Jul 23, 2011

South Dakota State University Researchers Explore On-Farm Production of Biochar and Bio-Oil From Biomass | BioFuels Journal

Date Posted: July 22, 2011

Rural landscapes of the future might have pyrolysis plants instead of grain elevators on every horizon —processing centers where farmers would bring bulky crops such as switchgrass to be made into crude oil.

Those pyrolysis plants would pass that crude “bio-oil” on to refineries elsewhere to be made into drop-in fuels and industrial chemicals; they would capture and use for their own energy needs a byproduct called syngas made up of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and perhaps carbon dioxide; and they would send farmers away with an important byproduct called biochar that could go back on the land to help rebuild damaged soils, sequester carbon and alter greenhouse gas emissions.

Sound futuristic?

It’s also a current research focus at South Dakota State University.

A major new study by South Dakota State University researchers working with aU.S. Department of Agriculture colleague explores how to get the most from such a production system.

The USDA is funding the project with a grant of $1 million — $200,000 annually for the next five years — to help scientists design a feedstock production system for optimum energy production of “bio-oil,” and also to explore the possible ecological benefits from the use of biochar.

The grant was selected by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s flagship competitive grants program called AFRI, or the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

It was selected in the sustainable bioenergy challenge area.

Typically fewer than 10 percent of proposals are funded, with awards based on external peer reviews of a proposal’s scientific merit.

“We’re looking at this from a whole system approach, and we’re looking at various components in this whole system,” said SDSU professor Tom Schumacher, the project director.

“Historically, the distributive nature of crop production gave rise to a network of grain elevators to separate and coordinate the flow of grain to the processing industry.

"A network of rail lines added new infrastructure to improve efficiency.

"For lignocellulosic feedstocks, a corollary to the grain elevator would be a collection point that would be within 10 to 30 miles of production fields.”

Those collection points wouldn’t be for long-term storage, but to receive, sort and pre-process or process feedstocks using pyrolysis to break them down into bio-oil, syngas and biochar.

Making crude bio-oil would have the effect of densifying the material to a liquid form that is easier to transport for further processing.

Meanwhile, the biochar would likely be used in fields in the service area of the pyrolysis plant.

Pyrolysis is a process that uses elevated temperatures in the absence of oxygen to break down organic materials.

The SDSU study will more specifically use a technique called microwave pyrolysis that heats the feedstock by exciting the individual molecules, making it very accurate and easy to control.

Schumacher’s co-principal investigators on the project include professorsSharon Clay, David Clay, Ronald Gelderman and Douglas Malo and research associate Rajesh Chintala, all of SDSU’s Department of Plant Science; professor Jim Julson and assistant professor Lin Wei in SDSU’s Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering; and supervisory soil scientist Sharon Papiernik of the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory in Brookings, S.D.

Process engineers and soil scientists are collaborating in the research project to learn what happens to bio-oil and biochar production when they vary the pyrolysis processing parameters.

Researchers hypothesize that biochar has different physical and chemical properties depending on the feedstock and the way it is processed.

That could affect its usefulness as a soil amendment.

They’ll examine the characteristics of biochar from three feedstocks: corn stover, switchgrass and woody biomass.

“There’s a lot that’s unknown about specific types of biochar.

"There is no single characteristic that can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of biochars,” Schumacher said.

Biochar’s pH and other characteristics can vary widely depending on what feedstock and process was used to produce it, Schumacher said.

That could make biochar beneficial to the environment, neutral, or possibly even harmful, depending on its characteristics.

But scientists are excited about the possibility of finding beneficial uses for a consistent, well-characterized biochar product.

“In particular, we’re interested in it as a soil amendment for soils that have erosion and degradation problems, with the idea that the biochar could be used to improve those soils,” Schumacher said.

“There’s some indication that some biochars can improve water-holding capacity.

"Biochar also interacts with soil nutrients, holding them, keeping them from leaching. At least there’s some indication that some biochars will do it — others may not.”

Microbial activity may improve with the use of some particular kinds of biochar.

And importantly, biochar is thought to have the ability to tie up carbon for centuries or even for thousands of years, meaning it could be used as a tool to slow global warming.

