A Black Revolution in Shenandoah Valley Agriculture & Energy
Biochar, the modern version of an ancient Amazonian agricultural practice called Terra Preta (black earth), is gaining widespread credibility as a way to address world hunger, climate change, rural poverty, deforestation, and energy shortages SIMULTANEOUSLY!
This technology represents the most comprehensive, low cost, and productive approach to long term stewardship and sustainability.Terra Preta Soils a process for Carbon Negative Bio fuels, massive Carbon soil sequestration, 10X Lower Methane & Nitrous oxide soil emissions, and 3X Fertility Too.
This virtuous energy cycle converts one ton of Biomass to; 30% Charcoal for soil Sequestration, 25% Synthesis-Gas & 25% Bio-Oil.
Indeed, Dr. James Hansen, NASA’s top Atmospheric authority, is now placing Biochar in the center stage of pro-active solutions for the climate crisis.
Charles Mann (“1491”)in the Sept. National Geographic has a wonderful soils article which places Terra Preta / Biochar soils center stage.
I think Biochar has climbed the pinnacle, the Combined English and other language circulation of NGM is nearly nine million monthly with more than fifty million readers monthly!
We need to encourage more coverage now, to ride Mann’s coattails to public critical mass.
Please put this (soil) bug in your colleague’s ears. These issues need to gain traction among all the various disciplines who have an iron in this fire.
Several Biochar programs are now happening at Virginia Tech & JMU.
This week VA Tech demonstrated the first ever mobile pyrolysis unit at the Heatwole farm in Dayton VA, converting a ton chicken litter into 1/3 ton Biochar fertilizer the rest Bio-oil and Syn-gas.biofuels.
I spoke with Jon Nilsson of the CarbonChar Group, in their third year of field trials ; An idea whose time has come | Carbon Char Group. He said the 2008 trials at Virginia Tech showed a 46% increase in yield of tomato transplants grown with just 2 – 5 cups (2 – 5%) “Biochar+” per cubic foot of growing medium.
The Only Carbon Negative energy system.
Farming is Carbon Management:
Farmers should embrace carbon taxes, they have the greatest ability to capture and store it. No till practices are now granted carbon credits for increases in soil carbon content. Increased soil carbon means increased yields.
Virginia Tech, JMU and several other major universities are doing soil trials now that will super charge the soil food webs. By amending soils with charcoal or “biochar”. “Biochar” is produced from all type of biomass waste after the gases and bio-oils are extracted with pyrolysis (ie heating with no oxygen). The oil and gas are bio-fuels, the biochar becomes a massive carbon condominium for beneficial microbes and fungi in the soil food web. The results to date show yield increases of 50-100%,and has been certified by the European Union.
This amendment is unlike any other in that it is biologically inactive and remains in the soil for thousands of years. If American farmers were paid what the Europeans pay out in carbon taxes they would receive $500 for every ton of biochar spread on their fields. The increased yields…icing on their black earth cake.
Carbon back to the soil, the only ubiquitous and economic place to put it.
Erich J. Knight
540 289 9750
Terra Preta Soils Data base;
The new Yahoo Biochar discussion group;