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  #1  
Old 07-13-2010, 03:00 AM
gasman gasman is offline
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"BioChar" vs. charcoal vs ash...

What are the differences? I've read around a bit, and can't figure it out.

sorry for my noobness
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Old 07-13-2010, 04:46 AM
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sucahyo sucahyo is offline
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I think the difference is between raw and well baked one. where biochar has lower burning temperature limit. Higher is charcoal, the highest is ash.

All turn living plant into dead one. which said to release vigor energy (according to wilhelm reich theory of matter disintegration / bion). I think too many vigor energy is not good though. Enough vigor energy will enhance growth, bigger leaf, taller tree. But too many may kill the land or require land resting period.
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Old 07-13-2010, 04:45 PM
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What is the difference

Quote:
Originally Posted by gasman View Post
What are the differences? I've read around a bit, and can't figure it out.

sorry for my noobness
From what I have seen it is the temp the wood is burnt at.

I have read of both biochar and charcoal both doing good for soil as they keep moisture in, and allow the bacteria to thrive.
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:28 AM
gasman gasman is offline
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Thank you.

Do you happen to have any numbers for them? Such as absolute density ranges, extractable fuel density ranges (and/or components and their percentages), heat and/or time requirements to make each, how uniform the consistency is (is the middle denser than the outer layers?), or any other measures? Numbers would be nice, but I understand that: 1. they may not be available, 2. there may be conflicting opinions as to definitions, and 3. there may be significant overlapping in continuity of measures.

any info is helpful, including relative comparisons. Such as, generally, X is burned at higher temps for longer than Y to create it, which generally gives it qualities W and Z for the end-user, where as the process for Y generally gives it qualities P and Q. Opinions, hypotheses, and hear-say are welcome, just please note them as such (or place sources).

Be specific, as it is easy to explain concepts, but very hard to understand them, with text on the internet.

For example, with sucayo's comment: by burning temperature limits, do you mean to make the substance, or when the end-user burns it?

sorry for all the questions
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Old 07-15-2010, 05:06 AM
erich erich is offline
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Biochar Soils.....Husbandry of whole new Orders & Kingdoms of life

Biochar and charcoal-fuel differ mainly in volatile material content (VM%) and absorption capacity.

This is the finest explanation I have read on the process of biochar testing. Hugh lays it out like medical triage to extract the data most needed for soil carbon sequestration. A triage for all levels of competence, the Para-Medic Gardener to the Surgeon Chem-Engineer.
Characterizing Biochars prior to Addition to Soils | BioEnergy Lists: BioChar (or Terra Preta)



Biochar Soils.....Husbandry of whole new Orders & Kingdoms of life

Biotic Carbon, the carbon transformed by life, should never be combusted, oxidized and destroyed. It deserves more respect, reverence even, and understanding to use it back to the soil where 2/3 of excess atmospheric carbon originally came from.

We all know we are carbon-centered life, we seldom think about the complex web of recycled bio-carbon which is the true center of life. A cradle to cradle, mutually co-evolved biosphere reaching into every crack and crevice on Earth.

It's hard for most to revere microbes and fungus, but from our toes to our gums (onward), their balanced ecology is our health. The greater earth and soils are just as dependent, at much longer time scales. Our farming for over 10,000 years has been responsible for 2/3rds of our excess greenhouse gases. This soil carbon, converted to carbon dioxide, Methane & Nitrous oxide began a slow stable warming that now accelerates with burning of fossil fuel. Agriculture allowed our cultural accent and Agriculture will now prevent our descent.

Wise Land management; Organic farming and afforestation can build back our soil carbon,

Biochar allows the soil food web to build much more recalcitrant organic carbon, ( living biomass & Glomalins) in addition to the carbon in the biochar.

Every 1 ton of Biomass yields 1/3 ton Charcoal for soil Sequestration (= to 1 Ton CO2e) + Bio-Gas & Bio-oil fuels = to 1MWh exported electricity, so is a totally virtuous, carbon negative energy cycle.


