Talking Biochar at Noosa permaculture's AGM - 16th Sept

Discussion in 'Permaculture Groups, Contacts Activities Anounceme' started by bazman, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. bazman

    bazman Junior Member

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    Talking Biochar with Noosa permaculture

    Date: Thursday 16th September 2010
    Location: Memorial Hall, Cooroy
    Note: it's also the clubs AGM

    I'm hoping to have some of my packaged Biochar with me on the night for sale too.
    My website: https://www.blackearthproducts.com.au/

    Noosa permaculture: press release.

    Although adding compost to your garden is one of the most beneficial and easiest ways to improve your soil and grow the very best plants, especially edibles in your vegetable garden, it is not the only method you can use. At the next Permaculture Noosa meeting on Thursday, 16 September, our Guest Speaker, Barry Batchelor from Black Earth Products will be discussing the use of Biochar, a carbon product that has long term benefits for productive soils.

    Barry has been at the forefront of organic Biochar development in Australia and was involved with the very first Biochar conference in Terrigal, NSW in 2007. Barry is an experienced permaculture designer who lives and works from his award winning (2008 Hays Inlet Green gardening Competition winner - First Prize Productive Garden - Moreton Bay Regional Council) organic property. His food gardens and permaculture property are not only his pride and joy, but also his testing ground for Biochar post-processing development. The now black, productive soils bear testament to this work.

    In his talk History, Facts and Future of Biochar, Barry not only discusses the home gardener’s use of Biochar, but also describes why it’s such a hot topic in relation to carbon sequestration and combating climate change.

    Our second Guest Speaker is Karen McElroy, who will be presenting Herbal Medicine Past & Present as part of National Herbal Medicine Week. Karen is a local naturopath and herbalist and will present a brief history of herbal medicine around the world, as well as covering some basic ways of preparing and using herbs at home. Being self reliant with medicine & health is just as important as a sustainable food supply in an uncertain future.

    National Herbal Medicine Week runs from 13th to 20th September, with events on the Sunshine Coast listed at www.nhaa.com.au.

    The Permaculture Noosa meeting will be held on Thursday, 16 September at the Memorial Hall, Maple Street, Cooroy from 7pm. This Free meeting is open to the public. All welcome.
     
  2. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    You should offer an affiliate program on your site... you might get a lot of people interested in linking to your product.
     
  3. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Hey Bazman! I should be there I hope. I'll have a cuppa with you at supper time if I am.
     
  4. PeterFD

    PeterFD Junior Member

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    Hi Bazman

    One of the most important benefits of the use of Biochar is in reducing carbon dioxide emissions to the environment, therefore bringing down Co2 levels and reducing global warming.

    If I can quote from James Lovelock;

    “The biosphere pumps out 550 gigatonnes of carbon yearly; we put in only 30 gigatonnes. Ninety-nine per cent of the carbon that is fixed by plants is released back into the atmosphere within a year or so by consumers like bacteria, nematodes and worms. What we can do is cheat those consumers by getting farmers to burn their crop waste at very low oxygen levels to turn it into charcoal, which the farmer then ploughs into the field. A little CO2 is released but the bulk of it gets converted to carbon. You get a few per cent of biofuel as a by-product of the combustion process, which the farmer can sell. This scheme would need no subsidy: the farmer would make a profit.

    Then you can start shifting really hefty quantities of carbon out of the system and pull the CO2 down quite fast.

    This is the one thing we can do that will make a difference, but I bet they won't do it”.

    So how’s that for a selling point, buy a bag of biochar, reduce your carbon footprint and help save the planet.

    When I first read this idea I immediately thought of all the organic material that permaculture normally returns to the soil, as mulch etc., being turned into biochar. However, the benefits of using biochar may equal those of raw mulch?

    If you get a moment, starting a new thread comparing the benefits of biochar to that of organic mulch would be very beneficial, certainly to interested members like me!

