Monday, 14 August 2017

Should the palm oil industry focus on energy or regenerative agriculture?

Some biochar related observations by me are published in the comments section.
When the industry does get around to tapping its full biomass resources, lets hope there is attention given to soil, carbon and sustainable (or even regenerative?) agriculture.

Sustainable Palm Oil … harness the full potential of clean energy to reduce carbon footprint

Palm Oil Sustainability: An Inconvenient Truth

"Of late there has been much reporting in the media questioning the sustainability of Malaysian palm oil production turning it into the whipping boy of Europe and the US. This article analyses the chronological events leading up to this sad state of affairs to examine if the backlash is indeed unfair and if there is a way forward to get past this impasse." ....

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

IBI Webinar - 23 August

International Biochar Initiative - Educational Webinar Series
  Past, Present & Future of IBI & the Biochar Industry
 August 23, 2017 • 1:00- 2:30pm ET
The biochar industry has been gaining momentum around the world over the past few years and IBI's role in the industry has been evolving along with that growth. IBI's Chairman of the Board, Tom Miles and Board Member Kathleen Draper will discuss IBI's history, mission and vision for the biochar industry. IBI's goals, expectations, services and potential projects will also be reviewed along with a discussion on many of the changes happening within the industry including various production technologies, new market opportunities and evolving business models.
This webinar also seeks to survey participants to understand how IBI can best engage and support individual, organizational and business members as well as governments and NGOs.  This webinar also provides an opportunity for members and non-members to provide input, suggestions and concerns directly to the IBI Board.

Free to IBI Members or $40 for non-members
To Register:
Registration includes access to the slides and a recording of the webinar.
IBI Members register here (go to the upcoming webinars section). Your event link will be emailed to you after successful confirmation about your membership status.
Non-IBI members register here.
Tom MilesTMiles
Tom is interested in the thermal conversion of biomass for beneficial use. He has expertise in the transformation of ash in wood, straws, stalks, and manures. T. R. Miles, Technical Consultants, Inc., Portland, Oregon, sponsors and hosts internet discussions on biomass energy and biochar. He is on the board of the US Biochar Initiative and a coordinator of the Pacific Northwest Biochar Working Group. He designs systems for biomass processing and handling including densification, carbonization, gasification, power generation, and residue and nutrient management including biochar and composting.

Kathleen DraperKDraper
Kathleen is a member of the IBI Board and Chair of IBI's Information Hub. She is also the US Director of the Ithaka Institute for Carbon Intelligence. The Institute is an open source network focusing on beneficial carbon sequestration strategies which simultaneously provide economic development opportunities both in the developed and developing world. She is an editor and writer for The Biochar Journal, sponsored by the Ithaka Institute. Kathleen also works with various different universities and individuals on projects that are investigating the use of biochar in cement and other building and packaging products to develop products with lower embodied carbon which can be made from locally available organic waste. She has written extensively about various topics related to biochar and is a co-author of the book "Terra Preta: How the World's Most Fertile Soil Can Help Reverse Climate Change and Reduce World Hunger".
For more information:
For more information or if you have any questions about registration please email Vera Medici at
Want to become an IBI member?  Visit our membership page to help support IBI.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Gasifier lab trials at NUS, Singapore

Co-gasification of woody biomass and chicken manure: syngas production, biochar reutilization, and cost-benefit analysis


The management and disposal of livestock manure has become one of the top environmental issues at a global scale in line with the tremendous growth of poultry industry over the past decades. In this work, a potential alternative method for the disposal of chicken manure from Singapore local hen layer farms was studied. Gasification was proposed as the green technology to convert chicken manure into clean energy. Through gasification experiments in a 10 kW fixed bed downdraft gasifier, it was found that chicken manure was indeed a compatible feedstock for gasification in the presence of wood waste. The co-gasification of 30 wt% chicken manure and 70 wt% wood waste produced syngas of comparable quality to that of gasification of pure wood waste, with a syngas lower heating value (LHV) of 5.23 MJ/Nm3 and 4.68 MJ/Nm3, respectively. Furthermore, the capability of the gasification derived biochar in the removal of an emerging contaminant (artificial sweetener such as Acesulfame, Saccharin and Cyclamate) via adsorption was also conducted in the second part of this study. The results showed that the biochar was effective in the removal of the contaminant and the mechanism of adsorption of artificial sweetener by biochar was postulated to be likely via electrostatic interaction as well as specific interaction. Finally, we conducted a cost-benefit analysis for the deployment of a gasification system in a hen layer farm using a Monte Carlo simulation model.

Biochar project funding opportunity - extended deadline

CfP-8 Proposal Preparation Support
the deadline for submission of proposals of CfP-8 has been extended to 31 August 2017.
Please contact us at your convenience if you require guidance and assistance in preparing your project proposal in a a professional way.

EEP Mekong Programme

The Energy and Environment Partnership Programme with the Mekong Region - EEP Mekong, funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, aims to improve access to sustainable energy in the EEP Mekong partner countries Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
This Call-for-Proposals (CfP-8) is aiming at both Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and private sector companies in clean energy to propose projects.  CSO can propose pilot projects on a smaller scale whereas private sector projects should be close to commercial maturity and have potential for scaling-up.
Minimum project value for both applications (CSO and private sector) is Euro 250,000. CSO projects can be funded (grant) of up to 60% of project value.
Private sector projects can receive project grant support of up to Euro 1,000,000 depending on the project size and the level of verifiable self-financing of the project developer.
EEP Mekong is inviting CfP applications in only one step as Full Project Proposals.

