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Biocharculture book

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Written by Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy this is first edition.. the second edition with photographs will be released soon..

Written by Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy this is first edition.. the second edition with photographs will be released soon..

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    Biocharculture book Biocharculture book Document Transcript

    • BIOCHARCULTURE Biochar for Environment and Development Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy
    • This book is written for understanding biochar as a resource. (OK) biocharculture book is declared as the Open Knowledge by Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy, September 2013 Note: Sketches are drawn by the author and photos presented in the book were taken during field visits in parts of India GEOECOLOGY ENERGY ORGANISATION [GEO] | HYDERABAD, INDIA http://e-geo.org | http://biocharindia.com This is the first edition without photos [With photographs the complete edition will be published soon]
    • Biocharculture 3 For ‘The Earth’
    • 4 Biocharculture Contents CONTENTS.........................................................................................4 PREFACE............................................................................................9 INTRODUCTION.................................................................................9 BACKGROUND .................................................................................10 DEFINITIONS ...................................................................................13 BIOCHARCULTURE.............................................................................15 BIOCHAR VS. TERRA PRETA .................................................................17 CHALLENGES ...................................................................................19 SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE ................................................................20 CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION.............................................................22 MY JOURNEY INTO BIOCHAR................................................................23 BIOCHAR TRENDS .............................................................................26 Regional interest......................................................................26 Related terms..........................................................................27 TRADITIONAL BIOCHAR SOURCES....................................................28 RURAL TRASH ..................................................................................31 CULTURE AND RELIGION .....................................................................32 POTTERS KILN..................................................................................32 POTTERY SHARDS .............................................................................33 VALUE OF BIOCHAR IN INDIA...........................................................38 CHARACTERISTICS OF BIOCHAR.......................................................39 HYDROPHOBICITY .............................................................................40 CARBON.........................................................................................40 SIZE OF BIOCHAR ..............................................................................44 TEMPERATURE REGULATION................................................................45
    • Biocharculture 5 BIOMASS SOURCES FOR BIOCHAR...................................................46 STOVES..........................................................................................50 BIOCHAR PRODUCTION...................................................................52 SLASH AND CHAR..............................................................................53 WHY DO FARMERS BURN?.................................................................54 Burning biomass in India..........................................................54 THE BURNING GRASS .........................................................................56 FARMER METHODS ...........................................................................57 LOCAL BIOCHAR PRODUCTION ..............................................................58 Sustainable local production ....................................................59 BIOCHAR PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGIES..........................................60 EARTH / MOUND KILN .......................................................................64 GEO BIOCHAR STOVE........................................................................67 MAGH BIOCHAR RETORT 1 .................................................................67 MAGH BIOCHAR RETORT 2..................................................................68 BIOCHAR RETORT 3...........................................................................68 HM BIOCHAR KILN ...........................................................................69 GEO BIOCHAR TRENCH MOUNDS.........................................................70 GEO BIOCHAR PIT KILN .....................................................................72 GEO MINI METAL RETORT...................................................................72 BIOCHAR PRODUCTION EFFICIENCIES..............................................73 BYPRODUCTS FROM PYROLYSIS ......................................................77 OTHER SOIL AMENDMENTS.............................................................78 BOKASHI ........................................................................................78 PANCHGAVYA..................................................................................79 RAAB.............................................................................................82 TRADITIONAL PRACTICES.................................................................83
    • 6 Biocharculture ANDHRA PRADESH............................................................................83 ORISSA ..........................................................................................83 MAHARASHTRA................................................................................84 UTTARAKHAND ................................................................................85 BIOCHAR DIRECT .............................................................................85 BIOCHAR MULCHING .........................................................................86 BIOCHAR BLENDS ............................................................................87 BIOCHAR COMPOST...........................................................................90 BIOCHAR COMPOST CHARACTERIZATION ................................................91 GEOCHAR.......................................................................................93 Geochar - 1..............................................................................93 Geochar - 2..............................................................................96 Geochar - 3..............................................................................96 APPLICATION OF BIOCHAR ............................................................101 INCREMENTAL BIOCHAR COMPOST APPLICATION .....................................101 APPLICATION PROCESSES ..................................................................102 QUANTITY FOR APPLICATION........................................................103 ADDITIONS....................................................................................104 Compost tea..........................................................................104 Silt.........................................................................................105 BIODIVERSITY................................................................................106 SOIL...............................................................................................111 PHYSICAL......................................................................................112 CHEMICAL ....................................................................................112 BIOLOGICAL ..................................................................................114 Termites ................................................................................114 Earthworms...........................................................................115
    • Biocharculture 7 Ants.......................................................................................116 WATER ..........................................................................................117 TERRA PRETA NUGGETS....................................................................118 CLEAN WATER................................................................................119 FLOATIGATION...............................................................................121 ROOTIGATION................................................................................122 SAPIGATION ..................................................................................122 PERCHIGATION...............................................................................124 SEWAGIGATION..............................................................................125 AGRICULTURE................................................................................125 GERMINATION...............................................................................127 PADDY.........................................................................................128 BEANS .........................................................................................129 FIELD TRIALS..................................................................................129 EFFECT OF BIOCHAR COMPOSTS ON CROP GROWTH .................................130 EFFECT OF BIOCHAR COMPOSTS ON SOIL PROPERTIES ...............................132 THE DARK SOILS ............................................................................135 BIOCHAR URBAN GARDENS...........................................................136 ROOFTOP GARDENS ........................................................................136 BIOCHAR GARDENS .........................................................................136 BIOCHAR MOBILE GARDENS...............................................................138 SANITATION ..................................................................................139 URINALS.......................................................................................139 CLEANING.....................................................................................142 HEALTH AND FOOD .......................................................................143
    • 8 Biocharculture CLEANING THE TEETH.......................................................................143 FOOD ..........................................................................................144 OTHER USES..................................................................................144 GREEN BUILDINGS.........................................................................145 BIOCHAR BRICKS.............................................................................147 SUSTAINABILITY OF BIOCHAR........................................................148 BIOCHAR FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES.................................................149 RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY.........................................................151 GEO RESEARCH CENTRE.................................................................154 INTEGRATED APPROACHES............................................................155 COST OF BIOCHAR .........................................................................156 LIVELIHOODS.................................................................................159 BIOCHAR CONS..............................................................................160 ACHIEVEMENTS.............................................................................162 CIVIL SOCIETY DEBATE...................................................................163 AWARENESS..................................................................................164 MOVING FORWARD ......................................................................165 ABOUT THE AUTHOR.....................................................................168 ANNEXURES ..................................................................................169 REFERENCES ..................................................................................172
    • Biocharculture 9 Preface Biochar research inspired the development of a revolutionary technology that can have tremendous impact on agriculture, water, habitats, energy, health, sanitation, livelihoods, environment as well as carbon sequestration. There is a need to do research and create awareness on this subject and uses. Introduction Although the term “biochar” is a recent adoption, biochar is a very well known matter; it has been part of some of the best practices in traditional agriculture in different parts of the world. People have been using it for many purposes, including soil fertility management. Recently it has attained greater importance because of discoveries and ongoing scientific research. This book is titled as ‘Biocharculture’ is to address the diverse uses of biochar. It is convenient to explain about biochar as traditional, cultural, sustainable, multi-user and adoptable practice rather than just as a product for soil
    • 10 Biocharculture amendment. The term biocharculture (Bio-char-culture) was coined by the author. The soil fertility enhancement and the long-term carbon sequestration through biochar application in soils offer an innovative window of opportunity to enhance the living conditions of rural families. These aspects as well counteract deforestation, protect biodiversity, increase crop production, improve agricultural waste management and remove carbon from the atmosphere as a carbon-negative strategy to fight global warming. The common elements like soil microbes, pottery shards, bones, urine, mulch, compost, manure and silt were integral part of biochar. In the recent past which are replaced by non- disclosed elements. Biochar as a commercial product is being sold under different names so there is more confusion about names. For biochar to become a culture like Terra Preta it is more difficult in the present world, unless practices are evolved for adaptation to the present conditions. Background Biochar is produced after pyrolysis of biomass using a typical temperature range of 300-800 degrees centigrade (Barnikv). Biochar formed within this range has the highest value. At a lower temperature results in a higher percentage of the biomass converted into biochar; while at higher
    • Biocharculture 11 temperature the part of biomass is converted into energy, so the quantity of biochar produced is less. Depending on the priority and functionality of biomass gasification – total energy and heat generated and biochar production as by-product, the temperature during the pyrolysis can be adapted. The design of the burning chamber is therefore an important aspect determining temperature and feed use efficiency. In rural areas, where biochar is simply the end-product left over after meals has been prepared on the stoves, stove design determines the ratio of energy, heat and biochar production. The Author has designed over 50 good stoves based on materials available in rural sites. A typical stove reduces biomass fuel consumption due to higher efficiency and produces 16% to 25% biochar. Research has shown that the benefits include improvement in soil productivity, long-term soil carbon sequestration, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and reduced leaching losses of nutrients (Lehmann et al., 2006). Biochar is known to have high cation and anion exchange capacity (CEC and AEC respectively), which improves nutrient use efficiency when biochar is applied to the soil. It is particularly beneficial in sandy soils and highly weathered clay soils, which have a low native CEC, AEC and low fertility. Biochar also acts as a source of small amounts of P, K, and other nutrients (Lehmann et al.,
    • 12 Biocharculture 2003; Lehmann et al., 2002). Soil pH is an important factor in determining the bioavailability of nutrients and biochar is known to raise soil pH (Chan et al., 2008) and thus improve the nutrient availability to crop plants. Biochar compost has a very high soil microbial density, which balance and bring the soil pH close to neutral over a period of time. Biochar compost can be applied to all types of soils i.e., acidic, basic and neutral soils. It has been reported to adsorb harmful chemical compounds from the soil such as phytotoxins and nitrification inhibitors and improve plant growth. Biochar is also reported to enhance the microbial population (Wardle et al., 1998; Zackrisson et al., 1996) and improve moisture holding capacity and soil structure (Piccolo and Mbagwu, 1990; Piccolo et al., 1996). In the wake of rising CARBON DIOXIDE concentration in the atmosphere and global climate change (IPCC, 2007), the resistance of biochar to decomposition offers another ecological benefit. Biochar can remain in soil for hundreds of years to millennia (Cheng et al., 2008; Saldarriaga and West, 1986). (Glaser, 2001) reported that the Terra Preta soils contained up to 70 times higher carbon content than the neighboring soils. Radiocarbon dating of these soils showed biochar dating back to 740–2,460 years Before Present (Saldarriaga and West, 1986). Research has shown reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (Singh et al., 2010; Spokas and Reicosk (, 2009) and leaching losses of nutrients(Laird et al.,
    • Biocharculture 13 2010), which adds further incentive for the use of biochar as a soil amendment. Definitions Biochar is an emerging science, so there is no single definition to explain it. Biochar is another name for charcoal, when it is used for particular purposes other than combustion. Like all charcoal, biochar is created by pyrolysis of biomass. It’s typical physical and chemical composition allows beneficial application in a diversity of sectors. Here are some statements to understand it: • Biochar term is being used mainly to focus on soil fertility enhancement and management. • In the agricultural sector providing additional binding sites for nutrients and improving soil water retention capacity. • Biochar: "Biochar" is the charcoal (carbonaceous material) produced from biomass for good use. • The biochar is produced at temperatures around 300 to 800 degrees centigrade from biomass. Biochar as a byproduct from the biomass cook stoves falls within this range of temperature. However the biochar produced at
    • 14 Biocharculture more than 800 degree centigrade or less than 300 degrees centigrade temperature can also be used for the various purposes, but with lesser results. • The broad areas of biochar as biocharculture include applications for soil management, livestock, biomass energy, water purification, green habitats, sanitation, food, health, etc. • Biochar is part of geoengineering addresses Environment and Livelihoods of the communities. • The prefix ‘bio’ in bio-char implies living, i.e., the microbial life in the char. • Like all charcoal, biochar is created by pyrolysis of biomass. • Biochar, a porous material, increases water retention, stimulates symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legumes and creates a “cozy home” for bacteria, microorganisms, fungi, minerals and nutrients in general, which lead to an improved nutrient supply for plants and reduced nutrient losses by leaching (Glaser, 2002) • Biochar, as a relative stable form of carbon, is still found in ancient Terra Preta soils of the Amazon Basin and thus, it could be considered as a long-term carbon sink (Lehmann, 2007)
    • Biocharculture 15 The philosophy of biochar has led me to understand it as science, culture, social, economic, tradition, art, history, panacea, and much more - ‘The Almighty’. Biocharculture Biochar definitions are evolving; some just limit it to explaining its use for soil amendment. Here it is broadly adopted calling it as “biocharculture”, which makes it more integral and not an exclusive product for addressing just the soil amendment. As biocharculture the biochar can be used and reused in many ways and in the process address many important needs and benefits. Say biochar in compost reduces the emissions, reduces the leachate (valuable minerals loss), absorbs the urea in urine, oxidizes the biochar, and finally when applied to soil enhances the fertility. In the process addresses effective composting, reducing the greenhouse gases, improves sanitation and overall value biochar increased. Biocharculture citation
    • 16 Biocharculture “To give credit to the term "Biocharculture", I must acknowledge Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy, Geoecology Energy Organisation (GEO), Hyderabad, India, who has been successfully utilizing "Biochar compost" for the past few years in his country. He is part of the "vanguard" of a new biochar- based agricultural paradigm shift, away from "Green Revolution" technologies and toward "holistic" growing gardening / farming techniques and which also includes many | most of the Organic and Permaculture techniques.” - Lloyd Helferty, Engineering Technologist, Principal, biochar Consulting, 22, September 2012 For biochar to become biocharculture, it takes time if such practices are not existing traditionally. All the charcoal from stoves or any other sources always remained in the same environment and had been part of life. Biochar creates an environment and as a catalyst benefits positively. The biochar is derived as part of practices such as: As a byproduct from biomass cook stoves; from burning of crop residue or biomass either intentionally or by accident or naturally; biochar utilized for sanitation (toilets / urinals), as tooth powder for cleaning teeth; cleaning used plates; in construction as biochar bricks; used in poultry farm sheds; in refrigerators; etc. Many other values are found in the bamboo biochar, which Japanese have been using traditionally. All the traditional biochar products were never commercial products and always have more than
    • Biocharculture 17 one value before reaching the fields for improving the soil environment. Ultimately the biochar reaching the soil addresses the global warming as carbon sequestration too. Biochar is not something that suddenly one has discovered. For all farmers it can be adopted and one need not be in a hurry to apply large quantities in a go to have bumper yield or crop, the annual incremental application would be more sustainable for the farmer as well for the environment, unlike the chemical fertilizers applied in the last 50 years making the fields non-sustainable and an ecological disaster. Biocharculture (Bio + char + Culture) is a broader representation of charcoal for covering all the aspects relevant to the use of charcoal. Biochar vs. Terra Preta Biochar use is a millennium old concept, as already used by many cultures. One of the well adopted and researched area is in the parts of the Amazon basin. Charcoal burial goes back 2,000 years or more in Brazil. Man-made soils at many sites they are known as “Terra Preta” (the Portuguese term for
    • 18 Biocharculture “black earth”), are still the most productive of perhaps any on earth. It builds on the application of stable organic matter in the form of biochar (biomass-derived black carbon or charcoal) in conjunction with nutrient additions. This biochar is very stable, provides and retains nutrients for millennia, as seen in Terra Preta. Terra Preta was first described by Charles Hartt in 1874. Biochar is a recent adaptation practice; whereas Terra Preta is a more holistic, traditional and sustainable practice. Till 2007 the discussions on charcoal use for soil amendment were under the title "Terra Preta". And the comparison was ‘is it possible to recreate the same Terra Preta now. Biochar term has been used extensively only since the year 2007. Biochar is part of Terra Preta science, charcoal is only one of the aspects in common. Under biochar there is not much scope to discuss about the rural trash, cultural and traditional aspects to explain the presence of pottery shards, fish bones, silt, etc. Terra Preta represents traditional wisdom and biochar is the modern science still evolving. Along with charcoal the rural trash consisting of pottery shards, fish bones, compost, manure, urine, silt, etc. were added to the less fertile acidic soils to improve fertility of the soils. Similarly the rural trash in many villages in India had a
    • Biocharculture 19 similar composition till recent past. The charcoal and ash from the traditional stoves; pottery shards from innumerable uses such as roof tiles, pots, utensils and cultural utility; compostable biomass and urine from domestic livestock; fish and animal bones; etc. was part of the rural trash. These materials were collected in farm yard manure pits and after composting it was spread on the fields. The charcoal, a byproduct of the traditional stoves is added to the farm yard manure or compost pits, which was inoculated naturally with the soil microbes and later transferred to the fields. Traditionally in the absence of pesticides and chemical fertilizers the native soil microbes and other life forms existed. Now very little soil life exists. Biochar is a recent term, but charcoal plus applications to soil was as old as civilizations existed. Terra Preta in Amazon, Raab in India, Babito in Camaroon, Bokashi in Japan are some of the practices where biochar was used. Biochar is considered by some as an immediate solution; whereas Terra Preta is a cultural practice and is a long term solution. Challenges
    • 20 Biocharculture The exponential population growth, soil degradation and hardening, alkalinity, water scarcity, limited access to resources for agriculture, food security, climate change and global warming are the serious concerns. Current unsustainable practices are enhancing the vulnerability of communities and also detrimental to the fragile ecology and the environment. Biocharculture is one of the means to integrate with traditional and cultural practices with current practices for sustainable livelihoods and as well finding solutions to the many present and future challenges of earth. Sustainable Agriculture The modern day agriculture practices in the name of development and green revolutions have introduced unsustainable practices at the detriment of agriculture, soil and the local environment. The farmers were independent earlier and now they have become dependent. There is also criticism of agricultural practices releasing greenhouse gases from soils say CH4 emissions from paddy fields; CARBON DIOXIDE emission from crop residues burning, from the tillage of lands and from the farm machinery and energy consumed during agricultural operations; and NOx emissions from fertilizers applied.
