Date   

Re: Biochar material use in human remains composting #compost #cremation

Tom Miles
 

Composting human remains is now legal in the US state of Washington.

 

Tom

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of Eli Fishpaw
Sent: Tuesday, April 21, 2020 7:07 AM
To: chegberg@...; main@Biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Biochar material use in human remains composting

 

I really like the idea of human remains being composted.  I like the hope that the elements of my body will be transformed into new life, completely taking away the identity as me.  Aerobically is better for the environment avoiding methane emissions of anaerobically.  A few years ago a friend of mine died of cancer.  He was an alternative lifestyle type guy.  We wrapped his body in cloth linen, dug a hole in the ground, set compost in the bottom, set his body above, covered in additional compost and topped off with stones that would prevent animals from digging. 

A few months ago when I was digging a trench for the flame cap method of creating char, it occurred to me what a great grave site it would make.  I hope to have many more years.  However, this gives a more positive meaning the phrase, "He is digging his own grave.". 

Eli 


----- Original Message -----
From: Charles Hegberg [mailto:chegberg@...]
To: "main@Biochar.groups.io" <main@Biochar.groups.io>
Sent: Mon, 20 Apr 2020 18:36:13 +0000
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Biochar material use in human remains composting

Always tell my wife and kids I would rather be charred than turned to ash.  That way I will never go away and at least be useful rather than just side in a box on the shelf somewhere. 

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of Roger Faulkner via groups.io
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2020 2:26 PM
To: main@Biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Biochar material use in human remains composting

 

I said earlier that I would give a link to what I wrote about the body composting concept. I thought I had written something exclusively about the use of biochar in that process, but it turns out it was only in the patent application. I am looking for someone with whom to pursue this idea as an entrepreneurial venture. 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Alternative to Burial and Cremation

Roger Faulkner

End of Life Care is a $20B a year industry in the US. It would be fair to say that it is not an environmentally ...

 

 

 

Thanks,

Roger Faulkner

Mobile: 980-250-4683

Living in a Wheelchair Linktree:

Inventions Linktree: 

 

 

 

On Monday, April 20, 2020, 09:15:57 AM EDT, Roger Faulkner <roger_rethinker@...> wrote:

 

 

in response do the questions below I have created a new thread.

 

I mentioned my ideas which relate to biochar and human remains composting in at least two articles I wrote for medium.com. Because of my ALS, I cannot attach documents to an email by myself. My assistant Jake will be with me starting at 11 today and at that time I can provide some links.

 

The first of the 3 patent applications dealt with the idea of hydrolyzing the body under milder conditions than what it is used today. That would imply a longer time for hydrolysis unless there is more effective agitation, which is actually part of my thoughts. I don't mean to be gross about it but I went into full detail. Since the final hydrolysate has a pH of about 10, one really doesn't need to use potassium or sodium hydroxide, and can rather use tripotassium phosphate. 

 

I would like to see my bones preserved. The conventional method of hydrolysis is so aggressive that the bones crumble due to the hydrolysis of the protein between the calcium apatite crystals of the bone.

 

The next patent refines the method by instead of going straight to composting having the hydrolysate absorbed into biochar. I'm pretty sure I have a medium.com article about both of these ideas.

 

The third major idea covered in by in my provisional patents is the concept of creating a fertilizer pellet which is mainly comprised of biochar particles with a desirable cation profile, which are then bound together by a mixture of potassium humate and the ammonium salt of ulmic acid.

 

I visualize a pellet of fertilizer that can go through conventional fertilizer spreaders. of course this can be done with the the biochar containing hydrolyzed human remains. In fact, that's what I want done with the proteinaceous portion of my body.

 

The funeral industry is ready for major changes. Alkaline hydrolysis is already legal in more than 50% of states in America. It uses less energy than any other approved method. And what appeals to me is that it prevents putrification, and it preserves the body's Amino and nucleic acids up to the point that they go into the soil or into a compost pile for composting. That appeals to me. 

 

Because of my ALS I've been thinking a lot about what to do with my body when I die. I would very much like to be the very first example of my method being used.

 

On Sun, Apr 19, 2020 at 9:38 AM, Paul S Anderson

<psanders@...> wrote:


Roger,

 

Please provide a link or sources about all three of your ideas.   Is any about carbonization (pyrolysis) of the body?

 

Paul

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org 

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of Roger Faulkner via groups.io
Sent: Sunday, April 19, 2020 7:27 AM
To: main@Biochar.groups.io; Ron Larson <rongretlarson@...>; main@biochar.groups.io; claudia.kammann@...
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Negative Emissions, Biochar material use and PyCCS

 

[This message came from an external source. If suspicious, report to abuse@...]

I really enjoyed reading this. I have a contribution here, the use of biochar in human remains dispersal. I have actually filed three patent applications covering ways of dealing with a human body after death. The most favorable method uses alkaline hydrolysis with a combination of potassium hydroxide and tripotassium phosphate as the hydrolyzing agent. This liquid can be absorbed onto biochar. The particulate biochar containing the hydrolyzed human remains can either go from there into a compost pile or can be dried. It can also be pelletized by using a mixture potassium and ammonium salts of humic and ulmic acid.

 

I think it is often the case that getting a new industry started it is desirable to start at the highest value application you can think of. Tesla motors went after the top of the line sports car right from the beginning. They're probably a lot of other examples as well. 

 

Biochar used to help grieving people honor their loved ones by incorporating their remains into plantings which they select is a huge opening for getting biochar into the minds of the public. Biochar for this application could also fetch a realistic price that would enable production to begin on a commercial basis. 

 

I have filed those patent applications to enable me to speak freely about this. The clock is running; now that I have fully revealed my ideas they can only be patented by me because I have pending patent applications. 

 

Before you think me a commercial sell out or something like that you should know that I have ALS and then I have devoted my life to causing change in the world. As I age it has become clear that the fastest way to do that is to make money.

 

Also mentioned in this train below are various ideas about how to name biochar. I think the definition biochar as opposed to other types of pyrolytic carbon which all are useful in carbon sequestration has to do with the cation exchange capacity. I think it will have to come down to some specific criteria. It will probably be expressed in moles per kilogram or something like that.

 

I have commented a few times but allow me to introduce myself. I am Roger Faulkner, primarily I'm an inventor but I'm also a chemical engineer and polymer scientist. I have also been a political activist including having run for the US Senate in Wisconsin in 1992 calling myself a green Republican. I got 20% of the vote in the statewide Republican primary election, more than 50,000 votes.

 

On Fri, Apr 17, 2020 at 7:44 PM, Ron Larson

Professor Kammann and biochar list:

 

Glad to see this new shorter thread on a limited topic.  I’ve dropped much of your older material, which was on Project Drawdown not this issue - mostly " PYCCS."  I earlier responded separately to Michael Shafer, who was the major part of today’s thread comments.

 

This response is on terminology.  Thanks for the three attachments.    I’d not seen the one by Galinposki.  

 

 

See below

 

 

On Apr 17, 2020, at 6:27 AM, Caludia Kammann <claudia.kammann@...> wrote:

 

Re the “Biochar material use” discussion:

 

We carved the term PyCCS for Pyrogenic Carbon Capture and Storage via the two attached papers which does not contain the word “Biochar”, as you can see.

[RWL1.  I like the word “carved”.   I’ve previously read and greatly admired the two on PYCCS - where you are a co-author..   The titles don’t use the word “biochar”, but the papers do.

 

 

However, Frank mentions cascading uses and that is where building materials meet biochar: if you use a clay loam plaster on your walls – breaking the house down will ultimately result in  something that weathers again to be, in the end, soil. Also, if you use it as a feed additive, it finally ends up in the soil, but has a different purpose first (animal health).

[RWL2:    Frank (see also his comment below) was responding to this paragraph in Michael’s message of also today (emphasis added);     "Well, if we make the crude assumption that the smallest farms are the most marginal and on the worst land, then we are talking about dividing our 1 billion tonnes of real biochar (biochar buried in the ground) to the land that these farms are on. The result is not the golden 1 kg/m2 required to up the performance of the pampered soils of New York and the Rhone Valley, but in Asia and Africa, as little 125 or 250 g/ m2 ought to boost the yields of most crops by 30% or so.

I think I agree with you (Claudia) that the word “biochar” can be broader than initial placement in soil.  I am happy with the idea that a biochar is any charcoal that is not combusted - whichI believe is what you say next.

 

For me, biochar was and is largely a term that depicts a beneficial material use, not the use that involves burning it and returning it as CO2 to the atmosphere (as in “charcoal”), be it in soil, in animal feed, or materials such as paper (that may be composted in the end) or building materials.

 

No one would just use biochar as a sand replacement without testing the strength and resistance of the resulting material. At least in Europe, there are strict regulations and norms that would never, ever allow its use without sufficient R&D first. Maybe this is different, a kind of Wild-wild-West, in the US?

[RWL3:   I believe it true that the US still doesn’t have the “legal” definitions that are the arrangement in at least parts of Europe.  But California seems to be getting close.   It is worse than being “wild”.

 

Hans-Peter Schmidt has done some work on this, together with engineers. Biochar in tunnel concrete worked well as a replacement of the fibres that they have to put in it as fire protection (fibres that melt when there’s a fire, so that water vapour can escape and the carrying structure remains intact & is not blasted appart. Biochar replaced the fibres very well.) Plus, biochar is alkaline, not acidic.... Clearly, more R&D is needed here.

 

[RWL4:  Very interesting;  that “fire” protection information is new to me. 

 

If we truly want to go for the 2° goal of Paris, there is no way around negative emissions, with biochar /PyCCS as one of the many needed options. And as for the next ice age? Screw that, not going to happen, anyway, we humans made sure of that already. (See attached paper “Ganopolsik et al. 2016”)

[RWL5.   We should also note the way you use “biochar/PYCCS” as being separate - I believe not two terms for the same product(s).   Your team has done a nice job of sequestering pyrolysis products, NOT sequestering CO2.

But I may be misinterpreting as you add "as one of”.  Should that be “as two of”?

I can’t find that the past thread has talked about “next ice age” - but I agree with you on having put that off for probably millennia.   I see that the “ice age" term is the subject of the Ganopolski paper,  they seem to have done a nice job.

I don’t think this is the right list to get into arguing the truth of this paper.

 

Claudia:   Good to have you commenting here.   I understand the term “PYCCS” as being different from “biochar”,  but I am afraid that the (commendably) large sequestration values in your two papers are being lost by CDR writers, because they aren’t labeled “biochar”.  I don’t know how to solve that problem - except to hope you can find a way to somehow include the word “biochar” in future papers' titles

 

 

The “Caludia” problem should have been fixed.;  hope it wasn’t the list fault.

 

Ron

 

 

 

best, Claudia

 

PS: Can someone probably correct my first name in the data base....?

 

Von: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> Im Auftrag von Frank Strie
Gesendet: Freitag, 17. April 2020 13:53
An: main@Biochar.groups.io
Betreff: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] The Drawdown Review, New Website, Our Team is Growing.

 

 

RE: “real biochar (biochar buried in the ground)

What is the definition of   “real Biochar” ?

As I see it, Biochar is pyrogenic, stable black carbon that is useful in fostering / in supporting LIFE.
Biology = Life-Science
Bio = Life (Greek) 
Consequently:  Biochar supports, fosters, enables Life above and below ground and in/ under water.
Pyrogenic Carbon / Biochar has supported, fostered and enabled life well before humans walked the Earth and / or well before humans learned how to manage fire.  … 
The cascading values and uses of Biochar is where things get very interesting.
First capturing nutrients and then becoming useful in the soil and sediment …
Frankly thinking loud
Frank

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of d.michael.shafer@...
Sent: Friday, April 17, 2020 6:39 PM
To: main@biochar.groups.io
Cc: Biochar@groups.io; Carbon Dioxide Removal <CarbonDioxideRemoval@...>; Benoit Lambert <benoit.lambert@...>; Thomas Goreau <goreau@...>
Subject: Re: [Biochar] The Drawdown Review, New Website, Our Team is Growing.

 

Ron,

 

Your capacity for detail is just remarkable. It took me more than a few times through this to make all the pieces fall into place and i am normally a pretty good close reader.

 

 

<snip - the rest on a different topic - responded to already>

 

 


Re: Minimal prep of biochar for gardens #garden

Paul S Anderson
 

Nando,

 

That is what I will probably do.  

 

Thanks to everyone for their contributions.

 

Paul

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org 

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of Nando Breiter via groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, April 21, 2020 8:26 AM
To: main@biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

[This message came from an external source. If suspicious, report to abuse@...]

Paul,

 

Why don't you simply add the biochar you have to your soil and fertilize it as you prefer to counteract any potential loss of available plant nutrients from the soil solution?

 

Hope that helps,

 

Nando

 

Nobody is saying:     Put fertilizer (inorganic or manure) onto  the soil when you put in some biochar to counter-act the loss of nutrients from the soil into the char in that first year.

 

Not sure what I will do.

 

Paul

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org 

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

Image removed by sender.


--
Nando Breiter
http://biochar.info
CarbonZero Sagl
Astano, Switzerland


Re: Minimal prep of biochar for gardens #garden

mikethewormguy
 

Claudia,

As needed, we will soak our wood biochar in a humic acid/kelp extract.  

The coffee idea is a wake up call for biochar.....

Mike



Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


Re: Biochar material use in human remains composting #compost #cremation

Kathleen Draper
 

Long ago I mused about how biochar could improve the sustainability of the burial industry though not quite in the way Roger is talking about. I even suggested  caskets made out of biochar (dubbed the xPyre casket). In the 6 years since I wrote that, I think we are closer than ever to being able to make that happen...more news on that soon...don't mean to be too crypt-ic (😉) but there are some exciting biochar materials coming out once the pandemic subsides and supply chains reboot.

More recently I wrote about biochar in the time of corona and mentioned carbonization as a more meaningful means of keeping more of a loved ones remains from returning skyward. Carbon to carbon instead of ashes to ashes, makes a whole lot more sense to me!

http://fingerlakesbiochar.com/burying-carbon-for-good/
http://fingerlakesbiochar.com/biochar-in-the-time-of-coronavirus/


Re: Biochar material use in human remains composting #compost #cremation

Eli Fishpaw
 

I really like the idea of human remains being composted.  I like the hope that the elements of my body will be transformed into new life, completely taking away the identity as me.  Aerobically is better for the environment avoiding methane emissions of anaerobically.  A few years ago a friend of mine died of cancer.  He was an alternative lifestyle type guy.  We wrapped his body in cloth linen, dug a hole in the ground, set compost in the bottom, set his body above, covered in additional compost and topped off with stones that would prevent animals from digging. 

A few months ago when I was digging a trench for the flame cap method of creating char, it occurred to me what a great grave site it would make.  I hope to have many more years.  However, this gives a more positive meaning the phrase, "He is digging his own grave.". 

Eli 


----- Original Message -----
From: Charles Hegberg [mailto:chegberg@...]
To: "main@Biochar.groups.io" <main@Biochar.groups.io>
Sent: Mon, 20 Apr 2020 18:36:13 +0000
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Biochar material use in human remains composting

Always tell my wife and kids I would rather be charred than turned to ash.  That way I will never go away and at least be useful rather than just side in a box on the shelf somewhere. 

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of Roger Faulkner via groups.io
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2020 2:26 PM
To: main@Biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Biochar material use in human remains composting

 

I said earlier that I would give a link to what I wrote about the body composting concept. I thought I had written something exclusively about the use of biochar in that process, but it turns out it was only in the patent application. I am looking for someone with whom to pursue this idea as an entrepreneurial venture. 

 

 

 
 

 


A New Alternative to Burial and Cremation

Roger Faulkner

End of Life Care is a $20B a year industry in the US. It would be fair to say that it is not an environmentally ...

 

 

 

Thanks,

Roger Faulkner

Mobile: 980-250-4683

Living in a Wheelchair Linktree:

Inventions Linktree: 

 

 

 

On Monday, April 20, 2020, 09:15:57 AM EDT, Roger Faulkner <roger_rethinker@...> wrote:

 

 

in response do the questions below I have created a new thread.

 

I mentioned my ideas which relate to biochar and human remains composting in at least two articles I wrote for medium.com. Because of my ALS, I cannot attach documents to an email by myself. My assistant Jake will be with me starting at 11 today and at that time I can provide some links.

 

The first of the 3 patent applications dealt with the idea of hydrolyzing the body under milder conditions than what it is used today. That would imply a longer time for hydrolysis unless there is more effective agitation, which is actually part of my thoughts. I don't mean to be gross about it but I went into full detail. Since the final hydrolysate has a pH of about 10, one really doesn't need to use potassium or sodium hydroxide, and can rather use tripotassium phosphate. 

 

I would like to see my bones preserved. The conventional method of hydrolysis is so aggressive that the bones crumble due to the hydrolysis of the protein between the calcium apatite crystals of the bone.

 

The next patent refines the method by instead of going straight to composting having the hydrolysate absorbed into biochar. I'm pretty sure I have a medium.com article about both of these ideas.

 

The third major idea covered in by in my provisional patents is the concept of creating a fertilizer pellet which is mainly comprised of biochar particles with a desirable cation profile, which are then bound together by a mixture of potassium humate and the ammonium salt of ulmic acid.

 

I visualize a pellet of fertilizer that can go through conventional fertilizer spreaders. of course this can be done with the the biochar containing hydrolyzed human remains. In fact, that's what I want done with the proteinaceous portion of my body.

 

The funeral industry is ready for major changes. Alkaline hydrolysis is already legal in more than 50% of states in America. It uses less energy than any other approved method. And what appeals to me is that it prevents putrification, and it preserves the body's Amino and nucleic acids up to the point that they go into the soil or into a compost pile for composting. That appeals to me. 

 

Because of my ALS I've been thinking a lot about what to do with my body when I die. I would very much like to be the very first example of my method being used.

 

On Sun, Apr 19, 2020 at 9:38 AM, Paul S Anderson

<psanders@...> wrote:


Roger,

 

Please provide a link or sources about all three of your ideas.   Is any about carbonization (pyrolysis) of the body?

 

Paul

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org 

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of Roger Faulkner via groups.io
Sent: Sunday, April 19, 2020 7:27 AM
To: main@Biochar.groups.io; Ron Larson <rongretlarson@...>; main@biochar.groups.io; claudia.kammann@...
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Negative Emissions, Biochar material use and PyCCS

 

[This message came from an external source. If suspicious, report to abuse@...]

I really enjoyed reading this. I have a contribution here, the use of biochar in human remains dispersal. I have actually filed three patent applications covering ways of dealing with a human body after death. The most favorable method uses alkaline hydrolysis with a combination of potassium hydroxide and tripotassium phosphate as the hydrolyzing agent. This liquid can be absorbed onto biochar. The particulate biochar containing the hydrolyzed human remains can either go from there into a compost pile or can be dried. It can also be pelletized by using a mixture potassium and ammonium salts of humic and ulmic acid.

 

I think it is often the case that getting a new industry started it is desirable to start at the highest value application you can think of. Tesla motors went after the top of the line sports car right from the beginning. They're probably a lot of other examples as well. 

 

Biochar used to help grieving people honor their loved ones by incorporating their remains into plantings which they select is a huge opening for getting biochar into the minds of the public. Biochar for this application could also fetch a realistic price that would enable production to begin on a commercial basis. 

 

I have filed those patent applications to enable me to speak freely about this. The clock is running; now that I have fully revealed my ideas they can only be patented by me because I have pending patent applications. 

 

Before you think me a commercial sell out or something like that you should know that I have ALS and then I have devoted my life to causing change in the world. As I age it has become clear that the fastest way to do that is to make money.

