary mechanisms that porous carbonaceous materials can exchange nutrients: (i) sorption or retention of the nutrients on the interior and exterior surfaces of the material, and (ii) retention of the nutrients either in suspension or solution in liquid or gasses residing in the pore volume of the material. Both mechanisms are very useful, but also very different in function. Surface sorption or retention is driven by two main properties, among others: (i) ion exchange capacity of the material and. (ii) reactivity or electrical charge of compounds present on or coating the surfaces of the material. Retention of nutrients in solution or suspension are impacted by other, different characteristics of the material, such as hydrophilicity, oil sorption capacity, usable pore volume and pore size distribution, and interior pore geometry and tortuosity. The surface retention of nutrients can be targeted by selecting the feedstock biomass (some materials render a char after pyrolysis with vastly differing ionic exchange capacities (CEC and AEC) than others). It can also be impacted by adjusting pyrolysis conditions. Higher pyrolysis temperatures tend to reduce CEC and nutrient adsorption capability. See Gai, Xiapu et al. “Effects of Feedstock and Pyrolysis Temperature on Biochar Adsorption of Ammonium and Nitrate.” Ed. Jonathan A. Coles. PLoS ONE 9.12 (2014): e113888. PMC. Web. 19 Nov. 2016. In addition, the surface retention of nutrients can be impacted by treating the surfaces of the material with substances targeted towards adjusting the ionic exchange characteristics. For example, using the previously disclosed treatment methods to infuse H2O2 into the pores of the carbonaceous material and then evaporating the liquid can increase the cationic exchange properties of the material.

Furthermore, another way to exchange nutrients more efficiently is to use the pore volume rather than, or in addition to, the pore surfaces—namely keeping the nutrients in solution or liquid or gaseous form and placing them in the volume of the pores rather than attempting to sorb them on the surfaces of the material. This can be an incredibly useful technique not only for plant life and soil health, but also for microbes. The food sources can vary from simple to complex such as glucose, molasses, yeast extract, kelp meal, or bacteria media (e.g. MacConkey, Tryptic Soy, Luria-Bertani). When using the pore volume to exchange nutrients in this way, it should be clear that a wide variety of nutrients may be used, and targeted combinations of pore volume, size, and nutrition can be produced to assist in the delivery, establishment, or successful colonization of targeted microorganisms or groups of microorganisms. It should be clear by this point that merely immersing the biochar or porous carbonaceous material in a liquid nutrient broth may be partially effective in filling the pore volume or coating the pore surfaces with these nutrients and should be considered within the scope of this invention, however using the treatment techniques outlined in this and related disclosures is much more effective at both coating the surfaces and infusing nutrition into the pore volume of the material itself. Since many microbes rely on liquid for mobility, placing liquid into the pore volume of the material is in many cases a prerequisite for successfully infusing, carrying, or delivering microbes.

8. Usable Carbon or Energy Sources

Related to the ability to improve nutrient exchange is the ability to treat the pore volume, pore surfaces, exterior surfaces, or any combination of these with not only custom broths or growth media, but also other forms of carbon known to be beneficial to microbes and plant life. Some examples of this are carbohydrates (simple and complex), humic substances, plant macro and micronutrients such as nitrogen (in many forms, such as ammonium and nitrates), phosphorous, potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium, and sulfur and trace elements such as manganese, cobalt, zinc, copper, molybdenum. These nutrients may either be infused in liquid or gaseous form, or even as a suspended solid in liquid. The liquid may be left in the pores, or may be removed. If removed through evaporation, nutrients in solution or suspended solids may be left behind, while if removed by mechanical or physical means, a portion of the liquid may be left behind as well as some solids. It should be noted that the various forms of removal have differing advantages and disadvantages and that many energy sources may be added either at the same time or in sequence, with one, or many, removal steps in between treatment or infusion steps.

9. Toxic Materials or Compounds

The selective addition or removal of materials or substances known to be toxic to a certain microbe or lifeform is a key step in preparation of biochar for use as a microbial habitat or carrier. It has been shown, that through treatment, potentially toxic compounds can be removed with much greater effectiveness than through simple pyrolysis alone. Some examples of the potentially deleterious compounds that may be removed are: volatile organic compounds (VOCs), monoaromatics, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), heavy metals, and chlorinated compounds (e.g. dioxins and furans). A proven approach to remove these substances is to wash the exterior surfaces with and/or rapidly infuse a solvent into the pore volume of the material targeted to remove these substances. Following the infusion with either mechanical extraction, drying, or other methods to remove the solvent, laden with the substances in question, from the pores and interparticle spaces is a desirable, but not, strictly necessary step to further reduce the levels of toxicity. For example, the following data shows removal of dioxins using the treatment process of the present invention.

Raw coconut Treated coconut Raw pine Treated pine shell biochar shell biochar biochar biochar TEQ ng/kg 0.7 0.4 9.6 0.4 (method 8290A)

Another approach for some toxic compounds (benzene as one example) is, rather than removing the compounds in question, to react them in place with other compounds to neutralize the toxicant. This approach can be used either with washing, or forced/assisted infusion, and in these cases a removal step is less necessary—although it still can be used to prepare the material for another, subsequent phase of treatment.

Much attention is given to the removal of toxic compounds, but it should be also be noted that at times, it can be extremely beneficial to actually add or treat the material with toxic compounds. A primary example of this is sterilization, or preparation for selective infusion. Even after pyrolysis, residual biological life has been found to potentially establish itself in biochars given the right conditions. Treating, washing, or infusing the material with antiseptics such as methanol, ethanol, or other antibacterial or antiviral substances can be a key step in removing contamination and preparing the material for use in microbial applications. A variation on this approach is to infuse, treat, or wash the material with a selectively toxic compound, such as a targeted antibiotic or pharmaceutical targeted towards interrupting the lifecycle of a specific set of microorganisms or organisms, thereby giving other microbes, either through infusion or merely contact in situ the opportunity to establish. Some examples of this treatment would be the use of antifungals such as cycloheximide to suppress fungal growth and provide an environment more well suited toward the establishment of bacteria. As has been stated previously, the methods may be used alone, or in combination with one another. Specifically, a toxic compound such as ethanol, may be infused, removed, and then steps may be taken to remove other toxic compounds, followed by steps to add carbon sources or growth media.

10. Surface Structures/Crystals/Tortuosity

The physical surface and pore structure of the material is critically important to its suitability as a microbial habitat. There are many factors that contribute to the surface structure of the material. The most notable of these factors is the biomass used to produce the carbonaceous material—the cellular structure of the biomass dictates the basic shape of many of the pores. For example, pyrolyzed coconut shells typically have less surface area, and a more diverse distribution of pore sizes than pyrolyzed pine wood, which, when pyrolyzed at the same temperature, has greater surface area, but a more uniform (less diverse) pore size distribution. Tortuosity, or the amount of curvature in a given path through a selected pore volume is also an extremely important characteristic of engineered porous carbonaceous materials.

FIG. 26 shows the total fungi/bacteria ratio for two biochars derived from different biochar starting materials, e.g., feedstocks. Each biochar was loaded with different levels of moisture, and the total fungi/bacteria ratio was monitored during the first week. Biochar A 2301 showed a constant total fungi/bacteria ratio of 0.08 across moisture levels rang 5000 ng from 15% to 40%, while Biochar B 2302 showed a constant total fungi/bacteria ratio of 0.50 for moisture levels ranging from 30% to 40%. It is theorized that, a fungi/bacteria ratio between 0.05 and 0.60 is an effective prescription for a stable biochar composition. This composition allows a commercially viable product, which has sufficient shelf life that it can be delivered to storage houses waiting for the proper planting window.

It is theorized that the difference in the observed total fungi/total bacteria ratios of may also be explainable by the structures of the biochars. Biochar’s having an open pore structure, e.g., more interconnected pores, promotes more bacteria formation; while closed pores, e.g., relatively non-connected nature of the pores, tends to promote fungi formation. Biochars with differing microbial communities may be beneficial for specific applications in commercial agriculture. Thus, custom or tailored loading of the microbial population may be a desired implementation of the present invention.

For example, as shown in FIGS. 27a, 27b and 27c, Biochar A 2701 shows that it has a greater population of, i.e., is inhabited by, more gram negative, gram positive and actinomycetes than Biochar B 2702. Thus, for example, Biochar A would be more applicable for use with certain agricultural crops in which Plant Growth Promoting Bacteria (PGPB) species in the actinomycetes, gram (−) pseudomonas, and bacillus groups are used for nutrient utilization and uptake.

It should be noted that both pyrolysis and post-treatment can be used to further modify the shape of these pores and structures. Pyrolyzing at higher temperatures, injecting select gasses or liquids during pyrolysis, or both typically will increase the pore volume and surface area of the material in question. Steam is the most readily available gas to cause this effect, but hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, as well as other reactive gasses can be used. Prior art has clearly shown that the surface area of a biochar changes based on feedstock and pyrolysis temperature. Post treatment focused on a forced infusion of a strong acid, or other reactive substance into the pore space of the carbonaceous material can also be used to modify the pore size and pore volume of material by removing or breaking down the carbon matrix which forms the structure of the biochar, or other porous carbonaceous material. Acid etching or infusion can also be used to make smoother surfaces rougher. Rough surfaces can be very useful in the attachment and immobilization of microbes. Smooth surfaces can be useful for the easy release of carried microbes. Coating the surface area with materials such as starches is a technique to make rough surfaces smoother. Ultrasound, with or without a transmission media (gel, liquid, oil, or other) can also be used to rupture interpore divisions and create more pore space. Flash gasification, either at atmospheric pressure, or under negative or positive pressure, of liquid infused into the pores by the methods previously disclosed can also be used to crack, disrupt, or fracture solid material separating adjacent pores.

While much attention is given to modifying the pore structure by removing carbonaceous material, it should be noted that the pore structure can also be modified by the coating, forced infusion, and/or addition of materials which will bond to the carbon and consume pore volume, smooth surfaces, add tortuosity, change the exterior surfaces, or all of these. In the most simple form, it should be clear that materials may be added to coat surfaces or fill pore volume either through forced infusion, simple contact, or other means. However, if the material is infused or even simply contacted with a super saturated solution of a substance that will crystallize, such as sucrose, sodium chloride, or other common or uncommon substances known to form crystals. It should be noted that the crystals or substances used to create them do not need to be water soluble, and in fact in many cases it is desirable if they are not. The crystals may also be composed of nutrients or substances which may be beneficial to microbial or plant life. Examples of this are sucrose and monoammonium phosphate, both known for their ability to easily crystallize and be beneficial for microbial and plant life respectively. By adding material or even growing crystals on the carbon, a hybrid material is formed which can have many properties that are exceptionally useful for the delivery and establishment of microbial systems. Crystallization is also way to add tortuosity to a carbonaceous material and typically is much more effective in this aspect than coating with solids alone.

11. Compatibility with Biofilm Formation

Biofilms can be an important factor in the survival of a microbe in extreme or challenging conditions. Bacterial communities can shift their morphology to increase nutritional access and decrease predation. One such modification is that the bacteria may attach to surfaces, such as those found in biochar, in a densely compacted community. In this compacted form, they may form an extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) matrix called a biofilm. These communities can contain hundreds of different species which find shelter under the protective EPS coating from predatory protozoa, pathogens, contaminants, and other environmental stressors. In some cases, usually related to public health or healthcare, biofilms are undesirable as they typically allow pathogenic microbes to survive exposure to antiseptics, antibiotics, predatory microbes such as protozoa, or other agents which may eliminate them or negatively impact their prospects for survival. But in agricultural settings, encouraging target biofilm establishment could lead to improved microbe survival and thus improved agricultural or crop benefits.

As outlined in the article titled The Effect of Environmental Conditions on Biofilm Formation of Burkholderia psudomallei Clinical Isolates, it can be seen that certain bacteria require certain environmental factors, among them surface pH, for the creation of biofilms. See Ramli, et al., The Effect of Environmental Conditions on Biofilm Formation of Burkholderia psudomallei Clinical Isolates (Sep. 6, 2012) (http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0044104). It is believed that other surface characteristics (rugged vs. smooth surfaces, surface charge, and more), along with moisture levels and relative humidity also play a large role in biofilm formation.

But for certain microbes requiring deployment into environments known to present survival challenges, optimizing a delivery material to encourage the formation of these protective biofilms can provide the targeted microbes with a significant advantage. Also, many vegetable and short cycle row crops such as tomatoes, lettuce, and celery form mutualistic relationships with bacteria that lead to the formation of biofilms on root hairs that function not only in nutrient uptake but also in plant pathogen resistance.

As outlined in previous disclosure, treatment of raw biochar can be used to adjust the surface pH to a level suitable for biofilm formation. Similarly, adjusting the humidity by selectively leaving a measured or controlled amount of water resident in the pore volume of the material can also provide benefit. Lastly, the techniques outlines for modifying the physical surface properties of the material either by smoothing or roughening, can be key factors also.

It should be clear that these factors can also be reversed to create an environment that is unsuitable for biofilm formation in applications where the formation of biofilms on the carrier is not desirable—e.g. delivery or applications where quick release of microbes from the carrier is important.

12. Surface Charge

The surface charge of a porous carbonaceous material can be crucially important in the association and establishment of targeted microbes with or on the material. For example, most bacteria have a net negative surface charge and in certain conditions a specific bacterium may favor attachment to positively charged surfaces. In some biological applications, this attachment may be preferred, in others, attachment may not be preferred. However, modifying the surface charge of the material is clearly a way to impact the suitability for attachment of certain microbes. There are many ways in which the surface charge of a carbonaceous material may be changed or modified. One way to accomplish this is by treating the surface area of the material with a solution containing a metal, such as Mn, Zn, Fe, or Ca. This can be performed either by doping the material with these metals prior to or during pyrolysis, or more preferably, by using a forced infusion or treatment technique after pyrolysis to deposit these substances on the interior and/or exterior surfaces of the carbonaceous material. By controlling the amount and or types of substances infused, the surface charge of the material can be modified by encouraging loading of O2 or other anions, or conversely, N+, NH2+, or other cations. This modification of surface charge can have a profound impact on the ability of certain microorganism to be immobilized on the interior and exterior surfaces of the material.

Another application of surface charge can be found by temporarily charging the carbonaceous material during inoculation with microbes. Carbon is used as a cathode or anode in many industrial applications. Because of its unique electrical properties, carbon, or more specifically porous carbonaceous materials, may be given a temporary surface charge by the application of a difference in electrical potential. One application of this mechanism is to create a temporarily positively charged surface to encourage microbial attachment. Then, while the charge is maintained, allowing the microbes to attach themselves to and colonize the carrier. Once the colonization is complete, the charge can be released and the carrier, laden with microbes can either be deployed as is, or can undergo further treatment to stabilize the microbes such as lyophilization, or freeze drying.

