charcoal agriculture - Biochar - Amazonian Dark Earth

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

  1. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    The newer wood burning stoves have catalytic converters on them, so that is one way to burn that's not quite so polluting.

    But if all the biomass gets burned, what's left to compost? Biochar doesn't work by itself, it needs compost in the soil as part of the stew of things that creates the whole environment for soil improvement :)
     
  2. Ojo

    Ojo Junior Member

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    wow, some pretty interesting stuff in this thread. Thanks for the links bazman, I thought this was real interesting from the video link you posted.

    Narration: Adding up to 10 tonnes of agrichar per hectare reduces the amount of carbon dioxide given off while tripling the weight of the crop or its biomass.

    As well as that they measure another gas that’s important for global warming, nitrous oxide.

    Dr Lukas van Zwieten: Certainly nitrous oxide is a very serious greenhouse gas, it’s 310 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    One of the things that really was quite surprising – we didn’t expect it – was that the emissions of nitrous oxide from soil were significantly reduced.

    Dr Lukas van Zwieten: By adding char, we’ve shown that we can reduce nitrous oxide emission five-fold
    excerpt
    https://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s2012892.htm

    and I don't see why parabolic mirrors or Fresnel reflectors couldn't generate the heat to produce it, if you get alot of sunlight.

    Fresnel reflectors
    https://pesn.com/2007/07/13/9500481_Frau ... nel_Solar/

    https://www.theengineer.co.uk/Articles/3 ... irrors.htm
    https://jcwinnie.biz/wordpress/?p=2018
     
  3. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    The Different Drummer

    Did anyone see "Catalyst " on ABC TV last night?
    It had an interview with Dr. Stephen Joseph the founder of BEST Industries Australia and the guy who organized the first IAI Conference on Char & soil at Terrigal this year.
    https://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s2037249.htm
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    David Yarrow has given me permission to repost this here.

    Thinking outside the square
    David Yarrow has given me permission to repost this here.
    [/quote]

    I used to live near a crazy potter. He built his own kiln but loved to open fire pottery occasionally. He made a gigantic bonfire with the pottery inside. All sorts of "arty" and intersting effects were produced by open firing.
    Also a lot of breakages.
    It this how Amazonian discovered char?
    Is this why there is lots of Pottery in Terra preta?

    If you have a friend who is a farmer, perhaps in trouble send this ABC article to them. Carbon credits could soon save the family farm.
    It may give some Aussie Farmers hope for the future. Very well written easy to read article on char in soil.
    https://abc.net.au/science/features/soilcarbon/

    EG
     
  5. Duckpond

    Duckpond Junior Member

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    Hi. I am interested in making bio-char at home with my recycled garden waste. I am looking for a design or off the shelf setup to do this. Any ideas or links?? I'm pretty good at making things from recycled material and am keen to collaborate with others working on similar

    im in Western Australia
     
  6. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    There are some links here that will help
    https://forums.hypography.com/terra-preta.html

    While home made char is good for the soil, it does not help us environmentally that much.

    The best way to go- global Warming wise- is char produced by pyrolysis. Which unfortunately is not yet available in Oz.
     
  7. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Upcomming mudgee Confrence

    Page 1
    Carbon Farming
    EXPo & ConFErEnCE

    Carbon Farming is the New Agriculture. It is land and stock management designed for the Era of Climate Change.
    Carbon Farming includes:

    grazing management

    biochar

    low/no-tillage

    mulching

    pasture cropping

    keyline planning

    biological farming

    natural sequence farming

    biodynamics

    alternatives to nitrogenous fertilisers

    composting

    and many others…
    These are methods of capturing and holding Carbon in soils.
    On the deficit side, growers face the challenge of emissions from stock (methane) and fertilisers (nitrous oxide).

    The farm plan which incorporates both carbon capture and emission reduction is called Carbon Farming.
    agricultural rural & Education Centre, mudgee
    9.00am — 5.00pm, 16th — 17th November, 2007
    “It is an historical event of international importance”
    Rattan Lal, Professor of Soil Science, SENR President, Soil Science Society of America.