To be eligible, projects have to be implemented in one or more of the EEP Mekong partner countries - Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The programme developers have to be registered in one or more of the above partner countries or Finland.
Interested project developers are requested to submit their Project proposal online through the link provided at EEP Mekong website www.eepmekong.orgon or before 31 August 2017, at 16:00 hrs, Vientiane time.
For detailed information about EEP Mekong programme and how to apply for project funding (CfP-8), please visit
or contact
Bernhard Meyhöfer, Programme Manager
Cosme de Arana, Business Development Expert

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Low-Cost Biochar Application in Tanzania Shows Astounding Increases

Bana grass project in Philippines mentions biochar

$10-M bio-charcoal facility to be built in Nueva Ecija

By Robert R. Requintina
Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija – A $10 million bio-charcoal facility will be built here later this year that is expected to be a major source of renewable and sustainable energy, and will provide more employment in the province, according to the MacKay Green Energy, Inc. (MGE).
“It’s European standard. So no emissions,” said MGE Chairman James R. MacKay when asked about the safety of the facility, during ground-breaking ceremonies for the newest plantation in this province recently.
The newly acquired three hectares of land where the new bio-charcoal will be put up is expected to hire more than 1,000 people when completed. “In this facility, you will have charcoal, methane, bio-char, and bio-oil.”
MacKay also said that the energy firm is getting closer to its goal in helping the country become more environment-friendly.
“You don’t have enough biomass in the Philippines. So at some stage, the market will come to a point when it will have to purchase,” MacKay explained.
MGE, he said, has secured the best technologies.
“It has superior qualities to fossil based coal and can be co-fired in existing cola power plants without the need to make drastic changes. It is a key factor for power plants since the Greenhouse Gas Emissions can be directly reduced,” said Mackay.
The whole project will be dedicated to MacKay variety Bana Grass, which is a crop imported by MGE that can be turned into fuel to produce energy.
MacKay said that Bana Grass is a perennial hybrid variety (pennisetum purpureum X pennisetum americanum) which is highly tolerant to drought and typhoons, pest-resistant and is also non-allergic.

FAO Global Soil Partnership Newsletter

Lots of interesting stuff here that overlaps with biochar community interest...

GSP Newsletter 
  July 2017, Issue #12


Global Soil Partnership Newsletter

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

More exciting results from biochar use in Nepal

Biochar-Based Fertilization with Liquid Nutrient Enrichment: 21 Field Trials Covering 13 Crop Species in Nepal


  • This article has been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but has not been through the copyediting, typesetting, pagination and proofreading process, which may lead to differences between this version and the Version of Record. Please cite this article as doi: 10.1002/ldr.2761


Biochar produced in cost-efficient flame curtain kilns (Kon-Tiki) was nutrient enriched either with cow urine or with dissolved mineral (NPK) fertilizer to produce biochar-based fertilizers containing between 60-100 kg N, 5-60 kg P2O5 and 60-100 kg K2O, respectively, per ton of biochar. In 21 field trials nutrient-enriched biochars were applied at rates of 0.5-2 t ha-1 into the root zone of 13 different crops. Treatments combining biochar, compost and organic or chemical fertilizer were evaluated; control treatments contained same amounts of nutrients but without biochar. All nutrient-enriched biochar substrates improved yields compared to their respective no-biochar controls. Biochar enriched with dissolved NPK produced on average 20% ± 5.1% (N=4 trials) higher yields than standard NPK fertilization without biochar. Cow urine-enriched biochar blended with compost resulted on average in 123% ± 76.7% (N=13 trials) higher yields compared to the organic farmer practice with cow urine-blended compost and outcompeted NPK-enriched biochar (same nutrient dose) by 103% ± 12.4% (N=4 trials), respectively. Thus, the results of 21 field trials robustly revealed that low-dosage root zone application of organic biochar-based fertilizers caused substantial yield increases in rather fertile silt loam soils compared to traditional organic fertilization and to mineral NPK- or NPK-biochar fertilization. This can be explained by the nutrient carrier effect of biochar, causing a slow nutrient release behavior, more balanced nutrient fluxes, and reduced nutrient losses, especially when liquid organic nutrients are used for the biochar enrichment. The results open up new pathways for optimizing organic farming and improving on-farm nutrient cycling.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Biochar for water treatment

Biochar and its importance in adsorption of antibiotic and heavy metals from aqueous solutions

Hesham M. Aly 
Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Key Laboratory of Plant Nutrition and Fertilizer, Ministry of Agriculture, China-New Zealand Joint Laboratory for Soil Molecular Ecology, Beijing 100081, China, 
Department of Forestry, Horticulture Institute, Agriculture Research Center, Antoniadis Botanical Garden, Alexandria, 21554, Egypt 


This short communication relates to carbon-rich material referred to as biochar. In the subsequent sections, the text presents old and modern methods of production, physiochemical characteristics and miscellaneous applications of biochar in environmental protection, e.g. treatment of contaminated soil and water, as well as in agriculture for soil fertilization. The final part of the text deals with further possible, more extensive use of biochar in these two economic sectors, particularly to create carbon sink for CO2 sequestration in land cultivation, and to remove heavy metals and pharmaceutical compounds from soil and water in environmental protection.

B4SS have been active in Indonesia & Vietnam

Check out B4SS activities in Vietnam and Indonesia.
From: Ruy Korscha Anaya de la Rosa [biochar] 
Date: 13 July 2017 at 16:17
Subject: [biochar] B4SS Adventure Experience in Peru

Starfish's Biochar for Sustainable Soils (B4SS) project is entering its final year and things are getting really exciting. The results of the last 2-3 years of research are coming in and our focus is now shifting to sharing this practical and important knowledge. Check it out and you could win a trip to Peru!

Dr Ruy Anaya de la Rosa
Project Director | Biochar for Sustainable Soils
  a collaboration of Starfish Initiatives
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