13. Enzyme Activity

For some types of microbes, enzyme activity, or the presence of certain enzymes is every bit as important as the availability of energy or nutrition. Enzymes can be critical in the ability of microbes to metabolize nutrition, which in turn can be a key element of reproduction, survival, and effective deployment. There are six main types of enzymes: hydrolases, isomerases, ligases, lyases, oxidoreductases, and transferases. These enzymes can be important in microbial applications. Through treatment or even simple contact, enzymes, like nutrients and energy sources, can be deposited on the surfaces or within the pore volume of porous carbonaceous materials, either as solids, or in solution/suspension, ensuring the enzymes are not degraded through the process. However, forced infusion of enzymes through the treatment processes previously outlined allows for much greater storage capacity and much greater levels of contact with the interior surfaces of the biochar, and as such, is preferable to simple contact. In some cases, the carbonaceous material can be used to deliver enzymes alone into an environment where both a habitat and enzymes are needed to promote or encourage the growth of certain indigenous microbes.

Another important aspect of enzyme activity is that some bacteria make extra-cellular enzymes which could be bound by the biochar or either reduce or even stop biochemical reactions. Thus, in certain situations when application is appropriate the carbonaceous material can be used to inhibit or make certain enzymes ineffective. For example, if the biochar is being used as a carrier for food or certain chemicals that are vulnerable to breakdown by enzymatic degradation and these specific enzymes would be bound by the biochar, then using the carbonaceous material as the carrier would provide for greater shelf-life: and viability of the product versus traditional carriers.

14. Sterilization

In many cases, it is desirable to remove potential unwanted microbes from the surfaces and pore volume of the material through sterilization. At outlined above, infusion with antiseptics or antibiotics are a way to accomplish this. Boiling, or more preferably, forced infusion of steam is also a technique that can be used to remove resident microbial life. Heating to a temperature above 100 degrees C., and preferably between 100 and 150 degrees C. is also effective for removing some microbial life. Heating may be required for ideally 30 minutes or more, depending on volume, method, and extent (temperature, radiation). Autoclaving can also be used 30 minutes, 121 degrees C., 20 psig. For applications requiring a high level of sterility, gamma irradiation can be used, with dosages adjusted for the level of sterility needed in ranges of 5 to 10 kGy or even 50 to 100 kGy or even higher dosage levels. For all sterilization methods, the extent of treatment required will depend on the volume of material and the required level of sterilization. In general, sterilization, using heat, should be done for at least 30 minutes, but should be adjusted as needed.

At this point, it should be clear that all of these properties can be controlled and modified to create a treated, controlled biochar that is suitable for use as a microbial carrier, delivery system, habitat, fermentation substrate, or environmental (soil, water or other) enhancement. By controlling these properties and producing a material matched to the application and the microbe(s) in question, effectiveness can be dramatically improved over both traditional biological carriers, and many forms of raw, untreated, uncontrolled biochar. Furthermore, varying materials, with varying properties, may be aggregated to provide delivery systems or habitats targeted towards consortia, communities, or groups of microbes.

Typically, the prior art teaches either placing biochar on soils alone or combining the biochar with compost and using this mixture as a soil amendment. The nature of the microbial population in this compost mixture is poorly disclosed by the prior art. Thus using more targeted methods to get the desired microbes into the suitable habitat created by the raw biochar, or more preferably treated or controlled biochar is desired. The following are some but not all, methods and systems that can be used to inoculate, deploy, or otherwise associate microbial life with a treated or untreated biochar:

1. Co-Deployment

This method focuses on deploying the microbes at the same time as the biochar. This can be done either by deploying the biochar into the environment first, followed by microbes or by reversing the order, or even deploying the two components simultaneously. An example of this would be the deployment of a commercial brady rhizobium inoculant simultaneously with the introduction of a treated biochar into the soil media. The system here is the combination use of a biochar and microbes in the environment, and more preferably a char treated to have suitable properties for a target microbe or group of microbes which it is used with in a targeted application for a specified purpose, for example a symbiotic crop of said microbe(s).

In one experiment, various biochar feedstocks with various post-treatments were added to a soilless mix containing soybean seeds that had been treated with a commercial microbial product containing bradyrhizobium japonicum. and compared to both a control with microbe inoculant and one without. Some of the treated biochars co-deployed with the inoculant increased seed germination rates, one by 29%. Others increased nodulation measured at 10 weeks, one more than doubled the number of nodules. The use of the microbial inoculant increased shoot biomass in all treatments. FIG. 28 is a chart comparing shoot biomass when the biochar added to a soilless mix containing soybean seeds is treated with microbial product containing bradyrhizobium japonicum. and when it is untreated. As illustrated in FIG. 28, shoot biomass increased with the biochar was treated.

FIG. 29 shows the comparison of root biomass in a microbial inoculated environment versus one without inoculation. As illustrated in FIG. 29, when inoculated, root biomass decreased with the inoculant alone yet increased with the use of all the treated biochars with or without inoculant.

In addition leaf tissue analysis was done which showed some of the treated biochars co-deployed with the rhizobial inoculant showed a significant increase in nitrogen uptake. FIG. 30 is a chart comparing the nitrogen levels when the biochar is inoculated with the rhizobial inoculant verses when it is not inoculated. Statistical significance in the chart in FIG. 30 is marked with a star. In all cases, nitrogen levels increase with inoculation.

As outlined in these results, the addition of a treated biochar suitable for co-deployment with this particular microbe increased nodulation, increased nitrogen fixation/availability, and resulted in substantially increased root mass. It should be noted that to demonstrate the differing performance of varying formulations, two formulations were tested, each showing different interactions with the microbe in question, along with significant variations in performance. This is just one example to demonstrate the invention of how the specific combination of biochar feedstock, biochar treatment, co-deployed microbe, and application (this case plant species) can lead to improved microbial effectiveness and thus improved results (this case plant vigor), versus no treatment, applying the microbe alone, or applying the biochar alone. Another example of co-deployment benefit could be using a biochar that has strong absorption properties in combination with fertilizer (or infused with fertilizer) and microbes in an agricultural setting. The biochar properties that help retain and then slowly release nutrients and ions will also help the targeted microbe population to establish and grow without being impacted by the high levels of fertilizer salts or nutrients which can often impede and sometimes kill the microbes being deployed.

2. Basic Inoculation

A more advanced method of inoculation centers on mixing the microbe or microbes in question with the treated or untreated biochar before deployment. In some cases, the biochar in question can be treated, produced, or controlled to assist with this deployment, making this case slightly different than merely inoculating a microbe on untreated biochar. In one form, microbes suspended in liquid (either water, growth media, or other liquids) are deposited on the biochar and mixed together until both materials are well integrated and then the material is deployed as a granular solid. It has been shown that materials that have been treated to be more hydrophilic typically accept this inoculation more readily than hydrophobic materials—demonstrating yet another way in which the treatment of biochar can enhance performance. In another form of basic inoculation, the biochar is delivered in suspension in the liquid also carrying the microbes. This biochar/liquid/microbe slurry is then deployed as a liquid. In this form, sizing the biochar particles in such a way that their surface properties and porosity is maintained is a key element of effectiveness. Additionally, ensuring that the pores are treated to allow easy association of both liquid and microbes with the surfaces of the biochar is important. An example of a basic inoculation method of biochar for a bacteria in lab scale is as follows:

    • 1) Isolate Pseudomonas protegens on a plate with 1.5% w/v Tryptic Soy Broth solidified with 1.5% w/v agar and incubate at 30° C. for 12 h
    • 2) Take an isolated colony of Pseudomonas protegens and grow up in a 1.5% w/v TSB solution (90 ml) along with 10 g sterile biochar (sterilized at 110 C in small batches for 15-20 min) and combine both in a sterile 250 ml Erlenmeyer flask
    • 3) Shake contents of flask at 150 rpm at 30° C. for 12 h, or greater
    • 4) Transfer contents of flask into a sterilized ultracentrifuge tube (250 ml) and spin at 10,000×g for 10 min
    • 5) Carefully remove supernatant liquid fraction by filtering through a Whatman No 4 filter with a vacuum filtration system to separate out the bulk liquid from biochar.

After basic inoculation, the material and the microbes may be deployed immediately, stored for future use, or stabilized using technology such as lyophilization.

3. Assisted Inoculation

Another form of inoculation, which appears to have greater efficacy with some microbial systems, is assisted inoculation. Assisted inoculation involves providing mechanical, chemical, or biological assistance to move the targeted microbe either into the pore volume of the carrier or onto interior surfaces of the material that normally may not be accessible. Realizing that many microbes require liquid, and preferably water, for mobility, the most straightforward method of assisted inoculation requires infiltrating the pore volume of the material with water prior to contact with the targeted microbes. This water infusion can be done using the treatment methods described previously in this disclosure. It has been shown that, with certain microbes, making this change alone will have a positive impact on the ability of microbes to associate with and infiltrate the material. In one experiment, it was shown that water infusion improved release rate on both a treated pine biochar with granular particles and with a coconut biochar powder. FIG. 31 illustrates the three-day release rates of water infused biochar compared to other types of biochar. As illustrated, results vary depending upon the biomass.

Changes can also be made in the media to reduce surface tension and increase flowability through the addition of a surfactant to the water, either into the liquid used to carry the microbes, or into the pores of the material itself, through simple contact, or preferably forced infusion.

Additionally, the microbes themselves may be assisted into the pores using the treatment techniques previously outlined. Care needs to be taken to match the microbe to the technique used, but many microbes are capable of surviving vacuum infiltration if performed at relatively gentle, lower pressure differentials (+/−10% of standard temperature and pressure). Some microbes, and many spores however are capable of surviving vacuum infiltration even at relatively large pressure differentials (+/−50, 75, or even 90 or 95% or more variation from standard temperature and pressure). When this technique is used, a liquid mixture is constructed containing both liquid to be infused and the microbe or microbes in question. The liquid is then used as the “infiltrant” outlined in previous disclosure related to placing liquid into the pore volume of the material. The final material, infiltrated with microbes, may then be heated to incubate the microbes, cooled to slow development of the microbes or stabilize the microbes, or have other techniques applied such as lyophilization. The material may then be delivered in solid granular form, powdered, further sized downward by grinding or milling, upward by agglomerating, aggregating, or bonding, or suspended in a liquid carrier. A clear advantage to this assisted infusion approach is that the material can be processed or handled after inoculation with more microbial stability because the targeted microbes are inhabiting the interior pore volume of the material and are less prone to degradation due to contact with exterior surfaces, or other direct physical or environmental contact. This method may be applied repeatedly, with one or more microbes, and one to many moisture removal steps. It may also be combined with the other inoculation methods disclosed here either in whole or in part.

FIGS. 32a, 32b and 32c show scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images of raw biochar compared to ones that have been processed by being infused under vacuum with bio-extract containing different microbial species.

FIG. 32a is a SEM (10 KV×3.00K 10.0 μm) of pore morphology of raw biochar. FIG. 32b is a SEM (10 KV×3.00K 10.0 μm) of pore morphology of raw biochar of FIG. 32a after it has been infused with microbial species. FIG. 32c is a SEM (10 KV×3.00K 10.0 μm) of a pore morphology of another example of raw biochar of FIG. 32a after it has been infused with microbial species. The images confirm the ability to incorporate different microbes into the pores of biochar by treatment. In turn, these beneficial microbes can interact with and enhance the performance of the environment they are deployed into, for example the plants’ root systems when the inoculated biochar is mixed with the soil in the root zone.

Compared to a biochar that has immersed in a compost tea, which may have a relatively short, e.g., a few days for the life of the microbes, the impregnated populations of examples of the present treated biochars, are stable over substantially longer periods of time, e.g., at least an 8 week period and in some cases 1 year or more as measured by PLFA (Phospholipid-derived fatty acids) analysis. PLFA analysis extracts the fatty acid side chains of phospholipid bilayers and measures the quantity of these biomarkers using GC-MS. An estimate of the microbial community population can thus be determined through PLFA analysis. The microbial activity may also be inferred through PLFA analysis by monitoring the transformation of specific fatty acids. Thus, the impregnation of the biochar with a microbial population provides for extended life of the microbes by at least 5×, 10×, or more over simple contact or immersion. In fact, some microbes may be better suited to surfactant infiltration versus vacuum infiltration and vice versa and this may impact the shelf life, penetration, viability, or other characteristics of the microbes.

As used herein, unless stated otherwise, the stable shelf life of an example of a biochar product having a microbial population is the period of time over which the product can be stored in a warehouse, e.g., dry environment, temperature between 40° F.-90° F., with a less than 50% decrease in microbial population.

4. Integrated Growth/Deployable Substrate

With many microbes, especially fungi, it can be helpful to develop or “grow” the microbes on the material itself. With porous materials, rather than mechanically or chemically assisting the infiltration of the microbes, it can be beneficial to allow the microbes themselves to inhabit the pore volume of the material prior to deployment. In fact, with materials constructed to effectively immobilize microbes, this can be the most efficient technique to stabilize, store, and ultimately deploy the microbes in question.

An example of this method involves preparing the biochar material for the microbes, sometimes through thorough cleansing, other times through addition of either enzymes or energy sources needed by the microbe in question, preferably using the treatment techniques described previously in this disclosure. Once the material is prepared, the microbes are placed onto the material, or infused into the material and then incubated for a period of time. In the case of many microbial systems, the microbes themselves will inhabit the material and form close affiliations with available surfaces and pore volume. At this point, the material can be deployed with the microbes actively attached and affiliated. With many microbes, especially fungi, this is a preferred method of deployment and shows many advantages over co-deployment, or basic inoculation because of the tight integration of biological life with the material itself.

An example of an integrated growth inoculation method of biochar for a fungus in lab scale is as follows:

    • 1) Make petri dishes containing corn meal agar (17 g/L), glucose (10 g/L), and yeast extract (1 g/L)
    • 2) Inoculate plates with Sordaria fimicola and incubate between 22-30 C for at least 1 day to produce hyphae
    • 3) Sterilize an inoculating loop and slice “plugs” of the hyphae and agar generating cubes that are agar and hyphal mass
    • 4) Inoculate a sterile plate with a “plug” in the center of the plate, around perimeter have sterile biochar
    • 5) Incubate plate for at least a day and remove biochar (that are now covered with grown over hyphae)]

It should be noted that because of this effect, biochars, and specifically treated biochars can also be extremely effective substrates for solid state fermentation—particularly when growth media or energy sources are added to the pore volume of the material. So, once incubation is ongoing, the material can either be removed, with the integrated microbes, and deployed, or it can be stabilized for long term storage, or it can be left in situ and used as a fermentation or growth substrate to develop or grow more microbes—especially those that require a solid to propagate and develop.

5. Media and/or Enzyme Infiltration

As mentioned previously, growth media, energy sources, enzymes, or other beneficial/necessary components for microbial growth may be infused into the pore volume or coated onto the surfaces of the material in question. This method can be combined with any of the other inoculation techniques disclosed here. It has been shown that with certain microbes and certain types of material, inoculation with growth media or enzymes can significant impact the effectiveness of the biochar material as a carrier.

6. Habitat Pre-Establishment (Enhanced Rhizosphere)

There are certain microbes which, because of symbiotic associations with host organisms, such as plants, prefer to develop in the vicinity of the organism, such as the active root or other plant tissue. An effective method for deploying these organisms can be to develop and deploy the plant/microbe/habitat (biochar) system together as a unit.

