Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I feel we should push for this Terra Preta Soils CO2 sequestration strategy and only go for weather modification if we fall over any of the serious tipping points.

The economics look good, and truly great if we had CO2 cap & trade in place:


There are processes that you can have your Bio-fuel and fertility too.'Terra Preta' soils I feel has great possibilities to revolutionize sustainable agriculture into a major CO2 sequestration strategy. I thought, I first read about these soils in " Botany of Desire " or "Guns,Germs,&Steel" but I could not find reference to them. I finely found the reference in "1491", but I did not realize their potential .

Current issue of Nature article: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v442/n7103/full/442624a.html


Here's the Cornell page for an over view: http://www.css.cornell.edu/faculty/lehmann/biochar/Biochar_home.htm


This Science Forum thread on thes soil contains further links: http://forums.hypography.com/earth-science.html


The Georgia Inst. of Technology page: http://www.energy.gatech.edu/presentations/dday.pdf

There is an ecology going on in these soils that is not completely understood, and if replicated and applied at scale would have multiple benefits for farmers and environmentalist. Terra Preta creates a terrestrial carbon reef at a microscopic level. These nanoscale structures provide safe haven to the microbes and fungus that facilitate fertile soil creation, while sequestering carbon for many hundred if not thousands of years. The combination of these two forms of sequestration would also increase the growth rate and natural sequestration effort of growing plants.

Also, Terra Preta was on the Agenda at this years world Soil Science Conference !http://crops.confex.com/crops/wc2006/te

I've sent this thread to the researchers at M-Roots, who make Mycorisal fungus inoculations for acceleration of the reestablishment of the symbiotic fungal / root relationship. Here's the M-Roots site: http://www.rootsinc.com/

I also sent it to Dr. Jared Diamond, if he replies, I will probably have an orgasm!

Here is a great article that high lights this pyrolysis process , ( http://www.eprida.com/hydro/ ) which could use existing infrastructure to provide Charcoal sustainable Agriculture , Syn-Fuels, and a variation of this process would also work as well for H2 , Charcoal-Fertilizer, while sequestering CO2 from Coal fired plants to build soils at large scales , be sure to read the "See an initial analysis NEW" link of this technology to clean up Coal fired power plants.Soil erosion, energy scarcity, excess greenhouse gas all answered through regenerative carbon management
http://www.newfarm.org/columns/research_paul/2006/0106/charcoal.shtml


If pre Columbian Indians could produce these soils up to 6 feet deep over 20% of the Amazon basin it seems that our energy and agricultural industries could also product them at scale.

Harnessing the work of this vast number of microbes and fungi changes the whole equation of EROEI for food and Bio fuels. I see this as the only sustainable agricultural strategy if we no longer have cheap fossil fuels for fertilizer.

I would like to investigate if use of an M-Roots type fungus inoculant and local compost would speed this super community of wee beasties in populating into their proper Soil horizon Carbon Condos.

I feel Terra Preta soil technology is the greatest of Ironies since Tobacco.That is: an invention of pre-Columbian American culture, destroyed by western disease, may well be the savior of industrial western society. As inversely Tobacco, over time has gotten back at same society by killing more of us than the entire pre-Columbian population.Erich

Erich J. Knight
Shenandoah Gardens
E-mail: shengar@aol.com
(540) 289-9750

4 Comments:

Blogger Erich J. Knight said...

6/30/08 Update;

I hope you will come to share my passion in getting the word out on the wonderful solutions provided by TP soils.
I'm sort of the TP list cub reporter, most all my list postings, under shengar@aol.com, are news items, collaborative work, lobbying efforts with government, writers and journals.

Bellow are my collected stories and links that I promiscuously post to anyone who has an iron in this fire.

Thanks for your interest

Cheers,
Erich


the current news and links on Terra Preta (TP) soils and closed-loop pyrolysis of Biomass, this integrated virtuous cycle could sequester 100s of Billions of tons of carbon to the soils.

