Tuesday, March 02, 2010

To me, in the long run, the final arbiter / accountancy / measure of sustainability will be
soil carbon content. Once this royal road is constructed, traffic cops ( Carbon Board ) in place, the truth of land-management and Biochar systems will be self-evident.

The Ag Carbon standard is in the second phase of review by the AMS-ARC branch at USDA.
After initial review they had objections on the oversight provisions and a few others that have been addressed. The next step in this process will be nominations for elections to seat a Soil C Board, a supreme court, if you will, under USDA / EPA oversight, to validate / certify practice & protocols for systems that build soil C.

A dream I've had for years is to base the coming carbon economy firmly on the foundation of top soils. My read of the agronomic history of civilization shows that the Kayopo Amazon Indians and the Egyptians were the only ones to maintain fertility for the long haul, millennium scales. Egypt has now forsaken their geologic advantage by building the Aswan dam, and are stuck, with the rest of us, in the soil C mining, NPK rat race to the bottom. (see here and here)

The Ag Soil Carbon standard
is in the second phase of review by the ARC branch at USDA.
After initial review, approval is expected this month. Contact Gary Delong . www.novecta.com 515-334-7305 office
Read over the work so far;
http://www.novecta.com/documents/Carbon-Standard.pdf

In my efforts to have Biochar's potential included, I have recruited several to join the list, briefed the entire committee about char when issues concerning N2O & CH4 soil GHG emissions were raised, fully briefed a couple of the 120 members when they replied individually to my "Reply all" briefs. The members cover the full spectrum of Ag interest.

With the Obama funding a inter-departmental climate effort of NASA, NOAA, USDA, & EPA, and now even the CIA is opening the data coffers, than soil carbon sensors may be less than 5 years away. I'm told by the Jet Propulsion Lab mission specialists responsible for the suite of earth sensing satellites, that they will be reading soil carbon using multiple proxy measurements in 5 years. Reading soil moisture to 3 foot dept in two year with SMAP, Reading GHG emissions and biomass from the tree tops down next year when the Orbital Carbon Observer (OCO, get it:) is rebooted, to 1 Ha resolution and don't even ask about the various spectrometric, lasers, UV, IR, lidars , ground-penetrating- radars, interferometry etc.

Then, any farmer can click "Google Carbon maps" to see the soil carbon accounted to his good work, a level playing field to be a soil sink banker.
The Moon Pie in the sky funding should be served to JPL

Since we have filled the air , filling the seas to full, Soil is the Only Beneficial place left.
Carbon to the Soil, the only ubiquitous and economic place to put it.

Hope to see you at ISU for the 2010 US Biochar Conference

Dr. Robert Brown and the team in Ames Iowa are planing the next national biochar conference. The Conference will be June 27-30 in Ames Iowa Hosted by Iowa State University.
http://www.biorenew.iastate.edu/events/biochar2010.html

The Biochar Fund deserves your attention and support.
Exceptional results from biochar experiment in Cameroon
http://scitizen.com/screens/blogPage/viewBlog/sw_viewBlog.php?idTheme=14&idContribution=3011


Thanks for your efforts.
Erich

Erich J. Knight
Chairman; Markets and Business Opportunities Review Committee
US BiocharConference, at Iowa State University, June 27-30
http://www.biorenew.iastate.edu/events/biochar2010.html

EcoTechnologies Group Technical Adviser
http://www.ecotechnologies.com/index.html
Shenandoah Gardens (Owner)
1047 Dave Barry Rd.
McGaheysville, VA. 22840
540 289 9750
Co-Administrator, Biochar Data base & Discussion list TP-REPP





Biochar current Developments in Research,
Legislation & Reports:


Biochar Soils.....Husbandry of whole new orders & Kingdoms of life


Biotic Carbon, the carbon transformed by life, should never be combusted, oxidized and destroyed. It deserves more respect, reverence even, and understanding to use it back to the soil where 2/3 of excess atmospheric carbon originally came from.