“We also want to explore the effects of the biochar on herbicide absorption and leaching, and how it interacts with herbicides.

"Does it tie it up so it’s not as effective? Does it make it more active?

"It may have some potential to be used in certain environmentally sensitive areas as a filter, if you would, that would tie up certain chemicals or keep them from moving,” said professor Jim Julson in SDSU’s Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering.

Some types of biochar might also play a similar role in helping to tie up phosphorus to prevent it from washing out of a field with runoff — an important consideration for managing nutrients such as manure.

SDSU researchers will do laboratory and greenhouse studies, and ultimately field studies as well.

The work will characterize different types of biochar in order to build a better picture of how a pyrolysis treatment plant could produce both bio-oil and biochar, in addition to the syngas that would be used for helping to supply the plant’s energy needs.

For more information, call 605-688-4762.

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Farms of the Future: Bio-Oil, Biochar from Biomass « Environmental News Bits

Rural landscapes of the future might have pyrolysis plants instead of grain elevators on every horizon — processing centers where farmers would bring bulky crops such as switchgrass to be made into crude oil.

Those pyrolysis plants would pass that crude “bio-oil” on to refineries elsewhere to be made into drop-in fuels and industrial chemicals; they would capture and use for their own energy needs a byproduct called syngas made up of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and perhaps carbon dioxide; and they would send farmers away with an important byproduct called biochar that could go back on the land to help rebuild damaged soils, sequester carbon and alter greenhouse gas emissions.

Sound futuristic? It’s also a current research focus at South Dakota State University.

A major new study by South Dakota State University researchers working with a U.S. Department of Agriculture colleague explores how to get the most from such a production system. The USDA is funding the project with a grant of $1 million — $200,000 annually for the next five years — to help scientists design a feedstock production system for optimum energy production of “bio-oil,” and also to explore the possible ecological benefits from the use of biochar.

Jul 22, 2011

‪Wayne Keith Wood Gas, On the Road ‬‏!!!

No gasoline, Wood only...!!!
American Farmer Logger Ingenuity...!!! Monte

‪News Corp: Company or Crime Syndicate?‬‏

Is Rupert Murdoch running a company... or a crime syndicate? 
Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp, allegedly.... tapping the phones of murder victims? 
bribing government officials? 
and now, allegedly tapping the phones of 9/11 victims and their families? 
Rupert Murdoch controls and influences a huge amount of all American media 
but is he running a company...
or a crime syndicate? 
Enough is enough.

Call congress and demand a full investigation into Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

FOX on the run... the truth is coming out.... the beginning of the end... !!!   Monte

Biomass Power and Thermal | 24 tons per day each of biochar and bio-oil - Biomassmagazine.com

By Lisa Gibson | July 20, 2011

Three Dimensional Timberlands LLC is devoting its resources to the development of biomass pyrolysis facilities to produce biochar and bio-oil in Oregon, as well as ensuring the sustainable woody feedstock to supply them. Some of the biochar will be used for cofiring in coal plants.

Development of the company’s first facility is well underway in Oregon’s Curry County, about 12 miles north of Gold Beach on the state’s southwest coast. The plant will produce about 24 tons per day each of biochar and bio-oil from about 3 tons per hour of woody biomass sourced from two major prime timberland owners, according to Chip Weinert, partner with Three Dimensional Timberlands. No supply contracts are finalized for the slash and other unmerchantable wood, he clarified, but agreements are in place. All three of the company’s plants will employ a proprietary pyrolysis process that has been proven on a commercial scale, but never implemented on that level, Weinert said.

“There’s a tremendous amount of feedstock here,” he said of the Pacific Northwest, adding that the Curry County plant would have a sufficient supply for the next 180 years, even if nothing was ever replanted.

The site for the Curry County biomass plant once held a wood mill, but it burned down years ago, Weinert said. He hopes to close on the site within the next couple weeks, and if all goes as planned, the new biomass plant could be operational within a year. The company’s other two plants are further behind in development, but will both be larger than the Curry County plant. A plant in western Oregon’s Coos County will be more than triple the size, using about 10 tons of wood per day, and yet another in Clatsop County on the Columbia River will use 20 tons per day, Weinert said. All are on the Oregon coast and the latter two will have the advantage of deepwater ports and rail lines. He confirmed that the company will be looking for customers across the Pacific Ocean. “It’s first steps first,” he said. “We have to get Curry up and running.”