An example of this is germinating seed or transplanting a seedling or developing juvenile plant in the presence of treated or untreated biochar, and the targeted microbes. Biochar that has been treated to encourage hydrophilicity and neutral pH typically allows for easier affiliation of plant root tissue with the material. As this affiliation occurs, a habitat for symbiotic organisms is developed within the material itself due to the proximity of active plant tissue to microbes reliant on the tissue for energy. As this symbiosis continues, the number, activity, and colony size of the targeted microbes will continue to grow. At this point, the plant and biochar can be deployed together into the target environment, acting as a pre-established habitat and carrying the microbes along with them.

Another option is to develop and then remove the biochar from the “incubation” system either by stripping the biochar material from the symbiotic organism, such as the root mass, or by sieving or sifting the media used to grow the plant. At this point, the microbes can either be deployed directly or stabilized for storage.

Thus, through more controlled inoculation of the biochar particles, one can achieve a predetermined and controllable amount of a microbial community, e.g., population, into the soil. This integration of a microbial community with a biochar particle, and biochar batches provides the ability to have controlled addition, use and release of the microbes in the community. In agricultural applications, this integration c a n further enhance, promote and facilitate the growth of roots, e.g., micro-roots, in the biochar pores, e.g., pore morphology, pore volume.

Other methods than those listed above exist for integrating a microbial community with an untreated or previously infused biochar particle. Different manners and methods would be preferred depending on needs to minimize contamination, encourage biochar pore colonization/infiltration, minimize labor and cost and producing a uniform, or mostly uniform, product.

Other methods for integrating a microbial community with a biochar particle may include, but are not be limited to the following: while under vacuum, pulling the microbial solution through a treated biochar bed that is resting on a membrane filter; spraying a microbial solution on top of a treated biochar bed; lyophilizing a microbial solution and then blending said freeze dried solution with the treated biochar; again infusing, as defined previously, the treated biochar with a microbial solution; adding treated biochar to a growth medium, inoculating with the microbe, and incubating to allow the microbe to grow in said biochar containing medium; infusing, as defined previously, the biochar with a food source and then introducing the substrate infused biochar to a microbe and incubating to allow the microbes to grow; blending commercially available strains in dry form with treated biochar; adding the treated biochar to a microbial solution and then centrifuging at a high speed, potentially with a density gradient in order to promote the biochar to spin down with the microbes; densely packing a column with treated biochar and then gravity flowing a microbial solution through the column and possibly repeating this multiple times; or adding the microbe to a solution based binder that is well known to enter the treated biochar pores and then adding said solution to the treated biochar. In order to insure the proper microbial community the treated biochar may need to be sterilized prior to these methods for integrating a microbial community. All or parts of the above manners and methods may be combined to create greater efficacy. In addition, those skilled in the art will recognize that there may be additional manners or methods of infusing biochars with microbials, including those created by the combination of one or more of the manners and methods listed above, without departing from the scope of the present invention.

Thus, treated biochar can have a microbial community in its pores (macro-, meso-, and combinations and variations of these), on its pore surfaces, embedded in it, located on its surface, and combinations and variations of these. The microbial community can have several different types, e.g., species, of biologics, such as different types of bacteria or fungi, or it may have only a single type. For example, a preferred functional biochar, can have a preferred range for bacterial population of from about 50-5000000 micrograms/g biochar; and for fungi, from about 5 to 500000 micrograms/g biochar. A primary purpose in agricultural settings, among many purposes, in selecting the microbial population is looking toward a population that will initiate a healthy soil, e.g., one that is beneficial for, enhances or otherwise advance the desired growth of plants under particular environmental conditions. Two types of microbial infused biochars will be discussed further for agricultural settings: bacteria and fungi. However, the microbes may also be used in other applications, including but not limited to animal health, either directly or through interactions with other microbes in the animals’ digestive tract and public health applications, such as microbial larvicides (e.g. Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis (Bti)) and Bacillus sphaericus used to fight Malaria).

PGPB include, for example, plant growth promoting rhizobacteria, free-living and nodule-forming nitrogen fixing bacteria, organic decomposers, nitrifying bacteria, phosphate solubilizing bacteria, biocontrol agents, bioremediation agents, archea, actinomycetes, thermophilic bacteria, purple sulfur bacteria, cyanobacteria, and combinations and variations of these.

PGPB may promote plant growth either by direct stimulation such as iron chelation, phosphate solubilization, nitrogen fixation and phytohormone production or by indirect stimulation, such as suppression of plant pathogens and induction of resistance in host plants against pathogens. In addition, some beneficial bacteria produce enzymes (including chitinases, cellulases, −1,3 glucanases, proteases, and lipases) that can lyse a portion of the cell walls of many pathogenic fungi. PGPB that synthesize one or more of these enzymes have been found to have biocontrol activity against a range of pathogenic fungi including Botrytis cinerea, Sclerotium rolfsii, Fusarium oxysporum, Phytophthora spp., Rhizoctonia solani, Pythium ultimum.

Currently the most economic conventional solid carrier used to deliver microbes is peat. A solid carrier allows for a relatively long shelf life and a more direct application to a plant’s root system compared to a microbial liquid solution, which would be sprayed directly.

Research has shown a substantial increase in PGPB growth and distribution resulting from being infused in biochar. For example, data resulting from research conducted to compare the effects upon CO2 production (an indicator of bacterial growth) using peat and biochars show the beneficial effects of using various biochars in promoting PGPB growth. As illustrated in the left-hand chart in FIG. 33, peat results in CO2 production of between approximately 10% and 30% (depending upon the grown medium), whereas biochars result in CO2 production of approximately 48% and 80%. Replicated experimental results using different biochars confirm CO2 production of approximately 30% to 70% (depending on the grown medium), as compared to approximately 10% to 20% for the peat control.

The method developed for determining this CO2 production as an indicator of bacterial growth consists of the following. The substrate, here biochar or peat, is sterilized by heating at 110 C for 15 hours. A bacterial stock solution is then created, here Tryptic Soy Broth was solidified with agar at 1.5% w/v in petri plates to isolate the gram negative non-pathogenic organism Escherichia coli ATCC 51813 (15 h growth at 37° C.). Then an isolated colony is captured with an inoculating loop and suspend in 10 ml sterile buffer (phosphate buffer saline or equivalent) to create the bacterial stock solution. Lactose containing assays are then used, here, test tubes that contain 13 ml of either Lauryl Tryptose Broth (LTB) or Brilliant Green Broth (BGB) that also contain a Durham tube. A negative control is generated by adding 10 μL of sterile buffer to triplicate sets of LTB and BGB tubes. A positive control is generated by adding 10 μL of bacterial stock solution to triplicate sets of LTB and BGB tubes. A negative substrate is generated by adding 1.25 ml (˜1% v/v) of sterile substrate to triplicate sets of LTB and BGB tubes. A positive substrate is generated by adding 1.25 ml (˜1% v/v) of sterile substrate and 10 μL of bacterial stock solution to triplicate sets of LTB and BGB tubes. The tubes of the four treatments are then incubated statically in a test tube rack at 37° C. for at least 15 h. The tubes are then carefully observed and any gas bubbles captured by the Durham tube within respective LTB or BGB tubes are closely measured with a ruler. Small bubbles <0.2 mm should not be considered. A continuous bubble as shown in individual tubes in FIG. 34 are what are observed and quantified. FIG. 34 is an example of carbon dioxide production captured as a continuous gas bubble in BGB (left two tubes) and LTB (right two tubes) growth medium. The percent carbon dioxide production is then calculated by dividing the recorded bubble length by the total Durham tube length and multiplying by 100.

Further tests were conducted using the Streptomyces lidicus WYEC 108 bacterium found in one of the commercially available products sold under the Actinovate brand. Actinovate products are biofungicides that protect against many common foliar and soil-borne diseases found in outdoor crops, greenhouses and nurseries. The formulations are water-soluble.

FIG. 35 illustrates the effects upon the growth of Streptomyces lidicus using conventional peat versus biochars. In the test illustrated by the photograph on the left of FIG. 35, an Actinovate powder was blended with peat, placed in an inoculated media and incubated at 25° C. The photograph shows the distribution and density of white colonies after 3 days. In the test illustrated by the photograph on the right of FIG. 35, an Actinovate powder was blended with the treated biochar, placed in an inoculated media and incubated at 25° C. The photograph also shows the distribution and density of white colonies after 3 days, the distribution and density of which are significantly greater than those achieved with peat.

FIG. 36 further illustrates the improved growth of the Actinovate bacterium using biochar versus peat. The left photograph shows only limited and restricted growth away from the peat carrier. The right photograph shows abundant growth of the bacterium spread much farther out from the biochar carrier.

Another application of using biochar inoculated with bacteria would be in the biofuel industry, where methanotroph inoculated biochar could be used to create methanol. Methanotrophic bacteria are proteobacteria with diverse respiration capabilities, enzyme types, and carbon assimilation pathways. However, Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b is one of the few methanotrophs that can be manipulated by environmental conditioning to exclusively produce methanol from methane. M. trichosporium OB3b is one of the most well studied aerobic C1 degraders and can be grown in either batch or continuous systems. As mentioned earlier, the large pore volume and surface area of biochar is suitable for bacterial colonization and should subsequently increase substrate access to enzyme activation sites. To improve the conversion rate, copper, nitrate, and phosphate should be included in the system. The use of biochar as a support material for the aerobic bioconversion of methane to methanol provides a pore distribution suitable for both adsorptions of methane and impregnation with bacteria. By providing biological and adsorptive functionality the biochar can intensify the bacteria in the biochar and increases the conversion rate.

In general, bacteria communicate via the distribution of signaling molecules which trigger a variety of behaviors like swarming (rapid surface colonization), nodulation (nitrogen fixation), and virulence. Biochars can bind signaling molecules and in particular it is believed can bind a major signaling molecule to their surface. This binding ability can be dependent upon many factors including on the pyrolysis temperature. This dependency on pyrolysis temperature and other factors can be overcome, mitigated, by the use of examples of the present vacuum infiltration techniques. For example, a signaling molecule that is involved in quorum sensing-multicellular-like cross-talk found in prokaryotes can be bound to the surface of biochars. Concentration of biochars required to bind the signaling molecule decreased as the surface area of biochars increased. These signaling molecules may be added to the surface of a biochar and may be used to manipulate the behavior of the bacteria. An example of such a use would be to bind the molecules which inhibit cell-to-cell communication and could be useful in hindering plant pathogens; using techniques in the present invention signaling molecules may be added to the surface of a biochar to engineer specific responses from various naturally occurring bacteria.

Beneficial fungi include, for example, saprotrophic fungi, biocontrol fungi, ectomycorrhizae, endomycorrhizae, ericoid mycorrhizae, and combinations and variations of these. It is further theorized that, in general, biochars with greater fungal development may be better suited for perennial crops such as grapes, almonds, blueberries, and strawberries in which symbiotic relationships with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are favored over PGPBs. The presence of high concentrations of AMF spores in biochars can therefore rapidly promote fungal colonization of plant root hairs leading to extensive mycelial development. Increased plant root associations with mycelial filaments would consequently increase nutrient and water uptake.

Mycorrhizal fungi, including but not limited to Endomycorrhizae and Ectomycorrhizae, are known to be an important component of soil life. The mutualistic association between the fungi and the plant can be particularly helpful in improving plant survivability in nutrient-poor soils, plant resistance to diseases, e.g. microbial soil-borne pathogens, and plant resistance to contaminated soils, e.g. soils with high metal concentrations. Since mycorrhizal root systems significantly increase the absorbing area of plant roots, introducing mycorrhizal fungi may also reduce water and fertilizer requirements for plants.

Typically mycorrhizae are introduced into soil as a liquid formulation or as a solid in powder or granular form and contain dormant mycorrhizal spores and/or colonized root fragments. Often the most economic and efficient method is to treat the seeds themselves, but dealing with traditional liquid and powder inoculums to coat the seed can be difficult. In accordance with the present invention, inoculated biochar may be used to coat the seeds by, for example, using a starch binder on the seeds and then subjecting the seeds to inoculated biochar fines or powder. Another method is by placing the mycorrhizae inoculum in the soil near the seeding or established plant but is more costly and has delayed response as the plants initial roots form without a mycorrhizal system. This is because the dormant mycorrhizae are only activated when they come close enough to living roots which exude a signaling chemical. In addition if the phosphorus levels are high in the soil, e.g. greater than 70 ppm, the dormant mycorrhizae will not be activated until the phosphorus levels are reduced. Thus applying inoculant with or near fertilizers with readily available phosphorus levels can impede the desired mycorrhizal fungi growth. A third option is to dip plant roots into an inoculant solution prior to replanting, but this is costly as it is both labor and time intensive and only applicable to transplanting.

If the colonization of mycorrhizae can be quickened and the density of the mycorrhizae’s hyphal network can be increased then the beneficial results of mycorrhizal root systems, e.g. increased growth, increased survivability, reduced water, and reduced fertilizer needs, can be realized sooner. Prior art shows that compost, compost teas, humates, and fish fertilizers can improve microbial activities and in more recent studies have shown physically combining arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) inoculant with raw biochar has resulted in additional plant yield compared to each alone. See Hammer, et. al. Biochar Increases Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Plant Growth Enhancement and Ameliorates Salinity Stress, Applied Soil Ecology Vol 96, November 2015 (pg. 114-121).

An ideal carrier for the mycorrhizae would have moisture, air, a neutral pH, a surface for fungi to attach, and a space for the roots and fungi to meet. Thus a previously infused biochar created by the method disclosed above would be a better carrier than raw biochar alone. The infused biochar could be physically mixed with a solid mycorrhizal fungi inoculant or sprayed with a liquid mycorrhizal inoculant prior to or during application at seeding or to established plants. Additionally, the infused biochar and mycorrhizal fungi inoculant could be combined to form starter cubes, similar to Organo-Cubes, rockwool, oasis cubes, and peat pots.

The infused biochar could be further improved upon by initially infusing or further infusing the biochar with micronutrients for mycorrhizal fungi, for example but not limited to humic acid, molasses, or sugar. The growth nutrient infused biochar would further expedite the colonization of the mycorrhizal fungi when physically combined with the inoculant and applied to seeds or plants.

Another improvement to the infused biochar would be to initially infuse or further infuse the biochar with the signaling molecules of mycorrhizal fungi. The signaling molecule infused biochar would further expedite the colonization of the mycorrhizal fungi when physically combined with the inoculant and applied to seeds or plants, as it would bring the mycorrhizae out of dormancy quicker and thus establish the mycorrhizal root system quicker.

Another method for establishing and improving mycorrhizal fungi colonies would be by growing mycorrhizae into the infused biochar and then applying the mycorrhizal fungi inoculated biochar to seeds or plants. Similar to a sand culture (Ojala and Jarrell 1980 http://jhbiotech.com/docs/Mycorrhizae-Article.pdf), a bed of infused biochar is treated with a recycled inoculated nutrient solution by passing it through the bed multiple times.

As demonstrated above, the treatment processes described above are particularly well suited for large scale production of biochar. The processes and biochars of the present invention provides a unique capability to select starting materials and pyrolysis techniques solely on the basis of obtaining a particular structure, e.g., pore size, density, pore volume, amount of open pores, interconnectivity, tortuosity, etc. Thus, these starting materials and processes can be selected without regard to adverse, harmful, phytotoxic side effects that may come from the materials and processes. This is possible, because the infiltration steps have the capability of mitigating, removing or otherwise address those adverse side effects. In this manner, a truly custom biochar can be made, with any adverse side effects of the material selection and pyrolysis process being mitigated in later processing steps.