    • Biocharculture 21 The mechanization and improper farming practices have led to erosion and degradation of the soils. For example according to the Government of India, about 146 million hectares of land are considered degraded. Farmers still believe that adding extra chemicals is good for the soils; nonetheless, agricultural productivity is declining. Some of the present challenges in agriculture is to address the food security issue as well as mitigate the global warming through adaptation of good practices such as biocharculture. Need to have nutrient density food as well as more food from the limited resources. The climate variability and extremes along with climate change are causing impact on crop production and vulnerability to pests and diseases. The soils have poisoned due to significantly reduced organic amendments and unscrupulous application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The alkalinity and salinity of soils is another human induced problem along with land degradation. The depleting of water resources and the soil moisture aspects are affecting the crops survival and growth. The mismanagement of biomass is some of the major problems. There are multi-story apartments in an urban areas to support large densities of population, similarly within the soil, space should be created for maximum survival and densities of
    • 22 Biocharculture soil microbes. In this regard, there is a need to improve soil environment, removal of hazardous elements from soil, availability of nutrients and minerals for increasing the crop production and improving the quality of produce. To achieve this, the present ongoing agricultural practices are non- sustainable. Domestic livestock supported the agricultural systems through drought energy, fertilizers and many other byproducts in the past. The livestock is depleting and draught animals are being replaced by the machines. The meagre fodder waste, dung and urine of the animals should be conserved for effective utilization. The overall environment of the animals and their health should be improved. biochar is one of the solutions for value addition to all the above aspects. The hypothesis is that if Terra Preta soils happened in the Amazon basin, there is no reason why other civilizations around the world have not discovered similar properties of charcoal and adopted?! Climate change mitigation Biochar is more recalcitrant than organic matter, therefore it has longer residence time of more than 1000 years in soil. Because of longer life it is useful for carbon sequestration
    • Biocharculture 23 when applied to soil. Laboratory studies using the latest technology estimate that biochar has a mean residence time in soils on the order of 1300–4000 years (Cheng et al. 2008, Liang et al. 2008). Biochar can store carbon for centuries to millennia (Lehmann, J. 2007 in Hansen, J. 2008: pp. 12) Decreases N2O, CH4 and CARBON DIOXIDE emissions from soil through absorption, thus reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Biochar reduce emissions of GHGs such as N2O (Lehmann, J. 2006 in Hansen, J. 2008: pp. 12). NOx emission reduction up to 80% and complete suppression of CH4 (Rondon et al. 2005: in Lehmann 2007 and Gaunt and Lehmann 2008. It is useful for methane and other GHGs reduction in paddy fields, farm yard manures and composts. My Journey into biochar During the visits to parts of India for studies and evaluations, the author has come across the challenges relevant to soils and the agriculture. The reality has sensitized and motivated him to work on management of soils for agricultural sustainability, food security and livelihoods. This is a nine years endeavour in understanding the values of biochar amendments to soils and other applications. The research studies were conducted by the author mainly with the farmers in the semi-arid areas in parts of Andhra
    • 24 Biocharculture Pradesh state, India. In parts of semi-arid areas, low and erratic rains have led to frequent droughts and further reduced the crop yields. As a result, the livelihoods of the villagers primarily dependant on the agriculture is at stake. Where, the vegetation is tropical dry deciduous, with small trees interspersed in scrub vegetation. Agriculture is the main livelihood activity, which is heavily dependent on rainfall. The soils are diverse, including sandy soils, red soils, black cotton soils and alkaline soils, which support a variety of crops. Common crops cultivated are paddy, sorghum, maize, sesame, red gram, green gram, cotton, chilli, and other vegetables as well as horticultural crops such as mango. In these parts many people still use traditional clay and three stone stoves. In some parts people produce charcoal from Prosopis Juliflora and local biomass using traditional earth mound kilns. Such activities create pressure on the scant biomass resources. Part of biomass from land development activities are disposed of by open burning, resulting in biomass loss, air pollution and wastage of an energy source. Cotton is one of the major crops cultivated, after harvest many farmers burn it openly in the fields, which generate smoke and ash. The amount of biochar formed by open burning is very low. Due to the increased demands for charcoal, the local population has been converting the locally available biomass into charcoal through the traditional methods.
    • Biocharculture 25 To support the communities on biochar and related aspects the author in the last nine years has been engaged in the following aspects. Study, design and introduction of energy efficient and clean burning cook stoves that produce biochar as a by-product. Development of appropriate biochar amendments for increased soil fertility and crop yields for the farmers. Introduced improved charcoal production techniques from Prosopis Juliflora and crop residue as an additional livelihood opportunity to the farmers. These engagements also aim at demonstrating climate change mitigation practices at the micro-level by the communities. The scope of biochar has expanded during interactions with communities; field trials and experiments conducted; discovering traditional practices of using biochar in parts of India; and during capacity development programs conducted on biochar. The author has discovered the values of biochar for multipurpose, calling it as biocharculture. Created broader awareness on biocharculture and promoted policy dialogue on the sustainable agricultural practices at various levels. Initially the biochar experiments were conducted on the roof top (200 square yards) area. To continue his research interests on biochar culture the author established the GEO Research Centre in Peddamaduru village, Devaruppala Mandal,
    • 26 Biocharculture Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh, India (17°36'1.92"N and 79°18'2.74"E). This location is about 100 km northeast of Hyderabad city. This centre has biochar production, processing facilities, biodiversity of 200 species in half acre of land for soil microbes, green buildings using biochar bricks and biochar producing TLUD stoves in the stoves museum. This place is also called “Geo Spirit Centre”. The concept of Geo Spirit Centers, was evolved by the author to encourage conservation and facilitation of local biodiversity especially soil microbes. The people are motivated to declare such centres. In these centres GEO Spirit meets are conducted for the “Earth Leaders”. The microbial biodiversity is at a great loss affecting the soil health, these centres would be storehouses for such microbes which could be inoculated into the respective local soils by the farmers using biochar. Diamonds and biochar although both are basically carbon but biochar has more values for being what it is. Biochar Trends The term biochar is in vogue since 2007 onwards, see Google Trends. Regional interest
    • Biocharculture 27 The countries interested in the biochar the institutes, agencies, organizations, individuals, etc. Australia 100 Canada 41 United States 40 United Kingdom 26 India 21 Italy 20 Germany 12 Related terms The terms associated with biochar and their importance. biochar soil 100 biochar production 70 pyrolysis biochar 55 pyrolysis 55 biochar international 45 biochar stove 40
    • 28 Biocharculture make biochar 40 biochar initiative 40 what is biochar 30 biochar research 30 As per the Linkedin the biochar is very important aspect as a skill by 19% relative growth per year Biochar 19% y/y Primary Industry: Renewables & Environment Traditional biochar sources Biochar had been in use in many parts of the World. The use was a traditional practice and the uses were known to some extent. In the context of Global warming, food security, reclaiming degraded soils, enhancing soil productivity, reducing soil leaching, and sequestering carbon, etc. the biochar got into prominence. Biochar as a component for soil fertility improvement in agricultural production is a fact known to people from ancient civilizations. Improving the soil fertility by all means for food security was the major concern of farmers for several
    • Biocharculture 29 centuries. Farmers are more sensitive in this aspect, because farming is their livelihood. On an average 30 to 50 kilograms of biochar can be produced by inefficient methods of biochar production from the biomass collected in an acre of land after harvesting the produce. Otherwise crop residue is burnt openly, which is not recommended. About 100 to 250 kilograms of biochar could be produced through controlled and efficient pyrolysis in many fields from crop residue per season from one acre of land. If the half-life of the biochar existence in the fields is about 40 years and minimum life is about 1000 years, there would be a cumulative accumulation of biochar (however little is formed) in the respective fields due to the practice of burning biomass in the fields. In the old world majority of the fields under cultivation are not less than 100 to 200 years old. It means that there is at least 10 tonnes of cumulative biochar possibly existing in such fields. Similarly there is also the presence of pottery shards and bones in this soil. Before confirmation of the quantity of biochar application, there is a need to actually take sample field plots and measure the presence of biochar, pottery shards, bones (chicken, mutton, fish, etc.) in the soil. During discussion with the farmers on why farmers prefer to burn biomass in the fields, they said that, it is easy to do
    • 30 Biocharculture farm operations like: weeding, ploughing, and other activities, without interference from the biomass stumps occurring in the field. Soils after burning of biomass results in baking of the soil, which kills certain larvae dormant in the soil waiting to damage crops and also reduces the presence of termites and ants. The possibility is that some of the beneficial life also gets killed in the processes. People burn millions of tonnes of crop residue in several parts of India, especially during the January to July months as part of field preparations. The crop residue burnt in the fields gets converted into biochar and ash. This practice has benefited the soils and farmers since ages. The crop yields are enhanced by 200% to 400% through biochar plus amendments to the soil. Biomass burning due to forest fires and open crop residue burning leads to smoke and aerosol particles which are considered a major source of carbon dioxide (CARBON DIOXIDE), carbon monoxide (CO), methane (CH4), volatile organic compounds (VOC), nitrogen oxides and halogen compounds. The greenhouse gases CARBON DIOXIDE and CH4 directly influence the global warming. Biocharculture is a holistic approach, which is historically tested, traditionally practiced, culturally integral,
    • Biocharculture 31 economically viable, socially responsible, environmentally sustainable, and as a policy agreeable Rural trash Traditionally along with biochar the rural trash consisting of straw, animals poop, urine, bones, pottery shards, etc., was added together to create farm yard manures. The people in the rural areas collect the trash from various sources: The livestock sheds (fodder waste, urine soaked fodder, dung / excreta), houses (waste material after cleaning the floor, broken tiles), Stoves (biochar and ash), Kitchen Waste (wasted food, vegetables and bones, broken pottery). All the trash collected is routinely dumped in a pit for up to a period of one year, it is in general is also called Farm Yard Manure (FYM). The inoculation of biochar with soil microbes is very much possible in this situation, which enhances the property of the biochar. Similarly the pottery shards property in the compost is enhanced. This is one of the ways biochar is contributing to the fertility of soils traditionally. The quantity of biochar in this method is very less is the biochar is derived mainly from stoves. This is a traditional practice existing in many parts of the world. In most cases the livestock is kept close to the residential areas in many parts of
    • 32 Biocharculture the world, for some of the above reasons. Compost pits located away from residential areas may not have biochar in them. Culture and religion Bonfires created during religious ceremonies, cultural activities, festivals, holy altars, cremations, etc. also leaves behind the biochar and ash. During the major festivals in India, like Holi (colours festival), Sankranti (after harvest festival) and Deepawali (lights festival), large quantities of biomass is burnt. These resultant byproducts also finally reach the soils. Potters Kiln The left over material from the traditional potters kiln after baking pottery items is a good additive for the soils. These kilns yield the following material after burning, wood and straw (paddy straw), etc. • Charcoal - mostly from the wood used • Ash - from the straw and wood used • Broken pieces of pots - some of the pots broken during the baking process • Brunt soil which is used to cover-up the kiln
    • Biocharculture 33 All the above components form a good additive for the acidic soils as it is. The potters rarely shares this material with others; and use it as the most precious material in their own fields. Pottery Shards The pottery shards from the use of pottery items also added value. The pieces of pottery shards are part of daily life and culture. Most often the biochar plus other components like pottery shards, bones even after many uses reach the field or soil, especially in rural areas. The remains from the potters kiln, a combination of charcoal, pottery shards and little ash, have always been a valuable source for improving the fertility of the soils. Although the addition of charcoal to the soils has been a long time practice, it was not explicit and remained only as part of traditional best practices in India. Because of such good practices agricultural activity is still sustainable in many parts of India. Traditionally there had been an association between charcoal and pottery shards. During the production of pottery in the kiln or retort, the process of baking is a slow process. In the kiln the biomass used as fuel gets converted into biochar and ash at the end. There always remained some broken
    • 34 Biocharculture pottery along with biochar and ash at the end as a byproduct. The byproduct material improves the condition of the soils when applied. This aspect is known to farmers with experience that the traditional potters always tend to apply this material in their fields and consider it as ‘gold’ for the soils. Wherever agriculture was the main livelihood, high densities of population existed, when civilization was at the helm space was a constraint, innovations were adopted by humans, and such practices are sustainable even now. The charcoal, ash and pottery shards are the most common by- products of human habitats. Traditionally farmers were independent, over the years they are made dependent Sources of biochar and pottery shards from parts of rural India. Aspect Charcoal Pottery Shards / baked soil Cooking Charcoal Cooking pottery utensils Water Purification Charcoal for water purification Pots Slash and burn Charcoal a Baked earth
    • Biocharculture 35 byproduct Seasonal crop residue burning Charcoal Baked earth Slash and burn of forest areas / bushes intentional Charcoal Baked earth Accidental forest fires Charcoal Baked earth Rural enterprises - Potters Kiln Charcoal Broken pottery shards - Black smiths place Charcoal - Hotels Charcoal Community kitchens (Schools / temples / etc.) Charcoal Broken pottery shards Rituals / Cultural - Ceremonial pottery used for all cultural occasions and festivals Pottery shards - Yagnas / Agnihotras / Altars Charcoal Pots - Cultural Bonfires – during Holi / Pongal / Charcoal Pots
    • 36 Biocharculture Dasserah / Deepavali, etc. - Cremation grounds Charcoal Pots - Housing Roof tiles shards during replacement -Toys Clay toys and Pots At least some biochar along with ash was contributed by the people living in habitations in the past (see table above). The availability of such a byproduct in the required quantities, ingenious use, management and development are the aspects still to be discovered in parts of the world The fired pottery made up of clay is most popular. Still some poor people in rural areas cook in the clay pots. For drinking water collection and storage pots are most common, even today millions of pots are produced and used. The usage would be more especially during summers. The evaporation of the water from the fine pores of the pot cools the water inside the pot. The temperature would be at least five degrees centigrade less than the surrounding air temp. The cooling effects would be very high under less relative humidity conditions. The roofs made up of clay tiles also provide cool shelter, and very much useful in the tropics where temperatures are very high during summers.
    • Biocharculture 37 For almost all types of festivals, events and occasions pottery items are ordered as part of the rituals. In many parts of India, from birth to death pottery is used. So, many pottery shards regularly contribute to the rural trash, which finds its way into the soils. The clay from local water bodies is used for pottery. The organic carbon content of the clay collected from such water bodies (tanks, ponds, lakes, rivers, etc.) is around 0.9%. Such clay is mixed with a little ash plus charcoal powder from the kilns. And sometimes for fire resistance sand (quartz) is also used along with ash. The availability of water bodies support in accessing the clay and sand for pottery. The pieces of broken pots are thrown in a Farm Yard Manure pit. During manure spreading pottery shards also reach the fields. With time the size of the pottery shards reduces due to breaking. Ultimately over the years the pottery shards spread. It was observed that the density of occurrence of pottery shards varies from field to field. In the old world usage of biochar is mostly a cultural or traditional practice. The Japanese are still using Bamboo charcoal in many ways. Biochar is not something suddenly one has innovated, there is a need to discover its use and also evolve new uses.