 

Also mentioned in this train below are various ideas about how to name biochar. I think the definition biochar as opposed to other types of pyrolytic carbon which all are useful in carbon sequestration has to do with the cation exchange capacity. I think it will have to come down to some specific criteria. It will probably be expressed in moles per kilogram or something like that.

 

I have commented a few times but allow me to introduce myself. I am Roger Faulkner, primarily I'm an inventor but I'm also a chemical engineer and polymer scientist. I have also been a political activist including having run for the US Senate in Wisconsin in 1992 calling myself a green Republican. I got 20% of the vote in the statewide Republican primary election, more than 50,000 votes.

 

On Fri, Apr 17, 2020 at 7:44 PM, Ron Larson

Professor Kammann and biochar list:

 

Glad to see this new shorter thread on a limited topic.  I’ve dropped much of your older material, which was on Project Drawdown not this issue - mostly " PYCCS."  I earlier responded separately to Michael Shafer, who was the major part of today’s thread comments.

 

This response is on terminology.  Thanks for the three attachments.    I’d not seen the one by Galinposki.  

 

 

See below

 

 

On Apr 17, 2020, at 6:27 AM, Caludia Kammann <claudia.kammann@...> wrote:

 

Re the “Biochar material use” discussion:

 

We carved the term PyCCS for Pyrogenic Carbon Capture and Storage via the two attached papers which does not contain the word “Biochar”, as you can see.

[RWL1.  I like the word “carved”.   I’ve previously read and greatly admired the two on PYCCS - where you are a co-author..   The titles don’t use the word “biochar”, but the papers do.

 

 

However, Frank mentions cascading uses and that is where building materials meet biochar: if you use a clay loam plaster on your walls – breaking the house down will ultimately result in  something that weathers again to be, in the end, soil. Also, if you use it as a feed additive, it finally ends up in the soil, but has a different purpose first (animal health).

[RWL2:    Frank (see also his comment below) was responding to this paragraph in Michael’s message of also today (emphasis added);     "Well, if we make the crude assumption that the smallest farms are the most marginal and on the worst land, then we are talking about dividing our 1 billion tonnes of real biochar (biochar buried in the ground) to the land that these farms are on. The result is not the golden 1 kg/m2 required to up the performance of the pampered soils of New York and the Rhone Valley, but in Asia and Africa, as little 125 or 250 g/ m2 ought to boost the yields of most crops by 30% or so.

I think I agree with you (Claudia) that the word “biochar” can be broader than initial placement in soil.  I am happy with the idea that a biochar is any charcoal that is not combusted - whichI believe is what you say next.

 

For me, biochar was and is largely a term that depicts a beneficial material use, not the use that involves burning it and returning it as CO2 to the atmosphere (as in “charcoal”), be it in soil, in animal feed, or materials such as paper (that may be composted in the end) or building materials.

 

No one would just use biochar as a sand replacement without testing the strength and resistance of the resulting material. At least in Europe, there are strict regulations and norms that would never, ever allow its use without sufficient R&D first. Maybe this is different, a kind of Wild-wild-West, in the US?

[RWL3:   I believe it true that the US still doesn’t have the “legal” definitions that are the arrangement in at least parts of Europe.  But California seems to be getting close.   It is worse than being “wild”.

 

Hans-Peter Schmidt has done some work on this, together with engineers. Biochar in tunnel concrete worked well as a replacement of the fibres that they have to put in it as fire protection (fibres that melt when there’s a fire, so that water vapour can escape and the carrying structure remains intact & is not blasted appart. Biochar replaced the fibres very well.) Plus, biochar is alkaline, not acidic.... Clearly, more R&D is needed here.

 

[RWL4:  Very interesting;  that “fire” protection information is new to me. 

 

If we truly want to go for the 2° goal of Paris, there is no way around negative emissions, with biochar /PyCCS as one of the many needed options. And as for the next ice age? Screw that, not going to happen, anyway, we humans made sure of that already. (See attached paper “Ganopolsik et al. 2016”)

[RWL5.   We should also note the way you use “biochar/PYCCS” as being separate - I believe not two terms for the same product(s).   Your team has done a nice job of sequestering pyrolysis products, NOT sequestering CO2.

But I may be misinterpreting as you add "as one of”.  Should that be “as two of”?

I can’t find that the past thread has talked about “next ice age” - but I agree with you on having put that off for probably millennia.   I see that the “ice age" term is the subject of the Ganopolski paper,  they seem to have done a nice job.

I don’t think this is the right list to get into arguing the truth of this paper.

 

Claudia:   Good to have you commenting here.   I understand the term “PYCCS” as being different from “biochar”,  but I am afraid that the (commendably) large sequestration values in your two papers are being lost by CDR writers, because they aren’t labeled “biochar”.  I don’t know how to solve that problem - except to hope you can find a way to somehow include the word “biochar” in future papers' titles

 

 

The “Caludia” problem should have been fixed.;  hope it wasn’t the list fault.

 

Ron

 

 

 

best, Claudia

 

PS: Can someone probably correct my first name in the data base....?

 

Von: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> Im Auftrag von Frank Strie
Gesendet: Freitag, 17. April 2020 13:53
An: main@Biochar.groups.io
Betreff: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] The Drawdown Review, New Website, Our Team is Growing.

 

 

RE: “real biochar (biochar buried in the ground)

What is the definition of   
real Biochar” ?

As I see it, Biochar is pyrogenic, stable black carbon that is useful in fostering / in supporting LIFE.
Biology = Life-Science
Bio = Life (Greek) 
Consequently:  Biochar supports, fosters, enables Life above and below ground and in/ under water.
Pyrogenic Carbon / Biochar has supported, fostered and enabled life well before humans walked the Earth and / or well before humans learned how to manage fire.  … 
The cascading values and uses of Biochar is where things get very interesting.
First capturing nutrients and then becoming useful in the soil and sediment …
Frankly thinking loud
Frank

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of d.michael.shafer@...
Sent: Friday, April 17, 2020 6:39 PM
To: main@biochar.groups.io
Cc: Biochar@groups.io; Carbon Dioxide Removal <CarbonDioxideRemoval@...>; Benoit Lambert <benoit.lambert@...>; Thomas Goreau <goreau@...>
Subject: Re: [Biochar] The Drawdown Review, New Website, Our Team is Growing.

 

Ron,

 

Your capacity for detail is just remarkable. It took me more than a few times through this to make all the pieces fall into place and i am normally a pretty good close reader.

 

 

<snip - the rest on a different topic - responded to already>

 

 


Re: Minimal prep of biochar for gardens #garden

Nando Breiter
 

Paul,

Why don't you simply add the biochar you have to your soil and fertilize it as you prefer to counteract any potential loss of available plant nutrients from the soil solution?

Hope that helps,

Nando
 

Nobody is saying:     Put fertilizer (inorganic or manure) onto  the soil when you put in some biochar to counter-act the loss of nutrients from the soil into the char in that first year.

 

Not sure what I will do.

 

Paul

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org 

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 


--
Nando Breiter
http://biochar.info
CarbonZero Sagl
Astano, Switzerland


Re: Minimal prep of biochar for gardens #garden

Tomaso Bertoli - CISV
 

by now it should be common knowledge that it takes time for biochar in the soil to age and develop bacteria and fungi that help plants grow

 

I believe it would be so much better to follow the “mineral fertilizer” slow release strategy and \ or the “biological activation” strategy

 

Nevertheless, Kevin, (not a rhetorical question) what is the purpose of testing “raw” “bone dry” “off the stove” biochar ?

 

Paul, if I were you

 

I would find more interesting testing soaking different ration of the same “mineral fertilizer” say 25% or 50% of the suggested rate and compare with the fertilizer alone

 

I would find more interesting screening the biochar in half and using the finer half in one plot and coarser half in a second plot with the same rate of “fertilizer”

 

I would find more interesting testing \ experimenting soaking the biochar with compost tea or other “biological active mixes” rather than using a “mineral” fertilizer  

 

All the best

 

Tomaso

 

Da: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> Per conto di Kevin Chisholm
Inviato: martedì 21 aprile 2020 05:41
A: main@Biochar.groups.io
Oggetto: Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

Hi Paul

 

I understand that you (or your Wife) had a garden last year. If so, I would suggest the following:

 

1: Seize an area of the garden, say 3’x12’, for your own growing trials.

 

2: Divide it into 4 plots, each 3’x3’. Label plots 1,2,3and 4

 

3: Configure an experiment of some sort. (For example:

  • Plot 1 = “Control Plot”
  • Plot 2 = Plot with “X” grams of “as-is biochar”
  • Plot 3 = Plot with “X” grams of “As-is Biochar” soaked in “Y” grams of Miraclegrow
  • Plot 4 = Plot with “X” grams of biochar crushed to 100% smaller than screen door screen, to which was added “Y” grams of Miraclegrow.

 

4: Plant any one kind of vegetable in it… tomatoes, beans, carrots, turnips… and see which plot gives the best weight of yield.

 

Are there any obstacles that would prevent you from running such a test? If the results of such a test set are not of importance to you, simply structure another test program.

 

Be well, and stay well!

 

Kevin

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io [mailto:main@Biochar.groups.io] On Behalf Of Paul S Anderson
Sent: April 20, 2020 11:33 PM
To: main@Biochar.groups.io
Cc: Anderson, Paul <psanders@...>
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

Claudia,

 

Your message has saved me from a home-made “mess.”  

 

The coffee-liquid coating is a nice touch, but it is a step I was hoping not to make. 

 

So far, char into compost and let it sit for at least months seems to be the “best” method.   Not what I was wanting to hear.  

 

Nobody is saying:     Put fertilizer (inorganic or manure) onto  the soil when you put in some biochar to counter-act the loss of nutrients from the soil into the char in that first year.

 

Not sure what I will do.

 

Paul

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org 

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of Caludia Kammann via groups.io
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2020 5:29 PM
To: main@Biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

[This message came from an external source. If suspicious, report to abuse@...]

Nando, Paul et al.,

 

Not advisable to let it sit too long -  biochar is alkaline, and mostly the mineral fertilizer mix with biochar starts to reek of NH3 (NH4+ shift to NH3 due to high pH). It’s different with organic nutrients, i.e. compost.

 

If you want to use mineral nutrients, I advise to cook a solution of organics such as tea leaves (spent or otherwise), coffee leftover or something alike, soak the biochar in the solution and let it dry up. Then mix with your fertilizer in such a way that most of the liquid is soaked up and apply it to soils quickly (in one day). Check the pH – too alkaline, put into alkaline soil, is not good, you lose the N.

 

We had a nice  nitrate retention against leaching when the biochar was coffee-liquid coated before it was put into the soil.

 

best, Claudia

 

Von: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> Im Auftrag von Paul S Anderson
Gesendet: Dienstag, 21. April 2020 00:04
An: main@Biochar.groups.io
Cc: Anderson, Paul <psanders@...>
Betreff: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

Nando (and to the others who have replied),

 

Nothing special in my vegetable/ flower garden efforts.   Minimal effort.  What should be done (thinning and plucking lower sucker leaves) generally does not get done.   And not organic.

 

What about putting the biochar into a container and mixing in store-bought fertilizer.   With some water.   Let it sit for a week.   Then spread the biochar.    Any pros or cons to that?

 

Paul

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org 

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of Nando Breiter via groups.io
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2020 10:57 AM
To: main@biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

[This message came from an external source. If suspicious, report to abuse@...]

Paul,

 

I'm curious. What do you normally do when preparing a garden bed? Are you following a more conventional path in terms of fertilization or using permaculture techniques?

 

I assume your char is produced at a higher rather than lower temperature range, correct? If so, it may have a tendency to adsorb and retain nutrients from the soil solution in a way that will not be plant available, deep in the pores, particularly if the particle size is not reduced to a rather fine powder, as the internal pore structure will be more developed in a higher temperature char. I suspect that once a mineral is trapped "deep" in a pore, deeper than say 50 microns or so (the depth to which the soil solution seems to circulate more freely as evidenced by the depth to which microbes survive in pores) it is much more likely to remain unavailable to plants, particularly as these pores become clogged over time.

 

If you are curious if this may be the case, you could set up a small trial with tomatoes for instance in pots, perhaps 4 with your char and 4 without. Don't fertilize them. If the growth and productivity of the tomatoes with char is reduced, then you might assume the char is adsorbing scarce nutrients from the soil solution in a way that the tomato plant cannot manage to access again. 

 

If you grow tomatoes, you could try this. Plant the tomatoes, spread the char on top of the soil and work it into the surface of the soil. Head off to a nearby stand of trees and collect some leaves, and use that as a thick mulch over your tomato bed, building up as the plants grow to a good six inches or more. Hopefully the leaves will inoculate the char and the soil with mycorrhizae.

 

Next year, repeat the same procedure in the same bed with the same crop. No need to dig the soil, just work the biochar into the top few inches so it is in contact with the soil, and layer leaves on top as a mulch. As you trim the suckers and bottom leaves of the tomato plant, add more leaves so you get a nice thick layer, like you might find in the forest. 

 

You could of course use the same technique with other vegetables, as appropriate, if you have enough char and leaves, broccoli, kale, zucchini. 

You could also sow a winter rye cover crop, as shown below in my beds. This will keep the biological soil life alive and productive through the winter months, mining soil minerals and making them available to the soil solution, so at planting time in the spring, your soil is minerally and biologically ready for your productive crop. Just before planting, cut the rye at the base, lay it flat as a mulch, add your layer of char on top, work it in a bit, and then plant directly into the bed, and add a leaf mulch when the plants are mature enough if appropriate. I don't add leaf mulch, for instance, for onions or lettuce or beets, but rather a layer of compost (from horse manure).

 

 

What I'm doing here is gradually building up the soil health. I'm not aiming to use the biochar itself as a magic solution for a single crop, but as a part of a strategy to produce a terra preta like result without excessive effort. I've noticed that the surfaces of the larger char oxidizing in my topsoil have become more powdery. I suspect as the years go by, that very fine powder, perhaps in the 10-20 micron range found in terra preta soils, washes down into the soil and immediately binds with other soil particles into aggregates. If I can encourage a mycorrizial network to form with fungal nutrients like leaves, this may help to mine and transport minerals from the large char particles. Incorporating these fresh particles near the surface, rather than clustering them close to the roots, would prevent the char from adsorbing nutrients from the root zone. 

 

Going forward, I will crush my char into as fine a particle size as I can manage. I don't see the particles breaking down substantially over the years, but only becoming a bit more powdery on the surface as I've described. It has the texture of a soft chalk after 4 or 5 years. This will distribute the char much more widely in the soil, signficantly increase the exposed surface area, potentially by several orders of magnitude, make any adsorbed minerals much more easily available to the soil solution, and promote soil aggregation, the char becoming deeply integrated into the soil matrix rather than sitting in the soil separately, like a small pebble. 

 

On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 2:45 AM Daniel Pidgeon <daniel.pidgeon@...> wrote:

Hi Paul,

 

I echo Robert, as also being an untested amateur.

 

Even though not interested in compost (because of the bulk and turning required?), maybe one of those black plastic, stackable tray worm farms might offer a better solution for disposing of regular kitchen scraps and charging biochar at the same time? Small enough particles go through the  worms gut, too large pieces simply soak in and adsorb up the resulting goodness. No turning required, just add scraps and some dry carbon material bit by bit, and unload when done. I know those bins might not be what a proper worm farmer like Mike might recommend, but it is convenient. I have mine in the corner of the garage so as to not fry them in the Australian summer, and though I don't get/have much char, it all goes through one or another of the compost systems. Just yesterday I lit the fire pit, did some marshmallows and hot dogs with the kids, then made sure to keep a flame cap going for a bit to build up the char. Quenched, buried and soaked it in fresh grass clippings, and now it's in one of the compost bins.

 

Or, in connection with another thread going on at the moment, you could simply pop one of those char buckets down behind the shed, make sure to rehydrate plentifully when gardening, and when nature calls... If Mrs Anderson has a problem with you doing this, maybe mumble something about "prostate" and "70 something years"...

 

But in all seriousness, a biochar use "fact sheet" would be amazing. When I started to learn of biochar a couple of years a go, it would have been a boon to read the filtered down expertise and experience of many decades collectively in this field, rather than stumble blindly through tens of hours of internet searches and Youtube videos, and try to discern who may or may not have known their stuff.

 

Kind regards,


Daniel Pidgeon


From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> on behalf of Gordon West <gordon.west@...>
Sent: Monday, 20 April 2020 9:59 AM
To: main@biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

Hi Paul,

 

Thanks for presenting a scenario that is probably far more representative of a more common potential char user that all of us Charista geeks.

 

One suggestion would be to talk to folks who do compost and offer to give them biochar to put in their compost in exchange for some of the finished product.

 

Gordon West

The Trollworks

503 N. “E” Street

Silver City, NM 88061

575-537-3689

 

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. 
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”  
– R. Buckminster Fuller

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Apr 19, 2020, at 12:15 PM, Paul S Anderson <psanders@...> wrote:

 

Dear Biochar experts on preparation of biochar,

 

I seek a minimalist approach to preparation of biochar for gardens.  Please teach me.   Shame me (gently) if necessary.   I expose my ignorance and ask for help.

 

NOTE:  If this is not an appropriate topic for the Biochar Discussion Group, please say so to the group or to me directly and then we can take discussions off-list.   But I think that messages from a few of you could be of interest to many (or be combined into some “fact sheet” that could be circulated with information about how to produce raw biochar).

 

1.  I have char.   I make char.   I can help others make char with TLUD or RoCC kilns.   But that is about as far as I go.  

2.  RAW biochar onto soils is known to not be good.   So, I want to “charge” the biochar or improve it with the easiest and least expensive ways.

3.  I do NOT have a compost pile, and not likely to have one.   I do bury some  kitchen waste (not from meat), but that is a small effort.

4.  My wife and I will not be collecting urine.

5.  The char is chunky (average half-inch dimensions).   Driving over it with my car in my driveway is not on my to-do list.

       Above is the starting point, and I suspect that there could be many folks like me (except maybe not yet making char.)

 

Options for improving the char before putting it into the garden beds;

A.   I can purchase in  bags the typical garden supplies.   

                Manure, NPK fertilizers, peat (rather not use peat), Miracle Grow, other artificial or organic plant food, or you can say what to get. 

B.  Can I just put it (which ones and in what amounts?) in a container with the biochar (plus some water)?   Just mix it in?   Let it sit for how long?

C.  Please do not send instructions to purchase commercial products with biochar in them.

 

I am not planning on having serious control plots and experimental plots for quantitative measurements, but I might have a couple  of “patches” with different applications and then hope for visual differences or notable production differences.   All of my garden plots have had vegetables or flowers for numerous years.

 

I live in central Illinois and my soils here are considered to be very good, but a bit “heavy” and clumpy when tilled with a garden fork or shovel.   So in  part I want the char to help loosen the soil.

 

Spring is sort of here.   Will want to plant soon.   I have maybe 25 gallons (5 of 5-gallon buckets, or about 100 liters) of biochar from wood.

 

Thanks in advance for any thoughts about this.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org  

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

 

Image removed by sender.


