Jun 26, 2010

ISU researchers use biochar to improve soil

By James Pusey
Staff Writer
Published: Thursday, June 24, 2010 10:13 AM CDT
Agricultural researchers at Iowa State University are developing a way to make Iowa farms more profitable while reducing their impact on the planet.

The key is a product called “biochar,” said David Laird, soil scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Laboratory of Agriculture and Environment, and though it may sound complex, the technology is far from new.

The idea first came about, Laird said, when archaeologists discovered that an ancient Amazonian civilization had developed a way to turn the leached, unproductive soil of the jungle into soil useful for agriculture.

“These people would cut down the forest and they would char the soil,” Laird said. “They were able to create terra preta soils, which are dramatically different from the adjacent soils, which are highly weathered, low-productivity soils.”

“Terra preta” means “black earth” in Portuguese, and the soil was named thus because of its high charcoal content.

Laird said he and others at ISU are researching how farmers can benefit from the use of charcoal in agriculture.

Biochar is another term for charcoal, Laird said, but the different term is used because of biochar’s intended use. Charcoal is for grilling meat, for instance, while biochar is used for growing plants.

The biochar comes from cellulosic biomass found on the farm, such as corn stover, and is ground up and mixed with the soil to add carbon and nutrients, Laird sad.


Robert Brown, distinguished professor of mechanical engineering and director of ISU’s Bioeconomy Institute, said he has witnessed the benefits of biochar in his own garden.

“My wife insisted that I try it, and our square-foot garden was the perfect place to conduct the experiment,” Brown said.

He planted different plant species in adjacent plots, applying varying amounts of biochar to each plot. He said he was astonished by some of his results, noting that spinach with biochar yielded around 15 percent more and baby bok choy with biochar produced 300 percent more.

“That was a lot of baby bok choy,” Brown said, pointing to a picture of his wife with her arms full of the massive plants.


Laird expects that the most effective use of biochar will be to increase yields on low-grade soil. Research has shown that biochar has very little effect on yields in higher quality soils, but a recent trip to the ISU research farm showed how it can affect soil of lower quality.

Laird pointed to one sad-looking plot, just visible on the south side of U.S. Highway 30 between Ames and Boone. The field is more brown than green, with pools of standing water on its surface.

“This is really the worst soil we’ve got around here,” Laird said.

Even so, there is some corn growing on the plot, and three distinct rows stand taller and greener than the rest.

“That middle three rows stand out,” he said. “Those were the rows that we put about 30 to 40 tons of char on.”


Biochar is produced at ISU’s Biocentury Research Farm, Brown said, where a process called “fast pyrolysis” burns biomass and converts it into three products: biochar, bio oil and natural gas. This use for cellulosic biomass materials is good news for Iowa farmers’ profitability, Brown said, as well as the planet.

Biochar has a much longer half-life than most carbon materials found in the soil, Laird said, at about 1,000 years compared to six months. That means less carbon is being released into the atmosphere.

“The carbon that’s in the char that you put down is going to be stable for a long period of time,” Laird said. “This is a huge carbon credit and it is one that we can easily measure.”

Though initial results have been promising, Laird said, there are still a lot of challenges to overcome before biochar becomes marketable in the mainstream. This will be one of the topics of discussion at the second-annual

James Pusey can be reached at (515) 663-6922

SLSD Biochar Processor

Biochar Systems - SLSD - or- Side Load Side Draft: This unique little prototype may be the next simplest biochar processor that seems to be scalable with little technical modification. This statement has yet to be validated as of June 24, 2010. Really the ideal configuration of this design might better be called SLnoDfX but "slnod" is such a neat name that I bet it will stick (but what do I know?).

This device comes from an idea offered in the NEUSA by Dr. Hugh McLaughlin. Hugh formed a version of the TLUD stationary cooking and space heating device (if he did not invent it originally?). My engineer friend Robert Essert has modified the TLUD design to lie on its side and incorporate a simple feed system and char collection area with a control mechanism to keep the pyrolysis zone in about the right place. He presented the design at the last meeting of the Pioneer Valley Biochar Initiative on Tuesday, June 22, 2010.

