Monthly Archives:March 2012

The Importance of Biochar in Humid Climates

Hello, biochar fanatics! Here’s this week’s biochar roundup.

A Biogeochemist in Houston by the name of Caroline Masiello is discovering and chronicling the incredible water retention that biochar has. In this NPR article, she elaborates on why biochar is perfect for humid climates:

“A lot of plants around here have a waxy cuticle designed to repel water that will persist and create problems in the soil,” she says. “[…]biochar will really improve the soil’s capacity to hold water.”

Give the article a read here

Speaking of Caroline Masiello, here’s another concise quote from her about carbon cycling:

“When people mow their yards here in Houston, the carbon from the grass clippings returns to the atmosphere in about six weeks,” says Masiello, assistant professor of Earth science at Rice. “We call this carbon-cycling, and it’s a universal process. Making biochar is one way to remove carbon from the atmosphere and lock it away for a long time.”

This quote comes from the research and news website Futurity.org. The article discusses a new study published last week in the Journal of Biomass and Bioenergy. The study discovered that (as we learned last week) not all biochar is created equal. Turns out that biochar created at 450 degrees celsius (842 F) would be more likely to impact water retention and soil drainage. Better biochar means better crop yield for lots of communities. Have a gander at the article here.

If you’re familiar with Yahoo Groups then you’ll recognize how awesome it is to discover a Biochar Yahoo Group. The group was started and is organized by the Biochar Discussion List website and we can see the potential that this forum has for growers worldwide.

Hey Welsh biochar fans: need some advice? Why not consult with Bangor University. They’re offering free consultations and research under the umbrella of a program designed to promote biochar usage in wales.

Finally, here’s a post by a great blog called Permaculture. The blog is seriously awesome, in both design and content. They feature ways to reuse or repurpose common household items. The video they posted would be great to show anyone who ever asks, “what is biochar?” At just under 9 minutes, it is kinda long but the amount of information packed into those 9 minutes is impressive. Give it a watch (and post it around your favorite social networks).

That’s all for now. Have a great week!

Biochar Tested in Landfills as a Methane Containment Solution

A very exciting week in biochar. Check out these updates in this week’s roundup.

Not all biochar is created equal! Turns out, making the best biochar calls for a special procedure and a particular temp (450F to be exact). Here’s a fascinating news article about making the best biochar and the recent rise in popularity. Check it out here.

Yet another small gardener is chronicling her trials with biochar. Like many other bloggers, wellywoman is learning that biochar is a process that is millions of years old. Since it acts like a sponge for water, recent bloggers are discovering just how incredible this stuff really is. Follow her progress here.

Here is a great TED talk about “biochar and the future of farming”. In it, Josiah Hunt discusses how important biochar is in Hawaii. Not included is where he got that awesome shirt. Check it out here.

Hot off the presses is a release from the University of Illinois. In it, researchers are testing how effective biochar is against methane gasses in landfills. The theory is that biochar will oxygenate the soil around waste facilities and thereby contain methane leaks. Give the study a read here.

Thanks for reading, have a great week.