--
Nando Breiter
http://biochar.info
CarbonZero Sagl
Astano, Switzerland


Re: The Drawdown Review, New Website, Our Team is Growing. #drawdown

Rick Wilson
 

Anand, So you believe that farming can be profitable if you don’t use external resources?  Rick

On Apr 19, 2020, at 4:03 AM, Anand Karve <adkarve@...> wrote:

Dear Rick,
Farming can be profitable if you own enough land and use only the inputs that nature gives you. What nature gives you is CO2, light, rain, and the minerals in the soil. They do not cost anything, so whatever you get from the farm is net profit. Since the profit per acre is not very high, you need more land.
Yours A.D.Karve

On Sat 18 Apr, 2020, 10:22 PM Rick Wilson via groups.io <rick012=yahoo.com@groups.io wrote:
Hi Nando,

When I was a kid my father and I would grow a garden every year.  I was fascinated, I loved it. 
Once in high school, you know you have to figure out what you are going to do when you grow up.  I wanted to be a farmer.
My fathers advise, don’t do it,  Farmers don’t make any money.  So I didn’t do it. 
He passed away.
And now I’m in the Ag business (mostly)!

I would hope you father would say “Well, then it's too expensive, can’t afford it”.  

Like you I have conversations with my father. 
I just told him what perlite costs, and biochar costs, in Ventura county an agriculture hub in Central-Southern California (probably the most expensive AG land in the world, and the most productive)
Let's have your father talk to my father, who will tell him perlite and biochar cost the same, so why use perlite?
And see what he says?

Rick


On Apr 18, 2020, at 5:15 AM, Nando Breiter <nando@...> wrote:

Hi Rick,

I don't think you have it wrong per se. Careful research could eventually provide some insight as to what degree an increase in soil porosity increased microbial populations for a given soil type. Your question reminds me of my father.

My father and grandfather and a few uncles all had large commercial greenhouses. They used perlite to increase soil porosity. 

My father was not one to mince words. Decades ago, I brought a girlfriend to meet him. He was growing and selling houseplants at the time. So that's a lot of soil prep, propagation, potting and repotting, watering, installing and maintaining watering systems, heating, ventilation, insulation in the winter, shade cloth in the summer, pesticides ... did all of that in my youth.

Back to the girlfriend visit. Since we arrived in the middle of the day, I took her through the greenhouses first, pretty much where I grew up as a child and teenager. It's lovely to be in a greenhouse, the smells, the air, the lush plant life everywhere around you. (Insects also find it particularly enchanting, but that's another story.)

Then in the evening, we went to his home for dinner. She noticed he did not have a single plant in his house when we first walked in. She innocently asked him "Why don't you have any plants in your home?? You grow so many of them. They are so beautiful."

My father eyed her up and down and said, "Are you nuts?!!"

"What do you mean???"

"I don't want to see the goddamn things when I get home, much less water them."

He's long gone, but I still talk with him, and my grandfather, in my head and heart.

"Dad, you could use biochar instead of perlite to increase soil porosity."

"How much does it cost?"

"Well, it's significantly more expensive than perlite ... but Rick might have an argument that biochar increases soil microbial populations more effectively than perlite would. I can ask him."

What do you think my father would have said to this? 

a) "Gee, that's interesting. Any research to document the overall effect on plant productivity?"
b) "Well, then it's too expensive. Can't afford it."
c) "It's damn fortunate you didn't take over the business. You would have run it into the ground."

On Fri, Apr 17, 2020 at 10:14 PM Rick Wilson via groups.io <rick012=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Nando, 

I’ve been in the paradigm that the reason you see biochar facilitate an explosion in microbial life, is not because the microbes need a home inside the char.
Instead, adding biochar to the soil adds air-filled porosity, that porosity bringing air deep in the soil so the microbes can breathe.
(Particularly important if soil air porosity is low, here in California 1% is typical, class A topsoil specification is 10%!)

Particle size is actually very important, because it impacts how the soil particles pack to provide air porosity.  And particle size impacts the rate of water infiltration, which is also important to microbe health, and plant health. 

Interested if you think I have it wrong? 

Rick

On Mar 13, 2020, at 5:05 PM, Nando Breiter <nando@...> wrote:



I have to play devils advocate so I'll be blunt. There is no need to crush biochar when you intend it for soil incorporation. I did the first year cause every body was sure it was the thing to do. It is not. 

Freeze and thaw, walking on it after soil incorporation, my chickens and my neighbors cattle eat it breaking it down, rototilling the soil, hoeing weeds and any other physical activity on or in the soil break it down.

After all the work of crushing and soil incorporation, I decided to do a small experiment. I staked out a 4 foot square spot that had crushed biochar and another 4' sq spot that had chunky stuff right out of the kiln to track what would happen to the chunks. Short story is that within a year all the chunks were somewhat broken down and by the second year, I could not find any chunks of any size even using a sifter over the 4' sq plot to a depth of 6 inches. Why do what mother nature does for you as a normal ecosystem process? Let's state it another way. Crushing biochar is a "make work" project - like carrying water from one part of the lake to another to enhance mixing. Mother nature already does it quite well ...




--
Nando Breiter
http://biochar.info
CarbonZero Sagl
Astano, Switzerland





Re: Minimal prep of biochar for gardens #garden

Kevin Chisholm <kchisholm@...>
 

Hi Paul

 

I understand that you (or your Wife) had a garden last year. If so, I would suggest the following:

 

1: Seize an area of the garden, say 3’x12’, for your own growing trials.

 

2: Divide it into 4 plots, each 3’x3’. Label plots 1,2,3and 4

 

3: Configure an experiment of some sort. (For example:

·         Plot 1 = “Control Plot”

·         Plot 2 = Plot with “X” grams of “as-is biochar”

·         Plot 3 = Plot with “X” grams of “As-is Biochar” soaked in “Y” grams of Miraclegrow

·         Plot 4 = Plot with “X” grams of biochar crushed to 100% smaller than screen door screen, to which was added “Y” grams of Miraclegrow.

 

4: Plant any one kind of vegetable in it… tomatoes, beans, carrots, turnips… and see which plot gives the best weight of yield.

 

Are there any obstacles that would prevent you from running such a test? If the results of such a test set are not of importance to you, simply structure another test program.

 

Be well, and stay well!

 

Kevin

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io [mailto:main@Biochar.groups.io] On Behalf Of Paul S Anderson
Sent: April 20, 2020 11:33 PM
To: main@Biochar.groups.io
Cc: Anderson, Paul <psanders@...>
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

Claudia,

 

Your message has saved me from a home-made “mess.”  

 

The coffee-liquid coating is a nice touch, but it is a step I was hoping not to make. 

 

So far, char into compost and let it sit for at least months seems to be the “best” method.   Not what I was wanting to hear.  

 

Nobody is saying:     Put fertilizer (inorganic or manure) onto  the soil when you put in some biochar to counter-act the loss of nutrients from the soil into the char in that first year.

 

Not sure what I will do.

 

Paul

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org 

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of Caludia Kammann via groups.io
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2020 5:29 PM
To: main@Biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

[This message came from an external source. If suspicious, report to abuse@...]

Nando, Paul et al.,

 

Not advisable to let it sit too long -  biochar is alkaline, and mostly the mineral fertilizer mix with biochar starts to reek of NH3 (NH4+ shift to NH3 due to high pH). It’s different with organic nutrients, i.e. compost.

 

If you want to use mineral nutrients, I advise to cook a solution of organics such as tea leaves (spent or otherwise), coffee leftover or something alike, soak the biochar in the solution and let it dry up. Then mix with your fertilizer in such a way that most of the liquid is soaked up and apply it to soils quickly (in one day). Check the pH – too alkaline, put into alkaline soil, is not good, you lose the N.

 

We had a nice  nitrate retention against leaching when the biochar was coffee-liquid coated before it was put into the soil.

 

best, Claudia

 

Von: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> Im Auftrag von Paul S Anderson
Gesendet: Dienstag, 21. April 2020 00:04
An: main@Biochar.groups.io
Cc: Anderson, Paul <psanders@...>
Betreff: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

Nando (and to the others who have replied),

 

Nothing special in my vegetable/ flower garden efforts.   Minimal effort.  What should be done (thinning and plucking lower sucker leaves) generally does not get done.   And not organic.

 

What about putting the biochar into a container and mixing in store-bought fertilizer.   With some water.   Let it sit for a week.   Then spread the biochar.    Any pros or cons to that?

 

Paul

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org 

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of Nando Breiter via groups.io
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2020 10:57 AM
To: main@biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

[This message came from an external source. If suspicious, report to abuse@...]

Paul,

 

I'm curious. What do you normally do when preparing a garden bed? Are you following a more conventional path in terms of fertilization or using permaculture techniques?

 

I assume your char is produced at a higher rather than lower temperature range, correct? If so, it may have a tendency to adsorb and retain nutrients from the soil solution in a way that will not be plant available, deep in the pores, particularly if the particle size is not reduced to a rather fine powder, as the internal pore structure will be more developed in a higher temperature char. I suspect that once a mineral is trapped "deep" in a pore, deeper than say 50 microns or so (the depth to which the soil solution seems to circulate more freely as evidenced by the depth to which microbes survive in pores) it is much more likely to remain unavailable to plants, particularly as these pores become clogged over time.

 

If you are curious if this may be the case, you could set up a small trial with tomatoes for instance in pots, perhaps 4 with your char and 4 without. Don't fertilize them. If the growth and productivity of the tomatoes with char is reduced, then you might assume the char is adsorbing scarce nutrients from the soil solution in a way that the tomato plant cannot manage to access again. 

 

If you grow tomatoes, you could try this. Plant the tomatoes, spread the char on top of the soil and work it into the surface of the soil. Head off to a nearby stand of trees and collect some leaves, and use that as a thick mulch over your tomato bed, building up as the plants grow to a good six inches or more. Hopefully the leaves will inoculate the char and the soil with mycorrhizae.

 

Next year, repeat the same procedure in the same bed with the same crop. No need to dig the soil, just work the biochar into the top few inches so it is in contact with the soil, and layer leaves on top as a mulch. As you trim the suckers and bottom leaves of the tomato plant, add more leaves so you get a nice thick layer, like you might find in the forest. 

 

You could of course use the same technique with other vegetables, as appropriate, if you have enough char and leaves, broccoli, kale, zucchini. 

You could also sow a winter rye cover crop, as shown below in my beds. This will keep the biological soil life alive and productive through the winter months, mining soil minerals and making them available to the soil solution, so at planting time in the spring, your soil is minerally and biologically ready for your productive crop. Just before planting, cut the rye at the base, lay it flat as a mulch, add your layer of char on top, work it in a bit, and then plant directly into the bed, and add a leaf mulch when the plants are mature enough if appropriate. I don't add leaf mulch, for instance, for onions or lettuce or beets, but rather a layer of compost (from horse manure).

 

 

What I'm doing here is gradually building up the soil health. I'm not aiming to use the biochar itself as a magic solution for a single crop, but as a part of a strategy to produce a terra preta like result without excessive effort. I've noticed that the surfaces of the larger char oxidizing in my topsoil have become more powdery. I suspect as the years go by, that very fine powder, perhaps in the 10-20 micron range found in terra preta soils, washes down into the soil and immediately binds with other soil particles into aggregates. If I can encourage a mycorrizial network to form with fungal nutrients like leaves, this may help to mine and transport minerals from the large char particles. Incorporating these fresh particles near the surface, rather than clustering them close to the roots, would prevent the char from adsorbing nutrients from the root zone. 

 

Going forward, I will crush my char into as fine a particle size as I can manage. I don't see the particles breaking down substantially over the years, but only becoming a bit more powdery on the surface as I've described. It has the texture of a soft chalk after 4 or 5 years. This will distribute the char much more widely in the soil, signficantly increase the exposed surface area, potentially by several orders of magnitude, make any adsorbed minerals much more easily available to the soil solution, and promote soil aggregation, the char becoming deeply integrated into the soil matrix rather than sitting in the soil separately, like a small pebble. 

 

On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 2:45 AM Daniel Pidgeon <daniel.pidgeon@...> wrote:

Hi Paul,

 

I echo Robert, as also being an untested amateur.

 

Even though not interested in compost (because of the bulk and turning required?), maybe one of those black plastic, stackable tray worm farms might offer a better solution for disposing of regular kitchen scraps and charging biochar at the same time? Small enough particles go through the  worms gut, too large pieces simply soak in and adsorb up the resulting goodness. No turning required, just add scraps and some dry carbon material bit by bit, and unload when done. I know those bins might not be what a proper worm farmer like Mike might recommend, but it is convenient. I have mine in the corner of the garage so as to not fry them in the Australian summer, and though I don't get/have much char, it all goes through one or another of the compost systems. Just yesterday I lit the fire pit, did some marshmallows and hot dogs with the kids, then made sure to keep a flame cap going for a bit to build up the char. Quenched, buried and soaked it in fresh grass clippings, and now it's in one of the compost bins.

 

Or, in connection with another thread going on at the moment, you could simply pop one of those char buckets down behind the shed, make sure to rehydrate plentifully when gardening, and when nature calls... If Mrs Anderson has a problem with you doing this, maybe mumble something about "prostate" and "70 something years"...

 

But in all seriousness, a biochar use "fact sheet" would be amazing. When I started to learn of biochar a couple of years a go, it would have been a boon to read the filtered down expertise and experience of many decades collectively in this field, rather than stumble blindly through tens of hours of internet searches and Youtube videos, and try to discern who may or may not have known their stuff.

 

Kind regards,


Daniel Pidgeon


From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> on behalf of Gordon West <gordon.west@...>
Sent: Monday, 20 April 2020 9:59 AM
To: main@biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

Hi Paul,

 

Thanks for presenting a scenario that is probably far more representative of a more common potential char user that all of us Charista geeks.

 

One suggestion would be to talk to folks who do compost and offer to give them biochar to put in their compost in exchange for some of the finished product.

 

Gordon West

The Trollworks

503 N. “E” Street

Silver City, NM 88061

575-537-3689

 

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. 
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”  
– R. Buckminster Fuller

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Apr 19, 2020, at 12:15 PM, Paul S Anderson <psanders@...> wrote:

 

Dear Biochar experts on preparation of biochar,

 

I seek a minimalist approach to preparation of biochar for gardens.  Please teach me.   Shame me (gently) if necessary.   I expose my ignorance and ask for help.

 

NOTE:  If this is not an appropriate topic for the Biochar Discussion Group, please say so to the group or to me directly and then we can take discussions off-list.   But I think that messages from a few of you could be of interest to many (or be combined into some “fact sheet” that could be circulated with information about how to produce raw biochar).

 

1.  I have char.   I make char.   I can help others make char with TLUD or RoCC kilns.   But that is about as far as I go.  

2.  RAW biochar onto soils is known to not be good.   So, I want to “charge” the biochar or improve it with the easiest and least expensive ways.

3.  I do NOT have a compost pile, and not likely to have one.   I do bury some  kitchen waste (not from meat), but that is a small effort.

4.  My wife and I will not be collecting urine.

5.  The char is chunky (average half-inch dimensions).   Driving over it with my car in my driveway is not on my to-do list.

       Above is the starting point, and I suspect that there could be many folks like me (except maybe not yet making char.)

 

Options for improving the char before putting it into the garden beds;

A.   I can purchase in  bags the typical garden supplies.   

                Manure, NPK fertilizers, peat (rather not use peat), Miracle Grow, other artificial or organic plant food, or you can say what to get. 

B.  Can I just put it (which ones and in what amounts?) in a container with the biochar (plus some water)?   Just mix it in?   Let it sit for how long?

C.  Please do not send instructions to purchase commercial products with biochar in them.

 

I am not planning on having serious control plots and experimental plots for quantitative measurements, but I might have a couple  of “patches” with different applications and then hope for visual differences or notable production differences.   All of my garden plots have had vegetables or flowers for numerous years.

 

I live in central Illinois and my soils here are considered to be very good, but a bit “heavy” and clumpy when tilled with a garden fork or shovel.   So in  part I want the char to help loosen the soil.

 

Spring is sort of here.   Will want to plant soon.   I have maybe 25 gallons (5 of 5-gallon buckets, or about 100 liters) of biochar from wood.

 

Thanks in advance for any thoughts about this.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org  

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

 

Image removed by sender.


--
Nando Breiter
http://biochar.info
CarbonZero Sagl
Astano, Switzerland


Re: Minimal prep of biochar for gardens #garden

Paul S Anderson
 

Claudia,

 

Your message has saved me from a home-made “mess.”  

 

The coffee-liquid coating is a nice touch, but it is a step I was hoping not to make. 

 

So far, char into compost and let it sit for at least months seems to be the “best” method.   Not what I was wanting to hear.  

 

Nobody is saying:     Put fertilizer (inorganic or manure) onto  the soil when you put in some biochar to counter-act the loss of nutrients from the soil into the char in that first year.

 

Not sure what I will do.

 

Paul

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org 

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of Caludia Kammann via groups.io
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2020 5:29 PM
To: main@Biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

[This message came from an external source. If suspicious, report to abuse@...]

Nando, Paul et al.,

 

Not advisable to let it sit too long -  biochar is alkaline, and mostly the mineral fertilizer mix with biochar starts to reek of NH3 (NH4+ shift to NH3 due to high pH). It’s different with organic nutrients, i.e. compost.

 

If you want to use mineral nutrients, I advise to cook a solution of organics such as tea leaves (spent or otherwise), coffee leftover or something alike, soak the biochar in the solution and let it dry up. Then mix with your fertilizer in such a way that most of the liquid is soaked up and apply it to soils quickly (in one day). Check the pH – too alkaline, put into alkaline soil, is not good, you lose the N.

 

We had a nice  nitrate retention against leaching when the biochar was coffee-liquid coated before it was put into the soil.

 

best, Claudia

 

Von: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> Im Auftrag von Paul S Anderson
Gesendet: Dienstag, 21. April 2020 00:04
An: main@Biochar.groups.io
Cc: Anderson, Paul <psanders@...>
Betreff: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

Nando (and to the others who have replied),

 

Nothing special in my vegetable/ flower garden efforts.   Minimal effort.  What should be done (thinning and plucking lower sucker leaves) generally does not get done.   And not organic.

 

What about putting the biochar into a container and mixing in store-bought fertilizer.   With some water.   Let it sit for a week.   Then spread the biochar.    Any pros or cons to that?

 

Paul

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org 

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of Nando Breiter via groups.io
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2020 10:57 AM
To: main@biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

[This message came from an external source. If suspicious, report to abuse@...]

Paul,

 

I'm curious. What do you normally do when preparing a garden bed? Are you following a more conventional path in terms of fertilization or using permaculture techniques?

 

I assume your char is produced at a higher rather than lower temperature range, correct? If so, it may have a tendency to adsorb and retain nutrients from the soil solution in a way that will not be plant available, deep in the pores, particularly if the particle size is not reduced to a rather fine powder, as the internal pore structure will be more developed in a higher temperature char. I suspect that once a mineral is trapped "deep" in a pore, deeper than say 50 microns or so (the depth to which the soil solution seems to circulate more freely as evidenced by the depth to which microbes survive in pores) it is much more likely to remain unavailable to plants, particularly as these pores become clogged over time.

 

If you are curious if this may be the case, you could set up a small trial with tomatoes for instance in pots, perhaps 4 with your char and 4 without. Don't fertilize them. If the growth and productivity of the tomatoes with char is reduced, then you might assume the char is adsorbing scarce nutrients from the soil solution in a way that the tomato plant cannot manage to access again. 

 

If you grow tomatoes, you could try this. Plant the tomatoes, spread the char on top of the soil and work it into the surface of the soil. Head off to a nearby stand of trees and collect some leaves, and use that as a thick mulch over your tomato bed, building up as the plants grow to a good six inches or more. Hopefully the leaves will inoculate the char and the soil with mycorrhizae.

 

Next year, repeat the same procedure in the same bed with the same crop. No need to dig the soil, just work the biochar into the top few inches so it is in contact with the soil, and layer leaves on top as a mulch. As you trim the suckers and bottom leaves of the tomato plant, add more leaves so you get a nice thick layer, like you might find in the forest. 