Further, the processes are capable of treating a large, potentially variable, batch of biochar to provide the same, generally uniform, predetermined customized characteristics for which treatment was designed to achieve, e.g., pH adjustment. Treatment can result in treated biochar batches in which 50% to 70% to 80% to 99% of the biochar particles in the batch have same modified or customized characteristic, e.g., deleterious pore surface materials mitigated, pore surface modified to provide beneficial surface, pore volume containing beneficial additives.

Accordingly, the ability to produce large quantities of biochar having a high level of consistency, predictability and uniformity, provides numerous advantages in both large and small agricultural applications, among other things. For example, the ability to provide large quantities of biochar having predetermined and generally uniform properties will find applications in large scale agriculture applications. Thus, treated biochar batches from about 100 lbs up to 50,000+lbs and between may have treated biochar particles with predetermined, uniform properties.

As the treated biochar batches are made up of individual biochar particles, when referring to uniformity of such batches it is understood that these batches are made up of tens and hundreds of thousands of particles. Uniformity is thus based upon a sampling and testing method that statistically establishes a level of certainty that the particles in the batch have the desired uniformity.

Thus, when referring to a treated batch of biochar as being “completely uniform” or having “complete uniformity” it means that at least about 99% of all particles in the batch have at least one or more property or feature that is the same. Same being within appropriately set tolerances for said property. When a treated batch of biochar is referred to as “substantially uniform” or having “substantial uniformity” it means that at least about 95% of all particles in the batch have at least one or more property or feature that is the same. When a treated batch of biochar is referred to as “essentially uniform” or having “essential uniformity” it means that at least about 80% of all particles in the batch have at least one or more property or feature that is the same. The batches can have less than 25%, 20% to 80%, and 80% or more particles in the batch that have at least one or more property or feature that is the same. Further, the batches can have less than 25%, 20% to 80%, and 80% or more particles in the batch that have at one, two, three, four, or all properties or features that are the same.

It has been discovered that the same benefits can be achieved through the production and application of biochar aggregate particles as biochar particles that have not been aggregated. The creation of biochar aggregate particles, however, allows for easier product distribution for in various applications including industrial agricultural equipment, and provides a highly beneficial use for the biochar dust and fines, which are generally discarded. In this same manner, biochar aggregate particles may be produced for use for consumption by animals or use in composting.

The biochar, prior to being formed into a solid aggregate (e.g., through agglomeration, extrusion, or pelletization), may be raw or treated, as described above. If the biochar is treated, not only can various characteristics including pH be adjusted as needed, but fertilizers, nutrients, vitamins, supplements, microbes or other additives may be infused into the biochar prior to aggregation. (as further described below). However, regardless of whether the biochar is raw or treated, the present application for biochar aggregate particles can be utilized for both.

There are various types of aggregation methods and resulting aggregate particles. FIGS. 37a, 37b and 37c shows three resulting aggregate examples. FIG. 37a shows pellets, FIG. 37b shows extrudates and FIG. 37c shows biochar sulfate prills.

As an example, one method to produce biochar aggregate particles is depicted in the flow diagram shown in FIG. 38. The flow diagram 3800 of FIG. 38 is an example of one method that may be used for producing biochar aggregate particles. In general, the method of producing biochar aggregate particles from biochar may be accomplished by first collecting the treated or untreated biochar fines at step 3802. The fines may be collected by washing the biochar media, which may cause the biochar fines and dust to be placed in suspension in the liquid solution used to wash and/or treat the biochar. The biochar fines can also be produced by grinding, crushing, sieving, or otherwise resizing biochar of a larger particle size to one better suited for extrusion, compression, coagulation, or other forms of pelletization.

For example, the biochar fines may be separated from larger biochar particles by dry-sieving to remove the fine particles followed by wet-sieving with deionized water to remove fine fractions that remained. To separate particles of 0.5 mm or less of equivalent diameter, both the dry-sieving and wet-sieving may be carried out with a US size 35 mesh sieve. Biochar fines or dust may also be created by mechanical means such as grinding cutting or crushing the raw or treated biochar particles. These mechanically created small particles can be separated as set forth above through sieving or may be collected by washing or treating the material and using the resulting solution to recover the smaller particles. The recovery of small biochar particles from the solution can be accomplished by using chemical or physical means of separation or even a combination of multiple chemical and physical separation methods or steps.

While the biochar particles or fines may be treated in advance of collection, it is also possible to treat them once collected or as part of the collection process. Optionally, other physical and chemical properties may be adjusted during the treating step, as needed, or may be adjusted prior to, or during the fines collection process. For example, the biochar fines may be collected during treatment of the biochar media (e.g., to adjust the pH). The fines may then be collected in the treating solution by adding a flocculent and/or coagulant to the treating liquid, which creates a biochar slurry (the “flocculent slurry”).

Given the application, it may be necessary to de-water the flocculent slurry before further treatment, as part of the collection process. The flocculent slurry is de-watered, typically using a belt filter press to create a biochar paste. Those skilled in the art will recognize that other de-watering systems, besides a belt filter press may be used to de-water the biochar slurry and that mechanisms other than a flocculent, such as filtration, settling, or other separation technology, may be used to separate the biochar from the minerals, inorganic compounds, and other substances found in the slurry that remain in the washing or treating solution.

Once the biochar fines are collected, a binder is then added to the biochar particles at step 3804. The binder solution used to coagulate the fines may be prepared by mixing a starch, polymer, lignin, clay, or other binder with water or appropriate solvents. The addition of the binder solution creates a biochar slurry or a paste (the “binder slurry”). The binder solution may be prepared by mixing, for example, enough corn starch with deionized H2O to create a solution. For example, the starch may be approximately 2% by weight, but may range from 0.5% to 10% by weight. Those skilled in the art will recognize that another material, besides corn starch may be used as a binder. Additionally, other binders may be used with the restriction that they must be appropriate for the application they will be used in. So for example, they may not be toxic in the quantities used in agriculture or animal feed and must be suitable for introduction into whatever application without profound ill effect. Some examples of other generally non-toxic binders that may be used are gelatins, cellulose, sugars, or combinations thereof. While the above describes adding the binder after the flocculent slurry is dewatered, the binder may also be added to the flocculent slurry before de-watering.

Like the flocculent slurry, the binder slurry is also de-watered before further treatment, step 3806. The binder slurry may be de-watered using a belt filter press to create a biochar paste. Those skilled in the art will recognize that other de-watering systems, besides a belt filter press may be used to de-water the biochar.

Optionally, other growth or beneficial additives may also be added to the slurry at step 3706. The binder and the growth additives may be added together or at separate stages, before or after the de-watering step 3806, with or without de-watering between, depending upon the application, the binder and the additives. In either event, the biochar is de-watered at step 3806 prior to further treatment.

Such growth enhancing additives may include, but are not limited to, fertilizers and beneficial microbes that can withstand the biochar aggregation process. For certain additives, the temperature of the process may need to be adjusted to avoid, for example, the denaturing of the proteins. Such additives can be added to the biochar particles (either with or after de-watering the starch slurry) through mixing. If a fertilizer is desired, the fertilizer may be pulverized to prepare for addition. The fertilizer may be pulverized to an average particle size of <1 mm before dispensing. Liquid fertilizers may also be used in solution. For example, 1000 ppm NO3N fertilizer solution may be used. Examples of fertilizers that may be added to the paste, include, but are not limited to the following: ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, monoammonium phosphate, ammonium polyphosphate, Cal-Mag fertilizers or micronutrient fertilizers. Other additives, such as fungicides, insecticides, nematicides, plant hormones, beneficial microbial spores, secondary signal activators, vitamins, medications, supplements, or sensory enhancers may also be added to the paste in a similar manner as a fertilizer, the inclusion of which does not depart from the scope of the invention. Additionally, beneficial macro- and micro-nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, boron, zinc, iron, manganese, molybdenum, copper and chloride can be added to the mixture at this time.

Examples of compounds, in addition to fertilizer, that may be blended with, infused into the pores of or coated on the surface of the biochar include, but are not limited to: 2,1,3-Benzothiadiazole (BTH), an inducer of systemic acquired resistance that confers broad spectrum disease resistance (including soil borne pathogens); signaling agents similar to BTH in mechanism or structure that protects against a broad range or specific plant pathogens; biopesticides; herbicides; and fungicides.

As noted above, all the above additives may also be added at various steps in the described processes, including with the flocculant or coagulant, with the binder, or prior to the creation of the slurry or biochar paste. Such additives may be added through a pre-treatment process, such as those treatment processes described above (e.g., vacuum infiltration or surfactant treatment), or other treatment processes that result in the infusion of liquids and/or vapors into the pores of the biochar. It may also be possible to contact the biochar aggregate particles, once they are produced, with additives. Such contact or coating after production of the biochar aggregate particles is within the scope of the present invention.

Once de-watered, at step 3806, the biochar particles become a thicker slurry or paste (the “biochar paste”). The biochar paste, now including a binder and possibly other additives, is then formed into solid shapes, at step 3808 and then dried, at step 3810. To form the biochar paste into solids, alternative forms of processing may be used. For example, the paste may be passed through an extruder, a pelletizer, a briquetter, a granulator and/or other heating, cooling, dehydration, or pressure system capable of forming the paste into solid shapes. Alternatively, the biochar may be mixed with the binder, both in a dry form, and then fed into the equipment used to form the solid shaped biochar aggregates while adding moisture and/or other additives.

In one example of an implementation, the biochar paste is shaped through an extruder that is heated at a temperature of 25-120° C. in order to adequately activate the starch or other binder. The extruder may be specifically set depending on the appointed application to produce an extrudate size, ranging from 1 to 5 mm in diameter. At step 3810, the resulting extrudates are dried using a hot air, tunnel oven dryer, or other dryer known to the art. For some application, e.g., when microbes are added to or inoculated into the biochar particles, it may not be desirable to use heat to activate the binder. Alternatively, lipids or other binders that bind at cold temperatures may be used, with the substitution of cooling equipment in place of heating equipment to activate said binder.

The biochar aggregate particles from the extruder may be cut into predetermined specific sized particles, which may take the form of pellets. The steps of extruding and cutting may be performed together by the extruder, or separately, again depending upon the application and equipment capabilities. In addition larger extrudates can be formed creating a biochar spike, which can be applied by pushing them into soil near existing plants or trees.

In one example of an implementation, the biochar aggregate particles may be created from pyrolyzed wood or cellulosic biomass, as described above. The resulting biochar fines or dust are then removed from the other biochar particles at step 3802. As part of the collection process, the fines may optionally be washed with a treatment solution, as described in detail above. The treatment solution may, for example, be added to neutralize the biochar pH levels, as needed, depending upon the pH of the biochar fines. A neutralized biochar slurry is then exposed to a de-watering station and a flocculent is added to coagulate the fines or dust for de-watering. To dewater the flocculent slurry, a belt filter press or other equipment known to the art may be used. Once dewatered, a starch or another suitable binder is added to the biochar particles, at step 3804. Other additives may also be added to the biochar particles during this step. The biochar particles are again de-watered at step 3806 and the slurry becomes a thicker slurry or paste. The de-watered biochar paste may then be formed into aggregate solids at step 3808, by, for example, the use of an extruder. The aggregate particles are then dried using a hot air, tunnel oven dryer, or other dryer known to the art, at step 3810. The aggregate particles could also be freeze dried (e.g., lyophilized) and/or allowed to air dry, at step 3810. Such drying can be done before or after the biochar paste is subjected to a forming processes.

Treatment of biochar fines or dust is optional, but may be desired for pH adjustment and/or removal of elemental ash and other harmful organics or materials, as described in more detail above. Depending on the chemical properties of the biochar dust or fines, either water or acidic acid can be used to adjust the pH to neutral levels, and obtain a neutralized biochar slurry. The wash may also contain a surfactant or detergent to aid in the penetration of the wash solution into the pores of the char. Those skilled in the art will recognize that other pH adjusting agents, besides acidic acid may be used to neutralize the biochar pH levels. Additionally, other binders may be used with the restriction that they must be suitable for introduction into their particular application, for example not phytotoxic for use in soil or toxic to animals or humans for use in animal feed or maintenance. Some examples of these other pH adjustment agents include, but are not limited to gypsum, sulfur, lime, or combinations thereof. As set forth earlier, treatment can be performed on the fines or on the larger biochar media from which the fines are collected.

The above illustrated example details only one method of how biochar aggregate particles may be produced. As noted above, alternate forming processes may also be used besides passing the biochar paste through an extruder, such as a pelletizer, a briquetter, a granulator and/or other heat, cold, evaporation and/or pressure system capable of forming the paste into solid shapes.

Further, in another implementation, raw or treated biochar fines and/or larger biochar particles may be dried and ground to a smaller particle size or powder. The biochar powder can then be mixed with a binder in a rotary drum to create reasonably uniform spherical biochar aggregate particles.

Further, in another implementation, the biomass, prior to pyrolysis, may be formed into solids shape aggregates, such as pellets, by equipment designed to create pellets, granules and/or briquettes. Further, these pellets may be stabilized by mixing a dry binder or a binder solution with biomass prior to pelletizing to improve the mechanical stability of the formed pellet. These binders may include but are not limited to starches, polymers, clays, or lignins. By shaping the biomass prior to pyrolysis, the biomass may retain the solid shape. Depending upon the biomass, the biomass aggregate may need to be treated prior to pyrolysis to maintain the original shape with, for example, a binder solution. Wet formed, or solution treated pellets may require drying before handling and pyrolysis. This drying may be done using hot air, a tunnel oven dryer, or other dryer known to the art.

In creating biochar aggregates, it is critical to determine the proper biochar particle size and the proper method to use to create said particles for the biochar aggregate production. Setting the correct size limits and method will ensure the aggregates maintain the physical and chemical characteristics that make the specific biochar effective in the target application. FIGS. 39 and 40 show SEM photos from two different biomass based treated biochars. FIG. 39 shows the effect of size and grinding on particle structure for three different particle size ranges: 0.1-0.3 mm, 0.05-1 mm, and <0.05 mm. These particles were collected using two different methods: (i) sieving the as is treated biochar and (ii) grinding the as is treated biochar and then sieving. FIG. 39 shows one treated biochar (“treated biochar 1”) and FIG. 40 shows a second treated biochar (“treated biochar 2”). In the treated biochar 1 SEM photos (FIGS. 39a, b, c, d, e and f), it is clear that the two methods of collection show no substantial difference in pore structure. It is also clear that the particle structure is destroyed once the particle sizes are less than 0.05 mm. In the treated biochar 2 SEM photos (FIGS. 40a, b, c, d, e and f), a different observation is noted, when the material is just sieved to 0.3-0.5 mm range, the biochar particle has retained its porous structure, but when the as is treated biochar 2 is ground using a medium grind or a fine grind and then sieved to 0.3-0.5 mm range, then the porous structures have been mostly destroyed. FIGS. 40d, 40e and 40f are zoomed images of FIGS. 40a, 40b and 40c.