The pyrolysis zone is the area in red/orange in the design as shown in the SLSD pictuer above and the attachment below. The feed system is controlled by a thermal switch located near the end of the feed auger. Please honor the CC release on this site by crediting Bob Essert in any implementation of this design.

We will be experimenting with simple scale ups of this in the near future. It would seem that this could be run by hand if there were no power alternatives available. Details will be added as more experience is gained. You can add comments to this page to let Bob know how you are doing with your tests.

A brief discussion of "SLnoD": the unit is mounted horizontally and the feed stock flows from one side (thus the "SL" for side load) and the unheated material proceeds from the feed area into the pyrolysis region from the force of the auger pushing it forward. Once the tube is full to the char release area with unignited feedstock it is lighted by whatever means is convenient. One way that works on this size device is to just lift it up a little and drip some candle wax on the exposed end and lighting it. one could also start the charge with a small amount of alcohol mixed with the initial feed stock and lighting it when it is near the drop off point. The "noD" part of the name comes from the understanding that the most char will be produced when the charring is done only with the oxygen that comes in with or as part of the feed stock (thus the "noD" for no Draft), the additional "fX" might stand for front exhaust.

It will be neat to see this system combined with Frank Jeffers cracking system so that the gas comes out clean and usable directly in a variety of producer or water gas compatible systems.

The next scale up will probably involve cascading these systems to be able to handle wet material - we are not there yet.

SLSD Biochar Processor.pdf - on Jun 24, 2010 12:16 PM by Alan Page (version 1) 
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Jun 22, 2010

The Tillman Story. Official Trailer

Release Date: August 20th, 2010 (limited) Pat Tillman decided to leave a multimillion-dollar professional football contract and join the military because he felt it was the right thing to do. When he died in a friendly-fire incident in Afghanistan in 2004, the military is shown to have manipulated his tragic death in the line of duty into a glorifying propaganda tool.

Tillman mother sought to warn Obama of McChrystal

The mother of the slain football player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman sought to warn President Obama against making General Stanley McChrystal his commander in Afghanistan.

Mary Tillman said in an unpublished interview this year that she wrote to Obama and called Senators and members of Congress seeking to block McChrystal's appointment when she learned that he was under consideration for the post.

She called the lack of deliberation leading to his appointment "disgusting" in the interview, given before today's Rolling Stone article spurred intense tension between the general and the White House. An audio recording of the interview was provided to POLITICO by the interviewer, who asked to remain anonymous.

McChrystal has been accused of involvement in covering up of the fact that Tillman had been shot by his own comrades, having approved a citation for a posthumous medal that attributed his death to "enemy fire," though the general also penned a memo warning the White House against describing the circumstance of Tillman's death for fear of future embarrassment.

An official investigation blamed McChrystal for “inaccurate and misleading assertions” in the formal recommendation of Tillman for a Silver Star.

Mary Tillman said she emailed Obama a short letter saying that McChrystal was not what he seemed.

She received no response to the letter and little response to her contacts with members of Congress, she said in the interview, though Senator John McCain called her to seek suggestion for questions to ask at a hearing with McChrystal. Tillman declined to provide them because she'd read that McCain had already decided to back McChrystal.

Mary Tillman didn't respond to a request for comment through the the Weinstein Company, which is distributing a documentary about her son and the circumstances surrounding his death and the subsequent alleged cover-up.

Diane Winston: Pat Tillman and Prop 8: Two New Documentaries' Take on God and Power