 

You could of course use the same technique with other vegetables, as appropriate, if you have enough char and leaves, broccoli, kale, zucchini. 

You could also sow a winter rye cover crop, as shown below in my beds. This will keep the biological soil life alive and productive through the winter months, mining soil minerals and making them available to the soil solution, so at planting time in the spring, your soil is minerally and biologically ready for your productive crop. Just before planting, cut the rye at the base, lay it flat as a mulch, add your layer of char on top, work it in a bit, and then plant directly into the bed, and add a leaf mulch when the plants are mature enough if appropriate. I don't add leaf mulch, for instance, for onions or lettuce or beets, but rather a layer of compost (from horse manure).

 

 

What I'm doing here is gradually building up the soil health. I'm not aiming to use the biochar itself as a magic solution for a single crop, but as a part of a strategy to produce a terra preta like result without excessive effort. I've noticed that the surfaces of the larger char oxidizing in my topsoil have become more powdery. I suspect as the years go by, that very fine powder, perhaps in the 10-20 micron range found in terra preta soils, washes down into the soil and immediately binds with other soil particles into aggregates. If I can encourage a mycorrizial network to form with fungal nutrients like leaves, this may help to mine and transport minerals from the large char particles. Incorporating these fresh particles near the surface, rather than clustering them close to the roots, would prevent the char from adsorbing nutrients from the root zone. 

 

Going forward, I will crush my char into as fine a particle size as I can manage. I don't see the particles breaking down substantially over the years, but only becoming a bit more powdery on the surface as I've described. It has the texture of a soft chalk after 4 or 5 years. This will distribute the char much more widely in the soil, signficantly increase the exposed surface area, potentially by several orders of magnitude, make any adsorbed minerals much more easily available to the soil solution, and promote soil aggregation, the char becoming deeply integrated into the soil matrix rather than sitting in the soil separately, like a small pebble. 

 

On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 2:45 AM Daniel Pidgeon <daniel.pidgeon@...> wrote:

Hi Paul,

 

I echo Robert, as also being an untested amateur.

 

Even though not interested in compost (because of the bulk and turning required?), maybe one of those black plastic, stackable tray worm farms might offer a better solution for disposing of regular kitchen scraps and charging biochar at the same time? Small enough particles go through the  worms gut, too large pieces simply soak in and adsorb up the resulting goodness. No turning required, just add scraps and some dry carbon material bit by bit, and unload when done. I know those bins might not be what a proper worm farmer like Mike might recommend, but it is convenient. I have mine in the corner of the garage so as to not fry them in the Australian summer, and though I don't get/have much char, it all goes through one or another of the compost systems. Just yesterday I lit the fire pit, did some marshmallows and hot dogs with the kids, then made sure to keep a flame cap going for a bit to build up the char. Quenched, buried and soaked it in fresh grass clippings, and now it's in one of the compost bins.

 

Or, in connection with another thread going on at the moment, you could simply pop one of those char buckets down behind the shed, make sure to rehydrate plentifully when gardening, and when nature calls... If Mrs Anderson has a problem with you doing this, maybe mumble something about "prostate" and "70 something years"...

 

But in all seriousness, a biochar use "fact sheet" would be amazing. When I started to learn of biochar a couple of years a go, it would have been a boon to read the filtered down expertise and experience of many decades collectively in this field, rather than stumble blindly through tens of hours of internet searches and Youtube videos, and try to discern who may or may not have known their stuff.

 

Kind regards,


Daniel Pidgeon


From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> on behalf of Gordon West <gordon.west@...>
Sent: Monday, 20 April 2020 9:59 AM
To: main@biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

Hi Paul,

 

Thanks for presenting a scenario that is probably far more representative of a more common potential char user that all of us Charista geeks.

 

One suggestion would be to talk to folks who do compost and offer to give them biochar to put in their compost in exchange for some of the finished product.

 

Gordon West

The Trollworks

503 N. “E” Street

Silver City, NM 88061

575-537-3689

 

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. 
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”  
– R. Buckminster Fuller

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Apr 19, 2020, at 12:15 PM, Paul S Anderson <psanders@...> wrote:

 

Dear Biochar experts on preparation of biochar,

 

I seek a minimalist approach to preparation of biochar for gardens.  Please teach me.   Shame me (gently) if necessary.   I expose my ignorance and ask for help.

 

NOTE:  If this is not an appropriate topic for the Biochar Discussion Group, please say so to the group or to me directly and then we can take discussions off-list.   But I think that messages from a few of you could be of interest to many (or be combined into some “fact sheet” that could be circulated with information about how to produce raw biochar).

 

1.  I have char.   I make char.   I can help others make char with TLUD or RoCC kilns.   But that is about as far as I go.  

2.  RAW biochar onto soils is known to not be good.   So, I want to “charge” the biochar or improve it with the easiest and least expensive ways.

3.  I do NOT have a compost pile, and not likely to have one.   I do bury some  kitchen waste (not from meat), but that is a small effort.

4.  My wife and I will not be collecting urine.

5.  The char is chunky (average half-inch dimensions).   Driving over it with my car in my driveway is not on my to-do list.

       Above is the starting point, and I suspect that there could be many folks like me (except maybe not yet making char.)

 

Options for improving the char before putting it into the garden beds;

A.   I can purchase in  bags the typical garden supplies.   

                Manure, NPK fertilizers, peat (rather not use peat), Miracle Grow, other artificial or organic plant food, or you can say what to get. 

B.  Can I just put it (which ones and in what amounts?) in a container with the biochar (plus some water)?   Just mix it in?   Let it sit for how long?

C.  Please do not send instructions to purchase commercial products with biochar in them.

 

I am not planning on having serious control plots and experimental plots for quantitative measurements, but I might have a couple  of “patches” with different applications and then hope for visual differences or notable production differences.   All of my garden plots have had vegetables or flowers for numerous years.

 

I live in central Illinois and my soils here are considered to be very good, but a bit “heavy” and clumpy when tilled with a garden fork or shovel.   So in  part I want the char to help loosen the soil.

 

Spring is sort of here.   Will want to plant soon.   I have maybe 25 gallons (5 of 5-gallon buckets, or about 100 liters) of biochar from wood.

 

Thanks in advance for any thoughts about this.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org  

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

 

Image removed by sender.


--
Nando Breiter
http://biochar.info
CarbonZero Sagl
Astano, Switzerland


Re: [EXTERN] Re: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] New data re biochar particle size #sizing

Kevin Chisholm <kchisholm@...>
 

Hi Claudia

 

Thanks very much for your help!

 

Be well and stay well.

 

Kevin

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io [mailto:main@Biochar.groups.io] On Behalf Of Caludia Kammann
Sent: April 20, 2020 7:35 PM
To: main@Biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [EXTERN] Re: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] New data re biochar particle size

 

Hi Kevin,

 

please find the paper attached, including the Supplementary Info. It’s open access it seems.

 

Claudia

 

Von: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> Im Auftrag von Kevin Chisholm
Gesendet: Montag, 20. April 2020 23:53
An: main@Biochar.groups.io
Betreff: [EXTERN] Re: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] New data re biochar particle size

 

Hi Claudia

 

I would be interested in receiving the URL for this paper.

 

Thanks!

 

Kevin

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io [mailto:main@Biochar.groups.io] On Behalf Of Caludia Kammann
Sent: April 20, 2020 5:52 PM
To: main@Biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] New data re biochar particle size

 

Hi Tom,

 

the paper is open access, I downloaded it and can send it if group members are interested.

 

thanks for the leg-up –

 

Claudia

 

Von: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> Im Auftrag von Tom Miles
Gesendet: Montag, 20. April 2020 17:29
An: main@Biochar.groups.io
Betreff: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] New data re biochar particle size

 

From a recent review of biochar in biofilters:

 

A meta-analysis98 found that amendment of soil with biochar increases saturated hydraulic conductivity by 25%. Another study found biochar amendment to increase saturated hydraulic conductivity by 328% in clay-rich soil but decrease by 92% and 67% in sand and organic soils, respectively.99. . .The effect of biochar addition on hydraulic conductivity of biofilter media will depend on the differences in particle size of the biochar and the sand55,97 and may also depend on the biochar application rate. Addition of biochar to sand media reduced the hydraulic conductivity at higher biochar application rates (>15%),100 and a ten-fold decrease in hydraulic conductivity compared to sand-only was observed by Ray et al.54 when mixing sand (0.60.85 mm) with finer biochar particles (0.10.3 mm). On the contrary, biochar application rates of 0.52% only led to minimal decreases in hydraulic conductivity of a sandy loam soil.101

 

54 J. R. Ray, I. A. Shabtai, M. Teixidó, Y. G. Mishael and D. L. Sedlak, Polymer-Clay Composite Geomedia for Sorptive

Removal of Trace Organic Compounds and Metals in Urban Stormwater, Water Res., 2019, 157, 454462, DOI: 10.1016/j.

watres.2019.03.097.

 

55 S. K. Mohanty, R. Valenca, A. W. Berger, I. K. M. Yu, X. Xiong, T. M. Saunders and D. C. W. Tsang, Plenty of Room for Carbon on the Ground: Potential Applications of Biochar for Stormwater Treatment, Sci. Total Environ., 2018, 625, 16441658, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.01.037.

 

97 Z. Liu, B. Dugan, C. A. Masiello, R. T. Barnes, M. E. Gallagher and H. Gonnermann, Impacts of Biochar Concentration and Particle Size on Hydraulic Conductivity and DOC Leaching of BiocharSand Mixtures, J. Hydrol., 2016, 533, 461472, DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.12.007.

 

98 M. O. Omondi, X. Xia, A. Nahayo, X. Liu, P. K. Korai and G. Pan, Quantification of Biochar Effects on Soil Hydrological

Properties Using Meta-Analysis of Literature Data, Geoderma, 2016, 274, 2834, DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2016.03.029.

 

99 R. T. Barnes, M. E. Gallagher, C. A. Masiello, Z. Liu and B. Dugan, Biochar-Induced Changes in Soil Hydraulic Conductivity and Dissolved Nutrient Fluxes Constrained by Laboratory Experiments, PLoS One, 2014, 9(9), e108340,

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108340.

100 P. de Rozari, M. Greenway and A. El Hanandeh, Nitrogen Removal from Sewage and Septage in Constructed Wetland

Mesocosms Using Sand Media Amended with Biochar, Ecol. Eng., 2018, 111, 110, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2017.11.002.

 

101 H. M. Ibrahim, M. I. Al-Wabel, A. R. A. Usman and A. Al-Omran, Effect of Conocarpus Biochar Application on the

Hydraulic Properties of a Sandy Loam Soil, Soil Sci., 2013, 178(4), 165173.

 

Ref: Ref Biochar-augmented biofilters to improve pollutant removal from stormwater – can they improve receiving water quality?† Alexandria B. Boehm, *ab Colin D. Bell,bc Nicole J. M. Fitzgerald,bc Elizabeth Gallo, bc Christopher P. Higgins, bc Terri S. Hogue, bc Richard G. Luthy, ab Andrea C. Portmann,bc Bridget A. Ulrichd and Jordyn M. Wolfand bce

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of Nando Breiter
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2020 7:04 AM
To: main@biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [Biochar] New data re biochar particle size

 

Michael,

 

Here's what I read in the abstract, emphasis mine:

 

"Biochar was most effective in improving soil water properties in coarse-textured soils with application rates between 30 and 70 t/ha. The key factors influencing biochar performance were particle size, specific surface area and porosity indicating that both soil-biochar inter-particle and biochar intra-particle pores are important factors. To achieve optimum water relations in sandy soils (>60% sand and <20% clay), biochar with a small particle size (<2 mm) and high specific surface area and porosity should be applied. In clayey soil (>50% clay), <30 t/ha of a high surface area biochar is ideal."

 

The abstract seems to be recommending small particle size. Small biochar particles promote aggregate formation, and in my simple understanding, aggregates store more water than anything else in soil. 

 

Cutting to the chase, the only thing that matters is the effect on your crop, expressed in the paper as the permanent wilting point, the point at which your crop is going to die if it doesn't rain (or is irrigated) very soon. The abstract reports an average improvement of 16.7% with biochar. 

 

The paper cites a price range of ... well I'll just quote it. "Depending on feedstock used, the price of biochar could range from US$ -222 to 584/t". It goes on to say that "Biochar application rate above 70 t/ha may not be economical in regard to effect on water relations in soil. Even using an application rate of 30 t/ha could amount to US $17,520/ha." 

 

An application rate of 70t/h at a cost of U$584 per tonne would total $40,880 per hectare for something like a 16% improvement in the time it takes for your plants to wilt without water, and paper stresses in great detail how the ultimate results achieved in terms of plant available water holding capacity are highly dependent on a wide variety of variables. I suspect that even the paper's upper range estimate of $584 per tonne is too low when transport and incorporation costs are taken into account, plus the fact that the biochar needs to be specifically formulated to achieve results. In what agricultural-financial scenario is an improvement on the order of 16% worth such a high investment cost? In what scenario could the money be raised for such a marginal improvement, well beyond the collateral value of the land itself? 

 

In the developed world, farmers would invest in crop insurance in case of drought leading to crop failure, and it would be vastly cheaper, plus it would offer a 100% guarantee, rather than buying an extra few hours or days of time before the crop is lost. In the developing world, the amount of labor required to produce and add these quantities of biochar to cropland would be prohibitive, unless it would be for only a small garden plot.

 

While there may be agricultural scenarios where such a high biochar investment cost could be financially worthwhile, it will not be for water retention. Irrigation systems will be used in such scenarios to ensure plants or trees have sufficient water. In other words, a tomato grower will not invest in biochar to avoid investing in an irrigation system.

 

To state it plainly, in real world application, biochar should be optimized for financially viable scenarios (which may include sweat equity - labor - in some cases). To the extent that biochar improves plant available water holding capacity in such a scenario, that's fine, but the cart simply won't travel anywhere placed in front of the horse of financial viability.

 

 

 

On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 8:13 AM d.michael.shafer@... <d.michael.shafer@...> wrote:

A recent, now quieted down, thread asked about particle size and utility in soil. Attached is the PDF of a paper recently completed by a Ph.D. student working on particle size and water retention, a big issue for many of us working in Africa. Counter-intuitively, she finds that the smaller particles display "hydro-phobia" and retain much less water. She is the lead and corresponding author. Very smart and very articulate. if you have questions, i would just contact her.

 


--
Nando Breiter
http://biochar.info
CarbonZero Sagl
Astano, Switzerland


Re: New data re biochar particle size #sizing

Nando Breiter
 

Stephen,

I'm doing something similar, leaving all biomass in the soil undisturbed and using generous amounts of mulch plus overwinter cover crops to retain microbial and fungal populations. Biochar is an ingredient in the stew, certainly not the whole meal. 


2 points.  One you only need to put a high application rate in the rhizosphere.  Secondly they did not take into account build up of  fungal networks and large organic macromolecules due to the biochar effect.  These changes in the rhizosphere will increase available water water holding capacity and wilting point.

  I put very small amounts of biochar per hectare into my garden but every time I plant and when I havest I make sure all of the root matter and the attached biochar fungi etc stays int he soil.  I can leave my plants for 2-3 weeks in the middle of summer without water and they will survive as long as they are mulched.

Regards
Stephen

On Tue, Apr 21, 2020 at 12:04 AM Nando Breiter <nando@...> wrote:
Michael,

Here's what I read in the abstract, emphasis mine:

"Biochar was most effective in improving soil water properties in coarse-textured soils with application rates between 30 and 70 t/ha. The key factors influencing biochar performance were particle size, specific surface area and porosity indicating that both soil-biochar inter-particle and biochar intra-particle pores are important factors. To achieve optimum water relations in sandy soils (>60% sand and <20% clay), biochar with a small particle size (<2 mm) and high specific surface area and porosity should be applied. In clayey soil (>50% clay), <30 t/ha of a high surface area biochar is ideal."

The abstract seems to be recommending small particle size. Small biochar particles promote aggregate formation, and in my simple understanding, aggregates store more water than anything else in soil. 

Cutting to the chase, the only thing that matters is the effect on your crop, expressed in the paper as the permanent wilting point, the point at which your crop is going to die if it doesn't rain (or is irrigated) very soon. The abstract reports an average improvement of 16.7% with biochar. 

The paper cites a price range of ... well I'll just quote it. "Depending on feedstock used, the price of biochar could range from US$ -222 to 584/t". It goes on to say that "Biochar application rate above 70 t/ha may not be economical in regard to effect on water relations in soil. Even using an application rate of 30 t/ha could amount to US $17,520/ha." 

An application rate of 70t/h at a cost of U$584 per tonne would total $40,880 per hectare for something like a 16% improvement in the time it takes for your plants to wilt without water, and paper stresses in great detail how the ultimate results achieved in terms of plant available water holding capacity are highly dependent on a wide variety of variables. I suspect that even the paper's upper range estimate of $584 per tonne is too low when transport and incorporation costs are taken into account, plus the fact that the biochar needs to be specifically formulated to achieve results. In what agricultural-financial scenario is an improvement on the order of 16% worth such a high investment cost? In what scenario could the money be raised for such a marginal improvement, well beyond the collateral value of the land itself? 

In the developed world, farmers would invest in crop insurance in case of drought leading to crop failure, and it would be vastly cheaper, plus it would offer a 100% guarantee, rather than buying an extra few hours or days of time before the crop is lost. In the developing world, the amount of labor required to produce and add these quantities of biochar to cropland would be prohibitive, unless it would be for only a small garden plot.

While there may be agricultural scenarios where such a high biochar investment cost could be financially worthwhile, it will not be for water retention. Irrigation systems will be used in such scenarios to ensure plants or trees have sufficient water. In other words, a tomato grower will not invest in biochar to avoid investing in an irrigation system.

To state it plainly, in real world application, biochar should be optimized for financially viable scenarios (which may include sweat equity - labor - in some cases). To the extent that biochar improves plant available water holding capacity in such a scenario, that's fine, but the cart simply won't travel anywhere placed in front of the horse of financial viability.



On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 8:13 AM d.michael.shafer@... <d.michael.shafer@...> wrote:
A recent, now quieted down, thread asked about particle size and utility in soil. Attached is the PDF of a paper recently completed by a Ph.D. student working on particle size and water retention, a big issue for many of us working in Africa. Counter-intuitively, she finds that the smaller particles display "hydro-phobia" and retain much less water. She is the lead and corresponding author. Very smart and very articulate. if you have questions, i would just contact her.


--
Nando Breiter
http://biochar.info
CarbonZero Sagl
Astano, Switzerland


--
Nando Breiter
http://biochar.info
CarbonZero Sagl
Astano, Switzerland


Re: New data re biochar particle size #sizing

Stephen Joseph
 

Nando

2 points.  One you only need to put a high application rate in the rhizosphere.  Secondly they did not take into account build up of  fungal networks and large organic macromolecules due to the biochar effect.  These changes in the rhizosphere will increase available water water holding capacity and wilting point.

  I put very small amounts of biochar per hectare into my garden but every time I plant and when I havest I make sure all of the root matter and the attached biochar fungi etc stays int he soil.  I can leave my plants for 2-3 weeks in the middle of summer without water and they will survive as long as they are mulched.

Regards
Stephen

On Tue, Apr 21, 2020 at 12:04 AM Nando Breiter <nando@...> wrote:
Michael,

Here's what I read in the abstract, emphasis mine:

"Biochar was most effective in improving soil water properties in coarse-textured soils with application rates between 30 and 70 t/ha. The key factors influencing biochar performance were particle size, specific surface area and porosity indicating that both soil-biochar inter-particle and biochar intra-particle pores are important factors. To achieve optimum water relations in sandy soils (>60% sand and <20% clay), biochar with a small particle size (<2 mm) and high specific surface area and porosity should be applied. In clayey soil (>50% clay), <30 t/ha of a high surface area biochar is ideal."