Biochar viewed as soil Infrastructure; The old saw;
"Feed the Soil Not the Plants" becomes;
"Feed, Cloth and House the Soil, utilities included !".
Free Carbon Condominiums with carboxyl group fats in the pantry and hydroxyl alcohol in the mini bar.
Build it and the Wee-Beasties will come.
Microbes like to sit down when they eat.
By setting this table we expand husbandry to whole new orders & Kingdoms of life.

This is what I try to get across to Farmers, as to how I feel about the act of returning carbon to the soil. An act of penitence and thankfulness for the civilization we have created. Farmers are the Soil Sink Bankers, once carbon has a price, they will be laughing all the way to it.
Unlike CCS which only reduces emissions, biochar systems draw down CO2 every energy cycle, closing a circle back to support the soil food web. The photosynthetic "capture" collectors are up and running, the "storage" sink is in operation just under our feet. Pyrolysis conversion plants are the only infrastructure we need to build out.


Legislation:

May 14, 2010, Important Biochar Provisions Included in the Amercian Power Act
IBI is pleased to announce that the American Power Act (APA), a plan to secure America's energy future, contains several important provisions to support deployment of biochar as a climate mitigation and adaptation tool. Senators Kerry and Lieberman released a discussion draft of the legislative plan on Wednesday.

Senator Baucus is co-sponsoring a bill along with Senator Tester (D-MT) called WE CHAR. Water Efficiency via Carbon Harvesting and Restoration Act!
WashingtonWatch.com - S. 1713, The Water Efficiency via Carbon Harvesting and Restoration (WECHAR) Act of 2009

Biochar systems for Biofuels and soil carbon sequestration are so basically conservative in nature it is a shame that republicans have not seized it as a central environmental policy plank as the conservatives in Australia have; Carbon sequestration without Taxes.


Small Scale

Another significant aspect of low cost Biomass cook stoves that produce char is removal of BC aerosols and no respiratory disease emissions. At Scale, replacing "Three Stone" stoves the health benefits would equal eradication of Malaria
The Biochar Fund :
Exceptional results from biochar experiment in Cameroon
http://scitizen.com/screens/blogPage...tribution=3011
The broad smiles of 1500 subsistence farmers say it all ( that , and the size of the Biochar corn root balls )
Biochar Fund - fighting hunger, deforestation, energy insecurity and climate change - Biochar Cameroon pictures

Major Endorsements:

Senator / Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar has done the most to nurse this biofuels system in his Biochar provisions in the 07 & 08 farm bill,
http://www.biochar-international.org...gislation.html

NASA's Dr. James Hansen Global warming solutions paper places Biochar / Land management the central technology for carbon negative energy systems.
http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0804/0804.1126.pdf

Dr. James Lovelock (Gaia hypothesis) says Biochar is "The only hope for mankind"

Charles Mann ("1491") in the Sept. National Geographic has a wonderful soils article which places Terra Preta / Biochar soils center stage.
Our Good Earth - National Geographic Magazine

Al Gore got the CO2 absorption thing wrong, ( at NABC Vilsack did same), but his focus on Soil Carbon is right on;
Al Gore's Climate-Change Evolution - Newsweek

Tony Blair & Richard Branson in the UK and conservative party opposition leader John Turnbull and Abbott in Oz.


Research:

The Ozzie's for 5 years now in field studies
The future of biochar - Project Rainbow Bee Eater
The future of biochar - Project Rainbow Bee Eater*(Science Alert)

Phosphorous Solution;
Microbial Fertilizers in Japan | BioEnergy Lists: BioChar (or Terra Preta)

The Japanese have been at it dacades:
Japan Biochar Association ;
http://www.geocities.jp/yasizato/pioneer.htm

UK Biochar Research Centre
Biochar

ICHAR, the Italian Biochar Association
ICHAR - Associazione Italiana Biochar - Home

Field Trial Data Base; The new version of BiocharDB has been released! To see it, please visit biocharbazaar.org.