    Thanks,

    Peter
     
  5. Probably best not to tie Biochar to the fools errand of Anthropogenic Global Warming ( AGW )

    From what i see of Biochar it is a fairly useful soil 'conditioner' that can work on that merit alone. IMO, tying Biochar in with the fiasco that is AGW will only discredit Biochar.




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  6. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    I was at the Terrigal conference too. Isn't there another mooted?

    To work best in soil it must be combined with organic matter/manures.

    I have just got access to the old filters from water purifiers. They are high grade activated carbon playing with them now. Not as much 'bio'-oils as biochar but much greater absorbency etc.
    His "BlackEarth" prices are a bit rich/steep for me!
    See also the threads here on the subject of biochar.

    Biochar is the best , most practical, least loony solution to sequestering carbon we have available to us at present.
    That + increasing soil organic carbon could make a serious dent in the planet's rising CO2 levels; perhaps even bring us back to 350ppm if adopted by everybody.

    Ask him what pH his char is, what temp it was produced at (350-400C all that is needed to best preserve beneficial oils), whether he harvested the energy from it during production, and what was it's source --hardwood or softwood (hardwood best).

    I have put your events in the calender.
     
  7. PeterFD

    PeterFD Junior Member

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    Hi Flying Binghy

    That’s not much of a debate, you certainly give the impression that you believe you’re “preaching to the converted”.

    Since it’s not clear from your posting, can I indulge your patience and ask a few questions?

    Do you believe that global warming is a reality?

    If so, do you believe that its cause by the burning of fossil fuels, that is, the release of carbon, in the form of carbon dioxide, from carbon reserves previously locked in the earth (principally coal and oil).

    Are you disputing Lovelocks figures, specifically that the biosphere pumps out 550 gigatonnes of carbon yearly and we put in only about 30 gigatonnes (that is we raise carbon in the atmosphere by about five and a half percent)?

    Do you agree that biochar represents a means of re-capturing carbon from the atmosphere and locking it back into the earth (at least for a long enough period to make a difference).

    I do not believe there exists the political/economic/social will to do much about our 30 gigatonnes. However, if we can reduce the output from the biosphere by as little as one percent we can start to have a significant effect, and if we can achieve one percent why not five?

    Lovelock, as a generally respected, independent scientist, has put forward a working hypothesis. It may not be what we want to hear, or it may be that we insist that humanity should start accepting responsibility for its own actions. Well, time is running out.

    If you are really suggesting that people should sit on their hands and do nothing whilst the lives of billions are placed at risk, can we at least have a reasoned explanation as to why, or, better still, what you are actually proposing?


    Hi Michaelangelica

    I came to the conclusion that you were probably in favour of Lovelock and biochar?

    I realise that biochar, in its native form, will absorb nutrients from the soil. Lovelock suggests only the conversion of plant material to carbon, which leaves animal/human waste as a possible means of “activating” the biochar before its application to the soil.

    Such a system would no doubt require a lot of speculation, calculation and organisation, however, it’s possibly also an area where permaculture could have a significant impact.
     
  8. bazman

    bazman Junior Member

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    - Black Earth Products Biochar is pH is 8.5
    - Our system runs at the 500-550c which is optimal for the creation of a high nutrient bonded Biochar.
    - We use poultry litter and olive pit which are both agricultural waste products. Our system in located in the centre of one of Australia's largest poultry area's which helps reduce transporting.
    - A lot of the Biochar development is running out of puff (investment money). To produce Biochar on massive industrial scales you need money, you can either look for government hand outs, sell your sole to investors, or run your company with strong environmental ethics and re-invest profits back into developing ways to scale up your technology. My company has the grand total of 3 very smart people working really bloody hard, no pay cheques here just a strong passion to get Biochar into the market and getting it's unknown profile out there. 95%+ of people don't have any idea of what Biochar is or does.
    - Price, we are not selling our product in bulk Michael, we have developed the highest quality Biochar designed for garden soils. Packaging, technology, marketing and the biggest cost material handing all add up, we are small and this means our costs are higher. I would love to be producing Biochar at a lower cost and we talk about ways of reducing cost all the time, as the market hopefully starts looking at Biochar we can look at refining our material handing and final product costs.
    - Not all Biochar is equal, We convert virtually all the retained carbon in a fixed form; which means a very long life in the soil. Its not the highest rate of fixed carbon in a biochar, because of all the retained nutrients from our high nutrient feedstock. If we pyrolyse only Olive Pit, because its virtually only carbon, we would get a 90% total carbon with about 87% being fixed carbon, but this would not be best quality Biochar for improving garden soils.
    - Carbon Sequestration and Biochar, while it's our plan to be carbon negative and at the forefront of Biochar's carbon sequestration future, we are not due to transport and handling, packaging and cash flow..... but it is the plan to be in the very near future, I'm not that keen on banging the carbon sequestration drum until I feel secure we are standing on our own solid environmental ground first.
    - It you want to know what's in our Biochar here is our chemical analysis page>>>>