The abstract seems to be recommending small particle size. Small biochar particles promote aggregate formation, and in my simple understanding, aggregates store more water than anything else in soil. 

Cutting to the chase, the only thing that matters is the effect on your crop, expressed in the paper as the permanent wilting point, the point at which your crop is going to die if it doesn't rain (or is irrigated) very soon. The abstract reports an average improvement of 16.7% with biochar. 

The paper cites a price range of ... well I'll just quote it. "Depending on feedstock used, the price of biochar could range from US$ -222 to 584/t". It goes on to say that "Biochar application rate above 70 t/ha may not be economical in regard to effect on water relations in soil. Even using an application rate of 30 t/ha could amount to US $17,520/ha." 

An application rate of 70t/h at a cost of U$584 per tonne would total $40,880 per hectare for something like a 16% improvement in the time it takes for your plants to wilt without water, and paper stresses in great detail how the ultimate results achieved in terms of plant available water holding capacity are highly dependent on a wide variety of variables. I suspect that even the paper's upper range estimate of $584 per tonne is too low when transport and incorporation costs are taken into account, plus the fact that the biochar needs to be specifically formulated to achieve results. In what agricultural-financial scenario is an improvement on the order of 16% worth such a high investment cost? In what scenario could the money be raised for such a marginal improvement, well beyond the collateral value of the land itself? 

In the developed world, farmers would invest in crop insurance in case of drought leading to crop failure, and it would be vastly cheaper, plus it would offer a 100% guarantee, rather than buying an extra few hours or days of time before the crop is lost. In the developing world, the amount of labor required to produce and add these quantities of biochar to cropland would be prohibitive, unless it would be for only a small garden plot.

While there may be agricultural scenarios where such a high biochar investment cost could be financially worthwhile, it will not be for water retention. Irrigation systems will be used in such scenarios to ensure plants or trees have sufficient water. In other words, a tomato grower will not invest in biochar to avoid investing in an irrigation system.

To state it plainly, in real world application, biochar should be optimized for financially viable scenarios (which may include sweat equity - labor - in some cases). To the extent that biochar improves plant available water holding capacity in such a scenario, that's fine, but the cart simply won't travel anywhere placed in front of the horse of financial viability.



On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 8:13 AM d.michael.shafer@... <d.michael.shafer@...> wrote:
A recent, now quieted down, thread asked about particle size and utility in soil. Attached is the PDF of a paper recently completed by a Ph.D. student working on particle size and water retention, a big issue for many of us working in Africa. Counter-intuitively, she finds that the smaller particles display "hydro-phobia" and retain much less water. She is the lead and corresponding author. Very smart and very articulate. if you have questions, i would just contact her.


--
Nando Breiter
http://biochar.info
CarbonZero Sagl
Astano, Switzerland


Re: [EXTERN] Re: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] New data re biochar particle size #sizing

Claudia Kammann
 

Hi Kevin,

 

please find the paper attached, including the Supplementary Info. It’s open access it seems.

 

Claudia

 

Von: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> Im Auftrag von Kevin Chisholm
Gesendet: Montag, 20. April 2020 23:53
An: main@Biochar.groups.io
Betreff: [EXTERN] Re: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] New data re biochar particle size

 

Hi Claudia

 

I would be interested in receiving the URL for this paper.

 

Thanks!

 

Kevin

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io [mailto:main@Biochar.groups.io] On Behalf Of Caludia Kammann
Sent: April 20, 2020 5:52 PM
To: main@Biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] New data re biochar particle size

 

Hi Tom,

 

the paper is open access, I downloaded it and can send it if group members are interested.

 

thanks for the leg-up –

 

Claudia

 

Von: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> Im Auftrag von Tom Miles
Gesendet: Montag, 20. April 2020 17:29
An: main@Biochar.groups.io
Betreff: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] New data re biochar particle size

 

From a recent review of biochar in biofilters:

 

A meta-analysis98 found that amendment of soil with biochar increases saturated hydraulic conductivity by 25%. Another study found biochar amendment to increase saturated hydraulic conductivity by 328% in clay-rich soil but decrease by 92% and 67% in sand and organic soils, respectively.99. . .The effect of biochar addition on hydraulic conductivity of biofilter media will depend on the differences in particle size of the biochar and the sand55,97 and may also depend on the biochar application rate. Addition of biochar to sand media reduced the hydraulic conductivity at higher biochar application rates (>15%),100 and a ten-fold decrease in hydraulic conductivity compared to sand-only was observed by Ray et al.54 when mixing sand (0.60.85 mm) with finer biochar particles (0.10.3 mm). On the contrary, biochar application rates of 0.52% only led to minimal decreases in hydraulic conductivity of a sandy loam soil.101

 

54 J. R. Ray, I. A. Shabtai, M. Teixidó, Y. G. Mishael and D. L. Sedlak, Polymer-Clay Composite Geomedia for Sorptive

Removal of Trace Organic Compounds and Metals in Urban Stormwater, Water Res., 2019, 157, 454462, DOI: 10.1016/j.

watres.2019.03.097.

 

55 S. K. Mohanty, R. Valenca, A. W. Berger, I. K. M. Yu, X. Xiong, T. M. Saunders and D. C. W. Tsang, Plenty of Room for Carbon on the Ground: Potential Applications of Biochar for Stormwater Treatment, Sci. Total Environ., 2018, 625, 16441658, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.01.037.

 

97 Z. Liu, B. Dugan, C. A. Masiello, R. T. Barnes, M. E. Gallagher and H. Gonnermann, Impacts of Biochar Concentration and Particle Size on Hydraulic Conductivity and DOC Leaching of BiocharSand Mixtures, J. Hydrol., 2016, 533, 461472, DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.12.007.

 

98 M. O. Omondi, X. Xia, A. Nahayo, X. Liu, P. K. Korai and G. Pan, Quantification of Biochar Effects on Soil Hydrological

Properties Using Meta-Analysis of Literature Data, Geoderma, 2016, 274, 2834, DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2016.03.029.

 

99 R. T. Barnes, M. E. Gallagher, C. A. Masiello, Z. Liu and B. Dugan, Biochar-Induced Changes in Soil Hydraulic Conductivity and Dissolved Nutrient Fluxes Constrained by Laboratory Experiments, PLoS One, 2014, 9(9), e108340,

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108340.

100 P. de Rozari, M. Greenway and A. El Hanandeh, Nitrogen Removal from Sewage and Septage in Constructed Wetland

Mesocosms Using Sand Media Amended with Biochar, Ecol. Eng., 2018, 111, 110, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2017.11.002.

 

101 H. M. Ibrahim, M. I. Al-Wabel, A. R. A. Usman and A. Al-Omran, Effect of Conocarpus Biochar Application on the

Hydraulic Properties of a Sandy Loam Soil, Soil Sci., 2013, 178(4), 165173.

 

Ref: Ref Biochar-augmented biofilters to improve pollutant removal from stormwater – can they improve receiving water quality?† Alexandria B. Boehm, *ab Colin D. Bell,bc Nicole J. M. Fitzgerald,bc Elizabeth Gallo, bc Christopher P. Higgins, bc Terri S. Hogue, bc Richard G. Luthy, ab Andrea C. Portmann,bc Bridget A. Ulrichd and Jordyn M. Wolfand bce

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of Nando Breiter
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2020 7:04 AM
To: main@biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [Biochar] New data re biochar particle size

 

Michael,

 

Here's what I read in the abstract, emphasis mine:

 

"Biochar was most effective in improving soil water properties in coarse-textured soils with application rates between 30 and 70 t/ha. The key factors influencing biochar performance were particle size, specific surface area and porosity indicating that both soil-biochar inter-particle and biochar intra-particle pores are important factors. To achieve optimum water relations in sandy soils (>60% sand and <20% clay), biochar with a small particle size (<2 mm) and high specific surface area and porosity should be applied. In clayey soil (>50% clay), <30 t/ha of a high surface area biochar is ideal."

 

The abstract seems to be recommending small particle size. Small biochar particles promote aggregate formation, and in my simple understanding, aggregates store more water than anything else in soil. 

 

Cutting to the chase, the only thing that matters is the effect on your crop, expressed in the paper as the permanent wilting point, the point at which your crop is going to die if it doesn't rain (or is irrigated) very soon. The abstract reports an average improvement of 16.7% with biochar. 

 

The paper cites a price range of ... well I'll just quote it. "Depending on feedstock used, the price of biochar could range from US$ -222 to 584/t". It goes on to say that "Biochar application rate above 70 t/ha may not be economical in regard to effect on water relations in soil. Even using an application rate of 30 t/ha could amount to US $17,520/ha." 

 

An application rate of 70t/h at a cost of U$584 per tonne would total $40,880 per hectare for something like a 16% improvement in the time it takes for your plants to wilt without water, and paper stresses in great detail how the ultimate results achieved in terms of plant available water holding capacity are highly dependent on a wide variety of variables. I suspect that even the paper's upper range estimate of $584 per tonne is too low when transport and incorporation costs are taken into account, plus the fact that the biochar needs to be specifically formulated to achieve results. In what agricultural-financial scenario is an improvement on the order of 16% worth such a high investment cost? In what scenario could the money be raised for such a marginal improvement, well beyond the collateral value of the land itself? 

 

In the developed world, farmers would invest in crop insurance in case of drought leading to crop failure, and it would be vastly cheaper, plus it would offer a 100% guarantee, rather than buying an extra few hours or days of time before the crop is lost. In the developing world, the amount of labor required to produce and add these quantities of biochar to cropland would be prohibitive, unless it would be for only a small garden plot.

 

While there may be agricultural scenarios where such a high biochar investment cost could be financially worthwhile, it will not be for water retention. Irrigation systems will be used in such scenarios to ensure plants or trees have sufficient water. In other words, a tomato grower will not invest in biochar to avoid investing in an irrigation system.

 

To state it plainly, in real world application, biochar should be optimized for financially viable scenarios (which may include sweat equity - labor - in some cases). To the extent that biochar improves plant available water holding capacity in such a scenario, that's fine, but the cart simply won't travel anywhere placed in front of the horse of financial viability.

 

 

 

On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 8:13 AM d.michael.shafer@... <d.michael.shafer@...> wrote:

A recent, now quieted down, thread asked about particle size and utility in soil. Attached is the PDF of a paper recently completed by a Ph.D. student working on particle size and water retention, a big issue for many of us working in Africa. Counter-intuitively, she finds that the smaller particles display "hydro-phobia" and retain much less water. She is the lead and corresponding author. Very smart and very articulate. if you have questions, i would just contact her.

 


--
Nando Breiter
http://biochar.info
CarbonZero Sagl
Astano, Switzerland


Re: Minimal prep of biochar for gardens #garden

Gordon West
 

I’ve done that with a brand that had what sounded like a lot of good stuff in it, including microbiota. Mixed it in a homeowner style cement mixer. But my follow-though on testing its performance was basically non-existent. My wife is a natural at gardening (green thumb category) and isn’t inclined to use anything like scientific method, and I’m not the gardener. I can report that the ferilizer dissolved in the water and the char absorbed an amount about equal to its own weight, so it was 50% moisture content after draining. 

Gordon West
The Trollworks
503 N. “E” Street
Silver City, NM 88061
575-537-3689

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. 
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”  
– R. Buckminster Fuller







On Apr 20, 2020, at 4:04 PM, Paul S Anderson <psanders@...> wrote:

Nando (and to the others who have replied),
 
Nothing special in my vegetable/ flower garden efforts.   Minimal effort.  What should be done (thinning and plucking lower sucker leaves) generally does not get done.   And not organic.
 
What about putting the biochar into a container and mixing in store-bought fertilizer.   With some water.   Let it sit for a week.   Then spread the biochar.    Any pros or cons to that?
 
Paul
 
Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com
         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud
         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434
Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org  
Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com
Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)
         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.
 
From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of Nando Breiter via groups.io
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2020 10:57 AM
To: main@biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens
 
[This message came from an external source. If suspicious, report to abuse@...] 
Paul, 
 
I'm curious. What do you normally do when preparing a garden bed? Are you following a more conventional path in terms of fertilization or using permaculture techniques?
 
I assume your char is produced at a higher rather than lower temperature range, correct? If so, it may have a tendency to adsorb and retain nutrients from the soil solution in a way that will not be plant available, deep in the pores, particularly if the particle size is not reduced to a rather fine powder, as the internal pore structure will be more developed in a higher temperature char. I suspect that once a mineral is trapped "deep" in a pore, deeper than say 50 microns or so (the depth to which the soil solution seems to circulate more freely as evidenced by the depth to which microbes survive in pores) it is much more likely to remain unavailable to plants, particularly as these pores become clogged over time.
 
If you are curious if this may be the case, you could set up a small trial with tomatoes for instance in pots, perhaps 4 with your char and 4 without. Don't fertilize them. If the growth and productivity of the tomatoes with char is reduced, then you might assume the char is adsorbing scarce nutrients from the soil solution in a way that the tomato plant cannot manage to access again. 
 
If you grow tomatoes, you could try this. Plant the tomatoes, spread the char on top of the soil and work it into the surface of the soil. Head off to a nearby stand of trees and collect some leaves, and use that as a thick mulch over your tomato bed, building up as the plants grow to a good six inches or more. Hopefully the leaves will inoculate the char and the soil with mycorrhizae.
 
Next year, repeat the same procedure in the same bed with the same crop. No need to dig the soil, just work the biochar into the top few inches so it is in contact with the soil, and layer leaves on top as a mulch. As you trim the suckers and bottom leaves of the tomato plant, add more leaves so you get a nice thick layer, like you might find in the forest. 
 

You could of course use the same technique with other vegetables, as appropriate, if you have enough char and leaves, broccoli, kale, zucchini. 

You could also sow a winter rye cover crop, as shown below in my beds. This will keep the biological soil life alive and productive through the winter months, mining soil minerals and making them available to the soil solution, so at planting time in the spring, your soil is minerally and biologically ready for your productive crop. Just before planting, cut the rye at the base, lay it flat as a mulch, add your layer of char on top, work it in a bit, and then plant directly into the bed, and add a leaf mulch when the plants are mature enough if appropriate. I don't add leaf mulch, for instance, for onions or lettuce or beets, but rather a layer of compost (from horse manure).
 
<image002.jpg>
 
What I'm doing here is gradually building up the soil health. I'm not aiming to use the biochar itself as a magic solution for a single crop, but as a part of a strategy to produce a terra preta like result without excessive effort. I've noticed that the surfaces of the larger char oxidizing in my topsoil have become more powdery. I suspect as the years go by, that very fine powder, perhaps in the 10-20 micron range found in terra preta soils, washes down into the soil and immediately binds with other soil particles into aggregates. If I can encourage a mycorrizial network to form with fungal nutrients like leaves, this may help to mine and transport minerals from the large char particles. Incorporating these fresh particles near the surface, rather than clustering them close to the roots, would prevent the char from adsorbing nutrients from the root zone. 
 
Going forward, I will crush my char into as fine a particle size as I can manage. I don't see the particles breaking down substantially over the years, but only becoming a bit more powdery on the surface as I've described. It has the texture of a soft chalk after 4 or 5 years. This will distribute the char much more widely in the soil, signficantly increase the exposed surface area, potentially by several orders of magnitude, make any adsorbed minerals much more easily available to the soil solution, and promote soil aggregation, the char becoming deeply integrated into the soil matrix rather than sitting in the soil separately, like a small pebble. 
 
On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 2:45 AM Daniel Pidgeon <daniel.pidgeon@...> wrote:
Hi Paul,
 
I echo Robert, as also being an untested amateur.
 
Even though not interested in compost (because of the bulk and turning required?), maybe one of those black plastic, stackable tray worm farms might offer a better solution for disposing of regular kitchen scraps and charging biochar at the same time? Small enough particles go through the  worms gut, too large pieces simply soak in and adsorb up the resulting goodness. No turning required, just add scraps and some dry carbon material bit by bit, and unload when done. I know those bins might not be what a proper worm farmer like Mike might recommend, but it is convenient. I have mine in the corner of the garage so as to not fry them in the Australian summer, and though I don't get/have much char, it all goes through one or another of the compost systems. Just yesterday I lit the fire pit, did some marshmallows and hot dogs with the kids, then made sure to keep a flame cap going for a bit to build up the char. Quenched, buried and soaked it in fresh grass clippings, and now it's in one of the compost bins.
 
Or, in connection with another thread going on at the moment, you could simply pop one of those char buckets down behind the shed, make sure to rehydrate plentifully when gardening, and when nature calls... If Mrs Anderson has a problem with you doing this, maybe mumble something about "prostate" and "70 something years"...
 
But in all seriousness, a biochar use "fact sheet" would be amazing. When I started to learn of biochar a couple of years a go, it would have been a boon to read the filtered down expertise and experience of many decades collectively in this field, rather than stumble blindly through tens of hours of internet searches and Youtube videos, and try to discern who may or may not have known their stuff.
 
Kind regards,

Daniel Pidgeon

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> on behalf of Gordon West <gordon.west@...>
Sent: Monday, 20 April 2020 9:59 AM
To: main@biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens
 
Hi Paul, 
 
Thanks for presenting a scenario that is probably far more representative of a more common potential char user that all of us Charista geeks.
 
One suggestion would be to talk to folks who do compost and offer to give them biochar to put in their compost in exchange for some of the finished product.
 
Gordon West
The Trollworks
503 N. “E” Street
Silver City, NM 88061
575-537-3689
 
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. 
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”  
– R. Buckminster Fuller
 
 
 
 

 



On Apr 19, 2020, at 12:15 PM, Paul S Anderson <psanders@...> wrote:
 
Dear Biochar experts on preparation of biochar,
 
I seek a minimalist approach to preparation of biochar for gardens.  Please teach me.   Shame me (gently) if necessary.   I expose my ignorance and ask for help.
 
NOTE:  If this is not an appropriate topic for the Biochar Discussion Group, please say so to the group or to me directly and then we can take discussions off-list.   But I think that messages from a few of you could be of interest to many (or be combined into some “fact sheet” that could be circulated with information about how to produce raw biochar).
 
1.  I have char.   I make char.   I can help others make char with TLUD or RoCC kilns.   But that is about as far as I go.  
2.  RAW biochar onto soils is known to not be good.   So, I want to “charge” the biochar or improve it with the easiest and least expensive ways.
3.  I do NOT have a compost pile, and not likely to have one.   I do bury some  kitchen waste (not from meat), but that is a small effort.
4.  My wife and I will not be collecting urine.
5.  The char is chunky (average half-inch dimensions).   Driving over it with my car in my driveway is not on my to-do list.
       Above is the starting point, and I suspect that there could be many folks like me (except maybe not yet making char.)
 
Options for improving the char before putting it into the garden beds;
A.   I can purchase in  bags the typical garden supplies.   
                Manure, NPK fertilizers, peat (rather not use peat), Miracle Grow, other artificial or organic plant food, or you can say what to get. 
B.  Can I just put it (which ones and in what amounts?) in a container with the biochar (plus some water)?   Just mix it in?   Let it sit for how long?
C.  Please do not send instructions to purchase commercial products with biochar in them.
 
I am not planning on having serious control plots and experimental plots for quantitative measurements, but I might have a couple  of “patches” with different applications and then hope for visual differences or notable production differences.   All of my garden plots have had vegetables or flowers for numerous years.
 
I live in central Illinois and my soils here are considered to be very good, but a bit “heavy” and clumpy when tilled with a garden fork or shovel.   So in  part I want the char to help loosen the soil.
 