    • 38 Biocharculture Value of biochar in India The addition of biochar to the soils was an existing practice since prehistoric times. But it was not explicit; it remained as part of traditional best practices in India like in other parts of the world. The biochar use as traditional and cultural practice is there for centuries for various uses including agriculture. Probably the soils in India remained mostly fertile due to other good practices also, so there was not much necessity to apply biochar in large proportions. The biochar was never considered as a waste material. There were many sources of biochar: The crop residue and weeds which are burnt in the fields gets converted into biochar and ash. This practice benefited the soils and farmers since ages. Here there is no comparison of the values of biomass used for composting. The charcoal, a byproduct of the traditional stoves is added to the farm yard manure, which gets inoculated with the soil microbes, which was later transferred to the fields. The waste from the potters kiln a combination of charcoal, pottery shards and ash was always a valuable source for improving the fertility of the soils. As more and more evidences are explored which are visible and proves that the Indian farmers were using biochar
    • Biocharculture 39 for hundreds of years. Because of such best practices agricultural activity is still sustainable in many parts of India. Characteristics of biochar Biochar is a process medium rather 'result' medium. Say the moisture retention in the soil, the role of air in the soil, the absorption of harmful pesticides and chemicals from the soil, slow release of nitrogen to the soil, absorption of GHG gases from soil, temperature regulation in the soil, habitat for the thriving of soil microbes and much more; how all these varied aspects can be measured and explained in space and time. Testing the chemical composition of biochar as ‘result’ medium is easier than testing the real value of the biochar it performs in space and time. To understand one need to do an experiment. Take four pieces of land a) soil and biochar b) Soil, biochar and amendments c) Soil and amendments and d) control soil. Sow the seeds and monitor the following aspects: germination, height of plants, number of leaves, flowers and fruits at regular intervals of time, which is more meaningful than testing the chemical composition of the soil, which will not give the direct answer, because it is the structure and nature of biochar that is important which is giving the ultimate result.
    • 40 Biocharculture Biochar is neither a nutrient nor food for the soil microbes but acts like a catalyst for the soil. Hydrophobicity Over a period of time biochar loses its hydrophobicity due to oxidation. Initially the fresh biochar floats in water, after a few days of treatment with water or moisture it attains maturity and starts absorbing water. As it is observed in the field, the coolness attributed due to the presence of moisture in biochar attracts many small insects to take shelter near or under charcoal, including scorpions, etc. as observed in the field. Carbon Although there is an argument that the biomass in different forms should be returned to the soil. The benefits of compost and biochar are not the same although both are derived from the same biomass. Compost is food for soil life and a source of nutrients and minerals for plants. The benefits of compost lasts just a few years. Whereas the benefits of biochar to the soil are more than 1000 years, and also they enhance the use and benefits of the compost many times. The life on the earth is mainly carbon based. There could have been choices to start life with carbon or silica. Although
    • Biocharculture 41 there is some life based on silica, but mainly the life based on carbon evolved on earth. The manifestations of the carbon in different forms and properties make it the most useful when in balance. Green house effect is mainly because of Carbon dioxide which is carbon and oxygen and there are also solutions based on the biochar which is also a carbon and recalcitrant. One hectare is 10,000 sq. meters. If a hectare of soil 33.5 cm deep, with a bulk density of 1.4 tonnes per cubic meter is considered, there is a soil mass per hectare of about 4,700 tons. If appropriate management practices were adopted and these practices achieved and sustained a 1% increase in soil organic matter (SOM)1 , then 47 tonnes of SOM per hectare will be added to organic matter stocks held below the soil surface. This 47 tonnes of SOM will contain approximately 27 tonnes of Soil Carbon (i.e. 47 tonnes at 58% Carbon) per hectare. In the absence of other inputs this Carbon may only be derived from 1 Soil Organic Matter is the plant material released into the soil during the natural phases of plant growth. It includes root material ploughed off below the soil surface and plant litter carried into the soil by microbes, insects and rainfall. Soil Carbon is the elemental carbon contained within Soil Organic Matter (SOM).
    • 42 Biocharculture the atmosphere via the natural function known as the photo- synthetic process. To place approximately 27 tonnes of Soil Carbon per hectare into the soil, approximately 100 tonnes of carbon dioxide must be consumed out of the atmosphere by photosynthesis. A 1% change in SOM across 5 billion hectares will sequester 500 billion tonnes of physical CARBON DIOXIDE. Lehmann et al. (2006) estimated that a total of 9.5 billion tonnes of carbon could potentially be stored in soils by the year 2100 using a wide variety of biochar application programs. Once equipped with a better understanding of this potential synergism and the mechanisms that drive it, biochar could be utilized for sequestration of carbon in soils to contribute to climate change mitigation. This interaction could also be harnessed for the restoration of disturbed ecosystems, the reclamation of sites contaminated by industrial pollution and mine wastes, increasing fertilizer use efficiencies (with all associated economic and environmental benefits) and the development of methods for attaining increased crop yields from sustainable agricultural activities. Every 1% increase in retained SOM within the topmost 33.5 cm of the soil must capture and hold approximately 100 tonnes per hectare of atmospheric carbon dioxide (the variability in the equation being due only to the soil bulk density). For each 1% increase in SOM achieved on the 5 billion hectares there will be removed 64 ppm of carbon
    • Biocharculture 43 dioxide from atmospheric circulation (500,000,000,000 tonnes carbon dioxide / 7,800,000,000 tonnes per ppm = 64 p.m.). One tonne of carbon dioxide contains 12/44 units of carbon (i.e., 0.27 tonnes of carbon per tonne of carbon dioxide.). Therefore 27 tonnes of carbon sequesters 27/0.27 = 100 tonnes carbon dioxide (rounded). NB Carbon atomic weight 12, oxygen atomic weight 16 i.e. carbon dioxide = 12+ (16+16) = 44 As one adds more compost and mulch along with biochar, which improves the soil microbial activity (residing in the charcoal). As they require food and they use the soil organic matter as food. Overall the carbon content of the soil improves, due to biochar and the increased soil microbial density. There is a difference between organic soil carbon and recalcitrant biochar. 3 to 4 years life in the tropical climates ~1000 years life Microscopic structure of the soil carbon Microscopic structure of biochar carbon
    • 44 Biocharculture Carbon is important for soil, especially the soil carbon. Another important carbon is biochar, applied as a soil amendment. Size of biochar Traditionally the addition of biochar to the soils was incremental, as small amounts of different sizes of the biochar from stoves and other activities has found their way into the soil. Over a period of time the large chunks have been converted into small pieces. So one finds different grades (sizes) of biochar in the soil. Different size biochar pieces serve different purposes in the field. The benefits of biochar are related to various aspects, like physical, chemical and biological and electromagnetic environments. Although the finer the biochar, it can be spread in a larger area for immediate results. Lumps of biochar are also preferred instead of fine powder. Anyhow over a period of time the biochar located within a depth of 8 to 12 inches, breaks during land tillage and other activities done on the farm. The chunks of biochar have the following advantages: - Roots prosper better around a piece of biochar.
    • Biocharculture 45 - Soil moisture evaporates from a fine speck of biochar easily as compared to a piece of biochar - Soil microbes and soil fungus would find a convenient place in a lump of biochar and can live as a community. - Piece can provide a better environment and choices for soil microbes to thrive. - A piece is heavy so less chance of moving away from the field due to wind or water - Possibility of more air circulation around a piece of biochar - Additional energy is required to powder the biochar pieces (which is saved). Temperature regulation Observations showed that biochar compost reduces development of soil cracks, in all types of soils due to physical characteristics of biochar compost better insulation to soils and temperature management.
    • 46 Biocharculture Biochar once applied to the soil gets saturated and serves the purpose of carbon sequestration. This saturated biochar may or may not actively host the soil microbes. Biomass sources for biochar Biomass from crop residue, weeds, surplus biomass, grasses, forest litter in excess, etc., are an option for conversion into biochar. Biochar is one of the means for agricultural waste management. Efficient biochar production prevents wasteful burning of millions of tonnes of biomass in the open fields after harvesting by farmers. The emissions from open burning are also reduced. The majority of small and marginal farmers can easily adapt to the efficient biochar production technologies from the biomass available from their fields and surroundings. Sludge from sewage could also be converted into biochar. Precautions should be taken by testing the sludge for harmful elements. The biochar can be used for emissions reduction from the sewerage systems and for water treatment. Lal (2005) estimates the world production of crop residues to be 4x109Mgyr-1. Taking a mean carbon content of 48% and a pyrolysis yield of 48% of this carbon in the char (Lehmann et al 2006, 413) this translates to a maximum possible 1PgCyr-1
    • Biocharculture 47 from crop residues. The actual potential will be lower than this, as not all crop residues will be suitable or recoverable, some of this total biomass will be required for incorporation into the soil. There will be other competing demands for useful residues such as straw. A maximum of 1 PgCyr-1 biochar might be produced from agricultural residues (if all current global agricultural residues were converted to biochar). In practice, this figure will be constrained by cost, suitability of different residues, requirements to incorporate residues into the soil, and other competing demands. How much biochar might be produced from agricultural residues once such constraints have been taken into account is a matter for further research.2 There are various sources of biomass available in the field which could be used in these technologies. P. juliflora biochar waste (fine charcoal mixed with burnt earth) from the local charcoal kilns. Rice husk biochar from local parboiled rice mills, which is a byproduct of using rice 2 http://orgprints.org/13268/1/Biochar_as_a_soil_amendment_- _a_review.pdf
    • 48 Biocharculture husk as a fuel for the boilers. Exotic and invasive species of plants, residue from crops which is otherwise burned in the open, energy plantations, timber wastage, are the various sources. Prosopis Juliflora is an exotic species in India and grows profusely in all conditions. Prosopis Juliflora is one major source of biomass available from the fallow lands. In alkaline soils which are less fertile are sometimes left fallow, Prosopis Juliflora grows luxuriantly. The biochar generated from Prosopis Juliflora has both commercial value for selling it as charcoal and for using in biochar compost. By using such resources it does not cause impact on the environment and lead to deforestation. Similarly in each region the biomass resources should be identified for use. Biomass from agriculture sector available in India is about 800 million tons. Of the total biomass produced from agriculture at least 20 to 30 % of biomass is wasted. Burning crop residue in the respective fields is a common phenomenon as a preparatory measure before sowing a new crop. The percentage of crop residue burnt varies from place to place and it is based on the type of crop. From the following six major crops cultivated in India the quantity of crop residue is as follows (in million tonnes): Rice (13.1), Wheat (15.4), Sugar (21.6), Groundnut (3.3), Mustard (4.5), Cotton (11.8), Total about 69.9 million tones. The crop residue is
    • Biocharculture 49 mostly converted into compost or manure but when mostly turns into burnt ash. Ash has its value especially in the acidic soils and for the phosphorous and other minerals. Considering the value of biochar especially in the poor, degraded soils, there is a need for designing technologies to efficiently convert biomass into biochar. The crop residues say Cotton plants are hard and could yield good biochar, but handling it and conversion into biochar is a labour intensive and energy consuming process. The energy produced during the process should be used for some practical useful applications too. Some farmers just burn crop residue in their fields. One of the emerging areas is agriculture biomass based thermal power plants. This industry generates only ash as a byproduct. These thermal plants compete with the biochar production plants. The crops being grown are improved or high yielding varieties or short duration crops, which has less biomass as compared to the traditional crops. The overall biomass as crop residue is diminishing over the years. The simplest solutions could be adopted by the farmers, if created awareness on a large scale for conversion of biomass into biochar wherever possible. In a typical semi-arid village in parts of India, biochar for the biochar compost comes from three sources, 1) P. Juliflora biochar waste (fine charcoal mixed with burnt earth) from the local charcoal kilns 2) rice husk biochar from local parboiled
    • 50 Biocharculture rice mills as a byproduct after using it as fuel for the boilers and 3) biochar produced from crop residues and P. Juliflora. Biochar for soil is like coral reefs to sea. Stoves Biomass has been in use for cooking needs since prehistoric times. Even today, the majority of the rural population is partially or completely dependent on the biomass stoves. Worldwide, traditional stoves and open fires are used by more than two billion people today, using fuelwood, crop residues and animal dung cakes and other biomass as fuel. Biochar from stoves is one of the sources of biochar. Therefore, it is essential to introduce improved stove designs based on sound scientific principles, which are low cost and user friendly and produce biochar as a byproduct. Stoves that can utilize crop residues as a fuel source can also address the problem of sustainable disposal and use of biomass. Which are otherwise burnt in the open air, resulting in reduced air quality and release of GHG emissions. Under Magh series author has designed more than 25 TLUD stoves including natural draft and forced draft stoves.
    • Biocharculture 51 For example, in the Magh 3G stoves, on an average yield 14% biochar of the total quantity of wood used. The cooks should recover the biochar left after cooking, by removing it outside the stove and quenching it with water. The actual recovery of biochar in a cook stove depends on the practice adopted, convenience in the stove and the willingness of the cook. Magh 3G stove Magh 3G stove steel My home stove Magh CM Natural draft Biochar yield Percentage of the weight of wood used 14 19 16 19 The range of biochar yield is high i.e., 19% especially in the gasifier stove Magh CM natural draft. Whereas the total yield of 6% from the three stone stoves is very low to be considered as a source for biochar. Biochar is also a byproduct from gasifiers, boilers, industrial applications, etc.
    • 52 Biocharculture The main challenges are the availability of sustainable sources of biomass and the accessibility of efficient biomass-to-biochar conversion technologies. Biochar production Biochar production systems should utilize the all the energy without wastage and also recover and use the byproducts such as wood vinegar, ash, etc. 3 3 CHARACTERIZATION OF DESIGNER biochar PRODUCED AT DIFFERENT TEMPERATURES AND THEIR EFFECTS ON A LOAMY SAND
    • Biocharculture 53 Most of the charcoal produced in developing countries is produced in earth kilns and the conversion factor can vary from about 10 m3 per tonne of charcoal up to 27 m3 per tonne depending on the moisture content, species and the skill of the operator. To find sources of biochar there is a need for the establishment of the commercialization chain of highly- efficient biochar-making cookstoves and the pyrolysis of agricultural residues through the diffusion of improved small- scale biochar kilns or retorts. Slash and char The slash and burn in the margins of the forests or inside the forests is a practice known in different parts of the world. As the population has grown, the demand for land has increased; encroachment into the forest lands and the policies of various governments, the traditional practices like slash and burn are no more sustainable, or else the forest would disappear. Jeffrey M. Novak¹*, Isabel Lima², Baoshan Xing³, Julia W. Gaskin4, Christoph Steiner4, K.C. Das4, Mohamed Ahmedna5, Djaafar Rehrah5, Donald W. Watts¹, Warren J.Busscher¹ and Harry Schomberg6 JM Novak et al., Annals of Environmental Science / 2009, Vol 3, 195-206
    • 54 Biocharculture Why Do Farmers Burn? The majority of farmers do not prefer to burn the biomass. For example, to manage straw in other ways, tilled into the soil, and by chopping and spreading the straw so it does not plug up seeding equipment. Burning is one way to dispose of the straw left after harvest so fields can be made ready for seeding. However, some farmers find it difficult to deal with the straw in the normal ways. For example, a bumper crop can leave a tremendous amount of straw, which can be very difficult to work into the soil or spread evenly across the field. Rainy weather after harvest can leave fields too wet to till. Burning straw is considered a low-cost solution alternative to ploughing back the straw into the soil. Under such circumstances, farmers may feel they have no choice but to burn the straw. Burning is more common in certain areas because the soil has high clay content. This type of soil is prone to drainage and compaction problems, which can make burning appear to be a more attractive option than tillage. By burning the residue, farmers are stripping the soil of microbes and moisture that are essential to a crop's long term health. Burning biomass in India
    • Biocharculture 55 India produces annually about 800 million tonnes of agricultural waste and about 200 million tonnes of urban organic waste. From 6 major crops like rice, wheat, sugarcane, groundnut, mustard and Cotton 69.9 million tonnes of crop residue is produced annually in India. Burning residue releases large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This emission of high levels of carbon dioxide is not ecologically friendly, creates pollution and also contributes towards global warming. Burning the residue also means that the soil will be left bare. The soil will then be exposed to rainfall impact and the baking sun, which can cause erosion and the rapid loss of nutrients. The soil will quickly lose its fertility, especially soil organic carbon needed for sustainable production. The ashes can be distributed over the soil to improve soil fertility. However, the ashes do not contain the same level of nutrients as the original crop residues and are easily blown or washed away. By burning, pests and diseases that are harbouring in the residues will be destroyed; however, all beneficial organisms in the soil residues will be destroyed as well! Fire can remove residue that hinders crop growth, limits quality or carries disease. Across the world the use of fire as an agricultural tool is being discouraged as concerns mount about greenhouse gases and air quality. Burning crop residue
    • 56 Biocharculture adds carbon, nitrogen and hydrocarbons to the air. Fire consumes organic matter and may reduce total nitrogen available for plant growth on the site. Fire can also damage growing crops. Farmers must carefully consider the costs of using fire. In most cases alternative crop residue management methods make more sense. And one of the solutions is biochar. Units conversion PgC/yr - petagram of carbon per year. 1 Petagram (Pg) = 1000000000000 Kilograms 1 Megagram (Mg) = 1000 Kilograms Every civilization would use all the best material available locally for their livelihoods. The burning grass It is common to see patches of grass and the undergrowth in the forest areas burning. This results in intentional or accidental production of tonnes of biochar. The soils are enriched in this process. As this process is not controlled, relatively less biochar is produced. The burning of grass often leads to higher yields of biochar as there is higher silica percentage in grasses.
