Sonoma Biochar Initiative hosted the 2012 US Biochar Conference
For more on their work visit the SonomaBiocharInitiative.org website.
The Cooperage will be our hub of activities for the 4 days of the event. You'll find conference information and sponsor exhibits in the Cooperage. We meet for afternoon breaks in the Cooperage at 2:40 PM. Buses for tours leave from the Cooperage Bus Stop.
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.
These four presenters will each provide information on a specific mid-sized biochar production technology. Attendees will be able to compare and contrast their operational characteristics and key features, their respective ability to handle different biomass feedstocks, their comparative production of biochar and thermal energy, and their current stage of commercial availability.
These three academic presentations (two from Iowa, one from Austria) focus on results and issues associated with using biochar in large-scale agricultural settings. Detailed experiences will be profiled and next steps in desired research identified.
In this panel we focus on economics, costs, and efficiency of biochar production. One such perspective draws on the experience of a single facility: a bio-refinery. Another paper views biochar economics at a statewide level, in Colorado. And the third presentation takes a regional view, from the southern US.
This panel offers an unusual opportunity to learn about biochar production and use in several very different settings. One presentation offers insights into potential advantages of using biochar in Laos and Thailand, especially to address the massive methane emissions that otherwise are occurring from inundation of extensive hydropower projects’ reservoirs. Experiences in Alberta and Haiti provide further insights into biochar’s relationships with both energy development and agricultural poverty.
These three papers present that latest science on relationships between biochar and nitrogen. One relates soil structure characteristics to the extent of anticipated GHG emissions. Another deals with dissolved ammonia and nitrates. And the third presents results of recent research on nutrient retention and nitrous oxide emissions.
As its title suggests, these presenters each provide information on their research activities using biochar in different agricultural venues. One has worked in California vineyards, another with sugar beets. A third panelist addresses sand plain species, and the fourth speciality crop production. Participants will be able to compare and contrast the details of biochar application and use in the differing settings.
The Paleoclimate Record shows, Agricultural-Geo-Engineering is responsible for 2/3rds of our excess greenhouse gases. The unintended consequence, the flowering of our civilization. Our science has now realized these consequences and has developed a more comprehensive wisdom. Wise land management, Afforestation and the Thermal Conversion of Biomass can build back our Soil Carbon.
Pyrolysis, Gasification and Hydro-Thermal Carbonization are known biofuel technologies, What is new are the concomitant benefits of biochars for Soil Carbon Sequestration; building soil biodiversity & nitrogen efficiency, for in situ remediation of toxic agents, and, as a feed supplement cutting the carbon foot print of livestock. Modern systems are closed-loop with no significant emissions. The general life cycle analysis is: every 1 ton of biomass yields 1/3 ton Biochar equal to 1 ton CO2 equivalent, plus biofuels equal to 1MWh exported electricity, so each energy cycle is 1/3 carbon negative.
Cutting edge, third generation companies, aiming for drop-in fuels, report that 1 ton of biomass yields 75 gallons of bio-gasoline and 1/3 Ton Biochar. Another pathway is production of Ammonia and Biochar from biomass, making Agriculture Fossil Free Fertilizer, In combination; Farmers can be Fossil Carbon Free utilizing less than 3% of their fields.
Post Conference Meeting for The Biochar Association