Spring is sort of here.   Will want to plant soon.   I have maybe 25 gallons (5 of 5-gallon buckets, or about 100 liters) of biochar from wood.
 
Thanks in advance for any thoughts about this.   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com
         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud
         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434
Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org  
Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com
Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)
         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.
 
 
<~WRD0001.jpg>

-- 
Nando Breiter
http://biochar.info
CarbonZero Sagl
Astano, Switzerland 



Re: Minimal prep of biochar for gardens #garden

Claudia Kammann
 

Nando, Paul et al.,

 

Not advisable to let it sit too long -  biochar is alkaline, and mostly the mineral fertilizer mix with biochar starts to reek of NH3 (NH4+ shift to NH3 due to high pH). It’s different with organic nutrients, i.e. compost.

 

If you want to use mineral nutrients, I advise to cook a solution of organics such as tea leaves (spent or otherwise), coffee leftover or something alike, soak the biochar in the solution and let it dry up. Then mix with your fertilizer in such a way that most of the liquid is soaked up and apply it to soils quickly (in one day). Check the pH – too alkaline, put into alkaline soil, is not good, you lose the N.

 

We had a nice  nitrate retention against leaching when the biochar was coffee-liquid coated before it was put into the soil.

 

best, Claudia

 

Von: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> Im Auftrag von Paul S Anderson
Gesendet: Dienstag, 21. April 2020 00:04
An: main@Biochar.groups.io
Cc: Anderson, Paul <psanders@...>
Betreff: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

Nando (and to the others who have replied),

 

Nothing special in my vegetable/ flower garden efforts.   Minimal effort.  What should be done (thinning and plucking lower sucker leaves) generally does not get done.   And not organic.

 

What about putting the biochar into a container and mixing in store-bought fertilizer.   With some water.   Let it sit for a week.   Then spread the biochar.    Any pros or cons to that?

 

Paul

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org 

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of Nando Breiter via groups.io
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2020 10:57 AM
To: main@biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

[This message came from an external source. If suspicious, report to abuse@...]

Paul,

 

I'm curious. What do you normally do when preparing a garden bed? Are you following a more conventional path in terms of fertilization or using permaculture techniques?

 

I assume your char is produced at a higher rather than lower temperature range, correct? If so, it may have a tendency to adsorb and retain nutrients from the soil solution in a way that will not be plant available, deep in the pores, particularly if the particle size is not reduced to a rather fine powder, as the internal pore structure will be more developed in a higher temperature char. I suspect that once a mineral is trapped "deep" in a pore, deeper than say 50 microns or so (the depth to which the soil solution seems to circulate more freely as evidenced by the depth to which microbes survive in pores) it is much more likely to remain unavailable to plants, particularly as these pores become clogged over time.

 

If you are curious if this may be the case, you could set up a small trial with tomatoes for instance in pots, perhaps 4 with your char and 4 without. Don't fertilize them. If the growth and productivity of the tomatoes with char is reduced, then you might assume the char is adsorbing scarce nutrients from the soil solution in a way that the tomato plant cannot manage to access again. 

 

If you grow tomatoes, you could try this. Plant the tomatoes, spread the char on top of the soil and work it into the surface of the soil. Head off to a nearby stand of trees and collect some leaves, and use that as a thick mulch over your tomato bed, building up as the plants grow to a good six inches or more. Hopefully the leaves will inoculate the char and the soil with mycorrhizae.

 

Next year, repeat the same procedure in the same bed with the same crop. No need to dig the soil, just work the biochar into the top few inches so it is in contact with the soil, and layer leaves on top as a mulch. As you trim the suckers and bottom leaves of the tomato plant, add more leaves so you get a nice thick layer, like you might find in the forest. 

 

You could of course use the same technique with other vegetables, as appropriate, if you have enough char and leaves, broccoli, kale, zucchini. 

You could also sow a winter rye cover crop, as shown below in my beds. This will keep the biological soil life alive and productive through the winter months, mining soil minerals and making them available to the soil solution, so at planting time in the spring, your soil is minerally and biologically ready for your productive crop. Just before planting, cut the rye at the base, lay it flat as a mulch, add your layer of char on top, work it in a bit, and then plant directly into the bed, and add a leaf mulch when the plants are mature enough if appropriate. I don't add leaf mulch, for instance, for onions or lettuce or beets, but rather a layer of compost (from horse manure).

 

 

What I'm doing here is gradually building up the soil health. I'm not aiming to use the biochar itself as a magic solution for a single crop, but as a part of a strategy to produce a terra preta like result without excessive effort. I've noticed that the surfaces of the larger char oxidizing in my topsoil have become more powdery. I suspect as the years go by, that very fine powder, perhaps in the 10-20 micron range found in terra preta soils, washes down into the soil and immediately binds with other soil particles into aggregates. If I can encourage a mycorrizial network to form with fungal nutrients like leaves, this may help to mine and transport minerals from the large char particles. Incorporating these fresh particles near the surface, rather than clustering them close to the roots, would prevent the char from adsorbing nutrients from the root zone. 

 

Going forward, I will crush my char into as fine a particle size as I can manage. I don't see the particles breaking down substantially over the years, but only becoming a bit more powdery on the surface as I've described. It has the texture of a soft chalk after 4 or 5 years. This will distribute the char much more widely in the soil, signficantly increase the exposed surface area, potentially by several orders of magnitude, make any adsorbed minerals much more easily available to the soil solution, and promote soil aggregation, the char becoming deeply integrated into the soil matrix rather than sitting in the soil separately, like a small pebble. 

 

On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 2:45 AM Daniel Pidgeon <daniel.pidgeon@...> wrote:

Hi Paul,

 

I echo Robert, as also being an untested amateur.

 

Even though not interested in compost (because of the bulk and turning required?), maybe one of those black plastic, stackable tray worm farms might offer a better solution for disposing of regular kitchen scraps and charging biochar at the same time? Small enough particles go through the  worms gut, too large pieces simply soak in and adsorb up the resulting goodness. No turning required, just add scraps and some dry carbon material bit by bit, and unload when done. I know those bins might not be what a proper worm farmer like Mike might recommend, but it is convenient. I have mine in the corner of the garage so as to not fry them in the Australian summer, and though I don't get/have much char, it all goes through one or another of the compost systems. Just yesterday I lit the fire pit, did some marshmallows and hot dogs with the kids, then made sure to keep a flame cap going for a bit to build up the char. Quenched, buried and soaked it in fresh grass clippings, and now it's in one of the compost bins.

 

Or, in connection with another thread going on at the moment, you could simply pop one of those char buckets down behind the shed, make sure to rehydrate plentifully when gardening, and when nature calls... If Mrs Anderson has a problem with you doing this, maybe mumble something about "prostate" and "70 something years"...

 

But in all seriousness, a biochar use "fact sheet" would be amazing. When I started to learn of biochar a couple of years a go, it would have been a boon to read the filtered down expertise and experience of many decades collectively in this field, rather than stumble blindly through tens of hours of internet searches and Youtube videos, and try to discern who may or may not have known their stuff.

 

Kind regards,


Daniel Pidgeon


From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> on behalf of Gordon West <gordon.west@...>
Sent: Monday, 20 April 2020 9:59 AM
To: main@biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

Hi Paul,

 

Thanks for presenting a scenario that is probably far more representative of a more common potential char user that all of us Charista geeks.

 

One suggestion would be to talk to folks who do compost and offer to give them biochar to put in their compost in exchange for some of the finished product.

 

Gordon West

The Trollworks

503 N. “E” Street

Silver City, NM 88061

575-537-3689

 

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. 
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”  
– R. Buckminster Fuller

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Apr 19, 2020, at 12:15 PM, Paul S Anderson <psanders@...> wrote:

 

Dear Biochar experts on preparation of biochar,

 

I seek a minimalist approach to preparation of biochar for gardens.  Please teach me.   Shame me (gently) if necessary.   I expose my ignorance and ask for help.

 

NOTE:  If this is not an appropriate topic for the Biochar Discussion Group, please say so to the group or to me directly and then we can take discussions off-list.   But I think that messages from a few of you could be of interest to many (or be combined into some “fact sheet” that could be circulated with information about how to produce raw biochar).

 

1.  I have char.   I make char.   I can help others make char with TLUD or RoCC kilns.   But that is about as far as I go.  

2.  RAW biochar onto soils is known to not be good.   So, I want to “charge” the biochar or improve it with the easiest and least expensive ways.

3.  I do NOT have a compost pile, and not likely to have one.   I do bury some  kitchen waste (not from meat), but that is a small effort.

4.  My wife and I will not be collecting urine.

5.  The char is chunky (average half-inch dimensions).   Driving over it with my car in my driveway is not on my to-do list.

       Above is the starting point, and I suspect that there could be many folks like me (except maybe not yet making char.)

 

Options for improving the char before putting it into the garden beds;

A.   I can purchase in  bags the typical garden supplies.   

                Manure, NPK fertilizers, peat (rather not use peat), Miracle Grow, other artificial or organic plant food, or you can say what to get. 

B.  Can I just put it (which ones and in what amounts?) in a container with the biochar (plus some water)?   Just mix it in?   Let it sit for how long?

C.  Please do not send instructions to purchase commercial products with biochar in them.

 

I am not planning on having serious control plots and experimental plots for quantitative measurements, but I might have a couple  of “patches” with different applications and then hope for visual differences or notable production differences.   All of my garden plots have had vegetables or flowers for numerous years.

 

I live in central Illinois and my soils here are considered to be very good, but a bit “heavy” and clumpy when tilled with a garden fork or shovel.   So in  part I want the char to help loosen the soil.

 

Spring is sort of here.   Will want to plant soon.   I have maybe 25 gallons (5 of 5-gallon buckets, or about 100 liters) of biochar from wood.

 

Thanks in advance for any thoughts about this.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org  

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

 

Image removed by sender.


--
Nando Breiter
http://biochar.info
CarbonZero Sagl
Astano, Switzerland


Re: Minimal prep of biochar for gardens #garden

Paul S Anderson
 

Nando (and to the others who have replied),

 

Nothing special in my vegetable/ flower garden efforts.   Minimal effort.  What should be done (thinning and plucking lower sucker leaves) generally does not get done.   And not organic.

 

What about putting the biochar into a container and mixing in store-bought fertilizer.   With some water.   Let it sit for a week.   Then spread the biochar.    Any pros or cons to that?

 

Paul

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org 

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of Nando Breiter via groups.io
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2020 10:57 AM
To: main@biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

[This message came from an external source. If suspicious, report to abuse@...]

Paul,

 

I'm curious. What do you normally do when preparing a garden bed? Are you following a more conventional path in terms of fertilization or using permaculture techniques?

 

I assume your char is produced at a higher rather than lower temperature range, correct? If so, it may have a tendency to adsorb and retain nutrients from the soil solution in a way that will not be plant available, deep in the pores, particularly if the particle size is not reduced to a rather fine powder, as the internal pore structure will be more developed in a higher temperature char. I suspect that once a mineral is trapped "deep" in a pore, deeper than say 50 microns or so (the depth to which the soil solution seems to circulate more freely as evidenced by the depth to which microbes survive in pores) it is much more likely to remain unavailable to plants, particularly as these pores become clogged over time.

 

If you are curious if this may be the case, you could set up a small trial with tomatoes for instance in pots, perhaps 4 with your char and 4 without. Don't fertilize them. If the growth and productivity of the tomatoes with char is reduced, then you might assume the char is adsorbing scarce nutrients from the soil solution in a way that the tomato plant cannot manage to access again. 

 

If you grow tomatoes, you could try this. Plant the tomatoes, spread the char on top of the soil and work it into the surface of the soil. Head off to a nearby stand of trees and collect some leaves, and use that as a thick mulch over your tomato bed, building up as the plants grow to a good six inches or more. Hopefully the leaves will inoculate the char and the soil with mycorrhizae.

 

Next year, repeat the same procedure in the same bed with the same crop. No need to dig the soil, just work the biochar into the top few inches so it is in contact with the soil, and layer leaves on top as a mulch. As you trim the suckers and bottom leaves of the tomato plant, add more leaves so you get a nice thick layer, like you might find in the forest. 

 

You could of course use the same technique with other vegetables, as appropriate, if you have enough char and leaves, broccoli, kale, zucchini. 

You could also sow a winter rye cover crop, as shown below in my beds. This will keep the biological soil life alive and productive through the winter months, mining soil minerals and making them available to the soil solution, so at planting time in the spring, your soil is minerally and biologically ready for your productive crop. Just before planting, cut the rye at the base, lay it flat as a mulch, add your layer of char on top, work it in a bit, and then plant directly into the bed, and add a leaf mulch when the plants are mature enough if appropriate. I don't add leaf mulch, for instance, for onions or lettuce or beets, but rather a layer of compost (from horse manure).

 

 

What I'm doing here is gradually building up the soil health. I'm not aiming to use the biochar itself as a magic solution for a single crop, but as a part of a strategy to produce a terra preta like result without excessive effort. I've noticed that the surfaces of the larger char oxidizing in my topsoil have become more powdery. I suspect as the years go by, that very fine powder, perhaps in the 10-20 micron range found in terra preta soils, washes down into the soil and immediately binds with other soil particles into aggregates. If I can encourage a mycorrizial network to form with fungal nutrients like leaves, this may help to mine and transport minerals from the large char particles. Incorporating these fresh particles near the surface, rather than clustering them close to the roots, would prevent the char from adsorbing nutrients from the root zone. 

 

Going forward, I will crush my char into as fine a particle size as I can manage. I don't see the particles breaking down substantially over the years, but only becoming a bit more powdery on the surface as I've described. It has the texture of a soft chalk after 4 or 5 years. This will distribute the char much more widely in the soil, signficantly increase the exposed surface area, potentially by several orders of magnitude, make any adsorbed minerals much more easily available to the soil solution, and promote soil aggregation, the char becoming deeply integrated into the soil matrix rather than sitting in the soil separately, like a small pebble. 

 

On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 2:45 AM Daniel Pidgeon <daniel.pidgeon@...> wrote:

Hi Paul,

 

I echo Robert, as also being an untested amateur.

 

Even though not interested in compost (because of the bulk and turning required?), maybe one of those black plastic, stackable tray worm farms might offer a better solution for disposing of regular kitchen scraps and charging biochar at the same time? Small enough particles go through the  worms gut, too large pieces simply soak in and adsorb up the resulting goodness. No turning required, just add scraps and some dry carbon material bit by bit, and unload when done. I know those bins might not be what a proper worm farmer like Mike might recommend, but it is convenient. I have mine in the corner of the garage so as to not fry them in the Australian summer, and though I don't get/have much char, it all goes through one or another of the compost systems. Just yesterday I lit the fire pit, did some marshmallows and hot dogs with the kids, then made sure to keep a flame cap going for a bit to build up the char. Quenched, buried and soaked it in fresh grass clippings, and now it's in one of the compost bins.

 

Or, in connection with another thread going on at the moment, you could simply pop one of those char buckets down behind the shed, make sure to rehydrate plentifully when gardening, and when nature calls... If Mrs Anderson has a problem with you doing this, maybe mumble something about "prostate" and "70 something years"...

 

But in all seriousness, a biochar use "fact sheet" would be amazing. When I started to learn of biochar a couple of years a go, it would have been a boon to read the filtered down expertise and experience of many decades collectively in this field, rather than stumble blindly through tens of hours of internet searches and Youtube videos, and try to discern who may or may not have known their stuff.

 

Kind regards,


Daniel Pidgeon


From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> on behalf of Gordon West <gordon.west@...>
Sent: Monday, 20 April 2020 9:59 AM
To: main@biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Minimal prep of biochar for gardens

 

Hi Paul,

 

Thanks for presenting a scenario that is probably far more representative of a more common potential char user that all of us Charista geeks.

 

One suggestion would be to talk to folks who do compost and offer to give them biochar to put in their compost in exchange for some of the finished product.

 

Gordon West

The Trollworks

503 N. “E” Street

Silver City, NM 88061

575-537-3689

 

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. 
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”  
– R. Buckminster Fuller

 

 

 

 

 



On Apr 19, 2020, at 12:15 PM, Paul S Anderson <psanders@...> wrote:

 

Dear Biochar experts on preparation of biochar,

 

I seek a minimalist approach to preparation of biochar for gardens.  Please teach me.   Shame me (gently) if necessary.   I expose my ignorance and ask for help.

 

NOTE:  If this is not an appropriate topic for the Biochar Discussion Group, please say so to the group or to me directly and then we can take discussions off-list.   But I think that messages from a few of you could be of interest to many (or be combined into some “fact sheet” that could be circulated with information about how to produce raw biochar).

 

1.  I have char.   I make char.   I can help others make char with TLUD or RoCC kilns.   But that is about as far as I go.  

2.  RAW biochar onto soils is known to not be good.   So, I want to “charge” the biochar or improve it with the easiest and least expensive ways.

3.  I do NOT have a compost pile, and not likely to have one.   I do bury some  kitchen waste (not from meat), but that is a small effort.

4.  My wife and I will not be collecting urine.

5.  The char is chunky (average half-inch dimensions).   Driving over it with my car in my driveway is not on my to-do list.

       Above is the starting point, and I suspect that there could be many folks like me (except maybe not yet making char.)

 

Options for improving the char before putting it into the garden beds;

A.   I can purchase in  bags the typical garden supplies.   

                Manure, NPK fertilizers, peat (rather not use peat), Miracle Grow, other artificial or organic plant food, or you can say what to get. 

B.  Can I just put it (which ones and in what amounts?) in a container with the biochar (plus some water)?   Just mix it in?   Let it sit for how long?

C.  Please do not send instructions to purchase commercial products with biochar in them.

 

I am not planning on having serious control plots and experimental plots for quantitative measurements, but I might have a couple  of “patches” with different applications and then hope for visual differences or notable production differences.   All of my garden plots have had vegetables or flowers for numerous years.

 

I live in central Illinois and my soils here are considered to be very good, but a bit “heavy” and clumpy when tilled with a garden fork or shovel.   So in  part I want the char to help loosen the soil.

 

Spring is sort of here.   Will want to plant soon.   I have maybe 25 gallons (5 of 5-gallon buckets, or about 100 liters) of biochar from wood.

 

Thanks in advance for any thoughts about this.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org  

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

 

Image removed by sender.


--
Nando Breiter
http://biochar.info
CarbonZero Sagl
Astano, Switzerland


Re: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] New data re biochar particle size #sizing

Kevin Chisholm <kchisholm@...>
 

Hi Claudia

 

I would be interested in receiving the URL for this paper.

 

Thanks!

 

Kevin

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io [mailto:main@Biochar.groups.io] On Behalf Of Caludia Kammann
Sent: April 20, 2020 5:52 PM
To: main@Biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] New data re biochar particle size

 

Hi Tom,

 

the paper is open access, I downloaded it and can send it if group members are interested.

 

thanks for the leg-up –

 

Claudia

 

Von: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> Im Auftrag von Tom Miles
Gesendet: Montag, 20. April 2020 17:29
An: main@Biochar.groups.io
Betreff: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] New data re biochar particle size

 

From a recent review of biochar in biofilters:

 

A meta-analysis98 found that amendment of soil with biochar increases saturated hydraulic conductivity by 25%. Another study found biochar amendment to increase saturated hydraulic conductivity by 328% in clay-rich soil but decrease by 92% and 67% in sand and organic soils, respectively.99. . .The effect of biochar addition on hydraulic conductivity of biofilter media will depend on the differences in particle size of the biochar and the sand55,97 and may also depend on the biochar application rate. Addition of biochar to sand media reduced the hydraulic conductivity at higher biochar application rates (>15%),100 and a ten-fold decrease in hydraulic conductivity compared to sand-only was observed by Ray et al.54 when mixing sand (0.60.85 mm) with finer biochar particles (0.10.3 mm). On the contrary, biochar application rates of 0.52% only led to minimal decreases in hydraulic conductivity of a sandy loam soil.101

 

54 J. R. Ray, I. A. Shabtai, M. Teixidó, Y. G. Mishael and D. L. Sedlak, Polymer-Clay Composite Geomedia for Sorptive

Removal of Trace Organic Compounds and Metals in Urban Stormwater, Water Res., 2019, 157, 454462, DOI: 10.1016/j.

watres.2019.03.097.

