Black earth, green energy, bright future... Three leading biocarbon (Biochar) exponents and engineers will be in Thames next Wednesday [13 June] talking about their work in this crucial and expanding field. The talk, 7.00pm, at Grahamstown Hall. Carbon gets stored in the world’s trees, plants and soils as these draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Plant life absorbs carbon from the atmosphere like a sponge absorbs water, and holds it during the life of the plant. As the plant decomposes, the CO2 is released, as part of what is called “the carbon cycle”. Whilst this is a natural cycle, and achieves a certain balance, the use of fossil fuels adds CO2 into the system at a rate faster than the cycle can absorb it. Reducing forest cover further limits the absorbtion ability of the system. Equally, intensive, fossil-fuel dependent, agricultural process can be damaging to soil quality, and especially the microbial life that assists in the capture and holding of CO2 in the soil, depleting the soil and adding to atmospheric CO2. The three speakers will talk about the need for biocarbon leadership to optimize our landscape’s potential to soak up carbon, and improving soil quality, and farmers' yields in the process. Biocarbon projects can realize other important goals protecting water quality, improving wildlife habitat, reducing pollution, and controlling stormwater. The creation of biocarbon produces hydrogen and heat energy, and the speakers will be considering how biocarbon projects make good business sense, which is a key to widespread adoption. Scaleable processes such as biocarbon offer many possibilities for local employment, commerce, training, and energy. A Transition Town Thames event - Wednesday June 13; 7pm - 9.30pm; Grahamstown Hall, Thames Information: 021 416 332 Barry Batchelor (Black Earth Products, Brisbane). Like all good Australians, Barry was born and bred in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Barry is an award-winning organic gardener, permaculture designer and the owner of Australia’s first company to produce and supply Biochar for backyard gardeners, horticulture and agricultural businesses. Barry will talk about his experience with biochar production from the backyard to the farm and the use of biochar in organic gardens and for a range of farm applications. Wolfgang Wienzetll (EcoTechnology Ltd, Tauranga). Wolfgang began life in Aotearoa/New Zealand working with fellow Austrian permaculturist Joe Polaischer, and eventually working at Price’s Foundry. He has international experience in both waste management and mining, and works as a consultant to Transpacific Industries. He invented a continuous flow process for manufacturing biocarbon by flash carbonization, and is currently managing the design and build of a $14million project in India. Wolfgang will talk about his experiences in waste management and the energy efficient manufacture of biocarbon. Alfred Harris (Pacific BioCarbon Ltd). Alfred moved to Waitakaruru at the beginning of 2012. As well as being appointed a master gardener by the Kirikiriroa/Hamilton City Council, he has worked at the Orongomai Community Garden in Upper Hutt, and co-ordinates and carries out research on a range of novel biocarbons for Pacific BioCarbon. Potential uses include carriers and enhancers of beneficial soil microbes, prevention of facial eczema, reduction of methane emissions in cows, and clean-up of rivers and lakes. Alfred will speak about some of this work in the wider context of regenerative food production in Aotearoa/NZ.