charcoal agriculture - Biochar - Amazonian Dark Earth

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by bazman, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: charcoal agriculture - Biochar - Amazonian Dark Earth

    Today's news
    https://news.google.com.au/news?pz=1&ned ... DM&topic=t
    Right that's global warming solved; now, the next problem fresh water.
     
  2. Noz

    Noz Junior Member

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    Re: charcoal agriculture - Biochar - Amazonian Dark Earth

    I am convinced that countries like Australia will take far too long to bring in biochar technologies on a big scale. As one of the articles suggested we have little long term data about modern practices. In essence, it will be tied up for decades while researchers do trials about its longevity in the soil. :banghead:

    Third world countries however might have strong interest in biochar for its co-benefits:
    1. avoided deforestation (aka sustainable agriculture)
    2. reduced requirements for bought fertiliser (aka sustainable agriculture)
    and first world countries could sponsor this with either research monies or whatever works - aid etc.

    One interesting question to ask is about the ecology of this new industry. Will it succeed in using waste streams rather than taking material that used to have good food value or whatever & turning it into something to ONLY mitigate our carbon excess?

    I've been looking on Youtube & it does seem to be possible to make it at home with waste wood. We have a verge collection on at the momen & people are throwing all sorts of things away. They seem to do this all the time.
    MAKING BIOCHAR AT HOME;
    PROS
    - seems relatively easy with a couple of big barrels/ or even small tins chucked into the outdoor stove
    - free wood is available

    CONS
    - I'm not very 'handy'...
    - apparently some of the wood gases are carcinogens and I live in a fairly dense area - I take it that these can be burnt up if done correctly
    - some of the units seemed way too smokey and I think that this would actually exacerbate some environmental problems (need to do it right).

    If I could buy a mini bbq or similar that is designed to use wood gas & produce charcoal I would probably buy it! In terms of climate change solutions... these could be provided free of charge to third world countries that already use wood for fuel. Training them to plant & harvest coppicing spp would be great as well. chucking that into composting toilets & showing them how to do agriforestry is probably a really smart way to go!

    Love to hear your thoughts & if you want to come around & make a biochar mini- burner in my back yard please let me know :lol: I can probably provide some big metal barrels with a few weeks fore-warning!

    I wonder if you could just dig a big hole in the ground, light up a big fire with lighter stuff on top, heavy and big stuff below ... get it burning strongly and then shovel dirt around the base of the big heavy stuff & turn that into charcoal? You could leave it to burn for a few hours & then put it out with damp manure & other soil amendments... turn it into a garden bed?
     
  3. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: charcoal agriculture - Biochar - Amazonian Dark Earth

    The gold standard charcoal is pyrolysis (now being referred to as biochar)where you capture most pollutants and capture the energy. That does not mean that old fashioned charcoal won't do the job. After all we date the 40-50,000 year old human settlement of Australia via charcoal remains--so no one can dispute that it hangs around for a bit.
    Man has been making charcoal for blacksmithing purposes for aeons.(Well 1-2-5,000 years depending on who you talk to) The English have been sustainably coppicing their forests for at least 2,000 years and are still doing it to the same forests today!!
    Look at the Terra preta sub forums at the Hypography Science Site. Many are making home made char.
    Some are mucking about with solar reflectors others with microwaves. It's a regular "Boys Own Shed" over there !

    My problem is I live in suburbia and smoke is more and more taboo -fair enough-Fine Particle Pollution will probably kill us all one day. We will find this out when we buy some machines to test for it. (I am surrounded by coal power stations -so I don't think anyone wants to know about FPP)
    Every day I see piles of timber--old fences, off cuts, tree etc- sitting by the side of the road all within 1K of my home--waiting for the council to take it away (in a big gas-guzzling FPP-producing, diesel truck) and turn it into methane or NO2.
    I too long for a little pyrolysis unit of my own.

    If you read no other article on GW or biochar read this. Send it to your friends and ask them to send it to their friends.
    We have to start this today.
    No more banging of heads on walls.

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg2 ... ?full=true
     
  4. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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  5. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: charcoal agriculture - Biochar - Amazonian Dark Earth

    some recent reseach.
    https://download.iop.org/ees/ees9_6_372052.pdf
    Nothing that exciting; although saving >30% of your N fertiliser bill may be to many conventional farmers.
    https://download.iop.org/ees/ees9_6_372052.pdf
     

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