This technology represents the most comprehensive, low cost, and productive approach to long term stewardship and sustainability.Terra Preta Soils a process for Carbon Negative Bio fuels, massive Carbon sequestration, 10X Lower CH4 & N2O soil emissions, and 3X Fertility Too.
Indeed, Dr. James Hansen, NASA's top Atmospheric authority, is now placing it in the center stage of pro-active solutions for the climate crisis.
http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0804/0804.1126.pdf


UN Climate Change Conference: Biochar present at the Bali Conference

http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/steinerbalinov2107



SCIAM Article May 15 07;

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=5670236C-E7F2-99DF-3E2163B9FB144E40



After many years of reviewing solutions to anthropogenic global warming (AGW) I believe this technology can manage Carbon for the greatest collective benefit at the lowest economic price, on vast scales. It just needs to be seen by ethical globally minded companies.

Could you please consider looking for a champion for this orphaned Terra Preta Carbon Soil Technology.

The main hurtle now is to change the current perspective held by the IPCC that the soil carbon cycle is a wash, to one in which soil can be used as a massive and ubiquitous Carbon sink via Charcoal. Below are the first concrete steps in that direction;

S.1884 – The Salazar Harvesting Energy Act of 2007

A Summary of Biochar Provisions in S.1884:

Carbon-Negative Biomass Energy and Soil Quality Initiative

for the 2007 Farm Bill

http://www.biochar-international.org/newinformationevents/newlegislation.html

Bolstering Biomass and Biochar development: In the 2007 Farm Bill, Senator Salazar was able to include $500 million for biomass research and development and for competitive grants to develop the technologies and processes necessary for the commercial production of biofuels and bio-based products. Biomass is an organic material, usually referring to plant matter or animal waste. Using biomass for energy can reduce waste and air pollution. Biochar is a byproduct of producing energy from biomass. As a soil treatment, it enhances the ability of soil to capture and retain carbon dioxide.

( Update; In conference the $500 M was cut to $3M....:( :( :( )


Tackling Climate Change in the U.S.
Potential Carbon Emissions Reductions from Biomass by 2030by Ralph P. Overend, Ph.D. and Anelia Milbrandt
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

http://www.ases.org/climatechange/toc/07_biomass.pdf

The organization 25x25 released it's (first-ever, 55-page )"Action Plan" ; see; http://www.25x25.org/storage/25x25/documents/IP%20Documents/ActionPlanFinalWEB_04-19-07.pdf
On page 29 , as one of four foci for recommended RD&D, the plan lists: "The development of biochar, animal agriculture residues and other non-fossil fuel based fertilizers, toward the end of integrating energy production with enhanced soil quality and carbon sequestration."
and on p 32, recommended as part of an expanded database aspect of infrastructure: "Information on the application of carbon as fertilizer and existing carbon credit trading systems."

I feel 25x25 is now the premier US advocacy organization for all forms of renewable energy, but way out in front on biomass topics.



There are 24 billion tons of carbon controlled by man in his agriculture and waste stream, all that farm & cellulose waste which is now dumped to rot or digested or combusted and ultimately returned to the atmosphere as GHG should be returned to the Soil.

Even with all the big corporations coming to the GHG negotiation table, like Exxon, Alcoa, .etc, we still need to keep watch as they try to influence how carbon management is legislated in the USA. Carbon must have a fair price, that fair price and the changes in the view of how the soil carbon cycle now can be used as a massive sink verses it now being viewed as a wash, will be of particular value to farmers and a global cool breath of fresh air for us all.

If you have any other questions please feel free to call me or visit the TP web site I've been drafted to co-administer. http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/?q=node

It has been immensely gratifying to see all the major players join the mail list , Cornell folks, T. Beer of Kings Ford Charcoal (Clorox), Novozyne the M-Roots guys(fungus), chemical engineers, Dr. Danny Day of EPRIDA , Dr. Antal of U. of H., Virginia Tech folks and probably many others who's back round I don't know have joined.