We all know we are carbon-centered life, we seldom think about the complex web of recycled bio-carbon which is the true center of life. A cradle to cradle, mutually co-evolved biosphere reaching into every crack and crevice on Earth.

It's hard for most to revere microbes and fungus, but from our toes to our gums (onward), their balanced ecology is our health. The greater earth and soils are just as dependent, at much longer time scales. Our farming for over 10,000 years has been responsible for 2/3rds of our excess greenhouse gases. This soil carbon, converted to carbon dioxide, Methane & Nitrous oxide began a slow stable warming that now accelerates with burning of fossil fuel. Agriculture allowed our cultural accent and Agriculture will now prevent our descent.

Wise Land management; Organic farming and afforestation can build back our soil carbon,

Biochar allows the soil food web to build much more recalcitrant organic carbon, ( living biomass & Glomalins) in addition to the carbon in the biochar.

Every 1 ton of Biomass yields 1/3 ton Charcoal for soil Sequestration (= to 1 Ton CO2e) + Bio-Gas & Bio-oil fuels = to 1MWh exported electricity, so is a totally virtuous, carbon negative energy cycle.

Biochar viewed as soil Infrastructure; The old saw;
"Feed the Soil Not the Plants" becomes;
"Feed, Cloth and House the Soil, utilities included !".
Free Carbon Condominiums with carboxyl group fats in the pantry and hydroxyl alcohol in the mini bar.
Build it and the Wee-Beasties will come.
Microbes like to sit down when they eat.
By setting this table we expand husbandry to whole new orders & Kingdoms of life.

This is what I try to get across to Farmers, as to how I feel about the act of returning carbon to the soil. An act of penitence and thankfulness for the civilization we have created. Farmers are the Soil Sink Bankers, once carbon has a price, they will be laughing all the way to it.
Unlike CCS which only reduces emissions, biochar systems draw down CO2 every energy cycle, closing a circle back to support the soil food web. The photosynthetic "capture" collectors are up and running, the "storage" sink is in operation just under our feet. Pyrolysis conversion plants are the only infrastructure we need to build out.


Legislation:
Senator Baucus is co-sponsoring a bill along with Senator Tester (D-MT) called WE CHAR. Water Efficiency via Carbon Harvesting and Restoration Act! It focuses on promoting biochar technology to address invasive species and forest biomass. It includes grants and loans for biochar market research and development, biochar characterization and environmental analyses. It directs USDI and USDA to provide loan guarantees for biochar technologies and on-the-ground production with an emphasis on biomass from public lands. And the USGS is to do biomas availability assessments.
WashingtonWatch.com - S. 1713, The Water Efficiency via Carbon Harvesting and Restoration (WECHAR) Act of 2009

Individual and groups can show support for WECHAR by signing online at:
http://www.biocharmatters.org/

The Clean Energy Partnerships Act of 2009
The bill is designed to ensure that any US domestic cap-and-trade bill provides maximum incentives and opportunities for the US agricultural and forestry sectors to provide high-quality offsets and GHG emissions reductions for credit or financial incentives. Carbon offsets play a critical role in keeping the costs of a cap-and-trade program low for society as well as for capped sectors and entities, while providing valuable emissions reductions and income generation opportunities for the agricultural sector. The bill specifically identifies biochar production and use as eligible for offset credits, and identifies biochar as a high priority for USDA R&D, with funding authorized by the bill.
To read the full text of the bill, go to:
http://www.biochar-international.org/sites/default/files/END09F94.pdf.

Biochar systems for Biofuels and soil carbon sequestration are so basically conservative in nature it is a shame that republicans have not seized it as a central environmental policy plank as the conservatives in Australia have; Carbon sequestration without Taxes.