    Page 2
    PraCtiCal Carbon Farming: thE voiCE oF EXPEriEnCE
    The World’s First Carbon Farming Conference is a unique opportunity to see the entire issue from all angles. Speakers will
    include senior scientists who were centrally involved in creating the Australian Government’s greenhouse strategies as well as
    leading ‘carbon farming’ practitioners and expert market observers. The Draft Program includes the following topics:
    Carbon CoCky oF thE yEar
    The first annual “Carbon Cocky of the Year” Competition will be conducted
    in conjunction with the Expo and Conference. Each Catchment Management
    Authority will conduct a search for outstanding Carbon Farmers in their catchment.
    An overall winner will be declared during the event. The winner will be entered
    into the Australian Government’s Greenhouse Challenge Awards for 2008/09.
    For more information: https://www.carbonfarming.com.au
    Prize
    money to
    be won!
    techniques and Costs of
    measuring Soil Carbon
    Dr Brian Murphy
    Senior Soil Scientist,
    NSW Department of
    Environment and Climate
    Change
    Federal government
    assistance to Soil Carbon
    trading
    Hon. Kerry O’Brien
    Shadow Minister for
    Agriculture
    biochar’s Promising trials
    Adriana Downie
    Research Scientist,
    Best Energies
    your Farm’s Carbon
    Footprint: treading lightly
    David Marsh
    “Allendale” Boorowa
    Dynamic results From
    Combining grazing
    management, Pasture
    Cropping and biological
    Farming
    Col Seis
    “Winona” Gulgong
    Soil Carbon trading:
    Cma audit Scheme for
    voluntary market
    John Lawrie
    Soils Officer, Central
    West Catchment
    Management Authority
    Successful biological
    and biodynamic
    Farming
    Cam McKellar
    “Inveraray Downs”
    Spring Ridge
    Soil Carbon trading
    Schemes: State of the
    market
    Michael Kiely
    Carbon Farmers of
    Australia
    how to use Carbon
    Calculators to manage a
    Carbon Farm
    Dr Jeff Baldock
    Research Scientist, CSIRO
    Land & Water
    agriculture and
    greenhouse Emissions:
    Challenge for Farmers
    Dr Bill Slattery
    Australian Greenhouse
    Office
    Carbon Farming:
    bringing it all together
    Ian Packer,
    Soils Officer, Lachlan
    Catchment Management
    Authority
    opportunities on
    global soil carbon
    markets
    Mike Walsh
    SVP, Chicago Climate
    Exchange
    Chairman’s introduction:
    Climate Change Challenges
    & opportunities
    Gary Allan
    Climate Change Project
    Manager, Department of
    Primary Industries
    CarbonCredited Produce:
    Emissions reductions
    Scheme for Farmers
    Louisa Kiely
    Carbon Coalition Against
    Global Warming
    a Farmer’s Experience with
    natural Sequence Farming
    Craig Carter
    “Tallawang” Willow Tree
    Page 3
    thE FirSt oF itS kinD
    Carbon Farming as a movement had its origins in the Central West of NSW. This event is the first dedicated conference
    and trade show ever held.
    The future of Agriculture is being created by the leaders in Carbon Farming. This is your opportunity to play a part in the
    growth of the largest commodity market the world has ever seen.
    rEgiStration For DElEgatES: $165
    (inCl. gSt)
    oFFiCial SuPPortErS
    https://www.carbonfarming.com.au

    Phone 02 6374 0329
    Fax
    02 6374 0354
    Email: [email protected]
    Please forward applications to:
    Carbon Farmers of australia
    ACN: 127 011 134
    “Uamby”
    Via Goolma 2852
    Phone 02 6374 0329
    Fax
    02 6374 0354
    Email: [email protected]

    I have a copy of the final programme if you want to send me your email address [/b]
     
  8. digging

    digging Junior Member

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    Greeting!

    I have been away, but I have just learded about this topic, and correct me if I'm wrong but is not wood gasification the same as a pyrolyzing stove?

    digging
     
  9. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    what is "wood gasification" and how does it work?
    Please :)
     
  10. Duckpond

    Duckpond Junior Member

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    i built my own pyrolizer from a 200lt drum and a beer keg. anyone interested?
     
  11. bazman

    bazman Junior Member

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    Yes, some pics or a plan might be a good start.
     
  12. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    What did you do with the energy/gas/biofuel?
     