    • Biocharculture 57 The controlled methods should be developed for productively using the heat and as well to develop charcoal from biomass. Farmer methods The farmer can plant fast growing species within the field or convert the crop residue or use any other less useful plants available in the area for biochar production and could apply biochar gradually over the next few years. This practice would be more sustainable and less costly for the farmer. Importing of biochar from elsewhere should not be encouraged; the worst fears are that forests or other natural vegetation could disappear in those regions. Though for every tonne of biochar applied into the soil about 3 tonnes of carbon dioxide is sequestrated. One needs to account for the carbon dioxide emissions during biochar production and transportation for determining the net impact. The opportunity for the local farmers is that in the process of charcoal production, fine charcoal found at the base of each charcoal retort or kiln is of very less value. This can be bought by farmers at a very low price from the producers and can be used for soil amendment.
    • 58 Biocharculture If biochar is not being removed from the soil as fast as it is being produced, it is simply accumulating there! Local biochar production Integrating biochar production and application locally is a sustainable practice than large scale production and dissemination. The worst fears are about the commercialization of biochar as a product. No one opposes the small and marginal farmers traditional subsistence sustainable systems. This is because, biochar is the panacea for the sick, poisoned and dead soils, having seen the results of biochar application, the demand for “Biochar plus” products are growing all over the world. There will be increased demand for the biochar for these commercial products, so worst fears are that, the forests would be cut for the production of biochar. Commercial plantations might come to produce biochar alone at the cost of food security and local ecology. The impacts would be large if charcoal exports happen from poorer countries to the rich countries. Carbonization can have a detrimental effect on the surrounding environment when demand for fuel increases beyond what can be supplied on a sustainable basis. The process of carbonization is greatly dependent on the carbonization temperature, the moisture content
    • Biocharculture 59 of the wood used (the drier the better), the skill of the producer and the condition of the wood (lignin content). Sustainable local production To initiative sustainable biochar production by local communities organize them into society or cooperative with the following objectives. - To form a network of biochar producers - To adopt the improved biochar production technologies - To add value to the biochar, sorting, biochar compost, biochar fertilizers, etc. - To market the biochar products and blends - To liaison with the relevant departments for marketing the produce - To facilitate the commons for biochar production like land, borewell, shelter, power, etc. - To plant more trees for availability for biochar production - To utilize all the wasted biomass for biochar production.
    • 60 Biocharculture - To insure all the biochar producers, members of the society Biochar production technologies During the production of the biochar the energy released should be utilized for various purposes. There are three most common methods of charcoal production today; earth kilns, masonry and metal kilns. Charcoal manufacturing technologies generally can be classified as either batch or continuous multiple hearth kilns. Higher charcoal conversion efficiency and quality can be achieved through proper control of the carbonization process. Traditional charcoal production is an acquired skill. The most critical factor in the efficient conversion of wood into charcoal is the careful operation of the kiln. Wood must be dried and carefully stacked to allow an even flow of air through the kiln and sufficient time for reactions to take place. If kilns are not operated correctly, yields can be half the optimum level.
    • Biocharculture 61 A typical Charcoal production activity follows the above 5 stages. Whether the soils are fertile or infertile the biochar presence in the soils always did only good. Prosopis Juliflora Growthl Harvesting the wood Drying and preparing the wood Carbonisin g the wood to charcoal Screening, storage and transport to distribution point.
    • 62 Biocharculture More details regarding the above process Temperature rises from 20 to 110 deg C: Wood absorbs heat energy, and releases water vapour. Combustion oxygen supply is high and temperature rises from ambient to over 500°C and when the fire is established, the oxygen supply is reduced after the firing point is closed and temperature drops to about 120°C. Dehydration free water is driven out at a reduced temperature of about 100°C and the kiln gives out thick, white and moist steam. Exothermic reaction the wood dries, temperatures rise to about 280°C and the wood begins to break down into charcoal, water vapour and other chemicals; the smoke at this stage is yellow, hot and oily and the temperature is maintained by controlling the air flow through holes and vents to help burn more wood. Cooling when carbonisation is complete, the kiln cools to below 100°C and charcoal can be removed for further cooling.
    • Biocharculture 63 The temperature will remain at or slightly above 100 deg C until all moisture is driven off (bone dry). Temperature rises from 110 to 270 deg C: Wood starts to decompose, releasing some gases such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, and liquids, such as acetic acid and methanol. Temperature rises from 270 to 290 deg C: Endothermic reaction commences in the wood. Temperatures remain above 270 deg C. This allows the further breakdown of the wood to occur spontaneously, provided that the temperature of the wood is not cooled below 270 8C. Temperature rises from 290 to 400 deg C: Further breakdown of the wood allows a number of gases to be released such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane, in addition to condensable vapours such as water, acetic acid, methanol, and acetone. Wood tars begin to predominate as the temperature rises further. Temperature levels around 400–600 deg C: The main process of carbonization is complete, and the charcoal is known as ‘soft-burned’. This type of charcoal can contain up to 30% weight of tar, trapped in the internal structure of the
    • 64 Biocharculture material. Further heating drives off more of the tar and increases the fixed carbon content of the final product. Biochar can be created in many ways. One of the crude and simplest methods for converting biomass into biochar is dump biomass into a trench or a ditch. Burn the crop residue, throw more biomass into the burning fire, till the heap reduces in size, throw soil or water or use fresh leaf bushes to extinguish the fire. Within 24 hours some biochar would be available. Note: This crude method is not recommended by the author, for pollution, less efficient biomass conversion and safety of the farmer. The time, temperature, wind, humidity, etc., conditions are important at the time of producing biochar with this method. Most often farmers also prefer to do this kind of work in the evenings and into the night. This system could be improved so that the least amount of pollution happens, biochar yield increases and safer for the user. Earth / Mound kiln The typical village type charcoal burning mound is about four meters in diameter at the base and about 1 to 1.5 m high, approximately a flattened hemisphere. About six to ten air inlets are made at the base and an opening at the top about 20 cm in diameter allows the exit of smoke during burning. All openings must be sealed with earth when burning is complete and the mound is allowed to
    • Biocharculture 65 cool. A space about 6 meters in diameter is cleared, leveled and compacted. It should be well drained. A post about 2 meters tall is sometimes erected at the proposed centre of the pile of fuel wood to assist in stacking the wood, to give stability to the pile and to provide a support for the operator when the pile is being covered with earth and the top smoke hole made, and later when the pile is lit. The pole is usually removed before lighting to provide a central opening through the pile. A grid of crossed small logs about 10 cm diameter is first laid on the ground radially to form a circle about 4 meters in diameter. The wood to be carbonized, is then packed densely on this platform whose purpose is to allow the fire and hot gas to circulate properly. The longer pieces of fuelwood (up to 2 meters long) are stacked vertically leaning against the centre pole. The shorter logs are placed vertically towards the periphery so as to develop a more or less regular profile. Gaps between logs are packed with small wood to make the pile as dense as possible. The surface of the pile is packed out with small fuelwood as necessary, to give as even a profile as possible, and provide good support to the earth covering. It is good practice to allow the piled wood to
    • 66 Biocharculture dry out for as long as possible and to cover the pile during dry weather. To seal the pile, first straw, leaves, coarse grass, etc., are spread over the pile and then earth or sand spread over this layer. A sandy soil or loam which has low shrinkage on drying is preferable. Very plastic clays with a marked tendency to crack and shrink on drying and heating should be avoided. Charcoal fines can be mixed with the earth. The thickness of the covering will vary depending on the smoothness of the wood pile, but around 10-20 cm is typical. The coating should be checked to seal all cracks and check that the air holes at the base of the mound remain open. The whole cycle takes 24 days; four days for charging, six days for carbonization, ten days for cooling and four days for discharge. Due to the high carbonization temperature, approximately 550°C, and the slow process, the charcoal produced in earth kilns has a high proportion of fixed carbon, low volatile matter and consequently a low bulk density. As carbonization advances the mound sinks progressively and holes may appear which should be immediately blocked by grass and sand. The mound is lit in the central hole by throwing in live coals. When the fire has started
    • Biocharculture 67 (15 to 20 minutes) the central hole should be closed. Ventilation holes should be opened every 3 to 4 meters around the base of the mound. Eight efficient low-cost charcoal production technologies were designed and introduced to the communities by the author for converting the crop residue, wood and other biomass into biochar. GEO biochar Stove About 30% biochar production is possible with this technology. 3 to 4 days are required for a batch of charcoal production. Highly suitable for institutional cooking and as well making biochar. The additional heat generated by flaring the pyrolysis gases, used for cooking. Mitigation of the emissions during the pyrolysis by flaring. Costs about Rs. 3000 for a 2’ width x 5’ depth x 6’ height (in feet), cost including, tin sheet for cover, digging the pit, three pot stove and chimney Magh biochar Retort 1 The Magh Bichar retort is a simple low-cost biochar making retort. In this design a two hundred litre steel drum is used. The top and bottom portions of the drum were cut
    • 68 Biocharculture open. One of the lids is used for covering the open side. The biomass are dumped into the drum and lit at the top and more biomass are added while it is still lit to fill it up to the brim. In TLUD condition the flame continuous. After some time the intensity of the flames lessens. Now the lid is placed over the flames and using soil the lid is sealed, so that no smoke is seen leaking out. Now the smoke appears at the pipe, which is attached through a connecting pit at the bottom of the drum. Leave it for 24 hours. The biochar continues to form and also the retort cools down. This second situation is the downdraft condition. Magh biochar Retort 2 This is one of the simplest designs. With facility for opening the top, opening for igniting the retort, primary air openings on the sides and secondary air facility at the top (used only for initial combustion), makes it easy to control and produce biochar within three days. There is a need for training on how to operate it for higher efficiencies of biochar production. The material used for construction, thickness of walls and gauge of the steel sheet is very important for durability. Biochar Retort 3
    • Biocharculture 69 This is a simple biochar retort using drum for converting loose biomass into biochar. A 200 litre iron drum is used here. For converting loose and the light biomass material this has advantages. There are many similar versions too. HM biochar Kiln Bricks and clay are used in the construction. This is a TLUD kiln. The biomass is to be added continuously as the fire continues. The person adding the biomass to the kiln should be cautious and also use a long stick to keep away from the fire. The primary air source at the bottom should be open as long as biomass is being added. As the biomass pyrolysis happens it occupies less space and more biomass can be added. It is convenient to operate during calm i.e., less windy days. As the biomass reaches the level just below the secondary air, the process of adding the biomass should be stopped. The primary air inlet should be closed. After waiting for some time water should be sprinkled to extinguish the embers (quench). The biochar can be collected immediately or after some time. This is the simplest of the process of using the wasted / waste biomass. Here pine needles are used for converting into biochar. Pine needles management is a big task in these parts of the Himalayas, as often they lead to forest fires destroying many trees.
    • 70 Biocharculture GEO biochar Trench Mounds This is the simplest and convenient method for farmers to convert the crop residue or any other biomass in the farm lands into biochar. 'Biochar Trenches' / 'Staggered biochar trenches' of 2 to 3 feet depth and 1.5 to 2 feet wide are made using simple tools in agriculture fields. (Deeper trenches can also be made) It is more convenient to make such trenches after ploughing the field. Trenches perpendicular to the slopes also benefits the steep sloppy areas as water harvesting means. The entire crop residue otherwise burnt openly can be collected and dumped into these trenches and dumped lengthwise. More biomass can be added by pushing biomass with a stick. Once the trench is filled with biomass and compact, should be covered by biomass like grass / weeds / broad leaves / etc. After covering it up, soil should be spread on the trench, a long mound is created as the filling is made into a heap above ground level. Some water could be used for soil compaction and for sealing the mound of biomass. A small hole is left open for lighting the biomass at one end and at the other end a very small opening is left open. Once it is lit, white smoke starts emitting at the other end. Small holes are to be made in a lengthy biochar trench at every 10 to 15 feet and fire it. Or one could create many staggered trenches of 10 to 15 feet in length instead of lengthy single trenches. After 24 hours the biomass is converted into biochar, also one could see that the mound height also reduces due to pyrolysis. Any
    • Biocharculture 71 little smoke or embers still observed, should be quenched with water or covered with soil while removing the biochar from the trench. In the forest and hilly areas, the staggered trenches or continuous contour trenches prepared for management of soil and water harvesting, could be used for management of litter on the forest floors by converting biomass into the biochar as well preventing forest fires. The major benefits of this method are: - Convenient for farmers otherwise just burning biomass openly and also causing pollution. - In open burning method mostly the biomass gets converted into ash and very little charcoal is formed. - In the process soil also get burnt, the burnt soil has similar properties like the pottery shards. - All the biochar, burnt soil produced in the field, which could be conveniently spread by the farmer within the whole field. - The farmer need not transport the biomass to any other place for conversion into biochar.
    • 72 Biocharculture - Farmers need not invest on technologies and have licenses for converting biomass into biochar. - Most convenient for small and marginal farmers. - The farmers can sow seeds or saplings on the trenches directly if needed. GEO biochar Pit Kiln This is one of the simplest methods of converting the crop residue and other biomass into biochar. The farmers can easily create pits / trenches and convert the biomass residue GEO mini metal retort This is also a natural draft woodgas stove. It is a very low- cost stove for heating and generating biochar. It can also be described as a mini-charcoal making metal retort. Instead of incinerating biomass generated from home gardens / any other dry combustible material generated as household waste usually throwing into the garbage bin, can be used here. The leaf litter, dry twigs, sticks, chips of wood, wood shavings, pellets, are very much suitable. The steps involved are: Put the biomass into the combustion chamber. Light the biomass from top. Use the heat for heating water, cooking, etc. At the end shut the
    • Biocharculture 73 primary air by closing the shutter. Cover the stove with a lid. Let it cool for some time. Turn the stove sideways for unloading the charcoal produced. Sprinkle water for retrieving the charcoal (this is a faster procedure for retrieving the charcoal). Biochar production efficiencies The maximum biochar yield from these devices is 33%. This is apart from recovery of heat from some of the retorts or kilns. The success of the carbonization process is the efficiency of a kiln and the skills of the operator. The mass of charcoal obtained is expressed as a percentage of the mass of wood initially put into the kiln: (Stassen, 2002). Ek = MC/MW Where Ek = kiln efficiency MC = mass of charcoal produced MW = mass of wood put into the kiln
    • 74 Biocharculture Strictly speaking, this is the recovery efficiency whereas the conversion efficiency includes the charcoal fines (rejects) that may not be packaged for sale due to their small size. Both efficiencies are calculated on wet/dry air or oven dry basis. For example, if a piece of wood weighing 100kg has 20kg of free water, then the actual weight of the wood is 80kg. The moisture content is thus: Moisture content (MC) = Mass of water x 100% Mass of wood (dry or wet) Wet or dry air basis: MC = 20/100 x 100% = 20% Oven dry basis: MC = 20/80 x 100% = 25% The equilibrium data at 1 MPa can be represented by the approximate stoichiometric equation C6H10O5 - 3.74C + 2.65H2O + 1.17CO2 + 1.08CH4 In this equation, the yield of carbon from cellulose is 27.7 wt % (i.e., 62.4 mol % of cellulose carbon is converted into biocarbon) and is not significantly affected by pressure.