While no offtake contracts are in place for the Curry County plant, Weinert expects the biochar will go to customers for one of three uses: coal replacement; high-quality barbecue briquettes; or soil amendments. The bio-oil can be a direct replacement for heating oil, he added, although 30 percent of bio-oil produced will be recycled back into the system. He anticipates each ton of feedstock will yield one-third of a ton of each product.

Three Dimensional Timberlands found that without heavy government subsidies, it’s not economical to produce power from biomass. “Here in the Pacific Northwest, it just doesn’t pencil out to compete with hydroelectric dams,” he said.

Murdoch Empire "Pummeled" by Phone-Hacking Scandal Exposed by Guardian Journalist Nick Davies

To talk more about the phone-hacking scandal and what it reveals about the Rupert Murdoch media empire, we speak with the British journalist who has been most responsible for exposing the widening story. Nick Davies has been covering the phone-hacking case at The Guardian newspaper with 75 stories over the past three years.

He has been described as Britain’s one-man Woodward and Bernstein, a comparison to the legendary Washington Post reporters who exposed the Watergate scandal in the 1970s. 

Just over two weeks ago, Davies revealed the Murdoch-owned News of the World had illegally hacked into the phone of the missing schoolgirl, Milly Dowler, and her family in March 2002, interfering with police inquiries into her disappearance.

"The Milly Dowler story was fantastically powerful… But I never foresaw this extraordinary chain reaction of emotion, which just pummeled the entire Murdoch camp," Davies says.

"Within three days, it reached a point where nobody could be seen to be Murdoch’s ally anymore. For years, the opposite has been the case, that nobody could been seen to be Murdoch’s enemy." [includes rush transcript]

Nick Davies is one very outstanding and courageous journalist...  Very factual... This guy is as good as it gets in journalism... Monte

Jul 21, 2011

EXCLUSIVE: The Deficit Is Not Default of Obama | Truthout

Thursday 21 July 2011
by: Greg Palast, Truthout | News Analysis

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 11, 2011. (Photo: Stephen Crowley / The New York Times)

Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist" gave debtors' prison a bad rap. Too bad. I'd say that locking away GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a penitentiary for deadbeats seems like a darn good idea.

Let's talk about how we ended up in this pickle, bucking up against the "debt ceiling." From 2001 to 2008, a Republican president took an annual surplus of $86 billion left for him by Bill Clinton and ran up the budget deficit to over half a trillion in a year ($642 billion in 2008). Altogether, George W. Bush blew up the national debt by over $3 TRILLION - then left the bills to Barack Obama.

For eight years, Bush spent like a drunk monkey. The world was the GOP's Bergdorf and they had our credit card. If there was a shiny, new war on the shelf, they just had to have it: Iraq, Afghanistan, and let's not forget the Fantasy Wars, the half a trillion dollars a year on fancy-ass weapons for a war that won't happen. (Example: the Virginia Class submarine. (The V-class was designed to attack Soviet subs. There are no more Soviet subs, but Bush ordered three dozen anyway - at $1.8 billion each.)

And tax cuts? Don't get me started!

The Bush administration acted just like Sarah Palin when she was set loose in that Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis - grabbing whatever she could carry because Sarah could put it on someone else's account.

The GOP's fattened frat boys feasted - but when the waiter arrived with the bill, the belching rich kids looked around, pointed at some poor schmuck sweeping the floor, Mr. John Q. Veteran, and said, "THAT GUY will pay."

By the way: Congressman Cantor, the guy leading the Republicans' refusal to lift the debt ceiling, voted for the V-class sub as well as Bush's bogus scavenger hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But now Cantor doesn't want to pay the bill.

Y'know, Congressman, maybe you think my parents were fools because they taught me: If you buy it, you pay for it.

Apparently, that's not the rule at Cantor's country club.

The sick assumption of this entire debt ceiling debate, as we hear from talking heads whether on Fox or PBS, is that this is our deficit; as if you and I got a tax break or Amazon delivered that submarine to our door.