In addition, various particle size ranges from the two treated biochars were further tested to see how biochar characteristics changed with particle size. FIGS. 41 a, b, c and d show the effect of size fraction on four properties, water holding capacity, pH, Cl— concentration, and electrical conductivity of two different biomass based treated biochars. For treated biochar 1, these properties, except pH, were stable across particle sizes except when the particles were smaller than 0.1 mm. This is likely due to the loss of pore structure somewhere below 0.1 mm for this treated biochar. For treated biochar 2, some properties, electrical conductivity and chloride concentration, seemed to correlate to particle size in a similar way to that of treated biochar 1. But decreasing particle size of treated biochar 2 had the opposite effect on water holding capacity and pH versus treated biochar 1.

These observations show how particle size and the method used to create them can have significant impact on both the pore structure of the particles and the biochars properties. Thus an aggregate’s properties and effectiveness can be maintained, adjusted, or harmed based on the method for creating and collecting sized biochar particles in addition to the method of aggregation and may differ based on the biochar feedstock and pyrolysis method.

Further in another implementation, the biomass may be sized prior to pyrolysis so that the aggregate can be made with the as is biochar particles or treated biochar particles without additional sizing. Eliminating the need to size the biochar further, may help to maintain the biochar properties when aggregating as biochar pore structures that are susceptible to being destroyed during sizing post pyrolysis will not be harmed using this method.

As noted above, the biochar aggregate particles can be created with either raw biochar or treated biochar that is treated in the manner or method further described below. Biochar aggregate particles can be applied through a wide range of devices, including agricultural equipment including but not limited to broadcast spreaders, drop spreaders and/or hand distribution means. The application of biochar aggregate particles can be used for trees, row crops, vines, turf grasses, potted plants, flowering plants, annuals, perennials, evergreens and seedlings. The biochar aggregate particles may also be applied to animal pens, bedding, and/or other areas where animal waste is present to reduce odor and emission of unpleasant or undesirable vapors. Furthermore it may be applied to compost piles to reduce odor, emissions, and temperature or even to areas where fertilizer or pesticide runoff is occurring to slow or inhibit leaching and runoff. The aggregates may also be integrated with animal feed and/or other substances beneficial to animal health, either whole (biochar pellets mixed with separate feed pellets to form an aggregate, for example), or with animal feed or other beneficial substances mixed into the biochar slurry or paste prior to extrusion. Biochar aggregate particles may be incorporated into or around the root zone of a plant. As most trees, rows, and specialty crops extract greater than 90% of their water from the first twenty-four inches below the soil surface, the above applications will generally be effective incorporating the biochar around the root zone from the top surface of the soil and up to a depth of 24″ below the top surface of the soil, depending on the plant type and species, or alternatively, within a 24″ radius surrounding the roots regardless of root depth or proximity from the top surface of the soil. When the plant roots are closer to the surface, the incorporation of the biochar within the top 2-6″ inches of the soil surface may also be effective. Greater depths are more beneficial for plants having larger root zones, such as trees.

Biochar aggregates are particularly useful, when they will be put into an application that requires mixing with other solid granular products. This is because the aggregates can be designed and created to be similar in shape, size, or density to that which it will be mixed with. When the aggregates are physically similar to the material particles they will be mixed with then the final mixture will stay more uniformly mixed and have better flow properties. When a specific rate of each material in the mixture is needed, say in agriculture or animal feed, then a uniform mixture is critical to ensure the soil or animal consistently gets the correct rate.

In addition to the use of treated biochar in connection with agriculture and animal applications for human consumption, treated biochar can also be used throughout the world, in numerous composting applications. The biochar used in composting applications can be all treated biochar, in accordance with the treatment processes set forth above, or may be mixed with raw, untreated biochar.

FIG. 42 is a diagram illustrating one example of the work flow for a commercial food composting operation. As illustrated in the diagram, compost material is first dropped at a weigh station, where clients are paid various rates for the compost materials. The materials then released to a tipping floor and segmented by types. Green waste/woods are cleaned and ground down on the production floor. Foods are slowly received and stored. Screening of green waste/woods creates various sized inputs. Stored food is blended with green waste/woods via screening to remove inerts from food.

When composted using covered aerated static piles (“CASP”), piles of the materials are placed over porous pipes. Tarps are laid over the pipes. Negative pressure aerates the piles and pulls odor into a biofilter. The CASPs run for approximately 30 days. When the piles are composted using woodrow (mechanical turning), the piles are kept in the woodrow for approximately 15 days.

Biochar can be applied to composting environments to allow for the control of temperature, moisture, pH levels, odors and bacterial cultures. As illustrated below, applying biochar in composting environments has been shown to significantly reduce water loss, control temperatures, reduce odors and control acidic pH issues. The present treatment processes for biochar allow for the capability of custom-manufacturing biochar for use in composting for a particular climate, environment, geographical area, or by more precisely controlling key characteristics of the biochar.

The method of the present invention for applying biochar to composts includes blending low, affordable rates of treated biochar (1%-5% v/v) with feedstock high in food residuals (40% v/v). Treated biochar may also be blended with other materials, such as raw and/or processed biochar, processed differently than the treatment processes described above, and with compost having other compositions than feedstock high in food residuals. Blending various rates of treated biochar, by itself, or with raw and/or processed biochar, in various composting environments may produce different desired results.

One of the recurring problems in composting environments is to control the acidity levels and the lowering of pH in the compost. Food residuals contain high levels of organic acids like lactic acid. Low pH shifts the microbial community to more acid tolerant microbes that stimulate a feedback loop wherein lactobacilli produce more lactic acid. FIG. 43 is a chart showing the pH of compost as the percent of lactic acid increases. As illustrated in FIG. 43, the more lactic acid by percent, the lower the pH in compost. FIG. 43 shows the general pH of compost materials, before commencing the composting process. FIG. 44 demonstrates how pH is influenced in compost when mixing green wastes, woods and foods. As illustrated, the addition of foods and woods to compost lower the pH of the compost. Green waste provides the highest pH, while the combination of foods, green waste and wood, produce the lowest pH.

In composting, different microbial communities degrade the organic acids to raise the pH. Generally, the starting point for feedstock composting is a pH of ≧6.0. In CASP methods, feedstock compost may remain acidic to a pH of ≦5.0. Acidic compost is not ideal for plant nutrient uptake or other uses of the compost. Raising the pH in the compost is desired for a number of reasons.

Adding treated biochar to compost has been shown to increase aeration and lower and/or control the temperatures in the compost, leading to higher, less acidic pH levels. Lower temperatures are critical in the early stages of composting to stimulate the mesophilic (“cool-loving”) microbes to outcompete the thermophilic (“heat-loving”) microbes inherent to food residuals. Lactic acid bacteria are thermophiles that generally reduce the pH levels in compost. Adding treated biochar to compost appears to reduce lactic acid bacteria and generally increase the pH levels in compost. Despite lower temperatures, pathogen reduction still occurs. These reduced composting temperatures also means less air and water will be required.

FIG. 45 is a chart showing the impact on composting temperatures when 1% and 3% treated biochar are added to the compost (control). The control represents the compost with 0% added biochar. As shown by FIG. 45, adding treated biochar to compost in a windrow environment generally decreases the temperature in the compost. It was shown that adding 1-3% treated biochar to the compost in a windrow environment generally lowered the temperature in the compost between 5-20° F.

FIG. 46 is a chart showing the decrease of lactic acid production in compost by adding treated biochar. As shown by FIG. 46, adding treated biochar to compost in a windrow environment generally decreases the lactic acid in the compost. The addition of 1% treated biochar in the compost reduced the lactic acid by 0.5-0.6% DM and the addition of 3% treated biochar in the compost reduced the lactic acid by as much as 1.0-1.1% DM. The control compost is represented by 0% added treated biochar.

FIG. 47 is a chart showing the increase in pH in compost by adding treated biochar. As shown by FIG. 47, adding treated biochar to compost in a windrow environment generally increases the pH level in the compost. The addition of 1% treated biochar in the compost increased the basicity from between 4.7-4.8 pH to approximately 5.1 pH. The addition of 3% treated biochar in the compost increased the basicity from between 4.7-4.8 pH to approximately 5.3 pH. The control compost is represented by 0% added treated biochar.

FIG. 48 is a chart showing the increase in oxygen levels in compost by adding treated biochar. As shown by FIG. 48, adding treated biochar to compost in a windrow environment generally increases the oxygen level in the compost. The addition of 1% treated biochar in the compost increased the oxygen level from approximately 18.4% to approximately 19.8%. The control compost is represented by 0% added treated biochar. The increased oxygen levels show the increased aeration in the compost and may explain the lowered temperatures also observed.

FIGS. 49 and 50 show the impact of the addition of both raw and treated biochar in a CASP compost environment to volatile fatty acids (VFAs) and ammonia (NH3) levels, respectively. When comparing raw biochar to treated biochar in CASP environments, it was generally shown that raw biochar has no effect on volatile fatty acids (VFAs) and increases NH3 levels. Treated biochar on the other hand was shown to reduce both VFAs and NH3 levels and indicative of reducing air emissions. VFAs and NH3 levels are known to be odor indicating compounds. Reducing the amount of VFAs and NH3 levels in the compost should indicate a reduction in the odor produced by the compost. Additionally, if NH3 levels are reduced, then the nitrogen is more likely staying in the form of ammonium (NH4) and eventually turning into nitrates, which improves the quality of the resulting compost product.

As shown by FIG. 49, adding treated biochar to compost in a CASP environment generally decreases VFAs while the addition of raw biochar has no visible effect. The control compost has 0% added biochar. As shown by FIG. 50, adding treated biochar to compost in a CASP environment generally decreases NH3 while the addition of raw biocarbon increases NH3. The control compost has 0% added biochar.

FIG. 51 is a chart showing the impact on volatile organic compounds (“VOC”) by adding treated and raw biochar to CASP compost. As shown, the addition of raw or treated biochar has variable effects on VOCs and can increase or decrease volatile organic compounds. The measurements were taken from negative pressure system of compost from a CASP environment tapped into a summa canister to capture gases generated by the compost. The addition of treated biochar to compost, compared to the control compost (0% biochar added), decreased the percentage of methyl-iso-butyl ketone (MBK), ethanol and methanol, while it increased the percentage of 2-propanol, propene, 2-butanone and acetone. The addition of raw biochar, compared to the control compost, decreased the percentage of propene, 2-butanone, acetone and methanol, while it increased the percentage of MBK and 2-propanol.

FIG. 52 is a chart shows a test of evaporative water loss from control compost (Control 100) against blended treatments with raw or processed biochars at 1, 3 and 5% by volume. Treated biochar at 1 or 3% outperformed raw treatments by as much as 10%. Treated biochar added to control compost at 3% v/v showed a dramatic 17.5% reduction in evaporative loss. The control compost in FIG. 52 is without raw and/or treated biochar. As shown, the evaporative loss of water in compost decreased as much as 10% if the compost is mixed with 1-3% processed biochar. Mixing the compost with 3% treated biochar has shown to maintain moisture levels in the compost essential for a climate similar to California.

FIG. 53 is a chart showing the effect that the addition of treated biochar has on percent mass water loss in a CASP compost environment. Mass was determined by pile volume and bulk density. As shown in FIG. 53, adding % treated biochar to the piles of control compost reduced the water mass loss by 10%. The control compost in FIG. 53 is without raw and/or processed biochar.

All biochar treatments of compost have shown reductions in water loss and mixing various levels of treated biochar into the compost can assist to control essential moisture levels for various climates and assist in optimizing the composting process. Similar effects are seen windrow compost environments. As treated biochar controls the pile temperatures (see FIG. 45), despite the lower temperatures pathogen reduction still occurs. Lower pile temperature can reduce water demand up to 1,000 gallons of water added every 3-4 days.

FIGS. 54, 55 and 56 all demonstrate the impact of inoculating the biochar with specialized microbes. In all cases, the compost includes 2.6% biochar. The biochar added to the control is raw biochar. The biochar B2XNA and B2XA are inoculated with bacillus. Bacillus spp. was chosen for their ability to form endospores that allow the microbes to survive harsh temperature found during composting. Relative Percent Abundance of Bacillus spp. is as follows: Bacillus licheniformis (25%); Bacillus szutsauensis (5%); Bacillus amyloliquefaciens (15%); Bacillus subtilis (18%); Bacillus velezensis (26%); and Bacillus pumilus (33%). The types of Bacillus used were selected for the following purposes: nutrient cycling (B. licheniformis and B. subtilis), nitrogen fixation (B. pumilus), biocontrol of plant pathogens (B. velezensis and B. subtilis), and plant growth promotion (B. pumilus and B. subtilis). B2XA was pH adjusted, whereas B2XNA was not pH adjusted. B4XA is inoculated with twice as much bacillus as the B2XA and was also pH adjusted.

FIG. 54 is a chart showing in impact of the addition of the inoculated biochar to compost on microbial abundance. FIG. 55 is a chart showing in impact of the addition of the inoculated biochar to compost on VOCs. FIG. 56 is a chart showing in impact of the addition of the inoculated biochar to compost on NH3.

FIG. 54 shows that compost piles having 2.6% inoculated biochar had elevated populations of gram positive bacteria. As illustrated, compost piles mixed with biochar inoculated with bacteria are shown to have elevated populations of gram positive bacteria. This suggests that thermotolerant endospore forming bacterial inoculated into biocarbon can survive native competition in composting systems and may have a positive effect on the composting process.

Regarding FIG. 55, it was generally determined that inoculated biocarbon decreases VOC levels. However, inoculated biochar, B4XA, treatment of biocarbon increased the VOC levels, possibly due to elevated bacillus populations.

Regarding FIG. 56, it was generally determined that inoculated biocarbon decreases NH3 levels.

In general, in the application of biochar to compost, it was shown that treated biochar is able to raise the pH levels in composting with food waste, improves aeration, lowers temperature of compost piles, and can reduce odor indicating compounds like ammonia, VFAs and other volatile organics. Compared to raw biochar, treated biochar outperforms with the control of most of the odor indicating compounds and, at lower doses, with the ability to reduce evaporative loss. Treated biochar helps reduce overall water loss that occurs during composting and helps reduce water inputs regarding temperature control.

In addition to the composting benefits seen by adding treated biochar, the value of the resulting compost is also increased. Since the treated biochar helped retain nitrogen during the composting (as seen by reduced NH3), the compost itself will have higher nutrients when applied in agriculture usage. Also, the treated biochar remains in the compost and continues to display the benefits outlined in this invention, including but not limited to water and nutrient retention. Thus when the resulting compost is used in agriculture the compost will show similar improvement trends as when treated biochar itself is applied.

In another implementation or this invention, treated biochar could be added directly to animal bedding to control odors. Then once used, the bedding could be recycled via composting and still get the benefits of the treated biochar in composting. And finally the resulting compost which still has treated biochar could be used in agriculture and still continue to provide additional benefits to plants as well.

Generally, treated biochar of the present inventions can be used with numerous animal species, large and small scale farming, and in a variety of animal management applications and systems, and combinations and variations of these. In fact, this particular solution provides the capability to custom-manufacture biochar for a particular species, physiology, nutritional need, pathogen susceptibility, illness, environment, geographical area or other application by more precisely controlling key characteristics.

