Lobby For Terra Preta
Posted 29 July 2010 - 01:32 PM
Boy, .....They will let just any fool blather in front of the cameras at ISU;
YouTube - What is Biochar? Eric Knight, Iowa 2010
“there's no such thing as bad press, as long as they spell your name right.” P. T. Barnum
Erich "Ringo" Knight
Posted 29 July 2010 - 03:22 PM
Posted 30 July 2010 - 02:56 AM
look at his callsign. Erich. Now look at who's speaking. Eric Knight. Now look at how he signs off his post.
Erich "Ringo" Knight
Do you think there's just a tiny possibility that he's being just a little self-effacing about linking to a talk that he made himself?
Erich knows his stuff about Biochar. Being put on the spot to sum up such a big subject and the amazing solutions and implications can be a little daunting. I try to have a mnemonic of a subject I am passionate about. If I can't tick of the points of a talk on one hand, then I know I'm a gonner. I know how difficult it is to condense a subject you love into 5 minutes! I think Erich showed that this is a big subject.
Erich: my one question about biochar is can it function without a price on carbon? (Whether one chooses to support an ETS or carbon tax is irrelevant). A friend in my cul-de-sac works in waste disposal for Sydney. They could be going ahead with the plasma waste converter for municipal waste. This thing turns garbage into synthetic gas and road-building materials. See my page here. However, the RISK of the plasma burner is that it might make councils keen to cut out the biomass collection. Instead of providing Sydneysiders with a RED bin for all household waste and a YELLOW bin for recycled plastics, paper, and glass, and a GREEN bin for all biomass... some people propose that the plasma burner is so efficient we could just have huge RED bins and everything goes into that! The temptation is to simplify the waste trips. All those lawn clippings and leaves could go into making more syngas which feeds the petro-chemical industry. Lawn clippings into toothbrushes and jet fuel.
I hope not!
I LOVE the plasma burner, but also love biochar. I think there's a place for keeping the GREEN bin so that lawn clippings, tree clippings, leaves, and other biomass all goes into the council biochar cooker. The real danger is that according to my friend in Sydney waste management, it's not cost effective for city green waste.
Could we see biochar mainly as a rural farmland technology? Sydneysiders might not be that convinced by biochar as a soil amendment if it makes their waste collection cost more, but country folk understand the importance of soil health to their bottom line.
Just another burnt out peak oil activist amazed that our governments haven't mandated the move to nuclear powered electric transport. :eek_big:
Posted 30 July 2010 - 11:37 AM
I think it all depends on the value stream the char can be put to use for.
Short of carbon pricing , in any form, there is the emerging use as a feed supplement, insitu soil toxicity remediation, and if the total value for reduced fertilizer, both P and N, is accounted for, I still think a strong case can be made as a soil amendment.
Also as a composting amendment, in the ISU report below, C. Steiner speaks of co-composting with low C:N ratio material (ie; Manure litters) that char conserves 50% of NH3 normally lost via composting. This is of very high value to commercial composting operators who could then sell their Compost as a NPK fertilizer. ( not to mention the reduction of their carbon foot print )
For those looking for an overview of biochar and its benefits, These authors have done a very nice job of distilling a great deal of information about biochar and applying it to the US context:
US -Focused Biochar report: Assessment of Biochar's Benefits for the USA
Posted 11 November 2010 - 09:51 PM
Last week I sent Michael Pollan an article about Big Ag's reaction to WalMart's new program to source local produce and how I feel about how all levels of the Ag industry can benefit from a Soil Carbon standard to measure sustainability.
He replied asking for a synthesis of the efforts promoting soil carbon sequestration. He added he is speaking at the Climate4 conference at UC Davis.
I sent him the Novecta Ag Soil Carbon Standards work, the Conservation Ag / FAO report and the below information which I had not posted to the Biochar list.( http://tech.groups.y...yguid=122501696 )
Given our election, the bipartisan potential that soil-C solutions hold to get climate legislation moving is more important than ever.
Biochar systems for Biofuels and soil carbon sequestration are so basically conservative in nature, focused on stewardship & "creation care" it is a shame that republicans have not seized it as a central environmental policy plank as the conservatives in Australia have with their ; "Carbon sequestration without Taxes".
The soil carbon bond can lead to an integration of organic and commercial agriculture practices. Biochar is a tool for both, for organic to increase its already-sustainable credentials, for chemical agriculture to at least halt soil carbon mining and nutrient runoff. The carbon sequestration bond can lead to a marriage of the best practices from both systems of agriculture to build soil into a biologically vital synergistic organism
Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Potential of Agricultural Land Management in the United States: A Synthesis of the Literature
This document is a companion report to the upcoming T-AGG reports. It is an extensive scientific literature review providing a side-by-side comparison of the biophysical greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential of more than 40 agricultural land management activities in the United States.