Virginia Tech is in their 4 th year with the Carbon Char Group's "CharGrow" formulated bagged product. An idea whose time has come | Carbon Char Group
The 2008 trials at Virginia Tech showed a 46% increase in yield of tomato transplants grown with just 2 - 5 cups (2 - 5%) "CharGrow" per cubic foot of growing medium. A Biological Tool for Reducing Input Costs | Carbon Char Group

USDA in their 2 nd year; "Novak, Jeff" <Jeff.Novak@ars.usda.gov>, & "david laird" <david.laird@ars.usda.gov>,
There are dozens soil researchers on the subject now at USDA-ARS.
and many studies at The ASA-CSSA-SSSA joint meeting;
Session: Biochar Use for Improving Environmental Quality: I

Nikolaus has been at it 4 years. Nikolaus Foidl,
His current work with aspirin is Amazing in Maize, 250% yield gains, 15 cobs per plant;
Trials in Maize, reactivating dormant genes using high doses of Salicylic acid and Charcoal | BioEnergy Lists: BioChar (or Terra Preta)

My 09 field trials with the Rodale Institute & JMU ;
Alterna Biocarbon and Cowboy Charcoal Virginia field trials '09
Alterna Biocarbon and Cowboy Charcoal Virginia field trials '09 | BioEnergy Lists: BioChar (or Terra Preta)


Most recent studies out;
Imperial College test,
This work in temperate soils gives data from which one can calculate savings on fertilizer use, which is expected to be ongoing with no additional soil amending.
http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/1755-1...1-2be7e2f3ce1b


Reports:

This PNAS report (by a Nobel lariat) should cause the Royal Society to rethink their report that criticized Biochar systems sequestration potential;
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Reducing abrupt climate change risk using
the Montreal Protocol and other regulatory
actions to complement cuts in CO2 emissions
Reducing abrupt climate change risk using the Montreal Protocol and other regulatory actions to complement cuts in CO2 emissions — PNAS

United Nations Environment Programme, Climate Change Science Compendium 2009 -- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) - Error page --

Congressional Research Service report (by analyst Kelsi Bracmort) is the best short summary I have seen so far - both technical and policy oriented.
http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/R40186_20090203.pdf .
Recent Up Date;
Environmental Legislation: Biochar: Examination of an Emerging Concept to Mitigate Climate Change

I think we will be seeing much greater media attention for land management & biochar as reports like hers come out linking the roll of agriculture and climate.

Earth Science Terra Preta Forum, Great for students;
Terra Preta - Science Forums
Terra Preta - Science Forums

Given the current "Crisis" atmosphere concerning energy, soil sustainability, food vs. Biofuels, and Climate Change what other subject addresses them all?

This is a Nano technology for the soil, a fractal vision of Life's relation to surface area that represents the most comprehensive, low cost, and productive approach to long term stewardship and sustainability.

Carbon to the Soil, the only ubiquitous and economic place to put it.
Cheers,
Erich


Erich J. Knight
EcoTechnologies Group Technical Adviser
EcoTechnologies Group
Shenandoah Gardens (Owner)
1047 Dave Barry Rd.
McGaheysville, VA. 22840
540 289 9750
Co-Administrator, Biochar Data base & Discussion list TP-REPP
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Old 07-15-2010, 05:37 AM
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sucahyo sucahyo is offline
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The main difference between biochar and non biochar is in the make procedure. See some thread that define the procedure:
Robert Flanagan's Biochar Stove: Carbon Negative Cooking
Biochar - Robert Flanagan

http://www.biochar.org/
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Old 07-19-2010, 01:22 AM
gasman gasman is offline
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Thank you both for the info and links. I'll enjoy reading through those

PS: it was the carbon-negative biochar device post that got me interested in the differences between the substances. I've been interested in carbon sinking devices for a while, and the (at worst) carbon-neutral use of wood as fuel. Combining the two in a meaningful fashion is a very nice addition.
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Old 07-21-2010, 04:45 AM
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sucahyo sucahyo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealth View Post
It all depends on whether you need short term or long term nutritional advantages. When a foreset fire burns, it leaves all life devastated, but within a few years it actually increases the coils ability to germinate and restore the forest.
I am interested to see more information on that.

In some Indonesian Island where there are farmer who utilize land by burning forest, the land dies after a couple years of use that force them to burn another place. Rehabilitation is said to take 30 years or more, not just few years. This is what I remember back at elementary school.