Also Here is the Latest BIG Terra Preta Soil news;

The Honolulu Advertiser: "The nation's leading manufacturer of charcoal has licensed a University of Hawai'i process for turning green waste into barbecue briquets."

See: http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/antalkingsford

ConocoPhillips Establishes $22.5 Million Pyrolysis Program at Iowa State
http://www.conocophillips.com/newsroom/news_releases/2007news/04-10-2007.htm

Glomalin, the recently discovered soil protien, may be the secret to to TP soils productivity;

http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2003/030205.htm

Mycorrhizae Inoculent;

http://www.mycorrhizae.com/


The International Biochar Initiative (IBI) conference held at Terrigal, NSW, Australia in 2007. The papers from this conference are posted at their home page; http://www.biochar-international.org/home.html




Here is my current Terra Preta posting which condenses the most important stories and links;

Terra Preta Soils Technology To Master the Carbon Cycle

Man has been controlling the carbon cycle , and there for the weather, since the invention of agriculture, all be it was as unintentional, as our current airliner contrails are in affecting global dimming. This unintentional warm stability in climate has over 10,000 years, allowed us to develop to the point that now we know what we did,............ and that now......... we are over doing it.

The prehistoric and historic records gives a logical thrust for soil carbon sequestration.
I wonder what the soil biome carbon concentration was REALLY like before the cutting and burning of the world's forest, my guess is that now we see a severely diminished community, and that only very recent Ag practices like no-till and reforestation have started to help rebuild it. It makes implementing Terra Preta soil technology like an act of penitence, a returning of the misplaced carbon to where it belongs.

On the Scale of CO2 remediation:

It is my understanding that atmospheric CO2 stands at 379 PPM, to stabilize the climate we need to reduce it to 350 PPM by the removal of 230 Billion tons of carbon.

The best estimates I've found are that the total loss of forest and soil carbon (combined
pre-industrial and industrial) has been about 200-240 billion tons. Of
that, the soils are estimated to account for about 1/3, and the vegetation
the other 2/3.

Since man controls 24 billion tons in his agriculture then it seems we have plenty to work with in sequestering our fossil fuel CO2 emissions as stable charcoal in the soil.

As Dr. Lehmann at Cornell points out, "Closed-Loop Pyrolysis systems such as Dr. Danny Day's are the only way to make a fuel that is actually carbon negative". and that " a strategy combining biochar with biofuels could ultimately offset 9.5 billion tons of carbon per year-an amount equal to the total current fossil fuel emissions! "

Terra Preta Soils Carbon Negative Bio fuels, massive Carbon sequestration, 10X Lower CH4 & N2O soil emissions, and 3X FertilityToo


This some what orphaned new soil technology speaks to so many different interests and disciplines that it has not been embraced fully by any. I'm sure you will see both the potential of this system and the convergence needed for it's implementation.

The integrated energy strategy offered by Charcoal based Terra Preta Soil technology may
provide the only path to sustain our agricultural and fossil fueled power
structure without climate degradation, other than nuclear power.

The economics look good, and truly great if we had CO2 cap & trade or a Carbon tax in place.


.Nature article, Aug 06: Putting the carbon back Black is the new green:
http://bestenergies.com/downloads/naturemag_200604.pdf

Here's the Cornell page for an over view:
http://www.css.cornell.edu/faculty/lehmann/biochar/Biochar_home.htm

University of Beyreuth TP Program, Germany http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/?q=taxonomy/term/118

This Earth Science Forum thread on these soils contains further links, and has been viewed by 100,000 self-selected folks. ( I post everything I find on Amazon Dark Soils, ADS here):
http://forums.hypography.com/earth-science/3451-terra-preta.html


There is an ecology going on in these soils that is not completely understood, and if replicated and applied at scale would have multiple benefits for farmers and environmentalist.