  13. Duckpond

    Duckpond Junior Member

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    I will try to get some pics up, but here is an explanation:

    I took a 200lt steel drum with a one piece removable lid.
    I lay it on its side, and build a frame under it to support it off the ground.
    I removed the lid.

    I then took an old stainless steel beer keg of about 80 lt.
    I removed the valve in the top. Be careful as the keg is pressurized.
    I turned the keg over and cut the base out, without damaging the sided.
    I welded a piece if steel tube to the old valve stem on the top of the keg, and bent it around so in ran under the keg. (45 degree cuts and welding to get the bend)
    I capped the end of this off, and drilled holes in the pipe.
    I cut a disk of 3mm steel plate and welded some luggs onto it.
    I welded some bolts to the keg, in line with the lugs on the disk. THis formed a hatch that can be bolted on to seal the keg.

    I bolted the keg to the top of the inside of the drum, with the pipe directly below the keg.

    I used some stovepipe to make a chimney at the back of the drum.

    I packed the keg with scrap timber, and greenwaste too large for my composter. Green or dry i put it all in.

    I bolted the lid on and build a fire inside the drum, under the keg. THe heat from the fire pyrolized the wood in the keg. That is it evaporated out the volatiles, including methane and water. Because the hatch was bolted to the keg, the only way for air to get in or out was the pipe under the keg. The heat caused higher pressure in the keg, forcing the gasses out of the pipe. The methane and any other flamible gasses burned in the fire. I had flames about 50mm long out of each hole. THere was not a great deal of smoke. I used about the same amount of wood in the fire as i put in the keg.

    I got a good charcoal product as a result
     
  14. Fathom

    Fathom Junior Member

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    I have done some experiments with charcoal added to my sandy soil before planting Eucalyptus trees. What an amazing result I have acheived from the trees that have had the Bio-char added to the soil before planting.
    From 100 trees planted, those that have Bio-char (75%) are at 1metre+ in height, the trees without Bio-char are barely 300mm in height.
    The char was made from Pine and Jarrah offcuts from my building sites and about half a bucket of ground char per tree was added to the soil at the time of planting. the char was soaked in containers of urine, chookshit and water before being applied.
    I have now added alot of char to my gardens and everything is thriving especially my Pumpkins (4 species) and Watermelons (2 species)
    I'll post some pics when I work out how to do so.
    Happy gardening.
     
  15. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    My charcoal chicken shop will sell me 20K charcoal for $30.00.
    Living in sububia fires are problematical.
     
  16. Jez

    Jez Junior Member

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  17. massage4

    massage4 New Member

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    Re: charcoal agriculture - Biochar - Amazonian Dark Earth

    I would love to use charcoal for my 1000 square foot vegetable garden but honestly I don't have the ability to make this charcoal using the various methods that are described. I am not mechanically inclined at all to be able to take steel drums and drill holes in them and make elaborate stands around them, etc.

    I have seen a few posts that simply say, "start burning something and then smother it with either soil or water to create the charcoal," and then another post that states this is environmentally unsound. Really this is quite confusing. Other posts warn against buying charcoal briscets used for smoking/cooking as a source of charcoal because these contain coal which likely contains heavy metals. Other posts suggest that unless the charcoal is made the way the indigenous Amazonian people did thousands of years ago one is not likely to get the kind of charcoal that facilitates the soil biodiversity to thrive. Now unglazed pottery must also be added with the charcoal as well ? Charcoal made with heat too high doesn't have the porosity needed to adsorb nutrients or facilitate microbiological growth warns another post.

    Unless there is a simple easy way to obtain, or make this charcoal this is not going to help many of us who would like to use this.

    Any suggestions ?
     
  18. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    Re: charcoal agriculture - Biochar - Amazonian Dark Earth

    Yes, it's confusing, isn't it?!

    But I suspect that the real problem is that no one really knows. Scientists have been studying biochar/terra preta/Amazonion earth, and they have theories, and some of the theories seem quite reasonable. But there just isn't any bible on it yet.

    I'm qute sure that the charcoal briquets are bad, because they have additives that aren't good for soil.

    Other than that, there are theories galore, and people have their favorites, which might be determined which method they can personally apply.

    Personally, I think what the native peoples in those areas of the Amazon did was mostly an accident. This probably wasn't any Big Plan on their part.