    Eric - Re: affiliate program, my personal biochar blog https://www.biochar.net and https://www.aussieslivingsimply.com.au/ are my starting points online, development of the website and other marketing eats up lots of my time and an affiliate program could be one extra option in the near future, thanks for the idea. If someone wants to buy Biochar we are easy to find due to a lot of work I have done with google and other search engines. It's all about getting "Biochar" in general known and people understanding what it does.

    Thank you for adding it to the calendar Michael.

    See you on the night if you can make it.

    Regards

    Baz
     
  9. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Your biochar sounds great, someone has to start.
    you are competing with $1-2 a kilo crap from Malaysia.
    If you make a better hamburger will people notice?

    The Yanks have bought out Best Energies, effectively mothballed it, and doubled the price of an energy plant.:(

    Your char would have some fertiliser value too?
    have you seen the DPI/BEST Energies research on Chicken poo char?
    Do the wee beasties like it?
     
  10. It would appear from the temp records that the global average temp's have been warming since we came out of the last mini ice age in the mid 1800's ... seems fairly correct to me even allowing for UHI effect.

    IMO it would be daft to think that the average world temperatures are always static. History shows us that the world is either affected by 'global warming' or 'global cooling'...

    Our ever changing Climate through the Ages… “…Traffic across the Alpine passes, as shown by the transmission of culture, became important about 1800 B.C. when the Brenner Pass first became traversable, and reached a maximum at the end of the Bronze Age and in the early Hallstatt period, or about 1200-900 B.C. The valley settlements of the late Hallstatt period developed independently apparently in complete isolation, and traffic across the passes was at a minimum. There was a slight revival at the end of the La Tene period and in the early Roman Empire (200 B.C. to A.D. 0 ) but it was not until between A.D. 700 and 1000 that this traffic again developed on a considerable scale. There was a re-advance of the glaciers in the western Alps about A.D. 1300, followed by a retreat to a minimum extent in the fifteenth century. Near the end of the sixteenth century the glaciers advanced rapidly and about 1605 they overran settlements which had been occupied since the beginning of history. About the same time the glaciers advanced in the Eastern Alps, Iceland, where they almost reached the moraines of the late Glacial stages, and probably in other parts of the world and the period from 1600 to 1850 has been termed the “little ice age.” There were minor maxima of glaciations about 1820 and 1850 since then the glaciers and ice sheets have been in rapid retreat in all parts of the world…” Pg 301, Climate through the Ages, C. E. P. Brooks

    Imagine the poor sods back when them glacias were creeping down the mountain... "The world is coming to an end due to global cooling" they would scream, and the church would say they need to pay higher tiths and burn the sceptics at the stake to appease the gods....



    AGW.... where is the evidence ? I've been looking at the matter for a couple of years now and aint seen no proof yet.



    Who's sitting on their hands ?... we got a growing world population to feed and we need more food production - not more useless windmill generators....





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  11. permasculptor

    permasculptor Junior Member

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    You have only been looking from one side on this board mate.
     