Terra Preta creates a terrestrial carbon reef at a microscopic level. The nanoscale structures provide space for cations, the micro spaces, safe havens to the microbes and fungus that facilitate fertile soil creation, while sequestering carbon for many hundred if not thousands of years. The combination of these two forms of sequestration would also increase the growth rate and natural sequestration effort of growing plants.


The reason TP has elicited such interest on the Agricultural/horticultural side of it's benefits is this one static:

One gram of charcoal cooked to 650 C Has a surface area of 400 m2 (for soil microbes & fungus to live on), now for conversion fun:

One ton of charcoal has a surface area of 400,000 Acres!! which is equal to 625 square miles!! Rockingham Co. VA. , where I live, is only 851 Sq. miles

Now at a middle of the road application rate of 2 lbs/sq ft (which equals 1000 sqft/ton) or 43 tons/acre yields 26,000 Sq miles of surface area per Acre. VA is 39,594 Sq miles.

What this suggest to me is a potential of sequestering virgin forest amounts of carbon just in the soil alone, without counting the forest on top.

To take just one fairly representative example, in the classic Rothampstead experiments in England where arable land was allowed to revert to deciduous temperate woodland, soil organic carbon increased 300-400% from around 20 t/ha to 60-80 t/ha (or about 20-40 tons per acre) in less than a century (Jenkinson & Rayner 1977). The rapidity with which organic carbon can build up in soils is also indicated by examples of buried steppe soils formed during short-lived interstadial phases in Russia and Ukraine. Even though such warm, relatively moist phases usually lasted only a few hundred years, and started out from the skeletal loess desert/semi-desert soils of glacial conditions (with which they are inter-leaved), these buried steppe soils have all the rich organic content of a present-day chernozem soil that has had many thousands of years to build up its carbon (E. Zelikson, Russian Academy of Sciences, pers. comm., May 1994). http://www.esd.ornl.gov/projects/qen/carbon1.html



All the Biochar Companies and equipment manufactures I've found:

Carbon Diversion
http://www.carbondiversion.com/


Eprida: Sustainable Solutions for Global Concerns
http://www.eprida.com/home/index.php4

BEST Pyrolysis, Inc. | Slow Pyrolysis - Biomass - Clean Energy - Renewable Ene
http://www.bestenergies.com/companies/bestpyrolysis.html


Dynamotive Energy Systems | The Evolution of Energy
http://www.dynamotive.com/

Ensyn - Environmentally Friendly Energy and Chemicals
http://www.ensyn.com/who/ensyn.htm

Agri-Therm, developing bio oils from agricultural waste
http://www.agri-therm.com/

Advanced BioRefinery Inc.
http://www.advbiorefineryinc.ca/

Technology Review: Turning Slash into Cash
http://www.technologyreview.com/Energy/17298/


3R Environmental Technologies Ltd. (Edward Someus)
WEB: http://www.terrenum.net/

The company has Swedish origin and developing/designing medium and large scale carbonization units. The company is the licensor and technology provider to NviroClean Tech Ltd British American organization WEB: http://www.nvirocleantech.com and VERTUS Ltd.
http://www.vertustechnologies.com
Genesis Industries, licensee of Eprida technology, provides carbon-negative EPRIDA energy machines at the same cost as going direct to Eprida. Our technical support staff also provide information to obtain the best use of biochar produced by the machine. Recent research has shown that EPRIDA charcoal (biochar) increases plant productivity as it sequesters carbon in soil, thus reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide.http://www.egenindustries.com/

Australian Bio Chars
0

Australian Biochars was incorporated by Paul Conyers and Jerome Matthews and has a number of associates within S.E. Asia many of whom were involved with the EU sponsored Cogen 3 project.

Paul is a long-time business consultant whose imagination has been captured by the prospect of soil carbon both increasing crop yields and capturing greenhouse gasses while Jerome, after many years as a lawyer, became concerned about the pollution caused by agriwaste, particularly rice husk, of which more than 150 million tonnes is generated annually.

http://www.biochars.com/




If pre-Columbian Kayopo Indians could produce these soils up to 6 feet deep over 15% of the Amazon basin using "Slash & CHAR" verses "Slash & Burn", it seems that our energy and agricultural industries could also product them at scale.