A short summary of all the efforts I know of, voluntary markets , methodologies, sponsors & activities around Soil-C;
by Michael J. Coren
Betting on the Farm: Can Soil Carbon Cut Emissions and Improve the World's Farmlands?
Soil carbon credits offer the promise of better land management across millions of hectares of farmland, and they are a central focus of the International Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change taking place this week in the Hague. But how does it work, and can carbon markets make it a reality?
First-Ever African Soil-Carbon Deal Signed at Hague Investment Fair
November 5, 2010 by Admin
THE HAGUE | Netherlands | Small-holder farmers in Kenya are changing their farming practices and earning carbon credits. This is a result of the first soil carbon project approved in Africa, which seeks to improve food security, help address climate change, and improve the lives and livelihoods of rural dwellers who today live in poverty.
Large Scale Scenarios;
Conservation Agricultural............ (+ Biochar = 100% CO2e Emissions )
"In general, soil carbon sequestration during the first decade of adoption of best conservation agricultural practices is 1.8 tons CO2 per hectare per year. On 5 billion hectares of agricultural land, this could represent one-third of the current annual global emission of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels (i.e., 27 Pg CO2 per year)."
Add just 1 Ton more of char/Ha (800lb/Ac) and you cover 100% Current Annual Fossil CO2 Emissions.
Hillary Makes a big Announcement with The Global Stove Initiative;
State Dept. Release;
100 million clean-burning stoves in kitchens around the world.
Even BIG AG must be seeing the writing on the wall concerning soil carbon. Particularly since the writing is on the very ivory tower walls of the major Ag universities they fund. Like ISU & U of ll;
This meta-analysis of Syn-N and soil Carbon content incorporating fertilizer studies back to WWII, show our dilemma;
N & P CYCLES TOO;
Whole systems solutions based on building soil carbon take a while to filter through one's mind to see the manifold benefits. The "Eyes Glaze Over" microbial complexity, labile verses recalcitrant carbon, Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) etc, all conspire to slow peoples comprehension .
Once thought through however, the elemental carbon nature of biochar understood, soil's reduced GHG emissions and the local economic stimulus perceived, then can be added that beyond rectifying the Carbon Cycle, biochar systems serve the same healing function for the Nitrogen & Phosphorous Cycles, Toxicity in Soils & Sediments and cut the carbon foot print of livestock by 1/2 with a 5%Char feed ration.
The production of fossil fuel free ammonia & char (SynGest, http://www.syngest.com/ ) and the 52% conservation of NH3 in composting with chars, are just the newest pathways for the highest value use of the fractionation of biomass.
The Soil Carbon Standard committee's work with USDA, EPA and Congressional Ag committees offers real hope, with expansion to ISO status, the world can all be on the same soil carbon page.
Given the lack of leadership in pricing carbon, companies are taking charge. Look at last weeks news on WalMart's sourcing local produce. Training small farmers etc.
The old story of vendors going to Bentonville and beat with rubber hoses for the lowest price has radically changed. Now the rubber hoses are used in the name of energy efficiency and full cradle to cradle life cycle analysis. Their Sustainability Indexing Program will now take that data to formulate true carbon foot print labeling, empowering consumer's choice.
I have joked with their head of sustainability that WalChar would be the first with a carbon negative label.
My Dad, a cold warrior, Vietnam battalion commander, gave this short answer when asked about Mutually Assured Destruction or MAD defense policy,
" GIVE ME Liberty or GIVE ME Half-Life "
While I envision an offensive policy of Mutually Assured Sustainability (MAS) in a new "Green Cold War" with China. Based on carbon accountancy, the rules are simple; Who ever moves more Carbon from the air to the Soil wins, but so does second place, as third and so on.
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 this is helpful,
If you want some laughs, (at least they laughed at ISU), use one of my paraphrases from my Carbon Based Religion section, just Google; "Terra Preta Prayer" or "Soil Carbon Dream".
Erich J. Knight
Chairman; Markets and Business Review Committee
US BiocharConference, at Iowa State University, June 27-30
Posted 07 January 2011 - 01:19 PM
It's support of Lehmann's previous work plus the perspective of palioclimatic effects of soil carbon loss, brought together many loose threads for me.
Dr. Dull's recent work brings even more support, related even closer to practices of Terra Preta soils in the Amazon. Published in the "Annals of the Association of American Geographers",
The Columbian Encounter and the Little Ice Age: Abrupt Land Use Change, Fire, and Greenhouse Forcing
The BC, charcoal & pollen evidence is hard to ignore
I'm glad this work by Dr. Dull is getting attention. Together with Dr. William Woods and citing Bill Ruddiman's work, the pieces of anthropogenic climate change fall into place.