As friendly fire rained down on a handful of Army Rangers trapped on a desolate Afghani mountain, Corporal Pat Tillman heard one of his comrades begging God to save him. Tillman, a former NFL player who was the most famous enlisted man in the United States Army, told the solider to stop praying and stay focused. The soldier lived; Tillman was not as lucky. But it's emblematic that, even facing death, Tillman remained rooted in the grievous here-and-now rather than the great hereafter. The Tillman Story, a new documentary about the Army's attempt to cover up the circumstances of his death and his family's search for the truth, is a riveting testimonial to the power of personal integrity. Tillman was not a religious man: At his funeral, his younger brother Richard emphatically stated that Pat did not believe in God. But he did believe in honor, commitment and collegiality -- all traits that help explain why he enlisted and then remained in the Army even after he began questioning the war in Iraq. Amir Bar Lev, the filmmaker, brings a journalist's perspective to the story. Interspersing talking heads with footage of Pat's football career, the Tillman family, Army videos and news coverage, he teases out the mystery of Tillman's last minutes and the family's all-out campaign to discover what happened. Tillman emerges as an exemplar -- a Renaissance man who read widely, conversed easily and displayed grace and prowess on the playing field. He was kind, thoughtful and self-possessed. His main weakness seems to have been an over-fondness for the F-word. Bar Lev uses Mary "Dannie" Tillman to frame her son's story. It's her hard-won right. Mrs. Tillman spent several years investigating the tragic events of April 22, 2004 -- reconstructing redacted Army documents and tracking down Pat's Army buddies. Her determination to discover the truth was driven, in large part, by the Army's attempts to use her son as a patriotic symbol for the war effort. At the heart of the story, then, is one person's fight against an institution bent on twisting reality to serve its own ends. That the institution, in this case the U.S. military, can control much of the mainstream news media makes the tale all the more poignant for those who believe that journalists are compelled to tell truth to power. But such lofty ideals have small chance of success when powerful, organized interests have the resources and influence to shape media narratives. And while the government and the military can appeal to patriotism and national security, religious organizations can conjure God -- and greenbacks, too, to ensure that their will is done. This is the chilling theme of 8: The Mormon Proposition, another new documentary that shows how the media was used to promote a political agenda. In this case, the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) were concerned enough about same-sex marriage that they decided to fight it. (The film says that same-sex marriage undermines the church's theology by endangering its conception of the afterlife.) After organizing a successful campaign in Hawaii, where the LDS purposefully allowed other less controversial groups to lead an anti-gay marriage coalition, it seized on California as the next battleground. Even before gay marriages were legalized by the state supreme court, Mormons had begun to gather like-minded groups in support of a ballot proposition that limited marriage to the union of a man and woman. Unlike The Tillman Story, which artfully uses music, archival footage and eye-catching cutaways to underscore its points, 8: The Mormon Proposition misses no opportunity to include heavy-handed shtick. There are many shots of cash registers, stacks of money and bills changing hands. The litany of the LDS' sins -- bankrolling much of the "Yes on 8" campaign, obscuring its part in the coalition, producing misleading commercials -- is damning enough without the cheesy music, grainy footage and cartoonish spokesmen. Put simply, the Mormons spent a lot of money to stamp their religious commitments into the California state constitution. That this egregious violation of church/state separation could occur is justification enough for the movie. Although both films expose the ability of large and powerful institutions to impose their will on society, they also reveal the news media's complicity in this process. Most people I know become journalists because they want to "do good" -- whether by informing the public, unmasking bad guys, or recounting the deeds of unsung heroes. But there's a limit to how much they can accomplish given the industry's current commitment to profit, power and entertainment. Newspaper executives don't want to take on the military or upset powerful religious constituencies; they want consumers to read the ads and buy the paper. Filmmakers like Bar Lev and Reed Cowan, who wrote, directed and produced 8: The Mormon Proposition, are our new muckrakers. Like their early-twentieth-century antecedents, they're holding up a mirror to institutions that, in our name, are undermining our democracy. And at the same time, they're providing a model for what journalism can and should do.

Chip Conley: Measuring what makes life worthwhile | Video on TED.com

Gearing up for an Industrial Biomass Boom

Finland--How long will the biochar produced by Preseco's biomass reactor keep carbon out of the atmosphere?

Probably at least until the next ice age, according to technical manager Sampo Tukiainen. Unearthed cooking pits formerly used by roving bands of hunters in the region still contain the char generated by their cooking fires.

"Bugs cannot digest it so it stays in the ground," Tukiainen said. "And putting this carbon back into the soil makes it more productive."