If it is not true, then what are the reason for burn, grow, move and burn way of farming. There is also an era where human do that isn't it?
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Old 07-23-2010, 07:33 AM
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sucahyo sucahyo is offline
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Thank you. The links broken. However, a google search tell me that there are different opinion about that.

In Indonesia most fire is caused by large palm farm opening though. It can't be good. Especially for neighborhood country.
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:34 PM
Trincypris12 Trincypris12 is offline
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A good barbeque charcoal will have a VM content of 25 – 30%, whereas a charcoal destined for metallurgical use often has VM content below 10%. Increasing HTT lowers the VM content of the charcoal, but there is not a simple relationship between the HTT and the charcoal’s VM content. Why? The simplest explanation is that the thermocouple used to measure the HTT measures the temperature of the pyrolysis environment: it does not measure the temperature of substrate during pyrolysis! Pyrolytic reactors designed to maximize “oil” (or gas) yields - and minimize the charcoal yield - employ high heating rates. Under these conditions the pyrolysis reactions are endothermic; consequently there is a large temperature difference between the charcoal and its environment (i.e. the temperature of the charcoal can be hundreds of °C lower than its environment). On the other hand, a pyrolytic reactor that is designed to maximize the charcoal yield will evoke exothermic pyrolysis reactions in the substrate, since the reactions that form charcoal are exothermic.

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Old 08-08-2010, 05:45 AM
gasman gasman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealth View Post
It all depends on whether you need short term or long term nutritional advantages. When a foreset fire burns, it leaves all life devastated, but within a few years it actually increases the coils ability to germinate and restore the forest. Now most states do controlled burns of forests in an attempt to increse the soils potential. Also some species of plants and trees require fire to germinate their seeds. Without controlled or accidental burning of the forests, these species would become extinct afte a few years. Some of these species have already become extinct. The charcoal and ash rejenerate the soils ability to hold mositure and nutrients from the ash is dissolved into the soils. I leave last years debri on my garden and every other year,I burn it off.It has shown to be the best solution to controlling weeds and killing off their seeds. Every other year, I just plow under the debri for plant food.Good Luck. Stealth
... what? There are facts in there, but also some things that aren't quite right.... If a forest (or other such wooded area burns), it leaves life devastated. That is true. But devastation also depends on several factors. One is the time since last fire. The longer time since last fire, the more devastation. This is because too much plant matter has gathered, and the large trees die as well. This is very bad for all life. In areas where a lot of the carbon is stored above ground (in trees especially. Most large forests are like this), burning the trees turns their carbon into carbon dioxide, and leaves the ground a baron wasteland. Grass and small plants will grow well for a short time (1, perhaps 2 seasons) because of the thin layer of ash, but that's it. The ecosystem is gone. It is completely unsustainable. It basically makes those lands that were once forests, doomed to be grasslands or deserts for decades, perhaps longer. Many civilizations of the past have completely died out because of this type of deforestation.

The reason there are controlled burns in the US (and some other advanced countries) is because we learned that fire is natural, and must occur occasionally to keep the devastation minimal. If it goes too long without fire, very large areas are devastated. If they are regularly burned, the areas keep their big trees and carbon, and the undergrowth regrows quickly. This is why the famous slogan of "Smokey the Bear" changed from "Only YOU can prevent Forest Fires!" to "Only YOU can prevent Wildfires! We now know the difference. There is a ton of info about it online, and you can probably start searching with that slogan change and go from there. It has nothing to do with "increasing the soil's potential." (or soil quality, or anything else). It is mainly to maintain the old growth, and to keep fires from becoming too large (area) and hot.

There is a huge problem in many developing countries with charcoal use, and deforestation (especially for Palm trees, for palm oil). Agriculture does not replace forests. Another type of tree does not replace a forest. In the areas that rely heavily on charcoal, there is very little wood. They need new sources of energy to live on (cooking their food, boiling water, etc.). Without new energy sources, their lives will continue to be miserable. Perhaps their civilizations could collapse as well.