The implications are really important. Dull, et al, argue that the re-growth of Neotropical forests following the Columbian encounter led to terrestrial biospheric carbon sequestration on the order of 2 to 5 GtC, thereby contributing to the well-documented decrease in atmospheric C recorded in Antarctic ice cores from about 1500 through 1750. While the paper does not extend to the medieval maximum, from charcoal in lake bed studies it documents increased biomass burning and deforestation during agricultural and population expansion in the Neotropics from 2500 to 500 years BP, which would correspond with atmospheric carbon loading and global warming 1100 to 650 years BP.
Dr.Dull gives us hard numbers for what Charles Mann has tried to get across to us in "1491", that we don't give mankind near enough credit for creating our biosphere. Just as Michael Pollan's "Botany of Desire" showed us how plants have manipulated us to spread them around the globe, the message of man's mutuality with nature is seeping into the data.
The full Paper;
Posted 09 July 2011 - 07:34 PM
Short a nano material PV / thermoelectrical / ultracapasitating Black swan, What we can do NOW, what I suggested at the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, to the top three EPA officials of north America,
A Biochar Black Swan.
Bellow the opening & closing text. A Report on my talk at CEC, and complete text & links are here:
The Establishment of Soil Carbon as the Universal Measure of Sustainability
The Paleoclimate Record shows agricultural-geo-engineering is responsible for 2/3rds of our excess greenhouse gases. The unintended consequence, the flowering of our civilization. Our science has now realized these consequences and has developed a more encompassing wisdom. Wise land management, afforestation and the thermal conversion of biomass can build back our soil carbon. Pyrolysis, Gasification and Hydro-Thermal Carbonization are known biofuel technologies, What is new are the concomitant benefits of biochars for Soil Carbon Sequestration; building soil biodiversity & nitrogen efficiency, for in situ remediation of toxic agents, and, as a feed supplement cutting the carbon foot print of livestock. Modern systems are closed-loop with no significant emissions. The general life cycle analysis is: every 1 ton of biomass yields 1/3 ton Biochar equal to 1 ton CO2e, plus biofuels equal to 1MWh exported electricity, so each energy cycle is 1/3 carbon negative.
Beyond Rectifying the Carbon Cycle;
Biochar systems Integrate nutrient management, serving the same healing function for the Nitrogen and Phosphorous Cycles.
The Agricultural Soil Carbon Sequestration Standards are the royal road for the GHG Mitigation;
The Bio-refining components to harvest Carbon;
The photosynthetic "capture" collectors are up and growing all around us, the "storage" sink is in operation just under our feet, conversion reactors are the only infrastructure we need to build out. Carbon, as the center of life, has high value to recapitalize our soils. Yielding nutrient dense foods and Biofuels, Paying Premiums of pollution abatement and toxic remediation and the growing Dividends created by the increasing biomass of a thriving soil community.
Posted 26 July 2012 - 12:13 AM
Carbon Conservation for Home, Health, Energy & Climate
If I May be so bold,… As I speak for Biologic Carbon… I speak for the very center of life itself. We have been burning it for well over one million years, exploiting it out of the soil for 10,000 years, combusting fossil carbon for 150 years.
Now, we can grow nano-structured fossil carbons into unprecedented materials and even human tissues. Graphene; a two-dimensional, one-atom-thick membrane in a three-dimensional world, able to sieve water from the seas, Buckminsterfullerene & Nanotubes; for Superconductivity, Solar & Thermo-electric generators.
The Stone Age did not end for a lack of stones, as well, the Combustion Age will not end for lack of fossil fuels. Nanotechnology and Terra Preta Technology has thrust The Diamond Age upon us, with it, the rectification of the Carbon Cycle, this train is leaving the station, either get on board or be left in the combusted soot and CO2 pollution of history!
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.
Thank you for your efforts
Just for Fun.
Ode to Dr. Seuss, "The Lorax", A Paraphrase;
I am the Charist… I speak for the Carbon… I speak for the Trees for the Trees have no tongues
And cannot express... what they do with their Lungs
Fix all the Carbons in Lignins and more… Which we Charistas... can Recalcitrantly Store
Thermal Conversion is what biomass needs… To bring down the World-temps... a couple degrees
It can heat up our Pots… And drive us Alots… With no Ecosystem giving up what it's Gots'
I am the Charist, and I'll YELL and I'll SHOUT for the fine things on earth that are on their way Out!
Externalized Cost I will shout at the most.... For Chars value in soils is easy to boast,
I speak for the Humus, the Wee-Beastie Bugs...for the structure char gives them....They Just Loves'
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,.... nothing is going to get better...... It's Not......