  12. bazman

    bazman Junior Member

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    Re: Malaysia Crap, I'm not even sure this is Biochar, sounds like dirty earth kiln charcoal to me.
    Re: make a better hamburger, I like a good hamburger and I'm happy to pay for a good one but I would never eat at M*'s
    Re: Yanks have bought out Best Energies, I met CEO Neil Young back in 07 at Terrigal, he was American and had a share in that business.
    Re: Your char would have some fertiliser value too? See below, but in short yes.
    Re: have you seen the DPI research on Chicken poo char?, some of it. we have our own field trials data too, we also have permanent plots at the elmore field day site.
    Re: Do the wee beasties like it? Yes they do, I find insects are drawn to open tubs and I often find worms close to new char areas. My gardens have had large amounts of Biochar added to them over the years and have always noticed worms around high Biochar areas.

    Re: Permasculptor and Flying Binghy, any chance of starting a new topic and taking it there please. :p

    Taken from my website >>>>

     
  13. permasculptor

    permasculptor Junior Member

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    Sorry baz didnt mean to distract from the topic . Didn't think ,just reacted.
     
  14. " Didn't think, just reacted " - Global warming hysteria in a nutshell.



    permasculptor, i were replying to a question from PeterFD. Your 'input' hardly aids any "thinking" on the subject.





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  15. PeterFD

    PeterFD Junior Member

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    Hi Flying Binghy

    Many thanks for taking the time to respond.

    I hear what you say and you are right in so far as we should never close our minds to other competing theories. The former French minister for ecology placed global warming firmly at the feet of a climatic weather cycle ……. of about 100 years duration if I remember correctly.

    If you take Lovelocks line, we’re operating with an incomplete data set, data modelling systems that are alarmingly incomplete, and a problem so complex that it transcends human understanding. Not, I grant you, the most promising platform to launch concrete proposals!

    Since science has shaken itself free from the shackles of “logical positivism” and learned to accept it can never prove anything to be true, we must content ourselves with the realisation that we can only attempt to prove what is not true. Thus by a process of elimination, get a glimpse of reality?

    This reminds me of Shirlock Holmes famous quote to Dr Watson, “Having eliminated the impossible you are left with the possible, no matter how improbable”.

    Perhaps on that note we should agree to differ? I introduced the idea of using biochar as a means of reducing CO2 levels, which obviously does bring the whole climate change debate into a thread which was intended to discuss other issues………and I can sense a brick coming through my window!

    Take care,

    PeterFD
     
  16. bazman

    bazman Junior Member

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    See you tonight if you are coming along.

     
  17. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Ooooo So excited! Looks like I'll be able to be there....
     
  18. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Yeah Bazman was great. Pity Permasculptor and I were the only ones here who could get to it. Tyranny of distance and all that. I tried to win the free bucket of biochar in the raffle but got 3rd place instead of first! Damn. Still the organic cocoa, aloe plant and HUGE taro root where a pretty good 3rd prize. So I bought some biochar instead. I expected it to smell smoky, but I can't smell anything! I reckon I'll toss a few handfuls in the chook dome each time I move them and let the work it into the ground before I plant it up. I can't see that it would hurt a chook if it decided to eat some?

    I'd love to see you use the heat generated some how. Heat water and turn a turbine and generate 'lectricity?

    When you come up with a way that I can safely make some at home without blowing up the house I'd like to try doing it myself!
     
  19. bazman

    bazman Junior Member

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    Hi

    Yeah it was great meeing up with Permasculptor, yourself and so many others, Permaculture Noosa are a great crowd of people.

    I didn't get any sleep last night as my mind was racing, I was really having to push myself to answer so many varied questions about the product and to communicate that in my talk. I think I will be doing some Toastmasters to work on my speaking skills.

    I can't see any problems using it around mobile chooks domes, but I would not add it as feed as our Biochar contains boned nutrients which come from chook manure.

    I'm going to talk to the Noosa guys and maybe see about doing a trip down to my place.
     
  20. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Ok so I'll toss it around AFTER the chooks move then.

    Would love to see your place sometime. You did pretty well with the public speaking - you were obviously nervous but despite that all the information came over and was easy to understand. It'll get better when you do it more often!
     

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