And the flapping lips on TV also assume that there must be some kind of "compromise" in which the spending spree by the rich must be paid for by the working class. The Washington elite agree we must pay for tax holidays for hedge funds by closing health clinics.

Of course, the GOP is right about one thing. President Tiger Wuss will do just that: make the poorest among us pay the debts of the richest. Here we have a bunch of economic terrorists - "Agree to all our demands or the economy gets it!" - and Obama's idea of leadership is to offer the berserkers three-quarters of what they demand.

Thank the Lord and Michele Bachmann that 75 percent isn't enough for these greedsters.

Solution: Don't pay the banksters

There's another wrong assumption controlling this debate over debt, that the banks, the debt holders, must be paid. When the bankers and the Chinese and the Saudis lent Bush three trillion dollars for his wild-ass buying party, they were betting, like any investor, on the good faith of the borrower to pay it back.

So, let Hu Jintao and King Abdullah stick a collection agency on Cantor and the other Republican shirkers. Repossess their limousines or send The Boys around to remind Cantor what happens when you don't pay what you owe.

The president should say to Hu, the Sheik and Goldman-Sachs:

"I have identified $3 trillion in Treasury notes issued between 2001 and 2008 which were lent to fund President Bush's expenditures. Unfortunately, those who borrowed your money don't want to pay it back. You made a bad investment - but that's how the free market works. Therefore, I am suspending payments on these Treasury notes until we can round up the deadbeats and make them live up to their commitments.

"As president, I have the constitutional duty to pay the bills of the Veterans Administration, the Social Security fund, and other vital services already voted and appropriated by Congress. Military pay before banker pay. Get used to it."

Will the bankers have heart attacks? I hope so. (Maybe if bankers are ill, the GOP will vote for universal health care.) Will China refuse to buy more US debt? Not a chance: The Chinese cannot afford a devaluation of the $2 trillion to $3 trillion in US Treasury notes they have in their pokey, a devaluation which would surely follow their abandoning the US treasuries.

Note: Argentina defaulted and thrived. We can tango, too. But that's all detail for me to argue out with other economists in some effete what-if seminar.

Ultimately, "default" is not the issue. "Default," dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in that age-old battle between Them and Us. They spent the money and now they want Us to pay.

Default lies with the Republican spendthrifts, Mr. President. So, I suggest you issue an executive order creating a new wing at Guantanamo: a debtors' prison for trillion-dollar deadbeats.

(Don't you think Eric Cantor would look good in orange?)

Whole lot of truth in this article... Monte

Jul 20, 2011

Rediscovering an Ancient Fertiliser - Horizons Business

2011 SVN Innovation Awards Winner
Jason Aramburu
Founder CEO Re:char

Re:char empowers subsistence farmers in the developing world to enhance their crop yields and supplement their income, while trapping carbon and enriching depleted soil. Re:char has found that by pyrolyzing plant waste before it decomposes, they are able to re-route solid carbon into a carbon-rich soil amendment, ensuring that plant carbon (and greenhouse gas) does not return to the atmosphere. They are currently serving 750 farmers in Kenya.


In Western Kenya, re:char is a start-up business that's using a different way to enrich the soil. It's a technique that was developed in the Amazon 8,000 years ago, and they're now developing a market for it in the 21st Century.

The product, Biochar, is created by a process of heating organic matter such as waste farm produce, without oxygen. Instead of releasing carbon dioxide into the air as the matter burns, the carbon is locked away in solid charcoal-like chunks of matter.


I'm writing to invite you to view re:char's recent BBC World News Segment online at the following link

Last month the clip aired to millions around the world as part of BBC World's "Horizons Business," focusing on new business opportunities to fight hunger in Africa. We hope you will watch and share the clip with your friends and colleagues. We are thrilled to bring the potential of biochar to the developing world. We've been working hard this summer to expand our manufacturing, distribution and sales operations in Kenya. We were recently named Social Venture Network (SVN) Innovation award winners, for which we are thoroughly excited. As part of the award, I will present re:char at SVN's fall conference bringing together leading impact investors and entrepreneurs. In the coming weeks, we'll be announcing some exciting developments and partnerships, so please stay tuned!

best regards,
Jason Aramburu

How Rupert Murdoch Dragged Media Into the Swamp | Rolling Stone

by Matt Taibbi

Rupert Murdoch

At long last, Rupert Murdoch has made it onto the Mount Rushmore of whiners. The recent house editorial in his defense by the Wall Street Journal (which he owns) contains some of the most deliciously absurd calls for sympathy and pity ever expressed in a public forum, far surpassing such classics as “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore” and Imelda Marcos wailing about how “It’s the rich you can terrorize – the poor have nothing to lose.”