Major Endorsements:


Senator / Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar has done the most to nurse this biofuels system in his Biochar provisions in the 07 & 08 farm bill,
http://www.biochar-international.org/newinformationevents/newlegislation.html

NASA's Dr. James Hansen Global warming solutions paper places Biochar / Land management the central technology for carbon negative energy systems.
http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0804/0804.1126.pdf

Dr. James Lovelock (Gaia hypothesis) says Biochar is "The only hope for mankind"

Charles Mann ("1491") in the Sept. National Geographic has a wonderful soils article which places Terra Preta / Biochar soils center stage.
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/09/soil/mann-text

Al Gore got the CO2 absorption thing wrong, ( at NABC Vilsack did same), but his focus on Soil Carbon is right on;
http://www.newsweek.com/id/220552/page/3

Tony Blair & Richard Branson in the UK and conservative party opposition leader John Turnbull in Oz.




Research:

This is the finest explanation I have read on the process of biochar testing. Hugh lays it out like medical triage to extract the data most needed for soil carbon sequestration. A triage for all levels of competence, the Para-Medic Gardener to the Surgeon Chem-Engineer.
http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/Characterizing_Biochars

The Ozzie's for 5 years now in field studies
The future of biochar - Project Rainbow Bee Eater
http://www.sciencealert.com.au/features/20090211-20142.html

The Japanese have been at it dacades:
Japan Biochar Association ;
http://www.geocities.jp/yasizato/pioneer.htm

UK Biochar Research Centre
http://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/sccs/biochar/



Virginia Tech is in their 4 th year with the Carbon Char Group's "CharGrow" formulated bagged product. An idea whose time has come | Carbon Char Group
The 2008 trials at Virginia Tech showed a 46% increase in yield of tomato transplants grown with just 2 - 5 cups (2 - 5%) "CharGrow" per cubic foot of growing medium. http://www.carbonchar.com/plant-performance
There are dozens soil researchers on the subject now at USDA-ARS.
and many studies at The ASA-CSSA-SSSA joint meeting;
http://a-c-s.confex.com/crops/2009am/webprogram/Session5675.html

Nikolaus has been at it 4 years. Nikolaus Foidl,
His current work with aspirin is Amazing in Maize, 250% yield gains, 15 cobs per plant;
http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/content/trials-maize-reactivating-dormant-genes-using-high-doses-salicylic-acid-and-charcoal

My 09 field trials with the Rodale Institute & JMU ;
Alterna Biocarbon and Cowboy Charcoal Virginia field trials '09
http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/node/1408



Most recent studies out;

Imperial College test,
This work in temperate soils gives data from which one can calculate savings on fertilizer use, which is expected to be ongoing with no additional soil amending.

http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/1755-1315/6/37/372052/ees9_6_372052.pdf?request-id=22fb1902-1c23-4db8-8801-2be7e2f3ce1b


The
BlueLeaf Inc./ Dynamotive study are exciting results given how far north the site is,and the low application rates. I suspect, as we saw with the Imperial College test, the yield benefits seem to decrease the cooler the climate.
The study showed infiltration rates for moisture are almost double. The lower leaf temperatures puzzles me however, I thought around 21C was optimum for photosynthesis.

BlueLeaf Inc. and Dynamotive Announce Biochar Test Results CQuest(TM) Biochar Enriched Plots Yield Crop Increase Ranging From Six to Seventeen Percent vs. Control Plots
http://www.biofuelsjournal.com/articles/BlueLeaf_Inc__and_Dynamotive_Release_2nd_Year_Field_Trial_Results_With_Dynamotive_CQuestT_Biochar-90009.html

The full study at Dynomotives site;
http://www.dynamotive.com/wp-content/themes/dynamotive/pdf/BlueLeaf_Biochar_Field_Trial_2008.pdf




Reports:


This PNAS report (by a Nobel lariat) should cause the Royal Society to rethink their report that criticized Biochar systems sequestration potential;
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Reducing abrupt climate change risk using
the Montreal Protocol and other regulatory
actions to complement cuts in CO2 emissions
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/10/09/0902568106.full.pdf+html

United Nations Environment Programme, Climate Change Science Compendium 2009 http://www.unep.org/compendium2009/PDF/Ch5_compendium2009.pdf

Congressional Research Service report (by analyst Kelsi Bracmort) is the best short summary I have seen so far - both technical and policy oriented.
http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/R40186_20090203.pdf .
Recent Up Date;
http://environmental-legislation.blogspot.com/2010/02/biochar-examination-of-emerging-concept.html

This is the single most comprehensive report to date, covering more of the Asian and Australian work;
http://www.csiro.au/files/files/poei.pdf

Dr. Scherr's report includes biochar. http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6124

I think we will be seeing much greater media attention for land management & biochar as reports like hers come out linking the roll of agriculture and climate.




