Re: assistance with field experiments #fieldtrials

Thomas Casten

Focus on your sugar mills efficiency.  I spent 40 years building combined heat and power plants, always seeking to profitably improve the efficiency of converting the energy in input fuel to useful thermal and electrical energy.  The cane sugar mills all burn bagasse to produce required thermal and electric energy for the mill, but have not had any reason to invest in more efficient conversion.  These mills have to get rid of the bagasse, so never improved their cycle post initial construction.  One plant I visited in Indonesia continued to use a 1908 steam-piston engine to turn an 8-meter diameter flywheel connected to the electric generator.

There are good investment opportunities to replace these ancient plants with modern plants that Tom Miles could design to process all of the bagasse, use higher steam pressures and backpressure turbines to produce the plant's requirements for thermal and electric energy, and convert the rest of the bagasse to biochar.  I do not have exact figures, but think that a modernized plant, which had also reduced the wasted thermal energy, could derive most of its energy from the pyrolyzed gases and convert a high percentage of the biomass carbon to fixed carbon in biochar.
The best part of this story is the incredible gain in sugar production over 5 years achieved by Isabel Lima with the USDA in a Louisiana test.  The sugar production in the 4th production year was 42% above the first-year production of the control field without biochar.  The farmers could probably have delayed the fallow year by 2 to 4 years, but the research plot was already scheduled for another trial.
Thomas R Casten
Cell: 630-915-9215
Work: 630-321-1095

On Wed, Apr 8, 2020 at 10:35 AM Marcelo Alves <marceloalves@...> wrote:

Dear colleagues
I would like to share with colleagues certain difficulties that we have faced.
I am from a region that has sandy and poor soils and at the same time generates a lot of waste (chicken manure, bio manure, cane bagasse, cotton cake, etc.) and I am convinced that biochar can bring many benefits to these soils. However, whenever I think about research and field experiments, the problem arises of how to produce enough biochar? We even managed to produce something in the laboratory using muffle furnaces, but on a field scale it is difficult.
How could I solve this?
I count on your help, thank you.

Prof. Dr. Marcelo R. Alves

Thomas R Casten

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