    • Biocharculture 75 The effects of temperature on thermochemical equilibrium product yields at 1.0 MPa. Temperatures below 400 °C are primarily of theoretical interest, as the rates of biomass carbonization are very slow in this regime. At higher temperatures, the yields of carbon, water, and methane decrease with increasing temperature, whereas those of carbon monoxide increase. In 1909, Klason and co-workers represented their experimental measurements of the products of cellulose pyrolasys at 400 °C by the approximate stoichiometric equation. C6H10O5 ------- 3.75CH0.60O0.13 + 2.88H2O + 0.5CO2 +0.25CO + C1.5H1.25O0.38 Where the first product is charcoal and the last is tar. Using thermodynamic data available at that time, Klason estimated the heat release associated with the above equation for cotton cellulose to be 3.6% of its heat of combustion. The low efficiency of charcoal production causes it to be a principal cause of the deforestation of many tropical
    • 76 Biocharculture countries and a contributor to global warming. An explanation for the low efficiency of conventional charcoal kilns and retorts is given in Figure below. Pyrolysis abruptly transforms wood into a tarry vapor containing a complex soup of organic compounds mixed with noncondensable gases (including CO2, CO, H2, CH4, and heavier hydrocarbons) between 250 and 400 °C. The tarry vapors quickly escape the heated region of the reactor without establishing equilibrium and without forming charcoal. Klason and co-workers represented these observations in the following approximate stoichiometric reaction for the carbonization of “wood” at 400 °C.
    • Biocharculture 77 2C42H60O28 ---- 3C16H10O2 + 28H2O + 5CO2 + 3CO + C28H34O9 Note that the yield of charcoal (C16H10O2) in this equation is 36.7 wt %, and that the tarry vapors (C28H34O9) constitute a significant loss of carbon. Byproducts from pyrolysis Recovery of acetic acid and methanol byproducts was initially responsible for stimulating the charcoal industry. As synthetic production of these chemicals became commercialized, recovery of acetic acid and methanol became uneconomical. Charcoal manufacture is also used in forest management for disposal of refuse and weeds. There are five types of products and byproducts from charcoal production operations: charcoal, noncondensible gases (carbon monoxide [CO], carbon dioxide [CO2], methane, and ethane), pyroacids (primarily acetic acid and methanol), tars and heavy oils, and water. With the exception of charcoal, all of these materials are emitted with the kiln exhaust. Product constituents and
    • 78 Biocharculture the distribution of these constituents vary, depending on raw materials and carbonization parameters. Organics and CO are naturally combusted to CO2 and water before leaving the retort. Because the extent of this combustion varies from plant to plant, emission levels are quite variable. Other soil amendments Bokashi The Bokashi (" fermented organic matter ") is a product made with bran of rice or wheat and Effective Microorganisms (EM), by Microbial Electrosynthesis (ME) technology. It is a product of great power antioxidant, which helps plants to grow. To make 100 pounds of bocashi the process is as follows: • 30 pounds of rich soil • 20 pounds of a nitrogen-rich plant material (such as legume leaves) • 20 pounds of sawdust or rotten wood (for ventilation)
    • Biocharculture 79 • 20 pounds of some type of manure, such as cow, pig or chicken manure, or fermented coffee grounds. If chicken manure is used, probably 40 pounds of manure are required, as this usually contains the sawdust as mentioned above. • 1 gallon of molasses or cane juice or cane candy • 1 bag (about 25 pounds) of carbon (ash; charcoal dust or small pieces of charcoal; this may be made from corn husks, etc.) • 1 pound of a leavening agent (bread yeast) This mixture is turned twice a day for 15 days, then it's ready to use in the soil.4 Panchgavya Panchgavya is a concoction prepared by mixing five products of cow. The panchagavya if soaked with biochar and applied to the soil, would give greater yields. 4 Yovany Munguia, country director for SHI's Honduran affiliate http://www.mofga.org/Publications/MaineOrganicFarmerGardener/Winter20052006/B ocashi/tabid/1133/Default.aspx
    • 80 Biocharculture Panchagavya is a soil microbial life enhancing method for improving fertility of the soils. The three direct constituents of panchagavya are cow dung, urine, and milk; the two derived products are curd and ghee. These are mixed in the proper ratio and then allowed to ferment. The mixture which is made using yeast as a fermenter, bananas, jaggery, groundnut cake, and the water of tender coconut, is a potent organic pesticide and growth promoter. The Sanskrit word Panchagavya means "mixture of five products," and it has been used in traditional Indian rituals throughout history. It is also called cowpathy treatment based on products obtained from cows used in Ayurvedic medicine and religious significance for Hindus. The desi (indigenous) cows are preferred, because the microbes would be local. Let the good microbes thrive and do their job, just support them. For preparation mix the cow dung and cow ghee thoroughly both in morning and evening hours and keep it for 3 days. After 3 days mix cow urine and water and keep it for 15 days with regular mixing both in the morning and evening hours. After 15 days mix the remaining ingredients and panchgavya will be ready after 30 days. [4] It is stored in a wide-mouthed earthen pot or concrete tank in open. Sufficient shade should be provided, and the
    • Biocharculture 81 contents should be stirred twice a day, both in the morning and the evening. It can be diluted before use on plants and animals. The uses are: • A common usage is as a fertilizer and pesticide. Seeds can be treated with Panchgavya. This was found useful in rhizome of turmeric, ginger and sugarcane and they yielded more. • The medicinal use of panchgavya, particularly cow urine, is practiced in Ayurveda. Proponents claim that cow urine therapy is capable of curing several diseases. • As an antibiotic growth promoter in broiler diet. Used in Fish ponds to increase the growth of Plankton for fish feed. When fed to animals like Cow and Sheep, various ailments got cured. Cows yielded more milk and egg laying capacity of poultry chicken improved. Crossbred pigs fed with Panchakavya attained more weight. Physical, chemical and biological properties of Panchgavya Chemical composition pH : 5.45 EC dSm2 : 10.22 Total N (ppm) : 229 Total P (ppm) : 209 Total K (ppm) : 232
    • 82 Biocharculture Sodium : 90 Calcium : 25 IAA (ppm) : 8.5 GA (ppm) : 3.5 Microbial Load Fungi : 38800/ml Bacteria : 1880000/ml Lactobacillus : 2260000/ml Total anaerobes : 10000/ml Acid formers : 360/ml Methanogen : 250/ml Source: TNAU Agritech Portal http://agritech.tnau.ac.in/org_farm/orgfarm_panchakavya.html Raab Raab was an old system of improving the fertility of soils as practiced in parts of Maharashtra, India. Mr. Bernard Declercq, Auroville had seen this system about 30 years back. "Raab is a system of charring biomass used by some tribal communities in India. It consists of making beds of various layers of dry, half-dry and fresh woody and leafy biomass, dung and clay. The thus layered bed is fully sealed with clay and cold fired (burning in reduced conditions). In the resulting residues rice nurseries are started. The tribal’s affirm that this gives perfect growth of the rice plants. Charcoal bits, ash, even wood vinegar as well as sulfur that may have been absorbed by the clay, would explain the growth enhancing factors of the Raab system.
    • Biocharculture 83 Traditional Practices Andhra Pradesh Pati Matti in Telugu is the old soil, is collected from the place where once there was a habitation. This soil is derived from the crumbling walls or ruins of the houses. The soil has biochar and other components derived from the waste products left by human activities. It consists of the following visible material: biochar pieces as a byproduct from the stoves and fire; Soil; Sand; glass as pieces of bangles or bottles, pottery shards; bones of animals, pieces of brick and Iron Slag. The fertility of the Pati Matti is good and it is in great demand from farmers because of the presence of the above materials. Another practice is in the farm yard manure pits (animal dung, urine of animals, wasted feed and fodder) the following materials are dumped, biochar and ash from cook stoves, pottery shards, and kitchen waste including food waste and animal bones. Orissa
    • 84 Biocharculture The tribal people called ‘Munda’ living in the parts of Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal states, in India, use biochar for increasing the crop production. They mix charcoal with farm yard manure (pellets of small ruminants / cattle dung) and add to the red lateritic soils which are otherwise less fertile. They cultivate vegetables and green salad in the well fenced plots of about 1 acre in size. The biochar is mostly a byproduct from the biomass cook stoves in use which are often three stone stoves or clay stoves. They have access to wood from the jungles, which is used as fuel. Maharashtra There is a traditional practice of using biochar in parts of Satara and Panchgani in the western part of Maharashtra State, India. Biochar and ash are the byproducts from traditional stoves and water boilers. It is a high rainfall area and there are red soils. The use of biochar along with ash is of great value to the farmers. Each farmer uses their own domestic source of biochar and ash for improving the fertility of the soils along with farmyard manure. The strawberries and many other traditional and commercial crops greatly benefit from this practice. In the floriculture, biochar is one of the mixing media, as observed near Satara.
    • Biocharculture 85 Uttarakhand During my recent visit to parts of Almora and Berinag in Uttarakhand made the following observations on the biochar use. The fields have turned dark due to the biochar added to the fields, the sources are: Burning of crop residue along with the pine needles and other biomass. The wheat grass and pine needles were found being burnt in the fields. Biochar from cook stoves along with farmyard manure is added to the fields. Biochar direct Biochar alone has very less value to improve the fertility of the soil. However to have results over a period of time, biochar can be directly applied to the soil or it can also be applied as mulch. Nothing grows on the charcoal. The effect is based on the amendments made to soil along with biochar. Other additions are like soil microbes, FYM, vermicompost, green mulch, micro-nutrients, sand, gypsum, fertilizers, silt, etc. Biochar is directly applied to the Soil (Point / linear / Spread)
    • 86 Biocharculture Point - biochar mulching - eg. Horticulture Line – biochar mulch eg. Vegetables Spread - biochar broadcasting - eg. Paddy Biochar mulching Biochar mulch is the application of biochar directly to the plant something similar to leaf litter mulching, stone mulching, etc. Biochar mulching is useful to the plants in the following ways: 1. Retention of the soil moisture and reduction of evaporation of water from the soil 2. Reduction in leaching of the biological and chemical fertilizers applied 3. Increase in the soil microbes and earthworms at the biochar and soil interface 4. Regulation of the soil temperature 5. Suppression of weeds if thick biochar mulch is used, by blocking the sunlight the weeds sprouting and growth is suppressed. 6. The repulsion of the termites and ants which might attack the seeds and plants
    • Biocharculture 87 7. Over a period of time due to various activities the biochar mixes with the soil, that is good. 8. Prevents soil erosion too. 9. Can increase the pH of the soil towards neutral Every plant deserves the right to life Biochar blends Biochar blends are the possibilities of biochar plus amendments to be made to soils. Biochar alone has very less value to improve the fertility of the soil. There are umpteen ways to create biochar plus products for different types of soils, crops, geographies, climatic conditions, etc., with the permutation and combinations of the list of materials given in the table below. Blending the biochar with compost, mycorrhyzae, digestate and other 'cultures' to provide a source of "organic food" for the infant microbial communities that may already exist in the soils (or that are introduced from other healthy soils.
    • Humic acid Dung slurry Urine Molasses Fish oil Liquid seaweed Brown sugar Corn syrup Compost tea Vermicompost tea Vermicompost Farm yard manure Small ruminants manure Humanure Poultry litter Other animal dung Worm castings Spent mushroom compost Peat Coffee grounds Sphagnum moss Mountain peat Forest humus Corn meal Oil seed cake Cotton seed meal Seaweed Grass clippings Straw Rice husk Coir Coir pith Sawdust Alfalfa meal Wood chips Green mulch Leaf litter Cut flowers litter Vegetables waste Crop residue Water Clean water Mineral water Magnetic water Air Methane Carbon dioxide Nitrogen Oxide Soil microbes Bacteria Fungi Protozoa Nematodes Earthworms Arthropods Rhizobium, Azotobacter, Trichoderma viride, Bacillus thuringiensis, Azospirillum, Bacillus megaterium, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Glomus fasciculatum and Glomus mosseae. Effective Microorganisms Earthworm castings Biochar Silt Sludge Biosolids Clay Pottery shards Terra Preta nuggets Baked earth Bone Meal Fish bones Blood meal Fish meal Fish emulsion Ash Seashells Rock dust Glacial rock dust Zeolite Gypsum Sand (quartz) Rock phosphate Vermiculite Lime Sea salt Sea Minerals Perlite Azomite Fullers earth Greensand Synthetics Polymers Macronutrients Nitrogen (N) Phosphorus (P) Potassium (K) Calcium (Ca) Magnesium (Mg) Sulphur (S) Micronutrients Boron (B) Chlorine (Cl) Copper (Cu) Iron (Fe) Manganese (Mn) Molybdenum (Mo) Zinc (Zn) and Nickel (Ni)
    • Biocharculture 89 Geographically, the biochar application should also be based on the existing conditions in the field. The right quantity of biochar application leads to better results. Optimizing biochar applications based on field conditions for recommendations to the different types of soils is important. In this regard, biochar field trials are an important aspect. Regarding the biochar compost, biochar mulching, biochar direct application, there is a need to create various process and methods for suggestions to the farmers in different regions, based on the types of soils. Biochar need not be an industrial product?! Although many firms have emerged recently to sell biochar as commercial products by different names. In the past biochar was not a commercial product. It always had ‘more than one value’ through reuse before reaching the fields for improving the soil environment and ultimately carbon sequestration too. Based on the local situation the biochar blends can be adopted for diverse crops; local soil microbial biodiversity; Water requirement and locally available raw material. Biochar blends are called by different names. The common names are like, biochar, terra preta, biochar compost. There are more than 50 commercial names existing, ‘Geochar’ is one such name given for biochar blends developed by the author.
    • 90 Biocharculture Biochar compost A procedure was developed to combine farm yard manure as a source of nitrogen and other nutrients, with biochar providing a habitat for microbes and other benefits. Combining a nutrient source with biochar also gave faster results. Other components such as soil rich in microbial communities were added to improve the effectiveness of the compost. On the other hand, the combination of biochar and organic or inorganic fertilizers was reported to give significant increases (up to 250%) in yield (Lehmann et al., 2002; Van Zwieten et al., 2010). Globally, 1 to 5 tonnes per hectare of direct biochar application is a commonly accepted biochar application rate. This translates into biochar compost application rate of about 2 to 10 tonnes per hectare. However, incremental application of biochar compost is preferred. On the higher side up to 30 tonnes of biochar compost can also be applied to one hectare of land. Sometimes the plants can be sown in the biochar compost without mixing with soil. • The method of preparation of biochar compost is aerobic.
    • Biocharculture 91 • There should be enough moisture during the preparation and prepared under normal temperatures in a shady place. • The addition of jaggery or molasses or sugars should be done while mixing the biochar compost. • Minimum number of days required for preparation of biochar compost is 15 days. The temperature in the biochar compost is around 30 degrees at the end. • The field should be wet or apply biochar compost after the rains, this helps in the easy spread of soil microbes. • Other additions in the biochar compost could be based on the availability: pottery shards / fish meal / brick pieces / burnt earth, etc. • Silt application is also important along with the biochar for the fields. Biochar Compost Characterization As per the results of the proximate analysis of biochar and biochar compost, of the two biochar sources, the rice husk biochar showed a very high percentage of ash (68.7%) and a very low percentage of fixed carbon (8.99%). On the other hand, P. juliflora biochar showed significantly higher fixed
    • 92 Biocharculture carbon (85.36%) and low ash (2.7%) content. The moisture content was similar in both biochars, but due to the high carbon content, the energy value of the P. juliflora biochar was 5 times higher than that of rice husk biochar. Rice husk biochar showed a moderate amount of volatile matter (18.42%), while P. juliflora biochar showed low volatile matter (VM) content (8.31%). In comparison, Deenik et al (2011) reported 35.1 to 96.1% fixed carbon, 1.17 to 18.1% ash content and 2.9 to 63.4% volatile matter content in various biochars. Biochar with 23.9% VM was classified as moderate VM biochar and biochar with 7.68% VM was classified as low VM biochar by the authors. This suggests that both the biochar sources used in this project were low to moderate VM biochars and as such did not pose a significant risk of N immobilization when used as soil amendment. Biochar compost showed lower volatile matter, fixed carbon and calorific value and higher ash and total moisture content, due to mixing with farmyard manure and other processing described in the methods section. Independent analysis at the College of Agriculture, Raichur, Karnataka State, India, showed that biochar compost (Geochar 1)5 was an 5 The biochar compost was prepared at GEO RC and facilitated to the Raichur Agriculture University.