The fundamental benefit of treated biochar use in animal applications is the fact that deleterious characteristics can be adjusted and toxic materials left over from the biomass and its pyrolysis can be removed. For example, pH can be adjusted, and undesirable ash, inorganic compounds, toxins or heavy metals, and organic compounds such as acids, esters, ethers, ketones, alcohols, sugars, phenyls, alkanes, alkenes, phenols, polychlorinated biphenyls or poly or mono aromatic hydrocarbons, can be removed. As described previously, one major concern with charcoals or raw biochars used in animal applications is the potential for dioxins which are released from combustion processes and are an example of toxic material that the treatment of the present invention can remove. Thus, a treated biochar can be used in animal applications where ingestion may be possible such as bedding, or specifically as a feed additive, whether it be for general purpose such as color, manure odor control, or roughage replacement or as a technical additive as a binding agent or carrier as it can be made without toxins, specifically dioxins, consistently with various feedstocks and various pyrolysis methods without risk of harm to the animals or humans that consume the animal products/meat from said animals.

Through the use of detoxified treated biochars, the other benefits of biochar qualities can be realized in applications related to the care, maintenance and feeding of animals. These benefits can include increase in animals’ uptake of foodstuffs and the energy contained within them; reduction in the amount of nutrients lost into excrement and manure; detoxification of the animal and enrichment of the beneficial microbes in the digestive track that are key to maintaining an animal’s metabolism and helping it to resist dangerous pathogens; reduction in methane production; better odor control of stalls, pens, cages, lagoons and other animal enclosures; and any combination and variation of these and other benefits. The results are increased growth rates for animals consuming treated biochar, as well as better overall health of the animals that consume it, greater efficiencies in animal care and maintenance, and improved odor. As an additional benefit, manure produced by an animal that consumes biochar contains biochar, making this manure better for agricultural purposes than ordinary manure.

For animal applications, in the same way that biochars are known to bind organic contaminants in soil environments due to hydrophobic-hydrophobic interactions, treated biochar may bind organic toxins as they pass through an animal’s digestive system, for example, when cattle are suffering from botulism or diarrhea. Another toxin binding application could be with commercial farm pollinating bee hives. Bee species have been on the decline in the US and this year, the first species of bee in the continental US was placed on the endangered species list. Bee species’ decline appears to be in part due to fungicides, and insecticides, including neonicotinoids, leading to bees becoming more susceptible to disease. See Pettis et al., Crop Pollination Exposes Honey Bees to Pesticides Which Alters Their Susceptibility to the Gut Pathogen Nosema ceranae, PLOS, Jul. 24, 2013 (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0070182).

Adding small particle treated biochar to a commercial hive feed patty, which generally consist of sugar and protein and may have additional vitamins or probiotics, may allow the insects to ingest said treated biochar and allow for it to help bind the pesticide toxins and help lessen their sub-lethal effects to keep the bees more resistant to pathogens even when they have been and continue to be exposed to these pesticides.

In another example, biochars were shown to absorb Cadmium, a heavy metal, but the absorption capacity was depended on the biochar properties including the biomass feedstock type. FIG. 57 is chart illustrating biochar capacity to absorb Cadmium. Thus a specific treated biochar formulation can be developed for each toxin binding animal application to ensure optimum results for the specific toxin(s) of concern.

Another application is to use the treated biochar as bedding in order to reduce odors, absorb ammonia, and absorb toxins and thus lead to an environment that will lead to healthier animals and also lead to a better secondary product of quality manure by reduced nutrient leaching. A bedding trial was conducted with broiler chickens. After decaking the houses, the test houses had treated biochar spread evenly over the entire house at various rates while one was left as a control. The flock produced over the two sets of trials was above normal. After the first trial, manure samples were tested from each house for nutrient content and estimated 1st year availability of said nutrients. The estimated manure value was then calculated off of the estimated 1st year availability. Results showed higher value for the bedding with treated biochar, as seen in table below:

1st Year Availability (lbs/ton) Control With Treated Biochar Total N 37 35 P (P2O5) 31 34 K (K2O) 56 61 Total Est. Value $56.40 $58.90

As was discussed previously, mixing treated biochar in while composting can reduce odors, these same mechanisms can be used to reduce odors when treated biochar is mixed with animal bedding, manure, swine lagoons, etc.

Typically, the prior art teaches mixing raw biochar with animal feed without ‘precharging’ with nutrients, microbes, etc. Through impregnation of the biochar particles, one can achieve a predetermined and controllable amount of a particular nutrient, medication, foodstuff, microbial community, etc. being ingested by the animal. Once in the rumen, data indicates that these infused additives will also be released more slowly over time, yielding yet another benefit over additives mixed directly into the feed. This integration of a beneficial additive with a biochar particle and biochar batches provides the ability to have controlled addition, use and release of the additive or additives. This integration may further enhances, promotes and facilitate animal growth and health, aid in digestion and digestibility of food, improvement hygiene, increase intestinal health, reduces the amount of nutrients lost into excrement and manure and reduces methane discharge.

Enhancing treated biochar with an additive, including infusing liquids into the pores of biochar, can provide additional benefits in animal applications, by making it an effective delivery mechanism for beneficial nutrients, pharmaceuticals, enzymes, microbes, or other substances. Additionally a sensory enhancer, such as a smell or flavor (e.g. salt), could be infused to increase the animal’s desire to ingest said biochar.

The additive may include, but not be limited to, water, water solutions of salts, inorganic and organic liquids of different polarities, liquid organic compounds or combinations of organic compounds and solvents, vitamins, supplements and/or medications, nutrients, minerals, oils, amino acids, fatty acids, supercritical liquids, growth promotants, proteins and enzymes, phytogenics, carbohydrates, antimicrobial additives and sensory additives (e.g. flavor enhancers salt or sweeteners or smell enhancers), among others, to provide nutrition, promote the overall health of the animal, and increase the animal’s desire to ingest said biochar. Vitamins, supplements, minerals, nutritional and/or medications may be used to prevent, treat or cure animal illnesses and diseases and/or control the nutritional value of the animals overall diet.

For example, dietary supplementation with certain nutrients (e.g., arginine, glutamine, zinc, and conjugated linoleic acid) can regulate gene expression and key metabolic pathways to improve fertility, pregnancy outcome, immune function, neonatal survival and growth, feed efficiency, and meat quality. Such additives in the biochar can help provide the proper balance of protein, energy, vitamins and nutritionally important minerals in animal diets. Additionally, for poultry, the additive may include, for example, coccidiostats and/or histomonostats, which are both shown to control the health of the poultry. The present invention can be used to help correct deficiencies in basal diets (e.g., corn- and soybean meal-based diets for swine; milk replacers for calves and lambs; and available forage for ruminants).

The treated biochar can also have a microbial community infused in its pores (macro-, meso-, and combinations and variations of these), on its pore surfaces, embedded in it, located on its surface, and combinations and variations of these. The microbial community can have several different types, e.g., species, of biologics, such as different types of bacteria or fungi, or it may have only a single type. A primary purpose, among many purposes, in selecting the microbial population is looking toward a population that will promote animal health either directly or through interactions with other microbes in the animals digestive tract. These types of beneficial microbes are essential to a functional gastrointestinal tract and immune system in many types of animals, serving many functional roles, including degradation of ingesta, pathogen exclusion, production of short-chain fatty acids, compound detoxification, vitamin supplementation, and immunodevelopment. Beneficial bacteria include Lactobacillus acidophilus LA1 (which decreases adhesion of diarrheagenic Escherichia coli to Caco-2 cells by 85% and prevents invasion of the same cells by E. coli (95%), Yersinia pseudo-tuberculosis (64%) and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium) and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG to prevent E. coli O157:H7-induced lesions in Caco-2 cells.

Further, biochar may be impregnated with probiotic bacteria to treat diseases in farm-raised fish. Infectious diseases pose one of the most significant threats to successful aquaculture. The maintenance of large numbers of fish crowded together in a small area provides an environment conducive for the development and spread of infectious diseases. In this crowded, relatively unnatural environment, fish are stressed and more susceptible to disease. Moreover, the water environment, and limited water flow, facilitates the spread of pathogens within crowded populations. There is thus an urgent need in aquaculture to develop microbial control strategies, since disease outbreaks are recognized as important constraints to aquaculture production and trade and since the development of antibiotic resistance has become a matter of growing concern. One alternative disease control relies on the use of probiotic bacteria as microbial control agents. Another implementation of the invention therefore involves the impregnation of biochar for consumption by aquatic animals as a treatment or preventative for disease.

Additionally, biochar may be infused with bacteria which prove helpful in methane reduction. An example of this is to infuse the biochar with methanotrophic bacteria (bacteria which are able to metabolize methane as a source of carbon and energy). Bacteria which metabolize methane are useful in two regards—they can reduce the environmental methane emissions from the rumen and they (the bacteria) also serve as nutrition for the animal itself, leading to increased weight gain. Infusing biocarbon with microbes such as these can lead to methane reduction in cattle applications that exceeds the methane reduction of solely untreated biochar itself.

Additive infused biochars may be mixed with the animals regular feeds or may be included within a salt or mineral block and made available for animals to self-feed or self-administer the additives.

While this application focuses mainly on applications of infused biochars in connection with farm-raised animals, those skilled in the art will also recognize that the invention could also be applied more generally for veterinary purposes for many types of animals other than livestock, poultry, fish or horses, including pets, as well as in a wide variety of environments and contexts, for example, for zoo or aquarium animals or for other penned or caged animals, insects such as bees, or for wild animals.

Furthermore, the treated or additive infused biochar can be sized, agglomerated, or suspended in solution to optimize its use in a specific animal application. For example, if using as a feed additive with smaller animals or very young animals, small particles will be required and being able to suspend these small particles in a solution will make for an easier application.

In addition, if the treated or additive infused biochar is being used to deliver its specific benefit in a targeted location in the animals’ digestive tract, it can be mixed with an additive or coated to allow for a slower release or a targeted release in said location. So, for example if the additive or biochar is being targeted for use in the intestines or after rumens a specific coating substance and thickness can be chosen so as to degrade at the required specified rate leading to the biochar or additive being available after the stomach or rumens. This could be specifically useful for getting beneficial microbes to targeted organs in the digestive tract. If the microbe is infused into the pores to a significant depth of at least approximately 10 to 20 microns, then both the biochar structure itself and a coating could be used to protect the microbe through harsh conditions, such as stomach acid, prior to getting to the targeted organ location.

Treated biochar and additive infused treated biochar can be used in promoting growth and health in livestock (dairy and beef cattle, sheep, goats and swine); poultry; farm-raised wild animals (e.g. bison, deer and elk); farm-raised fish and other aquatic animals; horses and other members of the horse family; for controlling levels of certain pathogens, e.g. salmonella in poultry; for veterinary uses, such as delivery systems for medications, supplements and/or vitamins; for maintenance and welfare of zoo animals or other caged, penned or contained animals; for pets; for zoos and aquaria; for wild animals; for insects, such as bees, and for combinations and variations of these.

Treated biochars and practices and methods provide for healthier animals, increase food intake efficiency, promote better digestion and reduce methane emissions, and combinations and variations of these, and other features that relate to the increased holding, retention and time discharge features of the present biochars and processes.

Treated biochar may also be used in other applications, for example, such mixing with manure in holding ponds to potentially reduce gaseous nitrogen losses, soil remediation (for example absorption and capture of pesticide, contaminates, heavy metals, or other undesirable, disadvantageous soil components), ground water remediation, other bioremediations, storm water runoff remediation, mine remediation and mercury remediation.

In summary, the treatment processes of the present information may be used to clean the pores of the biochar, ridding the pores of dioxins or other detrimental substances, or infiltrating the pores of biochar with a variety of substances, for a number of purposes, including but not limited to, infiltrating the pores of biochar with nutrients, vitamins, drugs, microbes, and/or other supplements, or a combination of any of the foregoing, for consumption by animals. The treated biochar may also be applied to animal pens, bedding, and/or other areas where animal waste is present to reduce odor and emission of unpleasant or undesirable vapors. Furthermore it may be applied to compost piles to reduce odor, emissions, and temperature to enable the use of the food waste and animal feed in composting. Biochar can also be applied to areas where fertilizer or pesticide runoff is occurring to slow or inhibit leaching and runoff. The biochar may also be treated with additives which make it easier to dispense or apply, such as non-toxic oils, anti-clumping/binding additives, surface drying agents, or other materials.

While the above teaches a treatment process for biochar that increases the amount of additives that can be retained within the pores of the biochar, it is within the scope of the present invention to contact raw or treated biochar with additives (e.g. by submersion) for purposes of creating a delivery system for additives useful for animal health and consumption.

As set forth above, the treated biochar of the present invention may be used in various agriculture activities, as well as other activities and in other fields. Additionally, the treated biochar may be used, for example, with: farming systems and technologies, operations or activities that may be developed in the future; and with such existing systems, operations or activities which may be modified, in part, based on the teachings of this specification. Further, the various treated biochar and treatment processes set forth in this specification may be used with each other in different and various combinations. Thus, for example, the processes and resulting biochar compositions provided in the various examples provided in this specification may be used with each other; and the scope of protection afforded the present inventions should not be limited to any particular example, process, configuration, application or arrangement that is set forth in a particular example or figure.

Although this specification focuses on applications related to the maintenance, care, feeding and health of animals, it should be understood that the materials, compositions, structures, apparatus, methods, and systems, taught and disclosed herein, may have applications and uses for many other activities in addition to agriculture for example, as filters, additives, and in remediation activities, among other things.

It is understood that one or more of these may be preferred for one application, and another of these may be preferred for a different application. Thus, these are only a general list of preferred features and are not required, necessary and may not be preferred in all applications and uses.

It is noted that there is no requirement to provide or address the theory underlying the novel and groundbreaking functionality, performance or other beneficial features and properties that are the subject of, or associated with, implementations of the present inventions. Nevertheless, to the extent that various theories are provided in this specification it is done to further advance the art in this important area. These theories put forth in this specification, unless expressly stated otherwise, in no way limit, restrict or narrow the scope of protection to be afforded the claimed inventions. These theories many not be required or practiced to utilize the present inventions. It is further understood that the present inventions may lead to new, and heretofore unknown theories to explain the functionality, performance or other beneficial features and properties that are the subject of, or associated with, embodiments of the methods, articles, materials, and devices of the present inventions; and such later developed theories shall not limit the scope of protection afforded the present inventions.

Those skilled in the art will recognize that there are other methods that may be used to treat biochar in a manner that forces the infusion of liquids into the pores of the biochar without departing from the scope of the invention. The foregoing description of implementations has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not exhaustive and does not limit the claimed inventions to the precise form disclosed. Modifications and variations are possible in light of the above description or may be acquired from practicing the invention. The claims and their equivalents define the scope of the invention.

1. A method for producing biochar aggregate particles, the method comprising the steps of (i) producing or collecting biochar fines; (ii) adding a binding agent to the biochar fines; and (iii) forming the biochar fines and binding agent into solid aggregate particles.

2. The method of claim 1 where a dewatering step follows the addition of a binding agent to create a biochar paste and the biochar paste is then formed into solid aggregate particles.

3. The method of claim 2 where the step of forming the biochar paste into solid aggregate particles includes passing the biochar paste through an extruder.