Modern Thermal conversion of biomass burns only the hydrocarbons in that biomass, conserving the carbon for the soil. At the large farm or village scale modern pyrolysis reactors can relieve energy poverty, food insecurity and decreased dependency on chemical fertilizers.
Please take a look at this YouTube video by the CEO of CoolPlanet Biofuels, guided by Google's Ethos and funding, along with GE, BP and Conoco, they are now building the reactors that convert 1 ton of biomass to 75 gallons of bio – gasoline and 1/3 ton Biochar for soil carbon sequestration.
Wee-Beastie Real estate, The Rosiest Scenario;
Total Biomass Harvest in the US; 1.6 Billion Tons
If All was processed by CoolPlanet Biofuels the Yield would be;
120 Billion Gallons of tank ready fuel , The US uses 150 Billion gallons per year
0.3 Billion Tons of Biochar, with a Surface Area of 600 Square Meters per Gram
One Ton has a surface area of 148,000 Acres! 148,000 Acres is equal to 230 square miles!!
300 Million Tons of Biochar equals 69 Billion Square Miles, or 348 times the Entire Surface of the Earth !!!
Costs; The field to wheel analysis is $1.20/gallon!
This post has been edited by erich: 26 July 2012 - 12:16 AM
Posted 26 July 2012 - 12:58 PM
My Tech gal got my name wrong, but it's nice being King
Here's the Pdf;
Carbon Conservation for Home, Health, Energy & Climate History ...
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick View
Carbon Conservation for Home, Health, Energy & Climate. History & Industry;. The Paleoclimate Record shows, Agricultural-Geo-Engineering is responsible for ...
Number of downloads: 4
This post has been edited by erich: 30 August 2012 - 11:43 PM
Posted 10 September 2013 - 10:24 PM
Just a note on Pyro-Catalyic thermal conversion developments;
By 2016 CoolPlanet will be producing 30 Million Gallons & 200K tons of Char/yr ;
Checkout CoolPlanet's Announcement;
The complete Cool Planet story. What is it? Why transformational? What are the next steps?
I think the Jewel in CP's crown will be these small decentralized, 1000 gallon/day, sub-scale plants;
"Cool Planet is on its third generation design now, and expects to have its first mass producible plant open in the September period, producing what it calls 400,000 gallon per year sub-scale systems, and is expecting a fourth generation design by Spring 2013."
"The company’s business model calls for developing 400 of the micro-refineries across the U.S. in the next decade."
As these Cool CEOs have BP & Conoco over a barrel, a natural gas barrel, with these Big Oil companies wanting/needing CP's tail end catalytic Gas to Liquid process,
My reviews of the biographies of their board & speaking with the CEOs, convinces me they are not in this for money. They want Scale, distributed scale to serve food, Energy & Climate security to the people. Climate security only works with scale. Massive ecological Restoration, based on soil carbon.
If CoolPlanet Biofuels processed the entire projected US biomass harvest in 2030; 1.6 Billion Tons, the yields would be;
120 Billion Gallons of tank ready fuel ,The US uses 150 Billion gallons per year, and 0.3 Billion Tons of Biochar
It would require just 12,000 distributed refineries. each producing 10 Million gallons. Building 1000 plants per year is quite realistic.
According to Dr Hansen's new formula for assessing national CO2 liabilities, The US CO2 reduction fraction is;
26.3 PPM = 207Gt CO2, 207 GtCo2 = 56 GtC,
The avoided Fossil carbon from 120 Billion gallons of Bio-Gasoline = -0.324 GtC/yr + -0.3 Gt Char = -0.624 GtC/yr
A significant draw-down & avoidance without even accounting for the out year increases of NPP, lower fertilizer use & avoided CH4 & N2O emissions .
2011 Son of Billion Ton Study
A research team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory projected that the US would have between 1.1 and 1.6 billion tons of available, sustainable biomass for industrial bioprocessing by 2030. The finding was a highlight of the “2011 U.S. Billion-Ton Update: Biomass Supply for a Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industry”. The report is an update of a landmark 2005 study undertaken by the DOE and ORNL in 2005.
This tonnage could be doubled with an aggressive program to develop marginal lands of the south west. Colleagues working with Agave on marginal lands in Mexico & US southwest, estimate that such marginal lands have the potential of another 1.5 Gt of biomass production.
Borland A. et al. 2009
Exploiting the potential of plants with crassulacean acid metabolism for bioenergy production on marginal lands
"The substantial biomass increases reported for CAM species under elevated CO2 on marginal lands indicate that serious consideration should be directed towards exploring the potential of CAM plants as a low-input source of bioenergy and as a means of stimulating sustainable economic growth in developing countries."