    • Biocharculture 93 excellent source of carbon as well as various agronomic nutrients. Cation exchange capacity (CEC) measurement indicated that preparing biochar compost increases the CEC from 2.56 to 3.4 miliequivalents per gram. Analysis of P. juliflora biochar and biochar compost using the standard soil testing methods showed that biochar compost contained 149% higher salt content, 6% higher Fe, 11% lower Zn, 22% lower Mn, 24% lower K2O and 35% lower Cu concentration. The pH of biochar compost was slightly higher than the P. juliflora biochar. This shows that the process of preparing biochar compost developed in the project improved the nutrient holding capacity as indicated by the higher CEC and concentration of some nutrients, while diluting other nutrients. The higher the CEC of biochar compost indicates that addition of biochar compost would be more useful for improving nutrient use efficiency of the applied fertilizers and crop yields than the addition of biochar alone. Geochar Geochar - 1
    • 94 Biocharculture In this preparation, biochar (48%) and farm yard manure (48%)6 by volume along with natural soil about 3% by volume was mixed to prepare the biochar compost. The source of biochar can be from any biomass such as Prosopis Juliflora, Rice husk, crop residue, etc. The natural soil was collected and added from a natural place with good biodiversity. Jaggery water (1 kilogram /100 litres of water) was used to moisten the mixture. The jaggery used is at the rate of 1 kilogram for every 100 kilograms of biochar compost. If the material is fermented it is better. Molasses or sugar cane juice can also be used if jaggery is not available. Many other things can also be used such as toddy collected from palm trees or even coca cola if nothing is available. While preparation, initially the temperature of the biochar compost could reach around 65 to 70 degrees. The temperature should be kept below 50 degrees centigrade by sprinkling water and keeping it cool. The material can be covered with moistened straw and gunny bags. After 15 days that is the minimum time required, the mixture cools off to around 25 to 30 degrees centigrade. Now the Geochar-1 is ready for application. 6 Vermicompost or small ruminant manure can also be used.
    • Biocharculture 95 As a test for biochar, if it is done or not, when biochar compost is added to a glass of water, nearly more than 95% of the Geochar-1 settles or suspended down in 2 hours time. There is very little floating matter. This simple test was developed to show that the biochar compost was ready to use (well oxidized, lost the hydrophobia and properly incorporated with the manure). There were two variations of Geochar 1, namely: Geochar 1A prepared with green manure (10%) and biochar (40%) and baked earth (10%) and compost (40%). Geochar 1B: Geochar 1 biochar (45%) and baked earth (10%) and compost (45%). As compared to the above this is prepared without green manure. In biochar compost preparation commercially available soil microbes can be added such as Rhizobium, Azotobacter, Trichoderma viride, Bacillus thuringiensis, Azospirillum, Bacillus megaterium, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Glomus fasciculatum and Glomus mosseae. Storage and transportation of the biochar compost: Once prepared this biochar compost should be kept in a shaded place. The jaggery water should be added to the biochar compost one day before transferring it to the fields of
    • 96 Biocharculture application. This keeps the microbial population viable during transport. Geochar - 2 GEOchar-2 is prepared by soaking biochar in human urine. It is then dried in a shaded place and applied directly in the soil. The Geochar–2 can also be used in Geochar-1 instead of applying fresh biochar. To prepare various blends of Geochar-2, the biochar can be soaked in other material such as animal urine, livestock dung slurry. To tap the human urine, biochar urinals can be designed for use. Analysis of control and urine treated biochar showed an increase in K2O concentration (from 109 to 143 kg/ha) and decrease in pH (from 8 to 7.8), and salt concentration (from 1.57 to 0.63 mole/cm) due to urine treatment, while P2O5 concentration was not affected. Geochar - 3 The biochar experiments were conducted in the alkaline soils. Due to excessive alkalinity of the soils crops sown were failing. Therefore some farmer’s leave the fields fallow.
    • Biocharculture 97 The soils were tested for the alkalinity and other parameters. A specific biochar blends formulation and method of application was prepared for alkaline soils. Biochar was flushed with running water to remove the ash traces if any. Field treatment was done before the application of the Geochar 1. Sand and gypsum were added in the field. Other nutrients or trace elements were added as per the requirements. Geochar 1 was prepared using farmyard manure. Soil microbes like Trichoderma Viride, Azospirillum, Azotobactor and Pseudomonas fluorescens, were procured and added to the Geochar 1. Jaggery water was added to the Geochar 1. The steps followed while implementation - Cultivated green manure crop (green gram, jute, etc.) and plough it back in the soil. - Spread sand and biochar in the field and plough deeply preferably during dry period or when the soil is dry - Spread Gypsum, Farm yard manure or Vermicompost, Zinc and Super Phosphate and then plough
    • 98 Biocharculture - Spread the treated biochar along with Tricoderma Viridea, Aztobactor, Azospirillum and Pseudomonas Fluoresence and other soil microbes. - Sow the seeds In one of the treated fields with biochar. The number of tillers in paddy crop increased as compared to control plot. Average Maximum Minimum Alkaline soil treated with biochar 43 nos 52 nos 27 nos Control Field 29 nos 35 nos 23 nos Count of tillers in Paddy, a sample of 10 plants taken at random. Seed variety, Sona Masuri - Farmer P. Narasimha Reddy, Kothur Village, Midjil Mandal, Mahabubnagar District, Andhra Pradesh, India. Compare charcoal treated and non-charcoal treated fields The soil condition in the paddy field has improved very well, while walking in the field bare footed, one could feel the firmness and evenness of the soil. Whereas, in the untreated
    • Biocharculture 99 field the soil is crumby and slippery. Name of Farmer Shivaji Janardhan Reddy Narasimha Reddy Venkat Reddy Survey No. 289 23 367 Soil type Neutral Neutral Neutral Neutral pH 8.81 8.86 9.21 9.04 E.C. 0.79 0.83 0.33 0.33 O.C. Low Low Low High P (Kg/acre) 17 13.6 15.3 17 K (Kg/acre) 130 150 125 145 Zinc (Kg/acre) 0.65 0.65 0.65 0.65 Gypsum (Kg/acre) 324 440 405 344
    • 100 Biocharculture Recommedations (per acre) Biochar (per acre) 1500 kgs* Thoroughly clean with water without any traces of ash Sand (per acre) 10 tractor loads (@ 5 tonnes per tractor load) Gypsum (per acre) 300 kgs Vermicompost / FYM (tonnes / acre) 4 tons Urea (N) (Kgs / acre) 50 kgs Super Phosphate (P) (Kgs / acre) 70 kgs Muriate of Potash (K) (Kgs / acre) 10 kgs Zinc 20 gs *- The biochar application is recommended here for one year. The incremental application of biochar is needed over a period of 5 to 10 years and the total quantity of biochar applied is about 10 tonnes per acre. The biofertilizers or pesticides are available in the market like – Aztobactor, Trichoderma Viride, Azospirillum and Pseudomonas fluorescence. One kilogram of each is required for application in one acre of land. For enhancing their numbers before applying the following method is followed. Mix one kilogram of biofertilizers or biopesticides well with 50 kgs of well cleaned biochar and 50 kgs of vermicompost or farmyard manure. Pack the whole material under the straw
    • Biocharculture 101 and gunny bags and cure it by sprinkling jaggery water and mixing it for 15 days. The value of biochar is higher when it reaches the field for application after its multiple use. Application of biochar Biochar or biochar compost can be applied in the soil in different ways, that is point, line or spread. Point : Example Zai pits, horticulture plantation pits, etc. For the horticulture pits it can be applied in layers also covering three zones - bottom, middle and top Line : Example for vegetables, dry crops, etc. Spread : example for irrigated and rainfed crops The multiple use of biochar as "Biocharculture" makes it sustainable and adaptable by communities. Incremental biochar compost application
    • 102 Biocharculture Incremental application of biochar compost is preferred for the following advantages: • Soil microbes adapt to the new environment altered by the biochar compost application over a period of time. • In the initial phase some biochar removes the salts and other poisons from the soil, which is a process requires some time. The later subsequent application of biochar compost would improve the soil to a better condition. • Structure and texture of the soil changes over a period of time. • The incremental application as well addresses the sustainable use of biomass. • For the user the burden of cost of application of biochar compost is not high if applied incrementally. Application processes • Soil tests are important for understanding various other parameters and necessary amendments are made accordingly. • Biochar compost application yields immediate results in the field.
    • Biocharculture 103 • Application of biochar directly to the field is a slow process to get the results. • The combination of both methods of biochar and biochar compost can be chosen. Preference should be given to biochar compost application. All farmers can adopt and one need not be in a hurry to apply large quantities in a go to have a bumper yield of a crop. The annual incremental application would be more sustainable for the farmer and for the environment, Quantity for application The biochar has been in use in parts of India, since centuries. Biochar is added along with the farm yard manure or compost every year. As the retention time of biochar in soil is very high, the impact is cumulative. In many villages in India, agriculture is at least a few hundred years old (up to 500 years or more). The existing biochar in the soil as found in the majority of the fields is a cumulative contribution of the farmers – intentional, as a practice or by chance. In all types of soils biochar is found. As this practice has become traditional,
    • 104 Biocharculture it is sustainable. This is irrespective of the climate and soil conditions. The quantity of the biochar that is suggested for a field is for a field which is devoid of biochar, where such traditional practices were not there it is in tonnes per hectare. Where as in the fields like India, there is a need to assess the total biochar existing in each field and suggest the quantity of biochar. Still the quantity of biochar for different climatic conditions and soils should be evolved through standard experiments simultaneously done in different latitudes and longitudes. Additions Compost tea Compost tea is a liquid extract or a dissolved solution but not simply a suspension of compost. It is made by steeping compost in water for 3–7 days. It was discovered in Germany and became a practice to suppress foliar fungal diseases by nature of the bacterial competition, suppression, antibiosis on the leaf surface (phyllosphere). It has also been used as a fertilizer although lab tests show it is very weak in nutrients with less than 100ppm of available nitrogen and potassium. Other salts present in the tea solution are sodium, chlorides and sulphates. The extract is applied as a spray to non-edible plant parts such as seedlings, or as a soil-drench (root dip), or
    • Biocharculture 105 as a surface spray to reduce incidence of harmful phytopathogenic fungi in the phyllosphere. Silt Some farmers apply silt collected from ponds, lakes, water tanks, streams and rivers. The soil carbon and fertility increases due to silt application. Along with the biochar, silt application is beneficial especially in the light soils. One of the case studies from part of Andhra Pradesh indicates that the sediments deposited in the water tanks provided a significant amount of nutrients (N, P and K), were richer in organic C and microbial activity, and thus can act as fertilizer substitutes for crop production. Because loss of microbial diversity through erosion from fields is one of the important factors for land degradation, returning tank sediments rich in nutrients, organic C, microbial biomass C and microbial population would help in improving the microbial diversity and biological activity in farm soils, thereby improving soil quality and crop production. Owing to the large amount of organic C in tank sediments, application to agricultural fields would increase soil C. The feasibility of desilting operations and returning such huge amounts of sediments to agricultural fields was assessed by determining the sediment quality in terms of nutrients, organic carbon (C), biological properties and their economic value as a source of plant nutrients. Analysis of sediment
    • 106 Biocharculture samples showed an average of 720 mg nitrogen (N), 320 mg phosphorus (P), 310 mg potassium (K) and 9.1 g of organic C per kg of sediment."7 But whether biochar reaches the soil directly or indirectly after use it is still called biochar. Biodiversity Biochar protects and enhances biodiversity both macro and micro. The microbial habitats enhanced through the unique structure and properties of the biochar. Biochar amended soils show higher microbial biodiversity by cleaning up pollution in land and water. There is the loss of soil biodiversity and the impact on terrestrial and global ecosystem processes. Only by knowing and understanding life in the soil one can begin to conserve and better utilize its life-sustaining services. 7 "Economic evaluation of sediments as a source of plant nutrients" www.ias.ac.in/currsci/oct252008/1042.pdf
    • Biocharculture 107 There are many pathways through which the production and use of biochar in agriculture at all scales can preserve and enhance native biological diversity. A study published by the US National Research Council in 1993 noted that "Our lack of knowledge of microorganisms and invertebrates, which are estimated to make up as much as 88% of all species, seriously hampers our ability to understand and manage ecosystems" The most ignored on Earth are Soils - the critical life- support surface on which all terrestrial biodiversity depends. Soils are providers, holders and generators of biodiversity - but they are also one of the most undervalued and poorly researched habitats on earth. At the very time soil ecologists are beginning to uncover the magnitude and importance of life in the soil, the resource itself is literally disappearing off the face of the earth. Human activities are the greatest threat to soil biodiversity. The biggest threats to biodiversity are habitat destruction, pollution and climate change. Biochar amended soils show higher microbial biodiversity. Biochar is like a coral reef for the soil, creating a great habitat for all the soil life diversity and densities. The surface area in the biochar is very high, say a spoonful of biochar has the surface area equivalent to a football field. This surface area in biochar and other conditions
    • 108 Biocharculture like, moisture, air, absorbed nutrients, regulated temperature, etc., a very convenient environment for soil microbes to live. The staggering diversity of soil biota may be orders of magnitude higher than above ground diversity of plants and animals, but no one has yet made an exhaustive census of even one natural habitat. According to the Global Biodiversity Assessment, "a single gram of temperate forest soil could contain 10,000 million individual cells comprising 4,000-5,000 bacterial types, of which less than 10% have been isolated and are known to science;" Soil biodiversity influences a huge range of ecosystem processes that contribute to the sustainability of life on earth. For example, soil organisms maintain critical processes such as carbon storage, nutrient cycling and plant species diversity. Soil biodiversity plays a role in soil fertility, soil erosion, nutrient uptake by plants, the formation of soil organic matter, nitrogen fixation, the biodegradation of dead plant and animal material, reducing hazardous waste, the production of organic acids that weather rocks, and control of plant and insect populations through natural biocontrol. Biologically fixed nitrogen (primarily nitrogen-fixing microorganisms that live symbiotically on the roots of leguminous plants and trees) makes an enormous contribution to global agricultural productivity. The living microbes, fungi and invertebrates found in the soil are responsible for
    • Biocharculture 109 decomposing carbon and nitrogen and making them available for plant growth, while at the same time contributing to the rate of production and consumption of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen. Conventional soil science has generally relied on the use of purchase farm inputs to overcome constraints and modify the soil environment. Biochar and soil microbes minimize the use of purchasing inputs, and maximize the efficiency of soil microbes use. The soil microbes are the important living things to be recognized immediately for food security, poverty alleviation and development. The importance of microbial biodiversity existence in variety and numbers coexisting with human living environments should be recognized. The microbes have been serving the natural ecosystems, without them the ecological disasters occur to the effect of human existence also. All the biochar is charcoal, but all the charcoal is not biochar
    • 110 Biocharculture For inoculation of the native soil microbes with biochar, local biodiversity should be maintained in pockets. Only in the Soils degraded (with very less soil microbes) Biochar Soil Microbes SOIL Water use efficiency Soil aeration Fertilizer use efficiency CEC SOIL AMENDMENTS Microbial diversity and density BIODIVERSITY AND biochar
    • Biocharculture 111 presence of beneficial soil microbes biochar gives a greater biomass yield. The author has developed a place with 200 species of plants conserved in half acre of land, for soil microbial culture for inoculation into the biochar. The small farmers’ inputs have reduced due to local adoption of biochar compost.8 Chemical pesticides and fertilizers were never applied in this place. This natural soil has diverse indigenous soil microbes. Microcosm and Macrocosm The soil microbial biodiversity existence is the highest contribution by biochar. Other biodiversity is a reflection of this microcosm. Another way, if high macrocosm (macro biodiversity – flora and fauna) is existing, it signifies that high soil microbial biodiversity is possible for that ecotype. Soil 8 GEO Research Centre, Peddamaduru village, Devaruppala Mandal, Andhra Pradesh, India.
    • 112 Biocharculture Biochar application reduces the burden of farmers in several ways, by maintaining and enhancing soil fertility. Biochar supports soil life functions at the micro and macro scales. Physical - Reduces soil bulk density - Increases soil aeration - Biochar changes the soil structure and texture through changes in physical and chemical properties - Lessens the hardening of soils - Helps in reclaiming degraded soils. - Increased Cation Exchange Capacity : biochar has greater ability than other soil organic matter to adsorb cations per unit carbon (Sombroek et al. 1993), due to its greater surface area, greater negative surface charge, and greater charge density (Liang et al. 2006). Therefore biochar offer possibility to improve yields (Lehmann, J. 2007: pp. 383) Chemical - Reduces soil acidity by increasing pH is also called liming effect.