4. The method of claim 2 where the step of forming the biochar paste into solid aggregate particles includes creating a biochar pellet.

5. The method of claim 2 where the step of forming the biochar paste into solid aggregate particles includes creating a biochar agglomeration.

6. The method of claim 1 where the fines are produced and collected to be a predetermined size to maintain biochar pore structure.

7. The method of claim 1 where the binding agent is a starch.

8. The method of claim 1 where the binding agent is a clay.

9. The method of claim 1 where the bind agent includes a polymer, lignin or cellulose.

10. The method of claim 1 further including the step of drying the aggregate particles.

11. The method of claim 10 where the step of drying the aggregate particles includes air drying the particles.

12. The method of claim 1 further including the step of adding an additive to either the fines or the aggregate particles.

13. The method of claim 1, where the collected biochar fines are treated by infusing a liquid into the pores of the biochar fines.

14. The method of claim 1, where the collected biochar fines are treated using centrifuge extraction.

15. The method of claim 1, where the collected biochar fines are treated using a surfactant.

16. The method of claim 1, where the collected biochar fines are treated using a vacuum.

17. A method for producing biochar aggregate particles, the method comprising the steps of (i) collecting biochar fines; (ii) adding a binding agent to the biochar fines; (iii) adding an additive to the biochar fines; (iv) de-watering the fines to yield a biochar paste; (v) heat activating the binding agent; (vi) passing the biochar paste through an extruder to yield aggregate particles; and (vi) drying the aggregate particles.

18. The method of claim 18 where the step of collecting the fines further includes treating the fines with a pH adjusting solution.

19. The method of claim 18 where the binding agent and additive are in solution together and added to the biochar fines.

20. The method of claim 18 where 95% of the biochar fines are between 0.1-0.5 mm in equivalent diameter.

21. A method for producing biochar aggregate particles, the method comprising the steps of (i) collecting treated biochar fines; (ii) adding a binding agent to the fines; (iii) de-watering the fines to yield a biochar paste; (iv) activating the binding agent with heat; (v) passing the biochar paste through a processor to create solid aggregate particles; and (vi) drying the solid aggregate particles.

22. The method of claim 21 where the processor is an extruder, a pelletizer, a briquetter, a granulator or other system capable of forming the paste into solid shapes.

23. A method for producing biochar aggregate particles, the method comprising the steps of (i) processing biomass into pellet or other solid shapes and (ii) pyrolyzing the biomass.

24. A method for producing biochar aggregate particles, the method comprising the steps of (i) collecting biochar fines; (ii) adding a binding agent to the fines; (iii) de-watering the fines to yield a biochar paste; (v) freezing the biochar paste to create aggregate particles passing the biochar paste through a processor to create solid aggregate particles; and (vi) drying the solid aggregate particles.

25. The method of claim 25 where freezing the biochar paste include lyophilizing the paste.

26. A method for producing biochar aggregate particles, the method comprising the steps of (i) producing or collecting biochar fines; (ii) adding a binding agent to the biochar fines; (iii) de-watering the biochar fines to create a biochar paste; and (vi) forming the biochar paste into solid aggregate particles in the shape of spikes.

27. A method for producing biochar aggregate particles, the method comprising the steps grinding biochar into a powder and mixing the powder in a rotary drum with a binder to create spherical biochar aggregate particles.

28. A method for producing biochar aggregate particles comprising: drying and grounding raw or treated biochar fines and/or larger biochar particles into a smaller particle sizes or powder and mixing the smaller particle sizes or powder with a binder in a rotary drum to create reasonably uniform spherical biochar aggregate particles.


Biochar workshop

14 July, 2017
 

Discover events around you that match your passions or plan your own event with Eventbrite.

Participate in a practical demonstration of the Biochar making process, learn about what it is and how to use it.

Presenter Rainer Kurth has developed and adapted a practical design for biochar kilns and approach to making high quality biochar.This efficient and effective time saving system is not only easy and cheap to accomplish, it is also in a format that’s usable and essential for Australian bush blocks and suburban settings alike.


Feds funding emissions project

14 July, 2017
 

Do you agree with President Trump that his son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer was ‘standard campaign practice’?

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Cattle gas focus of U of L study into biochar

J.W. Schnarr

Lethbridge Herald

jwschnarr@lethbridgeherald.com

A University of Lethbridge project aimed at reducing methane gas emissions in cattle using a type of charcoal as a food additive has received federal funding.

The study, led by Erasmus Okine, U of L Vice-President (Research), will investigate whether the use of biochar, a feed supplement, in beef cattle diets improves the efficiency of digestion and reduces the amount of methane gas produced. The federal government has kicked in $1.1 million to go toward research.

Project manager Rodrigo Ortega Polo said the project is an integrated approach starting in the lab. It will then move to animals, including the methane and how manure with biochar in it affects soil.

“We’re looking at a lot of different aspects here,” said Polo. “A lot of what we call the ‘farm to fork continuum.’”

Polo said biochar is available in the U.S. as a feed additive. He said in Canada, there are regulations for using it to colour minerals, but he did not believe the material has been registered as a feed.

“It’s one of the things we would like to get out of the study,” he said. “Really, nobody has studied this in Canada.”

“Reducing the amount of greenhouse gases produced by the cattle sector is important both environmentally, economically and helps build public trust. Producers want to operate in a sustainable fashion and our study results will help them do that,” stated Okine in a news release.

Some animals produce up to 200 litres of methane per day. This mostly occurs through belching.

“As opposed to what a lot of people think when we talk about methane,” said Polo.

“They think about cow farts. But the majority of emissions with cows is through belching. And they do it silently. You wouldn’t really notice.”

A reduction of methane could mean increased energy going to growth.

“Energy going into methane production is energy that is lost and not going towards meat,” Polo said.

“If we are able to increase the efficiency, that is energy that will go to meat. We’re trying to reduce the waste of energy and increase efficiency of production. Instead of having methane, we have better quality meat.”

Biochar is an environmental material, such as wood, burned in a low or zero-oxygen environment. It has been found to have a number of uses, including absorption of carbon and chemicals, and retention of water.

Biochar can act like a filter, preventing the contamination of ground water.

Because biochar has higher water and nitrogen availability, it is thought increases in crop production (plant health and yield) may occur.

The project will be evaluating the effect of biochar-loaded manure to different soil types.

This project is one of 20 new research projects supported by the $27 million Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program, a partnership with universities and conservation groups across Canada.

The program supports research into greenhouse gas mitigation practices and technologies that can be adopted on the farm.

This specific project is being led by the U of L and involves the University of Manitoba, University of Alberta, Agriculture and Agrifood Canada, and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

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A Dialogue on Perspectives of Biochar Applications and Its Environmental Risks

15 July, 2017
 

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Water, Air, & Soil Pollution


Maize

15 July, 2017
 

Maize is the most important cereal crop in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and an important staple food for more than 1.2 billion people in SSA and Latin America. It is grown throughout the temperate, sub-tropical and tropical regions of the world at altitudes from 0 to 3,200 m above sea level.

Maize production in Africa is confronted with a number of challenges: Production-limiting factors include low soil nutrient supply, Striga parasitism, diseases, pests and poor management practices. Abiotic constraints encompass droughts, flooding, salinity, metal toxicity and high and low temperatures. In the future, increasing drought periods will likely cause problems for maize production in Africa.

text: Kwadwo Obeng-Antwi


Phd Thesis On Biochar

15 July, 2017
 

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How To Make Biochar For Your Garden…

15 July, 2017
 

Eco Snippets

Biochar is charcoal used as a soil amendment. Biochar is a stable solid, rich in carbon, and can endure in soil for thousands of years. Watch the whole day of the Biochar Workshop led by Bob Wells, soil scientist Jon Nilsson and Patryk Battle.

Learn how to make biochar and its many beneficial uses including greatly enhancing soil life and fertility. Discover innovative ways to maximize its uses for dynamically carbon negative farming and gardening. The workshop is divided into 5 parts below…

Part 1: How To Make Biochar…


Spring Grove | 1154108623

16 July, 2017
 

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biochar

16 July, 2017
 

Biochar originates from different types of plant and animal by-products

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Encouraging the Use of Green Fertilisers

16 July, 2017
 

Fertilisers produced from organic or recycled materials may have easier access to the EU single market under proposed rule changes.  Intensive farming and human activities in EU countries have affected the natural balance in soils across member states.

Existing EU rules on fertilisers cover mainly conventional fertilisers, typically extracted from mines or produced chemically, with high energy-consumption and CO2 production. Variations in national rules make it difficult for producers of organic fertilisers to sell and use them across the EU single market.

In 2015 the EU funded the  REFERTIL project which developed an environmentally friendly industrial-scale method of producing an organic phosphorus fertiliser known as animal bone biochar. It could be an effective substitute for phosphate mineral fertilisers and chemicals currently used in food crop production.

Biochar originates from different types of plant and animal by-products. It is produced under low temperature conditions in the absence of air; biomass is burned at 600 degrees Celsius in an oxygen-free vacuum with no gases emitted into the atmosphere. The Refertil project has successfully achieved zero-emission processing at the industrial scale, where all material element streams are recycled and reused into natural and safe products.

The UK Biochar Research Centre (UKBRC) is  based in the School of GeoSciences at The University of Edinburgh, and works  in collaboration with Newcastle University and Rothamsted Research. The biochar-producing facility (50kg per hour continuous process) has been producing biochar from whisky draff, coffee grinds, sewage sludge / digestate and disposable drinks cups. Biochar could contribute up to 15% of the carbon abatement required by 2030 under the Scottish Government’s new ambitious  targets.

There are concerns over the use of Biochar. Almuth Ernsting comments in The Ecologist:

“Biochar is also promoted as a way of improving crop yields. Those claims, too, are contradicted by science. Field studies reveal highly variable impacts. A recent synthesis review found that in half of all published studies, biochar had either no effect on plants or more worryingly, even suppressed their growth. The author cautioned that due to possible ‘publication bias’, the reported success in 50% of cases should not be taken “as evidence of an overall biochar likelihood of producing positive impacts”. “

In contrast Edward Someus, a biochar science and technology engineer with Terra Humana, Sweden states that:

“These new REFERTIL-based organic fertilisers will be safe premium products at low and affordable costs. Zero-emission performance biochar production will also not compete with human food, animal feed and plant nutrition production and supply; a new bio-economy will be generated.”

“In Germany, the use of phosphate fertiliser from 1951 to 2011 resulted in the cumulative application of approximately 14 000 tonnes of uranium on agricultural land, corresponding to an average cumulative loading of 1 kg of uranium per hectare. The solution is the reduction or even substitution of these mineral fertilisers, such as with natural biochar phosphates.”

The change to the rules on the use of fertilisers in the EU would:

Currently, only 5% of waste organic material is recycled and used as fertilisers, but recycled bio-waste could substitute up to 30% of mineral fertilisers.  The EU imports more than 6 million tonnes of phosphate rock a year, but it could recover up to 2 million tonnes of phosphorus from sewage sludge, biodegradable waste, meat and bone meal or manure. Nearly half of the fertilisers on the EU market are not covered by the existing regulation.

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

 

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Phd thesis on biochar

16 July, 2017
 

(Thesis Advisor: Michael S. Wong) Hao Sun Ph. D. 2012. Dissertation in Chemical Engineering: Carbon Sequestration through Biochar Soil Amendment.

Phd Thesis On Biochar, Generation X Essay Thesis. Buy essays on from pencils to pixels subject

Prayogo, Cahyo (2013) Carbon storage and sequestration under different land uses with a focus on biomass crops. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.

RisPhDReport Application of Fast Pyrolysis Biochar to a Loamy soil Effects on carbon and nitrogen dynamics and potential for carbon sequestration

BIOCHAR AMENDMENTS TO FOREST SOILS: EFFECTS ON SOIL PROPERTIES AND TREE GROWTH A Thesis Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the

biochar vs Phd Thesis On Biochar phd thesis on biochar phd thesis format doc How do I find out my.

Production of biochars for use in soil quality enhancement. visit a research lab that studying the producing of biochar from organic material as soil enhancer.

PhD Theses Geography. Year: Last Name: First Name: ThesisPaper title: 2016: The Role of Elevated Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition and Nutrient and Biochar.

Biochar and Mitigation of Climate Change. Biochar System Biochar Stability and Storage Time 2005, PhD thesis (pooled data from corn and rye BC

This thesis has been submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for a (e. g. PhD, MPhil, DClinPsychol) at the University of Edinburgh. Biochar synergies between.

Profile: Biochar at Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering (ATB) in Potsdam, Germany

May 19, 2017: Josephine Getz was awarded with the MaxEyth Foundation Prize for Young Researchers for her master thesis on ‘Soil relevant properties of biochar.

This thesis has been submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for a (e. g. PhD, MPhil, DClinPsychol) at the University of Edinburgh. Biochar synergies between.

SOIL NUTRIENT AVAILABILITY PROPERTIES OF BIOCHAR A Thesis presented to the Faculty of Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo In Partial Fulfilment


biochar, worth all the hype?

17 July, 2017
 

July 17, 2017 Leave a comment

I first heard about biochar from a gentle and unassuming older lady who was making biochar at home in her kiln. She explained the role that biochar could play in both the fight against climate change and the improvement of soil quality, before gifting me a small bag of it to try out in my own small vegetable garden. I decided to carry out some citizens science in my back yard and put biochar to the test. I planted 5 squash plants and added biochar to the soil for two of the five. To be frank, I didn’t really know what to expect but I will happily test anything that will  organically allow me to fight climate change and grow better vegetables at the same time.

The history if biochar is long, but it seems to have only meaningfully emerged in scientific literature in about 2007. Biochar is what remains when biomass is turned into charcoal for the purpose of sequestering carbon in a more stable medium than the original biomass product. By creating biochar, this carbon, along with other nutrients like phosphorous, potassium and nitrogen are retained in the soil. It also increases the cation exchange capacity of the soil. This essentially means that the fertility of the soil increases as a result of a negative static charge in the soil that prevents nutrients from being washed away. This is good news for two reasons. 1. There are more nutrients hanging about for your plants, 2. There are more nutrients to feed soil microorganisms.

From an anthropological point of view, it seems as though humans began intentionally producing biochar or ‘terra preta’ about 2,000 — 3,000 years ago in the Amazon basin. It is thought that this allowed people living in the area to transform poor quality soil into rich fertile soil that allowed them to grow and cultivate crops rather than having to rely on other more labour intensive methods to feed themselves.  The exact properties and mechanisms of biochar are still not totally understood, but research is ongoing and the biochar industry is growing around the world as part of the soil health movement. Much of the promotion of biochar is done on a small scale, by those like the lady who introduced me to it and it was clear that she found her contribution meaningful on both a personal and global level. The worst effects of climate change will likely not have a significant impact on her, but she is out there quietly fighting for my future, for all of our collective futures.

For what it is worth, my little piece of citizens science resulted in two noticeably better plants. They’re about a third bigger, healthier looking and are producing about double the amount of summer squash than the three without biochar.

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This blog is part of Greenhorns, a land-based non-profit serving young farmers across America. Here, you’ll find grassroots original content accompanied by links about land, events, news, gossip and video ephemera relevant to the young farming community.