Preseco's system -- a collection of boilers, valves, computers and pipes -- sits in a open-air workshop in Lempaala, just north of Helsinki. At one end, a technician vacuums up wood chips with a giant shop vac. The chips then get treated, plunged into a furnace heated to 800 degrees Celsius, and then converted to whatever combination of byproducts someone might want: biochar, which can be sold as fertilizer or industrial grade renewable carbon for 250 Euros a ton; plant vinegar, a biopesticide; natural gas; heat for regional district heating systems; tar; or carbon credits.

Feeding chicken waste into the system also produces a dense, renewable form of fertilizer. It can handle a half a ton of biomass in an hour.

Watch out when stepping over that aluminum pipe on the ground, Tukiainen says while giving the tour. It contains gases from the furnace. And don't stare straight into the small window that gives a view into the central furnace for too long -- it can cause retinal issues.

How economical and efficiently the system works in practice, along with other biomass technologies from other companies, will likely have a substantial impact on Finland's green industry and even the long-term health of the national economy.

Although Nokia has become Finland's largest company and exporter, pulp and paper remain a huge part of the gross domestic product. Forest covers 74 percent of the country (Europe's seventh largest) and 97 percent of it has been logged at least twice. In the 1800s, Sweden, which controlled Finland at the time, issued an order that only stumps could be harvested in an effort to stop rampant deforestation.

Because of replanting, deforestation has become less of a problem. Instead, the big scare is the Kindle. The decline in newspapers and magazines combined with the rise of e-books have the country's paper industry quaking. As a result, many firms in the sector have begun to transform themselves into energy companies.

"Why not use the woods as fuel?" Tukiainen said. Preseco has also devised a fish-waste-to-biofuel system that is now being tested in Vietnam.

Manufacturers of biomass equipment, meanwhile, want to take the expertise they've developed for biomass installations in Northern Europe worldwide.

Metso, an industrial equipment giant based in Helsinki that generates around 5 billion Euros in revenue a year, has sold a 100-megawatt biomass system to Southern Company that will begin to produce power for Nacogdoches, Texas in 2012. Duke Energy and Xcel have also launched plans for biomass in the U.S., says Kari Remes, general manager of sales and marketing for the power business line of Metso.

While Preseco's fuel and biochar system is in the experimental phase, Metso's fuel-only systems play a key role in Northern Europe's energy infrastructure. Finland gets about 38 percent of its heat from biomass systems. Metso itself has built a large number of small biomass plants capable of generating 5 to 10 megawatts of electricity, or combinations of heat and electricity, in various cities in northern Europe. These plants can serve homes or businesses within a 25 kilometer radius.

The company has also participated in a number of larger projects that can generate 20 to 300 megawatts of electricity and/or power. Vattenfall installed a 60-megawatt biomass boiler at the Vanaja coal/gas power plant in Hameenlinna, Finland. The video shows the original coal boiler with the 60 megawatt one next door. (The photo is of Preseco's prototype. More photos are coming in a subsequent slideshow.) Wood and waste go in and get subjected to a circulating bath of liquefied silicon.

"Combustion lasts for a few seconds. That is all," he said. Vattenfall then sends the heat generated through the local district heating system.

A 124-megawatt plant is currently under construction in France, while a 183-megawatt plant is under construction in Poland.

The new frontier lay in expanding beyond northern Europe, he said. Biomass manufacturers are also tinkering with their products to improve efficiencies, allow for more flexible feedstock consumption, and get them to produce different byproducts.

Metso, for instance, now makes boilers, shredders and automation equipment for the biomass industry, and the byproducts of its equipment are heat, electricity and steam. By 2020, the company will expand its equipment line to generate biodiesel, biocoal, pellets for biomass burners, lignin separation, and lignin production.

"We have already produced 70 tons of oil in the lab," he said. Additionally, Metso is working on machinery for converting solid waste from sewage facilities into methane.