Now, right up there with those great figures in the history of whining, comes Rupert Murdoch. He didn’t write the WSJ editorial, but he might as well have. The piece has been interpreted around the world as being something very like Murdoch’s true thoughts on the scandal. Andrew Neil of the BBC put it this way: "This, from Wall Street Journal, is closest to what Rupert Murdoch really thinks. Pretty defiant."

And this is the money quote from the WSJ editorial:

The Schadenfreude is so thick you can't cut it with a chainsaw. Especially redolent are lectures about journalistic standards from publications that give Julian Assange and WikiLeaks their moral imprimatur. They want their readers to believe, based on no evidence, that the tabloid excesses of one publication somehow tarnish thousands of other News Corp. journalists across the world.

Seeing a Rupert Murdoch publication whine about the meanness and editorial excess of other media companies is almost indescribably hilarious. For sheer preposterousness, I struggle even to come up with credible rivals to this editorial passage. In the ballpark, maybe, is John Wayne Gacy’s famed post-arrest complaint: “I see myself more as victim than perpetrator – I was cheated out of my childhood."

Critics all over the world are using the News of the World scandal as an opportunity to do what should have been done years ago, which is indict Rupert Murdoch in the court of public opinion. He will surely take a severe hit for this scandal, and there’s still no telling yet just how far the revelations will end up going. As Felix Salmon cannily noted, all the efforts so far to keep this scandal isolated to a few reporters, or to a few reporters and maybe an editor, or perhaps just to one publication, have failed.

“In each case,” Salmon wrote, “the scandal proved bigger than News Corp. would have had us believed.”

For all we know, Rupert Murdoch or his sons or other high-ranking News Corp. officials may end up personally inveigled in this affair. Given the monstrous political influence of Murdoch and his companies – this idiotic game of chicken our government is now playing with America’s credit rating is one of countless policy disasters that I believe can be traced directly or indirectly to the insane propaganda that is a consistent by-product of Murdoch's nihilistic quest for profits – that would be a world-shaking development.

But I suspect already that the opportunity to draw real lessons from this affair is going to be missed. Even if Murdoch and News Corp. go down, the basic problem that he represents is going to remain.

The News of the World scandal represents a step over an important moral line for the commercial media. In the constant effort to make money, companies like New Corp. have for decades now been sinking to ever-lower depths to find sensational material. In this case they actually committed a crime in an effort to crank out eye-grabbing copy. But morally, I’m not sure what’s worse: hacking into voice mail accounts, or doing things like outing news that Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s baby son has cystic fibrosis.

The former Prime Minister recently recounted how he and his wife were in tears when Rebekah Brooks, who would eventually be arrested for conspiring to intercept communications, called Brown to tell him she knew about his son’s condition and was planning on doing a story on it.

Brown didn’t say this information came from hacking, but he did accuse other Murdoch publications of trying to access his legal files and medical records.

So what’s worse: the fact that these companies may have illegally seized information? Or the fact that they appeared to have absolutely no restraint when it came to how to use that information?

Years ago – and I’m obviously not old enough to remember this, but I believe it to be true – the move to make money riding a private tragedy like the CF diagnosis of the Prime Minister’s daughter would have been a very difficult moral decision for any news editor to make. Editorial boards everywhere had the discretion to reject that kind of money-making business, and I think most did. Maybe I’m being na├»ve, but that had to be more true decades ago than it is now.

But thanks largely to people like Murdoch, most editors and reporters don’t have that discretion anymore. Or, to put it another way, those who insist upon that discretion don’t make it to positions of influence anymore.

Once the media business made the collective decision to always put money above editorial judgment, I think scandals like the News of the World affair became inevitable. Because once media companies abandoned the notion that their business was somehow different from other money-making businesses, that there were no longer places they wouldn’t go to generate product, it became inevitable that the corporate media game would become nothing more than an all-out, relentless quest for sensational, titillating material.