 

55 S. K. Mohanty, R. Valenca, A. W. Berger, I. K. M. Yu, X. Xiong, T. M. Saunders and D. C. W. Tsang, Plenty of Room for Carbon on the Ground: Potential Applications of Biochar for Stormwater Treatment, Sci. Total Environ., 2018, 625, 16441658, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.01.037.

 

97 Z. Liu, B. Dugan, C. A. Masiello, R. T. Barnes, M. E. Gallagher and H. Gonnermann, Impacts of Biochar Concentration and Particle Size on Hydraulic Conductivity and DOC Leaching of BiocharSand Mixtures, J. Hydrol., 2016, 533, 461472, DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.12.007.

 

98 M. O. Omondi, X. Xia, A. Nahayo, X. Liu, P. K. Korai and G. Pan, Quantification of Biochar Effects on Soil Hydrological

Properties Using Meta-Analysis of Literature Data, Geoderma, 2016, 274, 2834, DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2016.03.029.

 

99 R. T. Barnes, M. E. Gallagher, C. A. Masiello, Z. Liu and B. Dugan, Biochar-Induced Changes in Soil Hydraulic Conductivity and Dissolved Nutrient Fluxes Constrained by Laboratory Experiments, PLoS One, 2014, 9(9), e108340,

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108340.

100 P. de Rozari, M. Greenway and A. El Hanandeh, Nitrogen Removal from Sewage and Septage in Constructed Wetland

Mesocosms Using Sand Media Amended with Biochar, Ecol. Eng., 2018, 111, 110, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2017.11.002.

 

101 H. M. Ibrahim, M. I. Al-Wabel, A. R. A. Usman and A. Al-Omran, Effect of Conocarpus Biochar Application on the

Hydraulic Properties of a Sandy Loam Soil, Soil Sci., 2013, 178(4), 165173.

 

Ref: Ref Biochar-augmented biofilters to improve pollutant removal from stormwater – can they improve receiving water quality?† Alexandria B. Boehm, *ab Colin D. Bell,bc Nicole J. M. Fitzgerald,bc Elizabeth Gallo, bc Christopher P. Higgins, bc Terri S. Hogue, bc Richard G. Luthy, ab Andrea C. Portmann,bc Bridget A. Ulrichd and Jordyn M. Wolfand bce

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of Nando Breiter
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2020 7:04 AM
To: main@biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [Biochar] New data re biochar particle size

 

Michael,

 

Here's what I read in the abstract, emphasis mine:

 

"Biochar was most effective in improving soil water properties in coarse-textured soils with application rates between 30 and 70 t/ha. The key factors influencing biochar performance were particle size, specific surface area and porosity indicating that both soil-biochar inter-particle and biochar intra-particle pores are important factors. To achieve optimum water relations in sandy soils (>60% sand and <20% clay), biochar with a small particle size (<2 mm) and high specific surface area and porosity should be applied. In clayey soil (>50% clay), <30 t/ha of a high surface area biochar is ideal."

 

The abstract seems to be recommending small particle size. Small biochar particles promote aggregate formation, and in my simple understanding, aggregates store more water than anything else in soil. 

 

Cutting to the chase, the only thing that matters is the effect on your crop, expressed in the paper as the permanent wilting point, the point at which your crop is going to die if it doesn't rain (or is irrigated) very soon. The abstract reports an average improvement of 16.7% with biochar. 

 

The paper cites a price range of ... well I'll just quote it. "Depending on feedstock used, the price of biochar could range from US$ -222 to 584/t". It goes on to say that "Biochar application rate above 70 t/ha may not be economical in regard to effect on water relations in soil. Even using an application rate of 30 t/ha could amount to US $17,520/ha." 

 

An application rate of 70t/h at a cost of U$584 per tonne would total $40,880 per hectare for something like a 16% improvement in the time it takes for your plants to wilt without water, and paper stresses in great detail how the ultimate results achieved in terms of plant available water holding capacity are highly dependent on a wide variety of variables. I suspect that even the paper's upper range estimate of $584 per tonne is too low when transport and incorporation costs are taken into account, plus the fact that the biochar needs to be specifically formulated to achieve results. In what agricultural-financial scenario is an improvement on the order of 16% worth such a high investment cost? In what scenario could the money be raised for such a marginal improvement, well beyond the collateral value of the land itself? 

 

In the developed world, farmers would invest in crop insurance in case of drought leading to crop failure, and it would be vastly cheaper, plus it would offer a 100% guarantee, rather than buying an extra few hours or days of time before the crop is lost. In the developing world, the amount of labor required to produce and add these quantities of biochar to cropland would be prohibitive, unless it would be for only a small garden plot.

 

While there may be agricultural scenarios where such a high biochar investment cost could be financially worthwhile, it will not be for water retention. Irrigation systems will be used in such scenarios to ensure plants or trees have sufficient water. In other words, a tomato grower will not invest in biochar to avoid investing in an irrigation system.

 

To state it plainly, in real world application, biochar should be optimized for financially viable scenarios (which may include sweat equity - labor - in some cases). To the extent that biochar improves plant available water holding capacity in such a scenario, that's fine, but the cart simply won't travel anywhere placed in front of the horse of financial viability.

 

 

 

On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 8:13 AM d.michael.shafer@... <d.michael.shafer@...> wrote:

A recent, now quieted down, thread asked about particle size and utility in soil. Attached is the PDF of a paper recently completed by a Ph.D. student working on particle size and water retention, a big issue for many of us working in Africa. Counter-intuitively, she finds that the smaller particles display "hydro-phobia" and retain much less water. She is the lead and corresponding author. Very smart and very articulate. if you have questions, i would just contact her.

 


--
Nando Breiter
http://biochar.info
CarbonZero Sagl
Astano, Switzerland


Re: Biochar as separate from organic carbon in soils -- wss RE: [CDR] RE: [Biochar] Special Issue #soc

Paul S Anderson
 

Thomas,

 

I saw your message below shortly after I sent a request for you to comment on the previous message.   I certainly understand about being swamped.   I do hope for a reply because otherwise I am guessing about what you mean by “I’m sure any differences are purely semantic, and that we are basically on the same track.”    It is the semantics that has caused the placing of biochar and SCS together.   Neither you nor I put them together.   I would like us (and others) to agree to have them separate as major NET actions.

 

But together they are, and that topic is not acceptable to discuss on the CDR Discussion Group (which is explained as being for placing notices such as of publications, but not for “chat” about what is or is not a CDR.  And I accept that.)  

 

So we need discussion elsewhere, such as the Biochar Discussion Group.  But if the Biochar folks do not express interest in written, citable clarification this issue (Albert, Ron, Benoit, leadership of USBI and IBI, etc.), then biochar and carbohydrates will be basically equated as far as carbon  sequestration is concerned. 

 

I wanted to append here for you two references (arrived today but I cannot find them now) about studies that show INCREASE of SCS when biochar is in the soil.  (which I see as an additional reason to consider Biochar and SCS as separate types of CDR / NETs.)

 

I repeat my call for those who would like to put together a short (600 words???) description with a table (like my Table 1) and/or with a graphic that lays out the major NETs and clearly places Biochar (I prefer Biochar & Energy (BC&E)) within the technologies.    Could relate it to a variation of this graphic that is from:    (lead author in Minx, who could be invited in.)

(https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aabf9b/meta#erlaabf9bf2)

 

 

If interested, please let me know.

 

Paul

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org 

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

From: Thomas Goreau <goreau@...>
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2020 2:13 PM
To: Anderson, Paul <psanders@...>
Cc: Andrew Lockley <andrew.lockley@...>; Biochar@groups.io; Ron <rongretlarson@...>; Benoit Lambert <benoit.lambert@...>; Greg Rau <ghrau@...>; Albert Bates <albert@...>
Subject: Re: Biochar as separate from organic carbon in soils -- wss RE: [CDR] RE: [Biochar] Special Issue

 

Dear Paul,

 

Sorry, I’m swamped and have not yet had time to read your comments or respond carefully, but I’m sure any differences are purely semantic, and that we are basically on the same track. 

 

Will get back to you soon but have some other problems to resolve first.

 

At any rate, as far as CDR list goes, you had the last word!

 

Best wishes,

Tom

 

Thomas J. F. Goreau, PhD
President, Global Coral Reef Alliance
Chief Scientist, Blue Regeneration SL
President, Biorock Technology Inc.
Technical Advisor, Blue Guardians Programme, SIDS DOCK
37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
goreau@...
www.globalcoral.org
Skype: tomgoreau
Tel: (1) 617-864-4226 leave message

Books:
Geotherapy: Innovative Methods of Soil Fertility Restoration, Carbon Sequestration, and Reversing CO2 Increase
http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9781466595392

Innovative Methods of Marine Ecosystem Restoration
http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9781466557734

No one can change the past, everybody can change the future




On Apr 20, 2020, at 3:07 PM, Anderson, Paul <psanders@...> wrote:

 

Dear Thomas,

 

Below is my previous message to you.   I am hoping to receive your reply, but do NOT send to the CDR discussion group.    The prior messages are found below to show why this topic is being discussed.

 

I also hope that some of the subscribers of the  Biochar Group will respond.   Non-response does not mean agreement.   It means not receiving or not reading the messages OR to not care about this fundamental question (which is essentially whether or not biochar is recognized as a significantly different negative emission technology (NET) than is the increase of organic carbon in soils).

 

Paul

 

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org  

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

From: Anderson, Paul 
Sent: Saturday, April 18, 2020 2:37 PM
To: Thomas Goreau <goreau@...>
Cc: Andrew Lockley <andrew.lockley@...>; Biochar@groups.io
Subject: RE: [CDR] RE: [Biochar] Special Issue - Bioenergy and Biochar: Repurposing Waste to Sustainable Energy and Materials

 

Dear Thomas G.    ( NOTE: This  is NOT going to the CDR Discussion group, but is going to the Biochar group.)

 

As a rather new subscriber to the CDR group, the warning from moderator Greg Rau (below) is quite serious for me and I will abide by his directives.  Therefore, Thomas, please reply directly to me.   I assume that you are not on the  Biochar discussion group, so that group will only see my replies to you  (and I will include your message to me so that they may see it also.)

 

Personally, I believe that the topic of “Is Biochar a valid NET by itself or only a part of soil carbon sequestration (SCS)?” is extremely relevant to the CDR discussion group, but I am not the moderator, and he defines the CDR group as “reserved for sharing significant new info on  CDR.”   To attempt to correct some fundamental error of a few years ago seems to not quality as “new info on CDR.”   So be it.

 

It  will be interesting to find out if the subscribers of the Biochar Discussion Group consider it important or not to have biochar clearly distinguishable from SCS.   And if they do not care, then what is the  future of biochar?   Maybe not relevant at the  level of a few tons onto a few gardens or fields.   

 

Looking  forward to the continuation of the discussion to have Thomas’ reply.   If he becomes supportive of my position, I am not sure how that could be communicated back to the CDR discussion group without getting into trouble.    And  if he is not swayed by my comments, that might be the end of this discussion.  No need to debate when minds are made up.     

 

But would the Biochar group pick up on this topic, which is a long way from urine on biochar in Malawi or fungi issues, etc.?     

 

How many of us are on both the Biochar and  the CDR discussion  lists?   Paul A, Paul B, Ronal, anyone else?

  

Paul

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org  

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

From: Greg Rau <ghrau@...> 
Sent: Saturday, April 18, 2020 1:32 PM
To: Anderson, Paul <psanders@...>; Thomas Goreau <goreau@...>; Mike Biddle <mike@...>
Cc: Andrew Lockley <andrew.lockley@...>; Carbon Dioxide Removal <carbondioxideremoval@...>; Biochar@groups.io
Subject: Re: [CDR] RE: [Biochar] Special Issue - Bioenergy and Biochar: Repurposing Waste to Sustainable Energy and Materials

 

Dear Biocharians,

This is my second warning. The CDR list is not a chat room. It's a list of 450+ members that is reserved for sharing significant new info on  CDR. Please take the personal chatter/disagreements offline and get back to us if/when significant, new information becomes available. Violators will be removed from the list.

Thanks,

Greg Rau

CDR Moderator 

 

On Saturday, April 18, 2020, 11:17:20 AM PDT, Mike Biddle <mike@...> wrote:

 

 

This CDR group seems to have been taken over by biochar back and forths and its flooding my email.  Is there a way to opt out of ‘biochar’ or do I need to remove myself from the CDR group?

 

Best regards,

 

Dr. Mike Biddle

Managing Director | Evok Innovations

San Francisco Bay Area Office

c: 925-393-9129

e: mike@... 

 

Sign up here to get the latest news from Evok Innovations!

 

From: carbondioxideremoval@... <carbondioxideremoval@...> On Behalf Of Anderson, Paul
Sent: Saturday, April 18, 2020 11:05 AM
To: Thomas Goreau <
goreau@...>
Cc: Andrew Lockley <
andrew.lockley@...>; Carbon Dioxide Removal <CarbonDioxideRemoval@...>; Biochar@groups.io
Subject: RE: [CDR] RE: [Biochar] Special Issue - Bioenergy and Biochar: Repurposing Waste to Sustainable Energy and Materials

 

Thomas,

 

Please allow me to disagree.   I will use YOUR words:

 

The ambiguity for me is that biochar is just one group of soil carbon compounds among so many

 

Really?   Is an almost unending sequence of carbon atoms (with a touch of ash minerals) really a compound?   C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-     is rather different than C6H12O6 (generic carbohydrates). 

Biochar is carbon.    80%+ pure carbon.   With tremendous long term stability (unless it is burned.)  Carbohydrates are destined to decay in relatively short time periods.

 

I think of Biochar as … THE MOST EFFECTIVE AND LONG LASTING form of SCS, rather than as a separate category. 

 

But isn’t the characteristic of being longer lasting (by two to four orders of magnitude of time) precisely what should make biochar extremely more important to people like us who seek CDR that stays as CDR rather than be equated with the short-life organic matter in the soil?  

 

The same gradient in quality BETWEEN biochar and ordinary soil carbon also exists WITHIN the biochar category, depending on the starting materials and conditions of formation. 

 

The SAME gradient???   That seems far fetched.   But you do add on the “depends on…” phrase that allows you to maybe find some extreme case.   Sorry, I do not buy into your statement.

 

The distinction seems to be operational, how it is made, rather than how it acts in the soil itself.

 

“… how it is made…”  Yes.  That is important.  Biomass is by photosynthesis and highly diverse plant growth.  And biochar is by thermochemical pyrolysis with highly uniform alignment of carbon atoms.   To me, that distinction really separates biochar from soil  carbon in operational terms of how they is made.   

 

But you focus on how they act in the soil.   That distinction is even greater.   If that is not evident, I leave it to the experts on soil organic carbon to compare notes with the experts on soil  inorganic (pyrolytic) carbon.  

 

“… wherever forests were cleared … roughly half of soil carbon is made up of the various forms of biochar, from charcoal to black elemental carbon.”

 

I had not heard that before.   And I doubt it.   (others can clarify, please.)   But even if true, what we are discussing (which is the CDR value of biochar), the issue is to put carbon back into soils.   And according to your statement, that would mean putting roughly half back as organic carbon (SCS) and to somehow also putting roughly half back as biochar / elemental carbon.   And the latter would require making and sequestering biochar.

 

From another message that you sent soon after the one below, you wrote:

 

Unfortunately it [the types of CDR and the various forms of carbon] need to be put in very simple and short terms for most people to listen. 

 

I can agree about people needing simple and short terms, but I certainly disagree about organic carbon and biochar being … variants from the same population …  [referring to carbon in soil].   People know the difference between a piece of charcoal and a decaying root or leaf litter.   To combine them is what causes confusion.   To  talk about long-term sequestration REQUIRES the distinction of organic SCS from biochar.  

 

To use (or abuse) your desire to combine two major CDR types / technologies, one could argue that both BECCS and DACCS are really together, just separated by the level of concentration of CO2 in chimneys versus ambient air.  Minor difference?   Or enhanced weathering (EW) with associated ocean alkalinization in the oceans might be combined with ocean fertilization (OF).   They are all in the oceans.  Are they not just a slight matter of chemistry?   And timing?   And budgets?   When dealing with the common person, we must not underestimate their abilities to understand somethings.   We need to teach them and to point out what are the real differences.   Then they can understand and can become supportive.   

 

In summary, I maintain that Biochar and Energy (BC&E) is and should be recognized as one of the major negative emission technologies (NETs) to accomplish CDR.  If we cannot among ourselves have better recognition of the NETs, and especially about BC&E which is the most currently ready way to get moving for gigaton CDR, then our goal for climate stability is so much further away. 

 

We (the world) need(s) all the tools we can muster to accomplish CDR.  Just like hammers, saws, wrenches, drills, etc. each have specific functions for building a house, biochar (BC) is a tool separate from SCS, EW, DACCS, etc.  They each have separate functions for saving a planet from climatic devastation.   

 

In my document about “Recognition of BC&E…” I have suggested that there be a unified correction to the improper lumping of biochar with SCS.   That could be a “statement” or a peer reviewed (short) document with many many co-authors, including those of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (2019), European Academies Science Advisory Council (2018) and Fuhrman et al. (2019) that have propagated the error.   Let’s try to get this right.  

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Paul

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org 

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

From: Thomas Goreau <goreau@...> 
Sent: Saturday, April 18, 2020 5:38 AM
To: Anderson, Paul <
psanders@...>
Cc: Andrew Lockley <
andrew.lockley@...>; Carbon Dioxide Removal <CarbonDioxideRemoval@...>; Biochar@groups.io
Subject: Re: [CDR] RE: [Biochar] Special Issue - Bioenergy and Biochar: Repurposing Waste to Sustainable Energy and Materials

 

[This message came from an external source. If suspicious, report to abuse@...]

Thanks for this! 

 

I fully agree with you on the different lifetimes and benefits of different forms of carbon, its more of definitional issue.

 

The ambiguity for me is that biochar is just one group of soil carbon compounds among so many, so I think of Biochar as part of SCS, and THE MOST EFFECTIVE AND LONG LASTING form of SCS, rather than as a separate category. 

 

The same gradient in quality BETWEEN biochar and ordinary soil carbon also exists WITHIN the biochar category, depending on the starting materials and conditions of formation. 

 

The distinction seems to be operational, how it is made, rather than how it acts in the soil itself.

 

In many parts of the world, in fact pretty much wherever forests were cleared for agriculture, pastures, or cities, roughly half of soil carbon is made up of the various forms of biochar, from charcoal to black elemental carbon.

 

Thomas J. F. Goreau, PhD
President, Global Coral Reef Alliance
Chief Scientist, Blue Regeneration SL
President, Biorock Technology Inc.
Technical Advisor, Blue Guardians Programme, SIDS DOCK
37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
goreau@...
www.globalcoral.org
Skype: tomgoreau
Tel: (1) 617-864-4226 leave message

Books:
Geotherapy: Innovative Methods of Soil Fertility Restoration, Carbon Sequestration, and Reversing CO2 Increase
http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9781466595392

Innovative Methods of Marine Ecosystem Restoration
http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9781466557734

No one can change the past, everybody can change the future

 

On Apr 17, 2020, at 9:18 PM, Anderson, Paul <psanders@...> wrote:

 

Dear Thomas,

 

I am glad that you asked so clearly:

How do you explain the difference between biochar and SCS (and BECCS) concisely? To me Biochar is a form of SCS, among other benefits?