    Here's MY theory, which may be totally crackpot, and I give you leave to laugh at it:

    The native peoples of the Amazon had a hard life. Their natural soil was poor, leached by tropical rains, and acidic. They had wild animals like jaguars roaming around, looking for easy meals. They probably ate whatever they could find, hunt or grow, and were glad to get it. They also had to make their own pottery under primitive conditions; some of it came out good, some broke in the firing and just from use. They had all kinds of debris: human waste, pet and livestock waste (maybe), leftover bones from meals, probably blood from butchering, entrails, non-useful weeds, ashes and charcoal left over from cooking fires.

    They did plant crops, and some of the mapping I've seen indicate that the planted areas were right next to their huts, where they could scare off crop predators and keep their own livestock safe. They may have burned some areas to limit the weed competition. This area was probably their tip (dump), too. They may have spread the refuse out and worked it into the soil from as simple a reason as to keep the smell and the flies down, as well as to keep predators from crusing around.

    Since I have wood heat, I collect the charcoal when I clean out the stove. If I have meat with bones, like a chicken, I put the carcass in the wood stove and burn it. I reserve the sifted charcoal and bones, and put the ash in a barrel to use as potash in the garden. I add the charcoal and bones to my garden beds and to my compost piles.

    I have some broken terra cotta pots. And while I'm not sure that pottery is a valuable additive, it MAY be, so I will pound the shards to powder and add that, too.

    This may not be doctrine, but it's what works best for me, until I find that there is something else I should be doing.

    So, don't look for gospel truth, because I don't think there is any.

    Sue
     
  19. bazman

    bazman Junior Member

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    Re: charcoal agriculture - Biochar - Amazonian Dark Earth

    Hi All

    Sue your quite right, it's where village rubbish was dumped over 1000's of years and these piles were often set a light and they burnt slowly creating smoke which kept the mozzies away.

    I'm now creating amazing looking stuff, jet black humus with fine particles of charcoal. I'm adding up to 30-40% char mass in layers which compacts down once it cools and the worms go to town on it, I'm leaving it go for a couple of months to get a really fine humus which apart from the char has a silky moist feel with few lumps left. I have also been adding a local swamp soil to help aid the composting process.

    This is as close as I'm going to get in making ADE I feel.

    Digging around in my vegi patch the other day I found lots of stringy fungi attached to char which is a great sign of it working.

    Making Char, something like this would be nice. Sumiyaki Tatsujin Natural Style Charcoal Kilns.
    https://www.new-market.org/en/companies/042/

    Baz
     
  20. May

    May New Member

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    Re: charcoal agriculture - Biochar - Amazonian Dark Earth

    Hi,

    I just joined in. My name is May Waddington Telles Ribeiro, and I am a Brazilian antrhopologist. I have worked in the amazon for many years with an indigenous tribe, and in Northeast Brazil with traditional groups such as the babassu women and andiroba women.

    Over the last 4 years I made a major turn on my life, leaving Rio de Janeiro, purchasing 400 hectares of land in a region which is a mixture of caatinga and cerrado, the Buriti Doce farm. I am employed at a small state college nearby.

    I have been running a series of agro-ecological experiments in this land. In preparing to plant 10 hectares of bixa orellana and pineapple, we tested some slash and burn practices which are considered less harming (queimada de toco vivo). This technique, includes several security measures, selected trees are cut in a way they will re-grow, and the most wood is saved for other uses. We made 20 traditional ovens to produce charcoal in the area, which burned for a week or so (see pictures - the wood is covered in earth with an opening on each end of the caeira).

    The innovation was accompanied by the IBAMA (National environmental agency) and was used to teach local farmers. It resulted in some 1000 kg of charcoal, which I have been resisting to sell.

    I want to ask you if my charcoal can be used as Biochar. I would also like to volunteer the farm as an experimental area for anyone who may wish to study this production in this climate/soil conditions.

    As you must know, the State of Piauí is pioneering biodiesel production, and there are major plants in the neighborhood.

    In case you show any interest, I can deliver written materials to you. Am trying to deliver pictures of the traditional charcoal making ovens, but haven't figured it out yet.

    If yo can pelase send me information on pyrolizing techniques, I will be grateful.
     

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