    • Biocharculture 113 - Biochar helps soil to retain nutrients and fertilizers (Lehmann, J. 2006 in Hansen, J. 2008: pp. 12) - Reduce the amount of fertilizer required through prevention of leachate. - The application of biochar improves soil fertility by two mechanisms: (1) by adding nutrients to the soil (such as K, to a limited extent P and micronutrients); (2) by retaining nutrients from other sources including nutrients from the soil itself. The main advantage is the second, the enhanced nutrient retention mechanism. In most situations, the biochar additions have a net positive effect on crop growth only if nutrients from other sources such as inorganic or organic fertilizers are applied as well. - Increases in C, N, and available P to the plants, because biochar absorbs and slowly releases fertilizer to plants - Increased soil levels of available Ca, Mg, P, and K - Helps to prevent fertilizer runoff and leaching, allowing the use of less fertilizers and diminishing agricultural pollution to the surrounding environment, - Mitigation of hazardous pesticides and nitrogen fertilizers on the local environment and ecology - It lessens the impacts of complex fertilizers and pesticides in soil by absorbing
    • 114 Biocharculture Biological Biochar increases soil microbial respiration by creating space for soil microbes. Increases the soil biodiversity and soil- life density in the presence of organic carbon. A good soil should have all the life that it is supposed to have, including bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, arthropods and earthworms. If application of biochar discriminates some of the life, one is not sure how this will lead to multiplier effects and disharmony in the soil environment. Therefore understanding how much biochar is good for a particular soil is important. Biochar increases arbuscular mycorrhizae fungi. The soil aggregation also improves due to increased fungal hyphae. Some of the soil microbes available commercially in the market are: Rhizobium, Azotobacter, Trichoderma viride, Bacillus thuringiensis, Azospirillum, Bacillus megaterium, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Glomus fasciculatum and Glomus mosseae. Termites Termites are often a problem in dry land areas after rains or in winter. During the experiments conducted by the author,
    • Biocharculture 115 it was found that the termites occurrence in the presence of biochar are less as compared to control fields. Biochar helps in lessening the impacts of termites on the biomass in the agricultural fields. Termites are sometimes responsible for eating away young saplings and roots. Termites benefit plants by brining minerals from deep down the soil. Earthworms The density of earthworms in the biochar fields varies based on several factors. In the freshly added biochar plots the density would be less because of the abrasive nature of the fresh biochar. The biochar made from types of biomass, quantity of biochar applied, and size of biochar particles in the soil impacts the density of earthworms. The earthworm’s presence and density are more in the soil where biochar was applied long back. The following observations were made from the samples collected from different percentage of biochar application to the red soil plots. 16% biochar plot: 4 numbers 5% biochar plot: 17 numbers 3% biochar Plot: 8 numbers Control plot (without biochar): 7 numbers
    • 116 Biocharculture The chances of occurrence of earthworms in the soil just underneath the pure biochar layer are more. This factor may be because of the presence of moisture. The increased microbial life in the presence of biochar too increases the process of vermicomposting. Based on further observations, effective vermicompost pits can be designed with different percentage of biochar blends. Any methane produced during the vermicomposting process would be absorbed by the biochar. The farmers know that wherever the biomass is burnt in the fields the crop grows stronger, healthy and good. Ants Ants perform many ecological roles that are beneficial to humans, including the suppression of pest populations and aeration of the soil. However, their ability to exploit resources brings ants into conflict with humans, as they can damage crops. Ants also act as predators of certain harmful insects. Ants dominate most ecosystems, and form 15–20% of the terrestrial animal biomass.
    • Biocharculture 117 The ants were found transecting the experimental pots. Ants are more repellant to the freshly added biochar and over a period of time the biochar impact on ants becomes mild. This is good, because ants with fresh charcoal can be repelled when needed. To compare the soil with and without charcoal, sowed Brinjal seeds in the 12 pots. In the three control pots the seeds were eaten away by small red ants. The six pots with a mix of 30% biochar and 70% red soil are untouched by ants. The germination of seeds percentage increased without killing the ants. One could always add some charcoal along with the seeds. The second important application is in the Vermicompost pits where sometimes ants eat the earthworms. To avoid such a problem biochar can be added in the vermicompost pits. Water Biochar improves water use efficiency and permeability. It also improves soil moisture retention and conserves water, thereby secures the crops against drought. Biochar cleans the polluted water to some extent through filtration, thereby provides clean water to the environment and plants. It also
    • 118 Biocharculture reduces fertilizers leaching and ameliorates ocean dead zones. Here are some innovative methods of using biochar for conservation and management of water given to plants. Terra Preta nuggets Terra Preta (TP) nuggets are small balls of burnt clay embedded with charcoal. They are created by mixing clay (~40%), biochar (~50%) and ash (~10%) with water. A bit of this mix is rolled by hand into small balls or nuggets. Which are dried in the sunlight for about 3 hours at 20 to 30 degrees centigrade temperature in airy condition. These nuggets are then baked at around 700 to 900 degrees centigrade for about 1 to 2 hours9 . The Terra Preta Nuggets are formed at the end. These nuggets are hard and composed clay, biochar and some ash. If properly formed, they should not dissolve or crumble when immersed in water. This is a hybrid product having characteristics of biochar and pottery shards. The uses are: - TP nuggets produced in large numbers can be used for horticulture, where the application is for each plant rather than the spreading. 9 For small scale production, the nuggets can by baked using TLUD stoves such as Magh-1.
    • Biocharculture 119 - The main advantage is water absorption and retention. - Could be used for flower pots especially when watering the pots is not done regularly. - These TP nuggets can be used in the compost making processes for enhanced microbial activity. - They could be used for enhancing soil microbes. - They are easy to store and transport. - Can be used as filtering media for water purification, in aquarium water filters, as gravel in aquariums, etc. - These nuggets are relatively heavy; otherwise some part of the biochar added into the soil would have been washed away or moved with passing time from the respective fields. Clean water Clean water is required even for plants for effective dissolving in water and uptake of nutrients. Biochar as activated carbon its use is very well known in water purification process. The colour of water is clear, odour is removed and harmful chemicals are removed.
    • 120 Biocharculture A simple test to see the clean water. Two pots were used, one with red soil and another with red soil and biochar. This experiment was to see the rate of seepage of water and its quality. These pots have holes at the bottom. The pots were placed on the white ceramic plates and added an equal quantity of water in both the pots simultaneously. It was found that the water retention is more in the pot with biochar and the seepage is slow. The pot without biochar released turbid water and the water from biochar pot was clear. Sensitive to Plants Consider plants as sensitive, they need to be taken care because some plants are domesticated for the benefit of human beings in the name of agriculture. The treatment given to plants is ‘inplant’10 . Throwing water on the ground and expecting the plant to consume all the water without wastage is almost impossible. The loss of water through percolation and evaporation is almost inevitable. As the plants don’t move and having a limited root system, one need to be innovating and implement good practices to support them. Plants are often selected for 10 The term ‘inplant’ is used to express insensitivity towards plants.
    • Biocharculture 121 the benefit of humans and not by their suitability in a given space. - Charcoal increases the ability of sandy soils to retain water and nutrients (Laird, D.A. 2008: pp. 179) - A greater surface area (Liang et al. 2006) is however likely “to result in greater water-holding capacity” (in: Lehmann, 2007: pp. 383) - Adding 20 gram biochar per kilogram soil raised soil's water retention potential by 15% (Laird, D. 2009: in Barinkick et al. pp. 8) - The effect of biochar on water relationships in soil have not been thoroughly investigated, but could potentially lead to important returns (Lehman, 2007: pp. 383) - Biochar improves ground and surface water quality, due to reduction of leaching losses (Laird, D.A. 2008: pp. 179) Floatigation Floatigation is growing plants on floats, where the water (including fertilizers) is taken through capillary action. The plant absorbs the required quantity of water aided by the capillary action of biochar and soil. Water supply can be
    • 122 Biocharculture adjusted by raising or lowering containers into the water as required on the floats. Rootigation A circular pit is prepared around the plant without damaging the roots. Part of the soil in the pit should be covered with polyethylene or biodegradable wax spray or covered with any waterproof material. Then biochar compost would be applied in the pit. Small pouches of biochar compost would be attached to the roots of plants. Pouches can be made of durable material. Water is given to the plant by a drip irrigation system. BIOCHAR ROOTIGATION 2 with grafted root (Rootrootgraft) Root-root Graft : Grafting a root of a plant with another root of similar or different species which can be grafted. Sapigation Sapwood is exposed linearly and a layer of sterile biochar powder is applied and tied with a muslin cloth into which the water and fertilizers (diluted) would be given to the plant. By the drip irrigation system, water is given slowly. Fertilizers can be mixed in with the water in diluted form, so
    • Biocharculture 123 that the plant consumes them slowly, and not exposed to concentrations of nutrients. This system benefits from biochar's superior storage capacity and affinity for water. BIOCHAR SAPIGATION with grafted root into the sapwood (SAPROOTGRAFT) Sapwood of a tree grafted with roots of same or similar or different species, which can be grafted. Water loving roots (roots which remain submerged in water all the time) of a species would be more beneficial for grafting. These roots will take the required amount of water from the water pipe and transfers to the plant. Biochar would be used for covering the exposed root The parasitic plants could be encouraged and suppress the growth of parasitic plant shoots. Parasitic plants have a modified root, the haustorium, that penetrates the host plant and connects to the xylem, phloem, or both. These roots will be used for sapigation. Note: Research should be done to further improve this method. Usually the capacity of parasitic plants for intake of moisture and nutrients is very high. The rate of transfer of the same to the host plant would be high if properly adopted.
    • 124 Biocharculture Biochar need not be applied where soils are very good. Perchigation Perchigation is a means of creating a shallow perched biochar aquifer for irrigation. The advantages are: This method is highly suitable for semi-arid and arid areas to prevent evaporation of water and store water under the soil. Prevent water going deeper into the aquifers thereby limiting the water to reach the plants. Biochar would absorb the water and other soil nutrients otherwise lost as runoff or leachate. The harmful pesticides and chemicals from the soil are taken by biochar Emissions from the soil are reduced The rainwater is also harvested in the ‘biochar aquifer’ created. The water can be recycled through recovery. The water gets purified due to biochar in the areas where polluted water is used for irrigation.
    • Biocharculture 125 Highly suitable for the cultivation of vegetables, tubers, cereals, chillies, cotton, etc. Suitable for adoption in the fields, greenhouses, polyhouses, etc. Sewagigation The usual practice is that sewage water is drained away from the habitations and left in the water bodies. There is always demand for water from the same habitations for various purposes. The water resources are getting polluted and affecting the aquatic ecosystems. Many cities are already facing water shortages to meet the demands of the people. Water is also required for greenery which is an important aspect. Sewagigation is a sewerage design using biochar for filtering sewage water to irrigate plants and also store for other multiple uses other than drinking. This design is most convenient for high gradient and hilly areas. Agriculture Biochar is a useful tool in diverse agroforestry systems. Biochar can increase crop-land use efficiency, reducing land area needed for crops. Improving the fertility of all types of
    • 126 Biocharculture soils, acidic, alkaline, and degraded. Raises agricultural productivity. Biochar increased corn yield in US farm trials with 20% (Hawkins, R. et al. 2008). Biochar increased sweet corn yield 10%; tomato yield 22% (Morse, R. and Stevens, P. 2006, in Hawkins, R. et al. 2007). Biochar (10 t/ha) doubled soybean. The gross cultivated area increases, due to more corps cultivated during a year. The vulnerability of crops is reduced. Biochar protects and supports growth of roots. Increases the available nutrients for plant growth thereby yields increase. If all the soil nutrients are available in plenty and the soil condition is healthy, the variation between biochar and control plot is very less. The difference is higher in less fertile and degraded soils. Biochar is good for all types of soils, because the fertility of soils varies, which is defined in time and space varies, based on human and natural conditions. The air, water and the nutrients, plus the soil microbes thriving in the space created within the soil through biochar, useful for plants and the environment. The observation is that, 1 to 3 kilograms of biochar application for every 1 square meter field area is the emerging good application result. The compost and other nutrients should be added to the field, as done regularly to any field as per the crop. While biochar amendment has multiple benefits as described above, researchers have reported nitrogen
    • Biocharculture 127 immobilization and yield reduction when biochar was applied to the soil without fertilizers (Gundale and DeLuca, 2007; Deenik et al., 2008). This was because biochar adsorbed the nitrogen available in the soil and rendered it temporarily unavailable to the crop plants. Initially the more Nitrogen should be added (1.5 to 2 times) than what is applied regularly, green mulch / composts / farm yard manures etc., are most preferable. As part of tradition people had been using biochar and ash in their fields. Such a practice is there all over the world, where civilizations existed in the last 5000 years, there is a need to recognize the values and create awareness. Germination Farmers spend less on seeds as germination percentage increases and seedlings are protected. It is observed that the chances of seeds germination are found to be 20 to 30 percent more in the soils with charcoal as compared to control soil (red soil).
    • 128 Biocharculture CONTROL RED SOIL-------- RED SOIL WITH CHARCOAL Initially one need to add more nitrogen to the soil with biochar, as some part of the nitrogen is absorbed by the biochar and some part might have been used up by the living microbes. The nitrogen is released by the biochar slowly into the soil for the plants to absorb. CONTROL POTS WITH RED SOIL-------- POTS WITH RED SOIL & CHARCOAL Note: The above comments are based on physical observations, in an open environment. No pesticides and fertilizer is applied to the soil. Paddy Most criticism is there for paddy than any other crop as a contributing factor for global warming through Methane and Nitrous oxide emissions, extensive and intensive use of water, contributing to alkalinity of soils in semi-arid areas, usage of heavy fertilizers, etc. Application of biochar to paddy fields will lessen all the impacts including methane and nitrous oxide emissions too. The paddy fields grow better with more tillers, height, better roots and finally more yield of paddy. The
    • Biocharculture 129 biochar a byproduct from pyrolysis of rice husk is a very good source to apply back to the paddy fields. Beans In the experimental plots after sowing beans and when observed after one week, it was seen that nine sprouts have emerged from biochar pots and only eight sprouts have emerged from control soil pot of the total 10 bean seeds sown in the pots. The plants are taller and are healthy in the biochar pots as compared to the control pots. Six, bean seeds were planted in the control pot with red soil and pot with a mix of red soil and biochar (30% biochar by volume as compared to the red soil used). The 3 beans have germinated in control pot and 6 beans have germinated in a pot with a mix of red soil and charcoal. Other results are visible in the pictures presented. Field trials In the 4 habitations of Devaruppala Mandal, field trials were conducted in three years respectively. In Kharif 2009, only one crop (cotton) was monitored. In Kharif 2010, five different crops were monitored; namely, cotton, sesame
    • 130 Biocharculture (Nuvvulu), Paddy, green gram (Pesallu) and mango. In Kharif 2011, five crops were monitored, namely, cotton, sesame, paddy, mango and green gram. The field size varied from 5x5 m to 10x10 m in case of agronomic crops. For the field trials, differences in phenological properties due to biochar compost amendment were monitored approximately every 15 days (6- 11 visits per season). Only the advice on micronutrient deficiencies based on soil tests was given. No other agronomical advice was given. Farmers used their usual seeds instead of special varieties to ensure that the results were appropriate for the region. Application of pest control methods is left to the farmer’s decision. Biochar and biochar compost analysis was done using proximate analysis (method IS-1350-1984). Soil samples were collected for the standard soil testing. Various parameters such as soil texture, organic carbon, pH, salt, major nutrient phosphate (P2O5) and potash (K2O) and micronutrients, zinc, iron, manganese and copper were analysed. Additional analysis of cation exchange capacity was done during 2011- 2012 to determine the impact of biochar amendment. Effect of biochar composts on crop growth Biochar amendment showed consistent and statistically significant increase in plant height (cm) as well as in number of flowers and fruits of the cotton crop. During Kharif 2009
    • Biocharculture 131 season, up to 5%, 49% and 213% increase was observed in plant height, number of fruits and flowers respectively due to biochar amendment. The number of flowers and fruits showed statistically significant differences (p < 0.05, Table 6). during the Kharif 2010 season, all three parameters exhibited statistically significant differences (Table 6). Average plant height showed up to 25% increase (Figure 2), average number of flowers showed up to 55% increase (Figure 3) and average number of fruits showed up to 60% increase (Figure 4). This was confirmed by the qualitative assessment by the farmers. When coupled with lower cost of fertilizers and pest control, as indicated by the farmers' assessment, it is confirmed that soil amendment with biochar has considerable ecological as well as economic benefits. Similarly sesame crop showed up to 22% increase in height and up to 40% increase in the number of branches. Biochar amended paddy crop showed up to 22% more tillers per plant. The height of the plants was smaller, but the difference was not statistically significant. The number of tillers is an indicator of the yield of paddy rice, and it showed that biochar compost was likely to increase significantly. Accordingly, the paddy farmers reported a 20 % increase in yield.