 

                The  proper classification of NETs should be focused on how carbon dioxide removal (CDR) occurs.  The mutually exclusive types of carbon sequestration, their typical duration and the associated NETs are listed in Table 1:

 

Table 1:  Types of carbon sequestration, processes, duration, associated NETs, status and comments

Type

Processes

Duration

Associated NETs

Status

Additional notes

Inorganic chemistry: mineralization and pH change

Create solid minerals on land or sea or change pH

Potentially long-term stability

Enhanced Weathering (EW) with ocean  alkalinization and Ocean fertilization (OF).

Chemically possible but major application is mostly theoretical and conjecture

If applicable someday, would be expensive.  An “affluent world” approach.

CO2 capture and storage:

CCS

Capture CO2 from air or chimneys, render transportable, put into storage

Potentially long-term stability; caution with leakage issues

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) for chimneys (BECCS) and Direct air (DACCS); always with storage.

Experimental and expensive demos; some for injection to assist fracking for fossil fuel increase

If CCS works and if at scale, would be extremely expensive.  Requires energy.  Moral hazard. An “affluent world” approach.

Organic carbon:

Living and dead biomass

Photosynthesis creates biomass from CO2, H2O and sunlight.

Decomposition makes this carbon neutral.

In soil for a few years or in forests for several decades; value is in potential volume

Soil carbon sequestration (SCS) and Afforestation and reforestation (AR).  Optional to support BC&E; misleading to support BECCS.

Already part of nature and would be good agro-forestry practice if financial returns went to where the work is done.

If without guidance and support, this is agro-forestry as usual, which does not solve the problem.  There are limits to plant growth.  Worldwide participation.

Elemental carbon:

Charcoal

Biochar

Use pyrolysis of biomass to create solid carbon as charcoal / biochar with release of energy.

Multi-century or millennial.  Protection from burning is required and is natural in soil.

Biochar (BC), proposed to be called Biochar and Energy (BC&E) because it increases energy supply while creating stable carbon removal. 

Ready for scale-up with new methods; need increased R&D for improvements.  Additional benefits being evaluated.

Intercepts organic carbon before it decomposes.  Can be by both rich and poor.  Liberates energy.  Decentralized.  Safe.

Worldwide participation.

 

 

Soil Carbon Sequestration (SCS) and biochar are fundamentally different in each of the six columns in the above table.  If for no other reason, the duration of biochar for centennial or millennial sequestration is what is needed, but SCS is for yearly or decadal duration.  Just because the main destination of biochar is into soil does not make stable graphene elemental carbon the same as organic carbohydrates that decompose.   Whales live in the oceans but that does not make them the same as fish or plankton.  The classification needs to be correct.  And that is also true as to why CCS is not the same as biochar (BC).

 

The above table is at the start of my document which is at   www.woodgas.com/resources :

Recognition of Biochar & Energy (BC&E) as a

Separate Negative Emission Technology (NET) for

Improving Integrated Assessment Modeling (IAM)

 

In regard to BECCS, my document goes on to point out that the energy in biomass can be liberated via complete burning to CO2 (as in BECCS) or via pyrolysis that yields biochar (as in BC&E – Yes, I emphasize the energy (E) with biochar (BC that ready for operational sequestration) in the same way that BECCS emphasizes the bioenergy (BE) with carbon capture and storage (CCS that not yet ready for operational sequestration).  Again, that is a fundamental difference that should be highlighted as crucial for efforts for CDR.

 

Because my document is a response to the Fuhrman et al. (2019) publication, I also give attention to how biochar & energy (BC&E) has complementary benefits (not tradeoffs) with many of the sustainable development goals (SDG).   This is in stark contrast with the other NETs (excluding AR and somewhat SCS) that have so little relationship with the SDGs and the 80% of the world that is not affluent. 

 

In particular, I point out how pyrolytic cookstoves (commonly called TLUD = “tee-lud” stoves) are true BC&E devices that give the energy for cooking with pyrolytic gases while providing biochar that could be sequestered.  If made available to the poorest bottom  three-fifths of households, each one-fifth could contribute over 2 gigatons of CO2 sequestration PER YEAR while the people are cooking their food with LESS of the same wood and crop-residue fuels that they currently burn.   I do hope that many will read the full explanation that cites the on-going project in India from which the quantitative data are taken.   [Note:  This happens to be my specialty for the past 18 years.]

 

The document goes on to present about biomass supply, pyrolytic technology,  the latest Drawdown Review 2020 solutions, and scaling up to over 10 gigatons CO2 for CDR per year, within this decade and continuing past 2100.   And do not forget the energy that will be available to partially replace fossil fuels and to save electricity that should not be expended on low- value heating purposes.

 

I sincerely hope that some of you will read that document and reply.   Tear it to pieces, or embrace it, or pick and choose what to like or discard.   But in the end, we who have good intentions for CDR must decide if this “bird in the hand” is something to consider for the now and near future.   

 

Paul

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org  

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

From: Thomas Goreau <goreau@...> 
Sent: Friday, April 17, 2020 3:59 PM
To: Andrew Lockley <
andrew.lockley@...>
Cc: Anderson, Paul <
psanders@...>; Carbon Dioxide Removal <CarbonDioxideRemoval@...>
Subject: Re: [CDR] RE: [Biochar] Special Issue - Bioenergy and Biochar: Repurposing Waste to Sustainable Energy and Materials

 

Sorry, I was referring to: 

 

biochar will be lumped with SCS and BECCS can claim all the renewable energy value of biomass.

 

 

How do you explain the difference between biochar and SCS (and BECCS) concisely? To me Biochar is a form of SCS, among other benefits?

 

 

Thomas J. F. Goreau, PhD
President, Global Coral Reef Alliance
Chief Scientist, Blue Regeneration SL
President, Biorock Technology Inc.
Technical Advisor, Blue Guardians Programme, SIDS DOCK
37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
goreau@...
www.globalcoral.org
Skype: tomgoreau
Tel: (1) 617-864-4226 leave message

Books:
Geotherapy: Innovative Methods of Soil Fertility Restoration, Carbon Sequestration, and Reversing CO2 Increase
http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9781466595392

Innovative Methods of Marine Ecosystem Restoration
http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9781466557734

No one can change the past, everybody can change the future

 

On Apr 17, 2020, at 4:48 PM, Andrew Lockley <andrew.lockley@...> wrote:

 

As far as I understand it, this is about using in-vessel heating of energy crops. This drives off first steam and then syngas - ultimately to power a turbine, or to fuel a town gas / coal gas grid. It's possible to use direct combustion in oxygen-depleted air to externally heat a steam boiler, but that loses a lot of carbon from the feedstock. 

 

The above may be partially or completely wrong.

 

Andrew 

 

On Fri, 17 Apr 2020, 18:28 Thomas Goreau, <goreau@...> wrote:

A very short explanation of the conceptual difference is very important, can you provide one that we can use?

 

A paper to cite would be great on details, but what is needed is a sentence or paragraph.

 

Thomas J. F. Goreau, PhD
President, Global Coral Reef Alliance
Chief Scientist, Blue Regeneration SL
President, Biorock Technology Inc.
Technical Advisor, Blue Guardians Programme, SIDS DOCK
37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
goreau@...
www.globalcoral.org
Skype: tomgoreau
Tel: (1) 617-864-4226 leave message

Books:
Geotherapy: Innovative Methods of Soil Fertility Restoration, Carbon Sequestration, and Reversing CO2 Increase
http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9781466595392

Innovative Methods of Marine Ecosystem Restoration
http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9781466557734

No one can change the past, everybody can change the future

 

On Apr 17, 2020, at 11:17 AM, Anderson, Paul <psanders@...> wrote:

 

Dimitrios,    (And others on the Biochar discussion group can give opinions also.).

 

Would it be appropriate for your special issue to have a re-cast, re-focused version of what is in my document  (found at  www.woodgas.com/resources  ) about:

 

“Recognition of Biochar & Energy (BC&E) as a Separate Negative Emission Technology (NET)”.

 

It would not focus on the IAM aspects.   It would include a tracing back to see where the incorrect joining of biochar (BC) and soil carbon sequestration (SCS) was made (and then endorsed in high power publications).   This has been (and continues to be) to the great detriment of biochar as a negative emission technology.

 

If my document is incorrect, then this topic can be ignored and biochar will be lumped with SCS and BECCS can claim all the renewable energy value of biomass. 

 

Proposal:  The rewrite would be a combined effort of numerous experts.   I would take a backseat.   At 76 years of age,  I am not seeking a peer reviewed article for my career advancement.  Maybe the article could be one of those short important position-type articles with 8 to 15 co-authors, such as appear occasionally in Science or Nature.   Include the authors like Furhman et al., Minx, and those others who have unfortunately perpetuated the error of SCS and BC&E being together and the unfortunate elevation of BECCS and  DACCS (for which the CCS is barely off the drawing board.)

 

Basically, the question is this:   Does the biochar community believe strongly enough in the role of BC&E for the future of our planet that it would present its claims with some vigor?  

 

Paul

 

Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:   www.drtlud.com

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: www.JuntosNFP.org  

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See  www.woodgas.com

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at www.capitalism21.org)

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.ioOn Behalf Of Dimitrios Kalderis via groups.io
Sent: Friday, April 17, 2020 4:04 AM
To: Biochar Group <
main@biochar.groups.io>
Subject: [Biochar] Special Issue - Bioenergy and Biochar: Repurposing Waste to Sustainable Energy and Materials

 

[This message came from an external source. If suspicious, report to abuse@...

Dear list,

 

a kind reminder that our Special Issue is open for submissions and 3 open-access papers have been published so far.

 

Deadline is the 30th of June 2020. 

 

 

<image002.png> 


<image004.png>

Energies

Energies, an international, peer-reviewed Open Access journal.

 

 

 

 

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Re: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] New data re biochar particle size #sizing

Tom Miles
 

This is the paper I posted last week. It is one result of a collaborative project among several universities which was coordinated by Stanford University. USBI arranged for several biochars to be used in screen in studies and subsequent research. Some of the researchers have now gone on to other institutions. When we combine it with recent work in Delaware and other locations we have a positive base to build on for the use of biochars in biofilters. We can always use more monitored field applications.  

 

Biochar-augmented biofilters to improve pollutant removal from stormwater - can they improve receiving water quality?

 

Stormwater biofilters are being implemented widely in urban environments to provide green space, alleviate flooding, and improve stormwater quality. However, biofilters with conventional media (sand, soil, and/or mulch or compost) do not reliably remove contaminants from stormwater. Research suggests addition of biochar to the biofilter media can improve the pollutant removal capacity of biofilters. In the current work, we present a systematic review of laboratory and mesocosm studies of biochar-augmented biofilters and an assessment of watershed-scale implementation of biofilters on local water quality. A full text review of 84 papers was conducted; of these, data were extracted from the 14 that met our inclusion criteria. log10 removal of microbial pollutants and trace organic contaminants (TOrCs) by biochar-augmented media is generally greater than those of the controls containing just sand, soil, and/or compost. log10 removal of nitrogen, phosphorous, total organic carbon, and total suspended solids in biochar-augmented biofilters is not clearly higher than those of control experiments. A supplemental analysis of four studies reporting longer-term breakthrough data revealed that TOrC removal effectiveness varies substantially among high temperature wood-based biochars, and that operational lifetimes of full-scale systems constrained by TOrC sorption capacity could range from five months to over seven years depending on the selected biochar. At the watershed-scale, biochar-augmented biofilters can provide enhanced treatment of runoff, resulting in the need for fewer treatment units or a smaller volume of watershed runoff treated to meet water quality criteria compared to their conventional counterparts. While their installation can reduce the load of pollutants to receiving waters, achieving concentration-based water quality targets may prove difficult even when pollutant removal capacity is high. This work highlights the importance of a systems approach to studying how biofilter installation affects water quality within a watershed. We identify several topical areas where further research is needed, especially as installation of biofilters and other stormwater control measures gain popularity in highly urbanized watersheds.

https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlepdf/2020/ew/d0ew00027b

 

 

 

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of Caludia Kammann
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2020 1:52 PM
To: main@Biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] New data re biochar particle size

 

Hi Tom,

 

the paper is open access, I downloaded it and can send it if group members are interested.

 

thanks for the leg-up –

 

Claudia

 

Von: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> Im Auftrag von Tom Miles
Gesendet: Montag, 20. April 2020 17:29
An: main@Biochar.groups.io
Betreff: [EXTERN] Re: [Biochar] New data re biochar particle size

 

From a recent review of biochar in biofilters:

 

A meta-analysis98 found that amendment of soil with biochar increases saturated hydraulic conductivity by 25%. Another study found biochar amendment to increase saturated hydraulic conductivity by 328% in clay-rich soil but decrease by 92% and 67% in sand and organic soils, respectively.99. . .The effect of biochar addition on hydraulic conductivity of biofilter media will depend on the differences in particle size of the biochar and the sand55,97 and may also depend on the biochar application rate. Addition of biochar to sand media reduced the hydraulic conductivity at higher biochar application rates (>15%),100 and a ten-fold decrease in hydraulic conductivity compared to sand-only was observed by Ray et al.54 when mixing sand (0.60.85 mm) with finer biochar particles (0.10.3 mm). On the contrary, biochar application rates of 0.52% only led to minimal decreases in hydraulic conductivity of a sandy loam soil.101

 

54 J. R. Ray, I. A. Shabtai, M. Teixidó, Y. G. Mishael and D. L. Sedlak, Polymer-Clay Composite Geomedia for Sorptive

Removal of Trace Organic Compounds and Metals in Urban Stormwater, Water Res., 2019, 157, 454462, DOI: 10.1016/j.

watres.2019.03.097.

 

55 S. K. Mohanty, R. Valenca, A. W. Berger, I. K. M. Yu, X. Xiong, T. M. Saunders and D. C. W. Tsang, Plenty of Room for Carbon on the Ground: Potential Applications of Biochar for Stormwater Treatment, Sci. Total Environ., 2018, 625, 16441658, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.01.037.

 

97 Z. Liu, B. Dugan, C. A. Masiello, R. T. Barnes, M. E. Gallagher and H. Gonnermann, Impacts of Biochar Concentration and Particle Size on Hydraulic Conductivity and DOC Leaching of BiocharSand Mixtures, J. Hydrol., 2016, 533, 461472, DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.12.007.

 

98 M. O. Omondi, X. Xia, A. Nahayo, X. Liu, P. K. Korai and G. Pan, Quantification of Biochar Effects on Soil Hydrological

Properties Using Meta-Analysis of Literature Data, Geoderma, 2016, 274, 2834, DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2016.03.029.

 

99 R. T. Barnes, M. E. Gallagher, C. A. Masiello, Z. Liu and B. Dugan, Biochar-Induced Changes in Soil Hydraulic Conductivity and Dissolved Nutrient Fluxes Constrained by Laboratory Experiments, PLoS One, 2014, 9(9), e108340,

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108340.

100 P. de Rozari, M. Greenway and A. El Hanandeh, Nitrogen Removal from Sewage and Septage in Constructed Wetland

Mesocosms Using Sand Media Amended with Biochar, Ecol. Eng., 2018, 111, 110, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2017.11.002.

 

101 H. M. Ibrahim, M. I. Al-Wabel, A. R. A. Usman and A. Al-Omran, Effect of Conocarpus Biochar Application on the

Hydraulic Properties of a Sandy Loam Soil, Soil Sci., 2013, 178(4), 165173.

 

Ref: Ref Biochar-augmented biofilters to improve pollutant removal from stormwater – can they improve receiving water quality?† Alexandria B. Boehm, *ab Colin D. Bell,bc Nicole J. M. Fitzgerald,bc Elizabeth Gallo, bc Christopher P. Higgins, bc Terri S. Hogue, bc Richard G. Luthy, ab Andrea C. Portmann,bc Bridget A. Ulrichd and Jordyn M. Wolfand bce

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of Nando Breiter
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2020 7:04 AM
To: main@biochar.groups.io
Subject: Re: [Biochar] New data re biochar particle size

 

Michael,

 

Here's what I read in the abstract, emphasis mine:

 

"Biochar was most effective in improving soil water properties in coarse-textured soils with application rates between 30 and 70 t/ha. The key factors influencing biochar performance were particle size, specific surface area and porosity indicating that both soil-biochar inter-particle and biochar intra-particle pores are important factors. To achieve optimum water relations in sandy soils (>60% sand and <20% clay), biochar with a small particle size (<2 mm) and high specific surface area and porosity should be applied. In clayey soil (>50% clay), <30 t/ha of a high surface area biochar is ideal."

 

The abstract seems to be recommending small particle size. Small biochar particles promote aggregate formation, and in my simple understanding, aggregates store more water than anything else in soil. 

 

Cutting to the chase, the only thing that matters is the effect on your crop, expressed in the paper as the permanent wilting point, the point at which your crop is going to die if it doesn't rain (or is irrigated) very soon. The abstract reports an average improvement of 16.7% with biochar. 

 

The paper cites a price range of ... well I'll just quote it. "Depending on feedstock used, the price of biochar could range from US$ -222 to 584/t". It goes on to say that "Biochar application rate above 70 t/ha may not be economical in regard to effect on water relations in soil. Even using an application rate of 30 t/ha could amount to US $17,520/ha." 

 

An application rate of 70t/h at a cost of U$584 per tonne would total $40,880 per hectare for something like a 16% improvement in the time it takes for your plants to wilt without water, and paper stresses in great detail how the ultimate results achieved in terms of plant available water holding capacity are highly dependent on a wide variety of variables. I suspect that even the paper's upper range estimate of $584 per tonne is too low when transport and incorporation costs are taken into account, plus the fact that the biochar needs to be specifically formulated to achieve results. In what agricultural-financial scenario is an improvement on the order of 16% worth such a high investment cost? In what scenario could the money be raised for such a marginal improvement, well beyond the collateral value of the land itself? 

 

In the developed world, farmers would invest in crop insurance in case of drought leading to crop failure, and it would be vastly cheaper, plus it would offer a 100% guarantee, rather than buying an extra few hours or days of time before the crop is lost. In the developing world, the amount of labor required to produce and add these quantities of biochar to cropland would be prohibitive, unless it would be for only a small garden plot.

 

While there may be agricultural scenarios where such a high biochar investment cost could be financially worthwhile, it will not be for water retention. Irrigation systems will be used in such scenarios to ensure plants or trees have sufficient water. In other words, a tomato grower will not invest in biochar to avoid investing in an irrigation system.

 

To state it plainly, in real world application, biochar should be optimized for financially viable scenarios (which may include sweat equity - labor - in some cases). To the extent that biochar improves plant available water holding capacity in such a scenario, that's fine, but the cart simply won't travel anywhere placed in front of the horse of financial viability.

 

 

 

On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 8:13 AM d.michael.shafer@... <d.michael.shafer@...> wrote:

A recent, now quieted down, thread asked about particle size and utility in soil. Attached is the PDF of a paper recently completed by a Ph.D. student working on particle size and water retention, a big issue for many of us working in Africa. Counter-intuitively, she finds that the smaller particles display "hydro-phobia" and retain much less water. She is the lead and corresponding author. Very smart and very articulate. if you have questions, i would just contact her.

 


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Nando Breiter
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