Sonoma Biochar Initiative hosted the 2012 US Biochar Conference
For more on their work visit the SonomaBiocharInitiative.org website.
This session includes four up-to-date presentations on biochar developments in China. One paper is focused on experience with mobile fluidized bed fast pyrolysis technology, along with pre-drying of feedstocks to about 100 degrees C. Trials have been conducted at feed rates of one-half-ton/hour. A second presentation explores national plans to use various agricultural residues as fertilizer, feed, fuel, industrial raw materials, and growth media. A third presenter looks at using biochar to achieve sustainable agricultural production. To date they have used a small-scale cost-effective carbonization device to achieve carbonization in situ, reducing transport costs by 70%. The paper presents results from applying biochar to crop production in Liaoning province over several years, with noticeable effects on crop production promotion and reductions in harmful dust and labor input. Finally, the fourth presentation summarizes lessons learned over two years on commercialization of biochar-based fertilizer production (capacity 10,000 tons per year) in Zhejiang province with several long-term field experimental sites were set up to test the agricultural response of plants to different doses and types of biochar, and to determine the potential revenues that can be generated from the sale of biochar as a soil amendment. Due to high costs at market introduction and strong competition from other fertilizers, sales volume was slow to start. Field experiments showed long-term biochar application has many benefits (preservation of soil nutrients, improvement of soil structure, etc.). Therefore, in order to popularize use of biochar in the market, it is imperative to find ways to reduce costs at the initial stage while educating people on the long-term value of applying biochar.