For gardens, that might be a different story. I wouldn't do it, but to each his own

My main interest in the subject is for gasifiers (woodgas generators). I have many tons of wood available that naturally dies each year, but it takes a lot of energy to convert into the chunks necessary for typical gasifiers. It would be worth it, but I would like a more efficient model. I could make a gasifier that could use larger pieces... but after working out the math, I would need a huge engine (or set of engines) to have enough draw on it to make it work. That is impractical since I am interested in a fairly small setup, not a very large one. So I have to spend the energy to chunk the wood, design a very different gasifier type, or find another fuel source. There are many wooden limbs that I could turn into a charcoal-like source, and I could easily get the requisite size fuel blocks from that with just muscle power. When I heard of biochar, I became interested in learning which would be better for my purposes. I'm going to read up on potential energy content, the composition of that energy, tar content, flash points, burning temperature, manufacturing technique,s and a lot of other info. The process to make the fuel would be wasteful (whether it is charcoal, biochar, or whatever), but the fuel is plentiful and natural, so I'm not worried about it.
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:51 AM
erich erich is offline
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Nature Study & Global Stoves

Recent NATURE STUDY;
Sustainable bio char to mitigate global climate change
Sustainable biochar to mitigate global climate change : Nature Communications : Nature Publishing Group

Not talked about in this otherwise comprehensive study are the climate and whole ecological implications of new , higher value, applications of chars.

First,
the in situ remediation of a vast variety of toxic agents in soils and sediments.
Biochar Sorption of Contaminants;
Agriculture, Forestry, Soil Science and Environment

Dr. Lima's work; Specialized Characterization Methods for Biochar Production and Characterization
And at USDA;
The Ultimate Trash To Treasure: *ARS Research Turns Poultry Waste into Toxin-grabbing Char
The Ultimate Trash To Treasure: ARS Research Turns Poultry Waste into Toxin-grabbing Char

Second,
the uses as a feed ration for livestock to reduce GHG emissions and increase disease resistance.

Third,
Recent work by C. Steiner showing a 52% reduction of NH3 loss when char is used as a composting accelerator. This will have profound value added consequences for the commercial composting industry by reduction of their GHG emissions and the sale of compost as a nitrogen fertilizer.


NSF Awards $1.6 million in grants;

BREAD: Biochar Inoculants for Enabling Smallholder Agriculture
Cornell University wins biochar/stove research grants « Indoor Air Pollution (IAP) Updates

NASA’s Space Archaeology; $364K Terra Preta Program
archaeology excavations,archaeology excavation,archaeology,archaeologist,Museums,Egypt ology Archaeology Excavations: Time Traveling Via Satellite


Cheers,
Erich

Erich J. Knight
Chairman; Markets and Business Review Committee
US BiocharConference, at Iowa State University, June 27-30
Detailed Agenda


EcoTechnologies Group Technical Adviser
EcoTechnologies Group
Shenandoah Gardens (Owner)
1047 Dave Barry Rd.
McGaheysville, VA. 22840
540 289 9750
Co-Administrator, Biochar Data base & Discussion list TP-REPP



PS
Just encase you missed it, The Clinton Stoves News;

Global Clean Stove Intuitive;
State Dept. Release;
100 million clean-burning stoves in kitchens around the world.
Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves: The United States Commitment By the Numbers

Amid diplomatic speed-dating, Clinton pitches 'clean stoves'
Error - washingtonpost.com
peed-dating_c.html
Here is a compilation of coverage of Clinton' Global Stoves announcement;
News compilation of today’s annoucement by Sec. Clinton « The Charcoal Project

Four serious efforts at producing biochar by cookstoves are the efforts by

Nat Mulcahy's WorldStove; http://worldstove.com/
WorldStoves in Haiti ; A Man, a Stove, a Mission « The Charcoal Project

Paul Anderson's Champion TLUD (and offshoots from that design); Construction Plans for the “Champion-2008” TLUD Gasifier Cookstove | BioEnergy Lists: Improved Biomass Cooking Stoves

Rob Flanagan's design efforts mainly in China, The Flana Stove; TerraCarbona
and
Dr. Reddy in India, GoodStove; Energetic Forum - Forum Display
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