And if you look at newspapers and TV stations as mere businesses, not as public institutions with unique ethical standards, then you’ll notice a few things very quickly. One is that the Edward R. Murrow model of responsible news is kind of a sucky commercial product. Nobody who is in it for the money is going to ride that horse voluntarily.

The other is that the converse to the Murrow model is resoundingly true: that such things as hatred, resentment, narcissism, fear, secret lusts, and, yes, Schadenfreude have limitless markets, and businesses based upon sales of those things can compete with anything, from investment banking to consumer retail to drug trafficking. People will not stop what they’re doing to listen to a lecture about the dangers of dioxin poisoning, or corruption in Pentagon contracting. But they will stop to gawk at a headless body hanging out of the windshield of a wrecked car.

This was the basic insight that propelled Murdoch to his fortune. Once he committed to that style of business, the business of helping viewers indulge their desire to be titllated, scandals like this became inevitable. To me it’s similar to the problem of insider trading and front-running on Wall Street. When information equals money, and everybody in the business is all about money, pretty soon lines are going to be crossed to get information.

There has to be something else that guides the individuals in these businesses – ethics, morality, patriotism, some non-commercial human thing – that prevents them from taking that step over the line. We have to make it okay for editors to listen to that other part of themselves when making decisions about what to print and what not to print. Whether or not Murdoch broke the law, he definitely did more than anyone else on earth to screw that up for everybody in the news business. I just wonder if he’ll be busted enough for that in addition to whatever else he specifically did in this one scandal.

Setting the Record Straight on Biochar (again) | re:char

by JASON on JULY 19, 2011 in BLOG

We’ve all heard the quotes circulating around the internet–

“We’ve experienced a 300% improvement in crop yield from adding <500kg of biochar/ hectare!”

“My biochar stove will burn any type of waste biomass with zero emissions!”

“Biochar is [insert any number of miraculous claims]!”

We in the biochar community are all excited and enthusiastic about the possibilities for biochar and biochar-producing equipment. Unfortunately, excitement often makes people overzealous, and can lead us to jump to conclusions too quickly. The consequences of making unfounded claims in the nascent field of biochar are potentially disastrous. We should all be familiar with the overarching claims made by Mantria, which ended with an SEC investigation and was recently labeled the “biggest green scam in America.” However, there is a greater danger lurking than investor fraud. Each time an unfounded claim is made about biochar or biochar technologies, it severely weakens the credibility of the entire industry.

At a recent dinner in Kisumu, Kenya, the re:char team met with Prof. Johannes Lehmann (Chair of the International Biochar Initiative) and his team from Cornell University. Subsequently, we paid a visit to the UK Biochar Research Centre at University of Edinburgh. In each case, a hot topic of conversation was the recentcritical review of biochar by a UK-based group called Biofuelwatch. While this report lacks peer-review or significant scientific justification, it does point out some (unfortunately) legitimate issues surrounding biochar. The consensus of the re:char team and our academic friends, is that the content of the Biofuelwatch is largely a response to the unregulated, unfounded and sometimes fraudulent claims made bysome members of the biochar community.

In an effort to clear the air (no pun intended), we are publishing the following points to explain what is currently known about biochar, and what still needs to be determined. We do not consider any claims valid that are not peer-reviewed according to traditional academic practices. We are also working closely with IBI and UKBRC to promote a unified message from the biochar community. So here’s what we feel confident in saying:
Biochar improves crop yield in oxisols: There are now hundreds of peer-reviewed studies on the agronomic benefits of biochar. These papers have shown a variety of yield improvements across a variety of soil types and crops. We areconfident that biochar is effective in tropical and/or weathered soils typically found in Africa in Latin America. For other soil types and crops, there is still much research to be done.
It takes a lot of biochar to see an effect: Current academic consensus is that farmers must apply >500kg of biochar to every hectare of soil in order to see any crop yield improvement. However, most studies at these low concentrations were conducted in pots, which do not accurately mimic in-field conditions. The majority of field trials show yield improvements at concentrations between 3 and 6 tonnes/ha, with some as high as 20 T/ha. We need an order of magnitude more trials across a variety of soil types, with variations in concentration and application technique.
Few (if any) biochar technologies have had their emissions rigorously tested: The unavoidable truth is that any device which combusts or pyrolyzes biomass will generate emissions. Even so-called ‘clean cookstoves’ generate emissions. There is no such thing as a ‘zero emission’ biomass stove. We are currently going through the process of having our kiln’s emissions measured by our friends at the UKBRC. It is a long and involved procedure, but we recommend it to any and all biochar technology companies.
Carbon credits for biochar could be dangerous in places like Africa:Through our work in Kenya and East Africa, we have witnessed firsthand the enthusiasm for carbon credit funding around biochar. Unfortunately, as new markets develop there is the potential for abuse. Kenya has been plagued by a rash of potentially dubious carbon offsets. We urge those touting the benefits of offsets for biochar to exercise caution until markets have sufficiently developed.

