DIALOGUE:Good Day. I am from Murrumbidgee Landcare Inc. and my name is Candice Gouck. I will be presenting a short proposal of a Biochar project. I will be talking about the Biochar itself and what value it will be bring to our organisation. The benefits, objectives and risks will also be discussed.
DIALOGUE:Biochar is a solid material derived from the carbonisation of biomass. Biochar may be added to soils with the intention to improve soil functions and to reduce emissions from biomass that would otherwise naturally degrade to greenhouse gases. Biochar also has appreciable carbon sequestration value. These properties are measurable and verifiable in a characterisation scheme, or in a carbon emission offset protocol. Biochar is the solid remains of any organic material that has been heated to at least 250°C in a zero-oxygen or oxygen-limited environment, which is intended to be mixed with soils. If the solid remains are not suitable for addition to soils or will be burned as a fuel, the material is char, not biochar. Biochar reduces atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, improves many soils, potentially enhances crop productivity, provides some energy for human use and can be used to safely dispose of certain waste materials (Biochar International 2012).
DIALOGUE:As you can see from the picture on the right, Biochar has many benefits.
DIALOGUE:Sustainable biochar is a powerfully simple tool to fight global warming. The practice has been around for 2,000 years. It converts agricultural waste into a soil enhancer that can hold carbon, boost food security, and discourage deforestation. Sustainable biochar is one of the few technologies that is pretty much inexpensive, widely applicable, and quickly scalable.Pyrolysis means heating biomass (wood, manure, crop residues, solid waste, etc..) with limited to no oxygen in a specially designed furnace that captures all emissions, gasses and oils for reuse as energy (Biochar International 2012).
DIALOGUE:Biochar can be added to soils to improve the soil’s features and reduce emissions from biomass. Biochar improves water quality and quantity by increasing soil retention of nutrients and agrochemicals for plant and crop utilization. More nutrients stay in the soil instead of leaching into groundwater and causing pollution.
DIALOGUE:Biochar also has appreciable carbon sequestration value. These properties are measurable and verifiable in a characterisation scheme, or in a carbon emission offset protocol.
DIALOGUE:From Waste to Income - A once worthless and costly byproduct (in most cultures) is now a valuable resource. Through biochar, biomass becomes a sustainable and value-added product for urban and rural agriculture and forest communities while creating jobs, improving soil and reducing forest fire hazards and has created thousands of new jobs (Sustainable, Obtainable Solutions 2009).
DIALOGUE:Bibens feeds the waste -- called "biomass" -- into an octagonally shaped metal barrel where it is cooked under intense heat, the organic matter is cooked through a thermochemical process called "pyrolysis".In a few hours, organic trash is transformed into charcoal-like pellets farmers can turn into fertilizer. Gasses given off during the process can be harnessed to fuel vehicles of power electric generators.
DIALOGUE:Current knowledge about the effects of adding biochar to Australian agricultural soils is not enough to sustain it’s recommendation. Currently Australia’s Climate Change Research Program did not showe enough proof as to the certainty of biochar saving the environment. However, even though there is this uncertainty, farmers are still making their own biochar which could have negative effects on agricultural production. An environmental sustainability analysis, including a life cycle analysis, will give an indication of the overall impact of biochar use in agricultural situations (Bracmort, KS 2009). As biochar technology is in its early stages of development, scientists in the United States are concerned. Three issues that are important to introducing this type of technology are: feedstock availability, biochar handling, and biochar system deployment.Successful implementation of biochar technology is rooted in the ability of the agricultural community to afford and operate a system that is complementary to current farming practices. The availability of a plentiful feed supply for biochar production is an area for further study. To date, feedstock for biochar has consisted of mostly plant and crop residues, a primary domain of the agricultural community. There may be a role for the forestry community to be involved as woody biomass is deemed a cost-effective, readily available, feasible feedstock. Little is known about the advantages of using manure as a biomass feedstock. Some researchers have stated that manure-based biochar “has advantages over typically used plant-derived material because it is aby-product of another industry and in some regions is considered a waste material with little or no value. It can therefore provide a lower cost base and alleviate sustainability concerns related to using purpose-grown biomass for the process.The spreading of biochar onto soil as a fertilizer is ripe for further exploration. Specifically, theideal time to apply biochar and ensure that it remains in place once applied and does not cause arisk to human health or degrade air quality are concerns.12 Particulate matter, in the form of dustthat is hard for the human body to filter, may be distributed in abnormal quantities if the biocharis mishandled. Additionally, there are potential public safety concerns for the handling of biocharas it is a flammable substance. !Biochar systems are designed based on the feedstock to be decomposed and the energy needs ofan operation. It would be ambitious to expect a “one size fits all” standard biochar system.According to proponents, a series of mass-produced biochar systems designed for the needs of a segment of the agriculture or forestry communities might prove to be feasible (e.g., forestrycommunity in the southeastern region, corn grower community in the midwestern region, poultryproducer community in the mid-Atlantic region). Extensive deployment of biochar systems wouldbe dependent upon system costs, operation time, collaboration with utility providers for the saleof bio-oil, and availability of information about technology reliability.
DIALOGUE:Our proposal is sustainable and can restore degraded land and improve the fertility of soil in an environmentally beneficial way. It is not only of environmental benefit to the Murrumbidgee community, but also to the entire world. This is because it removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which is the principle contributor to global warming, and sequesters it in the ground. It also has the potential to reduce damage to riversand oceans causes by fertilizer runoff.
Dialogue:Thank you for listening to our presentation. We appreciate your time and input. Any questions??
WHAT IS BIOCHAR?A solid material derived from thecarbonisation of biomass. It is a fine-grained charcoal made by pyrolysis.
HOW VALUABLE IS BIOCHAR?Biochar is a powerfully simple tool tofight global warming. Transfersagricultural waste into a soil enhancerthat can hold carbon, boost foodsecurity, and discourage deforestation.(Biochar International 2012)
Soils• Can be added to soils to improve fertility• Reduce emissions from biomass.• Improves water quality and quantity
Measurable & VerifiableIt is measurable and verifiable in acharacterisation scheme.(Biochar International 2012)
Agriculture• Help improve agricultural productivity• Valuable resource• Value-added product for urban and rural• agriculture and forest communities• Reduces forest fires• Creates jobs(Sustainable, Obtainable Solutions 2009)
Agriculture (Continued)Biochar is considered by manyscientists to be the "black gold" foragriculture (Ansari, p. 1 of 1 2009)
HARMFULNESS• Not enough research proves biochar willbe valuable to Australian soils (The Bio EnergyWebsite 2012).• Feedstock availability• Biochar handling• Biochar system deployment(Bracmort, KS 2009)
ETHICSEnvironmental benefits with no disruptionto the Murrumbidgee community(Murrumbidgee Landcare Inc 2012).
In Summary……..• Biochar reduces emission gases• Numerous benefits to soils• Measurable and verifiable• Improves agricultural productivity• Research gaps are still evident• Holds strong ethics to it’s people.