Biochar data base;
TP-REP
http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/?q=node

Disscusion Groups;
The group home page location, General orientation:
Biochar (http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/biochar/
Biochar POLICY;
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/biochar-policy
Biochar Soils;
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/biochar-soils/
Biochar Production;
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/biochar-production/

Earth Science Terra Preta Forum, Great for students;
Terra Preta - Science Forums
http://hypography.com/forums/terra-preta/

Given the current "Crisis" atmosphere concerning energy, soil sustainability, food vs. Biofuels, and Climate Change what other subject addresses them all?

This is a Nano technology for the soil, a fractal vision of Life's relation to surface area that represents the most comprehensive, low cost, and productive approach to long term stewardship and sustainability.

Carbon to the Soil, the only ubiquitous and economic place to put it.
Cheers,
Erich


Erich J. Knight
EcoTechnologies Group Technical Adviser
http://www.ecotechnologies.com/index.html
Shenandoah Gardens (Owner)
1047 Dave Barry Rd.
McGaheysville, VA. 22840
540 289 9750
Co-Administrator, Biochar Data base & Discussion list TP-REPP



OLD STUFF


The first North American Biochar Conference, at CU in Boulder ,
Keynote speakers were Secretary Tom Vilsack & Dr. Susan Solomon (NOAA's head atmospheric scientist)
http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?eventid=684390

My attendance is thanks to the folks at EcoTechnologies Group .
http://www.ecotechnologies.com/index.html , they have also fully funded my field trials with the Rodale Institute & JMU)

There is real magic coming out of the Asian Biochar conference.
15 ear per stalk corn with 250% yield increase,
Sacred Trees and chickens raised from near death
Multiple confirmations of 80% - 90% reduction of soil GHG emissions
The abstracts of the conference are at
http://www.anzbiochar.org/AP%20BioChar%20Conference-may09.pdf



Biochar Studies at the 08 ACS Huston meeting;

Most all this work corroborates char soil dynamics we have seen so far . The soil GHG emissions work showing increased CO2 , also speculates that this CO2 has to get through the hungry plants above before becoming a GHG.
The SOM, MYC& Microbes, N2O (soil structure), CH4 , nutrient holding , Nitrogen shock, humic compound conditioning, absorbing of herbicides all pretty much what we expected to hear.

578-I: http://a-c-s.confex.com/crops/2008am/webprogram/Session4231.html

579-II http://a-c-s.confex.com/crops/2008am/webprogram/Session4496.html

665 - III. http://a-c-s.confex.com/crops/2008am/webprogram/Session4497.html

666-IV http://a-c-s.confex.com/crops/2008am/webprogram/Session4498.html


Company News & EU Certification

Below is an important hurtle that 3R AGROCARBON has overcome in certification in the EU. Given that their standards are set much higher than even organic certification in the US, this work should smooth any bureaucratic hurtles we may face.

EU Permit Authority - 4 years tests
Subject: Fwd: [biochar] Re: GOOD NEWS: EU Permit Authority - 4 years tests successfully completed

Doses: 400 kg / ha – 1000 kg / ha at different horticultural cultivars

Plant height Increase 141 % versus control
Picking yield Increase 630 % versus control
Picking fruit Increase 650 % versus control
Total yield Increase 202 % versus control
Total piece of fruit Increase 171 % versus control
Fruit weight Increase 118 % versus control

HOMEPAGE 3R AGROCARBON: http://www.3ragrocarbon.com


Low Tech Clean Home Made Biochar;
http://holon.se/folke/carbon/simplechar/simplechar.shtml

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1 Comments:

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