Biomass does have its flaws. For instance, it costs more than coal, so policy and carbon taxation are important for the market. The power generated by biomass is closer to the price of wind, he says. Biomass is also less dense than coal. Thus, in a retrofit situation where a coal burner is being replaced by a biomass boiler, the capacity of the plant will go down.

"You have to keep the flue gas output the same. That is the limiting factor," he said.

Additionally, most large-scale jobs are somewhat customized. Large-scale biomass boilers can generally accommodate different types of feedstocks, but the boilers have to be optimized for the feedstocks that the owner will ultimately expect.

Deploying biomass as a form of distributed power can be challenging too because of the large, constant amounts of feedstock required. The fuel depot for the Vanaja plant is a warehouse.

Still, biomass is one of the few renewable forms of energy that is not subject to the vagaries of weather conditions, and the burgeoning interest in the sector is undeniable.

"Forestry is glamorous again," says Tukiainen.

Gambling With Global Warming | The Nation

Noam Chomsky and environmentalist Bill McKibben discuss how the mainstream media's portrayal of climate change is distorting the gravity of global warming. Because the media gives equal time to Rush Limbaugh and the very small group of scientists who deny the existence of global climate change as they do to the vast majority of scientists who are in consensus that global warming is a reality that must be faced, the media is doing the American public a great disservice. Furthermore, if we invest in clean technology and renewable energy and the deniers turn out to be right, then we will still come out ahead. If, however, we listen to the deniers and the mainstream scientific consensus turns out to be right, we risk the extinction of the human race. With those two options in mind, Chomsky argues, "It’s not a hard decision." Video courtesy of On The Earth Productions.

Double Down - Biomass Magazine

Paul Dauenhauer, assistant professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Dauenhauer?s ternary diagram illustrates the ?teardrop? zone where the reaction is optimal. SOURCE: PAUL DAUENHAUER
A team of researchers has developed a high-temperature catalyst biomass gasification system they say can double the amount of biofuel that can be produced with an acre of biomass, and with no char byproduct.

By Lisa Gibson

The biofuels industry might be a different arena if there were a gasification technology with the capacity to convert 100 percent of the carbon from biomass into carbon monoxide, increasing twofold the amount of biofuel that can be produced from a single acre of feedstock. Now, imagine a system that does it without producing char.

Paul Dauenhauer, assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Chemical Engineering, says he and his team of researchers from the department and the University of Minnesota have developed that system.

It began four years ago when Dauenhauer started designing a biomass gasifier that would use a high-temperature catalyst, but without the harmful byproduct biochar. His research has evolved and the team—led by him and University of Minnesota Professor Lanny Schmidt—now says it can alter the char-free process to convert all the biomass carbon to the essential biofuel element carbon monoxide instead of a mix of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. “When I got started in this, I wanted to find a process that would allow me to use wood fibers and switchgrass and things like that directly with catalysts,” Dauenhauer says. “Now, since I’ve been able to have that breakthrough, the question is, what can I do with it? What’s exciting about this current research is that since now we’re able to use catalysts directly with biomass, we can do all sorts of crazy things like add methane and carbon dioxide and it does all the chemistry in a single reactor.”

Char-Free Challenge

Inside the special catalytic reactor sits a hot surface that melts the cellulose immediately upon contact into a liquid droplet that is essentially melted sugar. The heat transfer is dominantly from the surface, at least 10 times higher than transfer from the hot air in the reactor, Dauenhauer says. “It makes it really easy to heat the biomass up extremely fast,” he says, adding that the reaction takes place so quickly it cannot be seen with the naked eye, so the team used a high-speed camera to capture the event. “The fact that the biomass forms this liquid is very exciting for researchers such as myself because now we know how these things convert and we can use it to make reactors,” he says. The discovery has already led to more research into how wood chips are converted into fuel.

Dauenhauer says the achievement of the liquid droplet without char is all in the reactor design. “If you design your reactor with different heating rates, and basically a different geometry will do this for you, it’ll make the particle heat up really slowly and instead of seeing the liquid, you’ll actually see char formation and things like that,” he explains. A lot of processes make biochar, but when using high-temperature catalysts, the biochar will coat the catalyst, rendering it less effective.