Harnessing the work of this vast number of microbes and fungi changes the whole equation of energy return over energy input (EROEI) for food and Bio fuels. I see this as the only sustainable agricultural strategy if we no longer have cheap fossil fuels for fertilizer.

We need this super community of wee beasties to work in concert with us by populating them into their proper Soil horizon Carbon Condos.


Erich J. Knight
Shenandoah Gardens
1047 Dave Berry Rd.
McGaheysville, VA. 22840
(540) 289-9750
shengar@aol.com

4:34 PM  
Blogger Erich J. Knight said...

The Rest of the Biochar Story:

Charles Mann ("1491")in the Sept. National Geographic has a wonderful soils article which places Terra Preta / Biochar soils center stage.
I think Biochar has climbed the pinnacle, the Combined English and other language circulation of NGM is nearly nine million monthly with more than fifty million readers monthly!
We need to encourage more coverage now, to ride Mann's coattails to public critical mass.

Please put this (soil) bug in your colleague's ears. These issues need to gain traction among all the various disciplines who have an iron in this fire.
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/09/soil/mann-text

I love the "MEGO" factor theme Mann built the story around. Lord... how I KNOW that reaction.

I like his characterization concerning the pot shards found in Terra Preta soils;

so filled with pottery - "It was as if the river's first inhabitants had
thrown a huge, rowdy frat party, smashing every plate in sight, then
buried the evidence."

A couple of researchers I was not aware of were quoted, and I'll be sending them posts about our Biochar group: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/b...guid=122501696

and data base;
http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/?q=node



I also have been trying to convince Michael Pollan ( NYT Food Columnist, Author ) to do a follow up story, with pleading emails to him


Since the NGM cover reads "WHERE FOOD BEGINS" , I thought this would be right down his alley and focus more attention on Mann's work.

I've admiried his ability since "Botany of Desire" to over come the "MEGO" factor (My Eyes Glaze Over) and make food & agriculture into page turners.

It's what Mann hasn't covered that I thought should interest any writer as a follow up article.

The Biochar provisions by Sen.Ken Salazar in the 07 farm bill,

Dr, James Hansen's Global warming solutions paper and letter to the G-8 conference last month, and coming article in Science,
http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0804/0804.1126.pdf

The new university programs & field studies, in temperate soils

Glomalin's role in soil tilth & Terra Preta,

The International Biochar Initiative Conference Sept 8 in New Castle;
http://www.biochar-international.org/ibi2008conference/aboutibi2008conference.html


Given the current "Crisis" atmosphere concerning energy, soil sustainability, food vs. Biofuels, and Climate Change what other subject addresses them all?
Biochar, the modern version of an ancient Amazonian agricultural practice called Terra Preta (black earth), is gaining widespread credibility as a way to address world hunger, climate change, rural poverty, deforestation, and energy shortages… SIMULTANEOUSLY!

This technology represents the most comprehensive, low cost, and productive approach to long term stewardship and sustainability.
Terra Preta Soils a process for Carbon Negative Bio fuels, massive Carbon sequestration,10X Lower Methane & N2O soil emissions, and 3X Fertility Too. Every 1 ton of Biomass yields 1/3 ton Charcoal for soil Sequestration.


Carbon to the Soil, the only ubiquitous and economic place to put it.
Thanks for your article,
Erich"

11:10 PM  
Blogger Erich J. Knight said...

Biochar Rap

Clock is Tickin

http://www.fileden.com/getfile.php?file_path=http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/6/4/2465941/Clock%20Is%20Ticking.mp3

11:38 AM  
Blogger new_biochar_land said...

Don't believe in what biochar can do?
Learn more about the future of agriculture with biochar, from the most complete book about biochar “The Biochar Revolution”
http://www.biochar-books.com
Learn how to get terra preta!

2:01 PM  

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