We believe that biochar represents a growing industry with gigaton-scale potential. By maintaining a strict code of ethics, and abiding by scientific principles, we can sustainably grow the industry and all benefit. We urge other members of the biochar community to follow-suit and promote transparency.

Jul 19, 2011

Biochar Project Australia - Biochar what is it?

Biocharproject.org is a living evolving resource with the sole purpose of enlightening people to the exiting future of Biochar and its beneficial environmental potential. It is one family’s journey to discover themselves and the beautiful land they were born in with the sole intention of sharing this wonderful discovery that is Biological charcoal.

Their passion for this ancient technology will see them gain many new friends who all have the common good of the planet as a special bond with each other as we teach learn and do many new things.

This journey is about living and as a reader of the website you will learn so many things about Biochar, man, nature. You will feel exited and will want to be part of the action. I implore you to look us up now and become part of our journey, send us your questions and answers and help us help the world with Biochar.

Bio char is charcoal produced by heating organic material at a high temperature in limited oxygen. It is a stable product, very rich in carbon, which is used to lock carbon into the soil.

Anyone can make charcoal. Just burn some wood. At high temperatures you get a more pure product with

additional beneficial qualities.

Of these positive properties, the one we are focussing on is its ability to rejuvenate the planet and its soil.

Bio char has been described as “the single most important initiative for humanity’s environmental future. It allows us to address food security, the fuel crisis, and the climate problem, all in an immensely practical manner.” —Prof Tim Flannery, Australian of the Year 2007

What are the benefits of Bio char?

Digging Bio char into the earth has been shown to bring about many beneficial and long-term positive effects on soil. Like:
increase the water holding capacity of the soil.
increase crop production.
increase soil carbon levels.
increase soil pH.
decrease Aluminium toxicity.
positively change the microbiology of the soil.
decrease soil emissions of the greenhouse gases CO2, N2O and CH4.
improve soil conditions for earthworm populations.
improve fertiliser use efficiency.

The effects of bio char will vary with soil type and the qualities of the bio char used. Studies so far have shown that the greatest positive effects of bio char applications have been in highly degraded, acidic or nutrient-depleted soils.

In Australia, both the CSIRO and NSW Department of Primary Industry are conducting field trials on bio char.

How is Biochar made?

Bio char can be produced from any organic material such as household green waste, paper waste or agricultural waste. It is made in a specially constructed incinerator that heats the organic material under pressure at temperatures above 430°C. The process, called pyrolysis, efficiently decomposes the bio matter, producing the bio char solid, a small amount of bio-oil, and gases whose heat can be use to create electricity. The production of bio char is a carbon negative process overall.

How does Bio-char help with climate change?

Burning trees and agricultural waste contributes a large amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere. The production and use of biochar breaks into the CO2 cycle, releasing oxygen and drawing carbon from the atmosphere to hold it in the soil.

4 Reasons to Eat Garlic - Dr. Weil's Daily Tip

Garlic is more than a culinary mainstay that can add flavor to meals; it is a natural, traditional medicine that has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Regular consumption of garlic has been linked with:
1. Altering how cholesterol is metabolized in the body, making it less likely to oxidize
2. Lowering blood pressure and decreasing clot formation, thus reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack
3. Combating respiratory infections such as common colds and sore throats
4. Reducing fungal or yeast infections

Eating raw garlic (chopped or mashed) releases the herb's full potential as the active component, allicin, forms only on contact with air.