“So the benefit of touching particles with this high-temperature surface is you get this conversion to a liquid due to the high heating rates,” Dauenhauer says. “It basically makes the particle convert down a chemical pathway that’s very favorable for making gasses and volatile organics.” In addition, the reactor needs to control the heat flow to keep it moving in the right direction and allow the particles to hit the hot surface while permitting the heat to get to it. The team is using a rhodium-based reforming catalyst, but has also demonstrated its process with a nickel-based catalyst and will continue research into cheaper catalysts in the future, although the main focus is the reactor design, Dauenhauer says.

Carbon Conversion

With existing gasification technology, only about 50 percent of biomass carbon is converted to carbon monoxide, the remainder emitted as carbon dioxide, according to Dauenhauer. The team’s design, however, recovers all the carbon in the biomass and, with the right balance of carbon dioxide and methane, converts it all to carbon monoxide.

The team used Dauenhauer’s ternary diagram (see page 45) to accomplish the perfect combination of fuel, oxygen and carbon dioxide that would facilitate the reverse water-gas shift (RWGS) reaction. “If you operate the reactor within that teardrop, you can actually get all of your biomass carbon back as carbon monoxide,” he says. But in order to do that, researchers had to co-feed hydrogen into the reaction to supply the energy needed to drive the RWGS reaction, they say. In lieu of a hydrogen injection, the team adds methane to create hydrogen inside the catalytic reactor. “Using this catalyst, now we can add the carbon dioxide, the biomass and, instead of adding hydrogen, we actually generate the hydrogen within the reactor and use it right away,” he says. “Everything happens within a single reactor. That’s why I get so excited. It does so many things at once.”

The system could be set up near an existing natural gas power plant, providing ready access to methane and carbon dioxide. The team has a ways to go before its project is ready for commercialization, although Dauenhauer believes it may be ready in as few as two years. While the hot surface reaction has been tested on aspen trees, cellulose, starch, polyethanelene and municipal solid waste, the team has only used pure cellulose in experiments with carbon dioxide and methane additives.

Mixed Reactions

The response from the research community to the team’s findings has been mixed, Dauenhauer says, and one crucial aspect of the process has yet to be determined: economics.

“As always, there are two questions: Does the process work; and is it economic compared with other uses of biomass?” says Peter Flynn, mechanical engineering professor at the University of Alberta. Biomass gasification and subsequent Fischer-Tropsch conversion to liquid fuels are just not economic processes, Flynn says. “[The researchers are] getting a higher yield of syngas from the biomass by using methane, so in effect, they have a way of turning biomass and methane into a precursor of liquid fuels,” he explains. “But today, if you just turn biomass into liquid fuel, it’s not as attractive as other things you can do with the biomass and if you turn natural gas into liquid fuel, it’s not as attractive as other things you can do with natural gas, unless you’ve got a stranded field [of natural gas]. So I don’t know if putting these two things together will make favorable economics. But it is something new.”

The process might modify the actual yield from the process for the same capital cost, says Doug Bull, thermochemical projects manager for Iowa State University’s Center for Sustainable Environmental Technologies. “That’s how it might help the economics because they might actually get more product for a similar cost of plant equipment,” Bull says. Understanding both the chemistry that’s happening and the reactor that can double the yield of carbon monoxide does change the economic analysis considerably, Dauenhauer says. “If you derive twice as much fuel from an acre of land as before, you’re doubling your return potentially,” he says.

Bull agrees with Flynn that gasification is not economic, adding that fast pyrolysis is pulling ahead in popularity with its cheaper cost and simplicity. Even the U.S. DOE is shifting more toward pyrolysis, Bull says, as investment is risky for costly gasification processes. At the end of May, the DOE allocated up to $11 million over the next three years for research and development of biomass pyrolysis for advanced biofuels.