Currently our core editorial team consists of: Samuel Oslund, a seed and garlic farmer who studies open source technologies for agriculture in Montreal; Mike Irvine, who grows food, teaches, and writes in Oakland, CA; and Abby Ferla, a vegetable and medicinal herb farmer in Western MA.

Looking to submit content or join the team? Email Abby at greenhornsblog@gmail.com for more info!

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Projects / Press

17 July, 2017
 

Water, Food and Air: Saving the World with Activated Biochar By Eric Marley When I was born, in the middle 1960’s, there were 3.6 billion people living on our planet. We had yet to face a real oil crisis and no one spoke of global climate change. Every autumn, my dad would take our family… Read More »

Reach for the stars, but cherish the soil.

PO Box 544
La Pine, OR 97739
541-706-1006


biochar

17 July, 2017
 

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Scarlet leather flower

It’s hot, it’s summer, it’s the upper midwest.  I came across a clematis that I’d not heard of while perusing an Organic Gardening magazine.  This plant, clematis texensis also known as Scarlet Leatherflower is a native of Texas.

So why do I bring it up?  Somewhat because I’m feeling like we’re in Texas lately, but the other reason is that this Texas native offers a possibility for those of us in zone 4.  It’s different from other clematis that prefer shade on their roots, this little beauty loves a southern or southwestern exposure and at least 6 hours of full sun.  It’s also drought tolerant and blooms only on new wood.  That means you prune it every late winter down to 8 to 12 inches tall and then in the spring watch Scarlet Leatherflower climb your trellis, your rose bush, your fence to 9 to 12 feet!

If you have clay soil, add plenty of peat moss and compost to a depth of 8 to 12 inches.  Add a mild fertilizer in March and water weekly the first year.  Once this plant is established, the roots will dive deep for moisture making it drought tolerant.

For a deep cherry pink, ‘Sir Trevor Lawrence’ looks great rambling over your shrubs.  And then there’s ‘Gravetye Beauty’, one of the truest red clematis.  When autumn arrives, whirly seedheads create a soft display.  Check out gardenbite dot com for a peek at these potential perennials.

 

 

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Biochar

I was just recently on a garden tour of local gardens in my hometown.  They were all lovely but there was one in particular that really intrigued as it was not the “usual” garden tour fair.  It was strictly about vegetables and this man’s quest for the best.

It’s all in the soil, or will be. He makes his own biochar.  What’s that you say?  First, I’ll tell you what it’s NOT, it is not ASH.

Basically, it’s organic matter (John uses wood) that is burned slowly, with a restricted flow of oxygen, and then the fire is stopped when the material reaches the charcoal stage. Unlike tiny tidbits of ash, coarse lumps of charcoal are full of crevices and holes, which help them serve as life rafts to soil microorganisms. The carbon compounds in charcoal form loose chemical bonds with soluble plant nutrients so they are not as readily washed away by rain and irrigation. Biochar alone added to poor soil has little benefit to plants, but when used in combination with compost and organic fertilizers, it can dramatically improve plant growth while helping retain nutrients in the soil.

One method of making biochar is to pile up woody debris in a shallow pit in a garden bed; burn the brush until the smoke thins; damp down the fire with a one-inch soil covering; let the brush smolder until it is charred; put the fire out. The leftover charcoal will improve soil by improving nutrient availability and retention.  It stays in the soil for millennia and is found all around the world, in particular, the Amazon.

USDA — biochar

Biochar is NOT the “answer” to everything but it has benefits.  Here’s another view Earth Island Journal

biochar.org

 

 

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  My butterfly garden and other natives

I planted a butterfly garden earlier this year.  The rabbits got some of that too.  They’re prolific enough this year that I’ve contemplated severe measures, but I don’t think it’s legal in my neighborhood!  Anyway, there are some species growing as you can see!  I bought 48 plants from my County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Here’s a LINK to my May Garden Bite on the above garden with cost and exactly what plants are in it.

I also wanted to share some of the amazing native options for our area.  First up, Purple Lovegrass. That link will take you to a native supplier for Wisconsin.  Prairie Nursery.   Prairie Moon Nursery is based in Minnesota.  You’ll find MUCH the same plants!  This darling grass offers up rosy-purple little flowers above spiky foliage from now through Fall.  It grows to about 2 feet tall and likes full sun and a drier soil.  It’s a bunch grass and grows in clumps of about 10 inches.  It’s lovely as a border or mass planting.  And is deer resistant!  Maybe rabbits too??

Prairie Onion is not favored by the bunnies, BONUS, strategically placing this in the landscape may even protect other plants.  I think I’ll try this!  Prairie Onion blooms from now into early Fall.  It grows up to 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide and likes full sun to part shade.  The soft purply pink flowers also attract butterflies and bees.  By the way, the bulbs of wild onions are edible.

For something completely different, try Eastern prickly pear cactus.  Yes, a cactus that’s not only able to grow here but is a native to the upper midwest! Look for the latin name, ‘Opuntia humifusa’.   If you have a hot, dry, sandy spot then try the prickly pear.  From June to July, the cactus puts out some of the most stunning flowers. Bathed in bright yellow, the 3″ wide blooms are immediately set upon by a myriad of different pollinator species. Beetles, bees, and butterflies, this plant attracts them all. After flowering, the pads produce bright red, edible fruits that are almost as attractive as the flowers.

 

 

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  A second season

I have been so disappointed this year in my vegetable garden.  The rabbits have feasted on everything but my tomatoes, herbs and onions. Gone are my peas, spinach, broccoli and beets.  For years I’ve used a product called Plantskydd that worked wonders, but not this year.  I doubled the dose, it’s harmless to pets and people but smells like a predator to little critters.  Or, at least it did!  UGH.  I tried small fencing, hoping that the combination would deter them.  Make a little harder for them.  No luck.

If you’re still hankering for some lettuce, more beets, some carrots or kale – you can plant a second season.  We’ve got about 10 more weeks of growing.  Maybe more, maybe less.  Check on the days to maturity of certain vegetables that you might want to give a second planting too.

The seeds will sprout quicker with the soil so warm.  You will want to keep the seeds moist but not wet!  Once you’re vegetable seeds get about an inch, you can usually tell if there’s 8 seeds in one spot!  Thin out the seeds as the instructions say on the packet.

Some plantings will taste even better after a light frost – kale for instance, and carrots and beets.  Lettuce and cilantro bolt in the heat, with cooler temperatures as they grow, that will slow down their bolting.  Bolting is when the plants flower and then become bitter.

Second season veggies and herbs:

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Good bug — bad A!! bug

When you think of crickets, you likely think of hot summers.  Likely not, that they’re detritivores and more.  They eat decaying plant matter, among other things.  For a gardeners purpose, that’s okay.  It also means they excrete it back to your soil.  Sounds gross but it’s not a bad thing!  Of course if you have an infestation, like this year’s Earwig population, you might consider them a bad bug.  (Insect!)

Okay, I had no idea but apparently you can buy crickets, keep them in an aquarium type container, feed them, water them, keep them healthy and not stressed …  and then feed them to your reptiles.  The things you learn on the  internet…  There’s even a video of how to keep your crickets happy and healthy until you feed them to your snake.

From the moment the assassin bug hatches, it’s a killing machine.  They eat insects including Japanese beetles and stinkbugs by using their mouthparts to pierce the soft areas between the exoskeleton and sucking out their innards!

The above is just ONE of 3,000 types of assassin bugs!  do a google search and you’ll find a gazillion.  Well, maybe not quite THAT many!  Their bite is painful to humans.  Wear gloves or be prepared for a little pain.  These dudes do their duty in the garden but the bite might not feel right to YOU!

The little hoverfly seems like it would be useless but au contraire! their larvae eat aphids.

Tachnid flies look like bristly houseflies and all of them are parasitoids, they kill their hosts!  They help keep garden pest populations down!

Parasitic wasps are not choosy, they attack and eat all insects but their favorites include aphids, mealybugs and caterpillars.  And then there’s the robber fly.  It’s known as the shark of the insect world.  A powerful predator, they dart from perches and catch grasshoppers, dragonflies, wasps and even japanese beetles.  They paralyze their victims with venom.  Below is a look at just one type of Parasitic Wasp!

BugGuide is a great site to peruse all kinds of crawly creatures.

Rather than killing insects willy nilly, it’s a good thing to know WHO you’re dealing with.  You might want to keep that wasp or fly or cricket or assassin bug in your garden!

PS, you might find anthracnose in your garden due to the very wet weather.  That’s a fungal disease.  It’s not really something to be too concerned with but identification is always a good thing.

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Drought tolerant plants

It’s coming…  the “dog days” of summer.  90 some degrees will brings on crackling lawns and drooping flowers

Characterisitics of a drought tolerant plant:

And one of my favorites!  Sea Holly

While large fleshy roots hold water underground, succulent leaves like those on Sedums, hold their water above ground.  ‘Autumn Joy’ is probably the most popular sedum but I have a little ground cover variety known as ‘Dragon’s Blood’ that survived winter in a small container only partially buried in the ground, the year after, I didn’t even bother to do that.  Just left it in it’s container on the deck.

‘Dragon’s blood’ leaves turn red in the Fall.

An annual that’s drought tolerant and tasty too is Rosemary.  It’s waxy leaves are coated with a dense barrier preventing water loss.  You can FEEL the wax when you snip them off for cooking.  For dry shade areas, one of the toughest places to grow plants, choose Wild Ginger, Goatsbeard, Lady’s Mantle and the clematis ‘Virgin’s Bower’.

 

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Jumping worms!

It’s sounds like a B-rated movie but Jumping Worms are real and leaping from Wisconsin to Minnesota.  They’re the latest invasive species threat.   Beware of the video!  😉

In October of 2013, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources discovered a population of jumping worms in Dane County — the first to be identified and reported in the state.  They’ve just recently been discovered in Loring Park in Minneapolis.  University of Minnesota Extension with more information

The “jumping worm” is an earthworm with a nasty disposition and an invasive species that threatens the natural decomposition process.

They eat their way through the plant litter on forest floors at a much faster rate than other worms.  Forest floor leaf litter is comparable to the skin on an animal. It retains moisture, protects roots, breathes, prevents erosion, deters pathogens and non-native plants and promotes seed germination. When leaf litter is consumed by earthworms it’s like removing the skin of the forest floor.  This exposes the soil and causes erosion, compaction and increased rainwater runoff which also means invasive plants can sneak in, beginning a cycle of non–native invasions competing for critical resources. The result is less diversity of native plants and animals in our forests.

These worms mature in about 2 months and are asexual, meaning they can procreate all on their own.  They drop their cocoons in the soil where it can overwinter.   While Wisconsin has been battling the jumping worm for several years, Minnesota is just now seeing it.

Likely they got a free ride on leaf mulch, a potted plant or bulk soil and made themselves at home.

 

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Edamame — the soybean with flair

Is it all in a name?  Soybeans hardly sound all that delicious, but edamame sounds exotic and unique, although it’s becoming more and more mainstream.  The name means “beans on branches” in Japanese.

Edamame grow pretty much like bush green beans, plant them the same way in rows about 2 1/2 feet apart with about 3 inches between plants. As we talked last week about planting for another harvest, consider Edamame.  It tolerates hot, dry weather better than green beans, in fact, they don’t like to be real wet, so keep the soil just moist when first planted.   They’ll grow to about 2 feet tall at maturity.  Be patient; germination and maturation periods for soybeans are longer than most other crops.  Edamame don’t suffer any real disease or insect damage but you could also cover them with a row cover to protect from the deer and rabbits.  Harvest the pods when they’re fully plump and still bright green.

Cooking edamame pods

Bring to boil a large pot of salted water, toss the pods in and cook for 5 mins. after the water returns to a boil. To use in salads and stir-fries, just pop the steamed beans out of their pods and into your salad or wok.

For Japanese-style snacking, cook pods as above then drain in a colander. Toss with flaked sea salt and serve immediately. (In place of popcorn!) You can put the whole pod in your mouth, drag it across your teeth popping out the beans as you go. YUM!

 

Simple edamame salad

Combine edamame with a bit of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, snippets of fresh herbs, sliced cherry tomatoes, slivered red onion and cooked quinoa. Season with salt and pepper.

You can freeze edamame, too. Parboil as above and then stick them in ice water. Drain thoroughly. Spread the pods on a cookie sheet in a single layer and freeze till they’re solid. Pack the frozen beans in plastic bags taking out as much air as possible. They’ll keep for several months.

Hoisin Shrimp and Edamame stir-fry with soba noodles — this was delicious! Click on the PDF below…

Hoisin Shrimp and Edamame Stir Fry

 

 

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Host plants for butterfly larvae

As Milkweed are host to the Monarch butterfly larvae, I don’t want to use any chemical to rid the plant of those bugs!

If you like having butterflies of any sort in your landscape, then consider other larval host plants.  Rhonda Fleming Hayes writes a great article in Northern Gardener magazine.  I’ll share some of her thoughts and link you to her new book, “Pollinator Friendly Gardens”.

Rhonda says on average you’ll find about 100 species of butterflies near your home.

Herbs are good hosts.  Dill, Anise, fennel, mint and parsley work well and are great plants.  Although mint is invasive.

Of course milkweed is for monarchs, their larvae eat the leaves, but other perennials like aster, hollyhock, mallow and hardy hibiscus attract butterfly larvae of another sort!

Honeysuckle vines, Hops and Moonflower are also great hosts.

These larvae feed on the plant foliage, it’s not the flowers or nectar they’re attracted to.  An important distinction.

Most gardeners would ask, why would you plant something that eats the foliage???  Well, without THOSE plants to feed the early stages of butterflies, there are no butterflies.  It’s not that you need a full garden of foliage munching caterpillars, but rather an oasis of a variety of plants that include trees!  Aspen, Poplar, black cherry and willow are hosts as are shrubs like lilacs and viburnum.

Grasses can offer as a host plant too!  Big Bluestem, Little Bluestem, Prairie Dropseed and switch grass

 

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Mosquito Eaters

I get up very early and am on my way to work at about 4:45 in the morning.  It’s about the same time the bats are flying back to their homes after a grand night of feeding.  Let me introduce you to the Little Brown Bat.

This little fella can munch down 1200 mosquitoes in an hour and when you live in Wisconsin or Minnesota, you gotta give props to ‘em. They may not be the cutest things but all of a sudden this little guy might not be so bad!

They grow to have a wingspan of 9 inches and can fly at 20 miles an hour.  During hibernation their heart rate drops from 200 beats per minute to 20, and their body temperature hangs at just a degree above the surrounding air.  Little Brown Bat — Wisconsin DNR

Baby bats are born between April and July.  Most have just one, although there have been reports of some having twins.  As pleased as I am that bats eat mosquitoes, I don’t want to share my home with them.

In mid August you can start bat-proofing your place.  You want the baby bats to have a chance to get out, then it’s time for sealing up the joint!  Bats look for loose fascia boards, busted attic vents, a roof/wall joint, any place they can squeeze into to hang during hibernation.  They can get into a hole as small as a dime.

The best thing to do is to wait until dusk, that’s when bats go hunting,  then use ¼ inch mesh or nylon netting, caulking compound, plywood, or aerosol foam insulation and seal any place you think they may be getting into.

 

Plant Hardiness Zone Maps