Garlic loses its antibiotic properties when you cook or dry it, and commercial garlic capsules do not preserve the full activity of the fresh bulb.

You can make raw garlic more palatable by chopping it fine, mixing it with food and eating it with a meal, or cut a clove into chunks and swallow them whole like pills.

Jul 18, 2011

‪Conversations with Great Minds, pt. 2 - Lester Brown - Is the global civilization failing?

          Soft spoken 
      Lester R. Brown
    Well worth a watch and listen...
      Wind power is key to immediate problem solution...
      1 Acre of Corn - $1000 / year...
      1 Wind Generator- $300,000 / year...
      Food prices will trigger a tipping point...
      Wall Street is investing in Wind Power... not Nuclear...

    ‪Conversations with Great Minds, pt.1 - Lester Brown - Is the global civilization failing?‬‏

    Thom sits down with Dr. Lester R. Brown, President-Earth Policy Institute / Author or co-author of more than 50 books, his latest is "World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse"

            Soft spoken 
        Lester R. Brown
      Well worth a watch and listen...
        Wind power is key to immediate problem solution...
        1 Acre of Corn - $1000 / year...
        1 Wind Generator- $300,000 / year...
        Food prices will trigger a tipping point...
        Wall Street is investing in Wind Power... not Nuclear...

      How to Find Videos on YouTube by Location

      Would you like to know if there are any videos on YouTube that were shot near a particular geographic location - say in your city or, if you zoom-in further, near your school?

      When you capture a video on a cell phone or digital camera that has GPS, the co-ordinates (latitude and longitude) are saved in the video itself and YouTube can extract these to determine the location of your video. Alternatively, if your camera doesn’t offer the location feature, you can always geotag videos manually while uploading them to YouTube.

      The only little problem is that YouTube doesn’t offer an easy for you to search videos by location but there are alternatives.

      For instance, if you are on Google Maps (or Google Earth), you can zoom-in to a specific area of the maps and then turn-on the video layer to see videos recorded at that location (see screencast). Google says that it displays only the “best videos” in the video layer or videos that have an average user rating higer than 3 stars.

      The other more comprehensive option for searching videos by location is Jotpix. Jotpix determines your current location from the browser and will automatically show local videos nearby or you can key in any address to see video around a specific location.

      Unlike Google Maps, Jotpix doesn’t filter geotagged videos by ratings but you can limit your search by category as well as the date when the videos were uploaded. And as you move around the Google map, the search results will change automatically. Give it a try!

      Also see: Find Twitter Users near a Location


      Jotpix works great...!!! Monte

      Jul 17, 2011

      ‪The Zeitgeist Movement, Regional LA, CA Townhall, 6/21 [Q&A - PART 2/2]‬‏

      ‪The Zeitgeist Movement, Regional LA, CA Townhall, 6/21 [Part 1 of 2 ]‬‏

      June 21st '11 | The Zeitgeist Movement LA, CA | Townhall Talks [Part 1 of 2 ] 

      About: "The Zeitgeist Movement's Townhall Meeting is a community forum for the public to engage the Movement's coordinators about root-cause understandings to social problems, and the solutions we advocate culminating in what can be termed a 'global, resource-based economic model.' " http://zmca.org/ http://tzmlaca.org/post/tzm-at-los-angeles-ca 

      Speakers: Peter Joseph (Global Coord/Founder TZM), Jen Wilding (US National Coord) Jason Lord (CA Coord) Eva Omori (Los Angeles Coord) Brandon Kristy (Los Angeles Coord) Sharleen Bazeghi (Event Coord)

      ‪The Garden Permaculture Song‬‏

      The Garden, a new animation series. To introduce the concept, here is a song about Permaculture. 

      Music by David Griswold http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYIBYQY-h1Q Animation by Oz J Thomas http://www.youtube.com/ozjthomas 

      Uploaded onto PermaScience channel by kind permission of Oz J Thomas. 

      To find out more about Permaculture around the world, please visit : http://www.permacultureplanet.com

      ‪Patriotic Millionaires

      Patriotic millionaires with a simple message: "tax me."