Both Bull and Flynn are skeptical of some of the details of the team’s process, having not experimented with the reactions themselves. “They’re sort of just modifying the reaction chemistry to get more of the gasses they desire,” Bull says, adding that complete conversion of all the biomass carbon is a difficult feat. “They might be able to increase it dramatically, but I don’t think entirely all of it would be [converted]. I’m pretty sure they’d still have a little bit of carbon dioxide, even if it’s only like 5 percent.” The reaction can only be forced to a certain point, he explains. Dauenhauer says the amount of carbon dioxide that is converted to carbon monoxide depends on where inside the teardrop shape the reactor is operating. “The closer the reaction conditions are to the center, the higher the conversion of CO2,” he says. Even some of the carbon dioxide added to the process is converted, he adds.

Since char production has been a problem in biomass gasification, a system that eliminates it would be a significant development, Flynn says, although there are other proposed solutions. “They are saying they have found a spot they can operate where they don’t produce any char, and if that’s true, it’s a big deal.” It’s one of two reasons the process is intriguing, he adds, along with methane that in effect can be converted to liquid transportation fuels. “It sounds reasonable. I know enough to say to it sounds reasonable.”

Dauenhauer says the ultimate goal of the research is to answer the scientific questions that will lead to a wide array of new biomass processes and reactions. “In terms of the university, we’re focused on generating the intellectual property that American companies and start-up companies can use to get these new types of processes and reactors into the field as quickly as possible.”

Jun 21, 2010

Top Catholic Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing His Own Sons - ABC News

Legions of ChristPope John Paul II blesses Father Marcial Maciel at the Vatican in November 2004. For years, Maciel, a Mexican priest who founded the Catholic order known as the Legion of Christ, seemed to have powerful connections within the Vatican that allowed to him to weather accusations of pedophilia, drug abuse, and misuse of funds. But Maciel was removed from active priesthood by John Paul's successor, Pope Benedict XVI, in 2006. With growing questions about Pope Benedict's role in the Catholic church's handling of sexual abuse allegations, and with the Legion of Christ now admitting its founder was a pedophile, there is renewed attention to how the Pope, as Cardinal Ratzinger, dealt with the Maciel case. (AP Photo)

Legions of ChristFather Maciel and a group of Legion seminarians surround Pope Pius XII during a visit to Rome in 1950. Macie, wearing glasses,l is behind the Pope's right shoulder. Father Maciel started the Legion of Christ in Mexico in 1941 when he was not yet 21 years old. The Legion currently has more than 750 priests, as well as 70,000 followers in its affiliated lay organization, Regnum Christi. Maciel was legendary for his fund-raising skills. (ABC News)

A prominent Catholic priest, praised by Pope John Paul II as "an efficacious guide to youth," Father Marcial Maciel, sexually abused not only young seminarians under his control but also abused his own children, according to a lawsuit filed today in Connecticut by a man who claims to be Maciel's son.

Exclusive interview reveals secret life of priest who founded Catholic order.

In an interview to be broadcast Monday evening on ABC News Nightline, the priest's son, Raul Gonzalez, 30, says he thought his father worked for the CIA or an international oil company, until he saw the priest's picture in a 1997 magazine article detailing allegations of sexual abuse.

"My mom said, 'Is that you?' and my dad said, 'No, it's not me' and my mom said, 'Yeah, it's you,'" recalled Gonzalez in the interview, conducted by Jason Berry, an investigative journalist who first reported on widespread sexual abuse by Maciel at the Legion of Christ and writes for the National Catholic Reporter.

The Legion of Christ has acknowledged that Father Maciel fathered at least one child as a priest.

Jun 20, 2010

Calling All Grandparents | The world’s a mess. Let’s fix it for the children.

Neat blog... come on grandparents... Let's get it done! ... Monte

Drill Baby Drill

June 18, 2010Stop the bribes! Demand clean energy! Sign the petition:http://bit.ly/cDH57s
BP has caused an unprecedented environmental and economic disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and along with conservative politicians, a well oiled public relations machine and their countless and shameless lobbyists they continue to push for more irresponsible drilling and want to make us believe that what they are doing is righteous and necessary.
Enough. We don't need more shameless media games and manipulative political agendas.

Time to get serious about a new energy policy which moves US toward renewable energy in a significant way... Monte