    • 132 Biocharculture In 2011, biochar amendment resulted in up to 27% increase in plant height and up to 19% increase in the number of tillers per plant in paddy. At the GEO Research Centre, where the biochar compost was applied at optimum rates 20 kgs of biochar compost applied for 3 meters by 1 meter plot. This biochar compost was applied in the plot in two phases, in previous year 12 kgs of biochar compost was added and okra was cultivated. In the same plot 8 kgs of biochar compost was applied and cluster bean was cultivated. The record increase in growth and yield of cluster beans was observed. The plant height increased by up to 82%, girth of plants increased by up to 125%, and the number of beans per plant increased by up to 260%. The differences were statistically significant for all three parameters. The maximum attained by one of the plants is 11.5 feet, which is a record growth and was never witnessed by the farmers locally. Effect of biochar composts on soil properties Biochar amendment did not show any significant effect on soil properties except for iron, and manganese during the application of biochar compost in the years 2009 and 2010. During this first project year, soils with biochar amendment showed consistently higher iron and consistently lower manganese than control soils. It is possible that the iron in
    • Biocharculture 133 biochar was exchanged with the manganese in soil, but further studies are necessary to understand the mechanism behind this effect. Biochar compost amendment also increased the microbial population of the soil significantly. Comparison of bacterial count of biochar and control showed up to 34 times (3400%) increase in soils amended with biochar compost. Organic Carbon results were given only as a level (low, medium and high) by the soil testing lab, which did not offer enough accuracy of measurement. So organic carbon level showed a change in only one case. In all other samples, the organic carbon levels remained the same (low). However, it is likely that a more accurate analysis would show a considerable difference in the total soil carbon concentration. Probably due to higher microbial activity in the soil organic carbon is consumed by them. Over the three year project period, all the soil properties except pH showed significant changes. In both biochar amended and control soils, salt, manganese and potash content showed a consistent increase while phosphate content decreased. There was no significant difference between the treatments in the same year and the changes in biochar amended and control soils were similar in all properties except potash content. This suggests that the biochar compost added potash to the soil, which is in accordance with the research
    • 134 Biocharculture which has shown biochar to be a source of potassium (Sarkhot et al., 2012). The increase in salt and manganese was likely because of the addition of salt and manganese through irrigation water. This explanation was supported by the water analysis done in 2011-2012, which showed electrical conductivity values ranging from 760 to 2520 micro mhos/cm. Manganese was probably added by the biochar compost, as the analysis of biochar compost showed 6.54 ppm Manganese content. However, the decrease in the phosphate content showed that addition of phosphate fertilizers would be needed in these soils to maintain the soil productivity. The salt build up observed during three project years also suggests that the practice of flushing the biochar with water would be beneficial in this region. Farmer’s assessment One of the farmers, Mr. Kailasam reported that biochar amendment resulted in greener rice plants, 5 to 10 more tillers per plant, longer rice pinnacles (up to 9”) and stronger grains as well as 20% more grains. He also reported that biochar amendment costs only half that of chemical fertilizer. Biochar amended soil had more moisture and it did not have any termites. According to this farmer, plants grow fast and get attacked by pests with chemical fertilizer with biochar compost, the plant growth is slow but there are fewer pests.
    • Biocharculture 135 Another farmer Mr. Komuraiah reported that biochar amendment resulted in taller, greener plants, smoother leaves, darker soil colour with better soil structure and less pests and diseases. According to him, yield increased by 10% more, while the cost was half as compared to chemical fertilizers. He said that biochar compost is very good for nurseries and would like to try for the whole field and would also recommend biochar compost to others. The dark soils Over a period of time the biochar soils turn dark. It is not always easy to identify the biochar soils through imageries or photos. There are various natural and anthropogenic factors responsible for dark colour of the soil. The field to field distinction is possible through the colour. Altering of the colour of natural soils are possible by human interventions such as burning of crop residue, application of fertilizers, soil carbon, soil moisture, silt application (if done) and the status of the field (crop grown – fallow / current, ploughed / unploughed), with crop or without crop, irrigated / dryland etc.
    • 136 Biocharculture Biochar urban gardens Rooftop Gardens Biochar when added to the soil the density of the soil composition reduces; therefore it is easy to add as a medium for the rooftop gardens without causing damage to the structure of the building due to overweight. The urine collected from toilets can be soaked with biochar and added to the plants. The biodegradable garbage can be composted with biochar. The earthworm’s density increases in the presence of biochar. The roof will be cooler due to these gardens. With little water the gardens can be easily maintained. All the urban concrete roof tops could be easily converted into beautiful gardens also address the food needs to some extant. These gardens give lots of space for the people. Biochar gardens Biochar is a very useful medium for creating gardens. Including, rooftop gardens, kitchen gardens, mobile gardens, vertical gardens, etc. In natural environments there are various systems for soil management. But in urban areas there is very little natural soil and space. The biochar gardens are highly suitable in small
    • Biocharculture 137 spaces, because of the inherent property of biochar compost, to sustain more plants per given area. Experimentally have grown tomatoes, brinjal, beans, ginger, garlic, onions, chilies, green vegetables were successfully grown. The advantages are: • The biochar compost being light does not cause much impact on the structures. • These are low cost solutions for efficient use of urban spaces. • Complement food needs of growing food. • Fresh and nutritious food is available close to habitation • Economic savings through access to self grown food • The water retention capacity of the biochar compost makes it ideal for conserving and use of the precious water in urban areas. • Utilization of waste for creating biochar compost. • Efficient solid waste management • Insulation to the roof • Entertainment and cultural activity space
    • 138 Biocharculture • Social gathering • Conducting meetings and workshops • Walkways for health • A great place for exercise and mental peace. • Aesthetics Biochar mobile gardens Biochar mobile gardens are a concept of using biochar compost for growing plants on the mobile platforms. The gardens can be grown on or inside the vehicles too. These gardens add vibrancy to the urban environment. The main advantages are: • They are a source for freshening the air. • Biochar compost is a light weight material so convenient to adopt. • With very little biochar compost by volume high density of plants can be grown. • Conserves water and need to apply very little water to plants. • Aesthetic value to the people.
    • Biocharculture 139 • Aromatic plants would emit a very nice smell • Creepers would occupy the different parts in a given space. • Would make the interiors cooler during hot days. • The food and salad plants would be of great value for consumption. • Biochar compost absorbs the CARBON DIOXIDE and other harmful gases released from closed space. • This is a cheap and best option, instead of using air fresheners / other scents which are harmful too. Sanitation Urinals Biochar is applicable for human and animal waste management such as urine, poop or dung for converting into fertilizers, sanitation and emissions reduction. Biochar can be used for tapping the nitrogen from urea in urine and other useful elements. Simple biochar urinals can be created for the purpose. biochar treated with urine is useful for : improving the quality of the soils; for enhanced crop
    • 140 Biocharculture production with enzymes and urea; addresses the global warming by reducing the NOx gas emissions; saving on artificial fertilizers; and to keep the toilets clean and odour free. The production of fertilizers requires lots of energy, in many countries natural gas is used for producing urea in large quantities. The demand for natural gas is growing and the energy prices are ever increasing. The complex fertilizers used to improve the fertility of soils are also contributing to alkalinity of the soils. Using biochar for tapping the Nitrogen and other elements is a great opportunity to find solutions for many problems. Urine is a great source of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium and has far greater value than faeces. For example in India at an average each person's urine has the following units of values. Urine Faeces Total Nitrogen (N) per person/year 2.4 kilograms 0.3 kilograms 2.7 kilograms Phosphorous (P) per person/year 0.3 kilograms 0.1 kilograms 0.4 kilograms Potassium (K) 1.1 kilograms 0.4 kilograms 1.5 kilograms
    • Biocharculture 141 per person/year Source: Human urine harvesting for food security, Prakash Kumar, SEI-UNICEF. Two sets of prototype Urinals - PVC urinal and Clay pot urinal were designed by the author. The pots of urine upon saturation can be collected and spread in the soil. The pots containing biochar plus urine can also be disposed by breaking into smaller pieces in the soil. The pottery shards also benefit the soil. The volume of charcoal and red soils is same in both the pots i.e., 50% Charcoal and 50% Red soil in volume. The urine has contributed the nitrogen for the saplings that is the reason why the leaves of the left side sapling are dark green in colour. The clay pots were filled with biochar for collecting urine. It is best to collect the fresh urine from the source using biochar without losing any value. Rather collecting urine separately and later saturating with the biochar. In this experiment, involved two kids (4 and 6 years old) to urinate in the clay jar. The clay jar is 6 inches in diameter and 10 inches in height with very fine holes of 2 millimetres in diameter at the bottom. This jar was filled with biochar. The biochar was a byproduct from TLUD stove. These jars were
    • 142 Biocharculture kept in the toilet for the kids to use. Each jar absorbed about 200 ml of urine easily without any leakage from the bottom. The total urine collected per day was around 500 ml. After about 10 days there was smell something like ammonia from the jar. The jar is saturated now with urine. The jar was kept aside in a cool place to dry. - The coolness of the clay jar reduced evaporation losses - Urine odour is reduced as biochar is used - There would be more acceptable to collect urine when it is fresh from the toilets - Using biochar one can easily design urinals free of smell, instead of using fresheners (naphthalene balls, scents, phenyl, etc.) in the toilets. - The schools are the best places to collect kids' urine, as mostly their urine is disease free, children use least medicines. There is nothing called a waste Cleaning Biochar is a resourceful medium for cleaning. The plates used for eating at the end can be cleaned using biochar
    • Biocharculture 143 powder (rice husk biochar is ready to use). Including oily matter and bad smells are completely removed and the plate turns very clean and ready to use it again. Very little water could be sprinkled on the plate to wipe it at the end, if required. The biochar after cleaning the plates attains more value as a soil amendment, as the food, oils, etc., embedded in biochar would become feed for the soil microbes. Health and Food There is a need for developing the biochar medicines and discover more applications for common use by the people. Cleaning the teeth Traditionally in many parts of India, still people use biochar from the cook stoves for cleaning teeth. They prefer cow-dung cake charcoal, freshly taken out from the stove and quenched it with water for cleaning teeth. This biochar not only cleans teeth but, removes the entire bad odour through absorption. One experiences the real freshness after cleaning the teeth. Unlike the mint and other strong flavoured toothpastes which dominate with their own smell rather freshening the mouth.
    • 144 Biocharculture Many types of tooth powders can be created by blending biochar powder with, rock salt powder, mint, clove oil, eucalyptus oil, etc. Food In the past the transportation means were slow and there were no refrigeration systems. When people carried raw meat to long distances say for 2 to 3 days to reach their respective destinations, they carried the meat with biochar pieces in it. The meat remained relatively fresh in the presence of biochar and there was no release of bad smell (Carbon dioxide, Methane, etc.), which also attracted the others attention or wild animals on the way. Keeping some pieces of biochar in the modern refrigerators is always recommended to keep the food items fresh and reduce emissions. If by mistake more salt is added to a curry, for reduction of saltiness charcoal pieces would be immersed in the gravy. Other uses - As tablets for gastric problems for humans. - To remove the impact of poison from the stomach and intestines. - As first aid applied at the place bitten by snakes or scorpions.
    • Biocharculture 145 - In the mattress and pillows for health and emissions reduction. - In the bath soaps, shampoos, creams. - In the animal’s methane and carbon dioxide emissions reduce when used as feed additive. - Biochar can be used in the management of livestock, poultry, piggery and other animal management for: Reducing emissions from their habitat as blend in their urine and poop). - In poultry it is used for storing of eggs Green Buildings There are many advantages of using the biochar as a component in Green buildings for clean indoor air. Biochar can remain for up to 1000 years and more in the soils. Biochar is found in earth walls of over 100 years old, is still intact. Biochar can be mixed in different proportions with sand, cement, earth, sawdust and other suitable materials to produce bricks, panels and blocks. The percentage of biochar in different products can be decided based on the purpose and ultimate product properties. Biochar use makes the building wall light and insulate.
    • 146 Biocharculture The biochar produced from different biomasses, temperatures and processes have different properties. Some types of biochar properties are Coconut shell biochar appears crystalline, Bamboo biochar having traditional values, rice- husk biochar having high silica, etc. The highly porous surfaces of biochars have been shown to adsorb N2O, CARBON DIOXIDE and CH4 (Lukas Van Zwieten et al). The biochar when used in green buildings absorb some of these greenhouse gasses. The biochar in the debris when used in green buildings, after reaching landfill sites reduce the GHGs emissions from landfill sites and prevent leachets. Biochar can be used as a screen for purification of air entering into buildings. Biochar regulates humidity indoors, the emissions from indoor toilets are absorbed. The biochar urinals reduce NOx emissions as well tap urea from urine for later use as soil amendment. It can be applied to the soil for indoor plants and gardens. It is useful water filtration medium in aquariums for water purification. Considering the life, source and property of biochar, it is a means for carbon sequestration. It also brings other benefits; temperature is regulated through insulation, as a lightweight material suitable for high rise buildings and reduces cost of construction. Biochar is resistant and repels termites and ants. Biochar is the source of negative ions, prevents oxidization, emit far infrared radiation, and dissipate electromagnetic fields from many electronic and electrical devices in a house, these characteristics improve the living
    • Biocharculture 147 conditions in a house. Considering the properties of biochar for improving the indoor air quality and benefits to the user and the environment, can be used in all the green buildings as per the need. Biochar bricks Biochar bricks were made using, rice husk biochar (a byproduct from rice mills), cement and sand. With different ratios the above three materials, bricks were made. The uses are: - These bricks are Light weight and especially suitable for high story buildings. As inside walls, walls for the top floors, and as the walls between the beams. - Ideal for bedrooms to remove obnoxious smells from attached toilets, moulds, paints etc. - Around plants and pathways - Insulation - cool in summers and warm in winter - Termites resistant - Even when the building is demolished, the waste material with biochar would benefit the soil. And the biochar bricks sequester the carbon.
    • 148 Biocharculture Three types of bricks were prepared for testing and use. Biochar bricks (BB) BB1 BB2 BB3 Rice husk biochar: 6 kilograms Cement: 3 kilograms Sand: 14 kilograms Rice husk biochar: 2.5 kilograms Cement: 2 kilograms Sand: 14 kilograms Rice husk biochar: 1 kg Cement: 1 kg Dimensions of each brick are: 11.5 x 7.5 x 6 (in inches) Sustainability of biochar Sustainable sources of biomass are not always available for conversion into biochar, although biomass is available from various sources in large quantities. In the world the amount of crop residues produced is ~4x109 Mg/year 11 . Soil organic matter is required as a regular input for soil management, a majority of which comes from crop residue, mulch, composts, 11 http://www.fao.org/ag/ca/Carbon%20Offset%20Consultation/CARBONMEETING/3FUL LPAPERSBYCONSULTATIONSPEAKERS/PAPERLAL.pdf
    • Biocharculture 149 etc. In India alone about 800 million tonnes of crop residues are produced annually. For the management of crop residue there are no stringent rules. Some part of this crop residue is burnt by farmers. In the process lots of smoke is generated and the valuable biomass is wasted. But, for the recommended biochar application about 10 to 30 tonnes per hectare (sometimes even more) and for large scale applications by millions of farmers, presently available biomass is not sustainable. The approach of having captive lands for biomass production for large scale commercial production of biochar should not be encouraged, because this approach competes with the limited land resources. To import biochar from any other country is also non-sustainable and non-justifiable. Biochar is not an exclusive product for soil applications; it is widely used for various applications and a great deal of biomass is already being converted into biochar for such uses – especially for fuel. This new demand for biochar as a soil amendment in huge quantities adds to the existing demands. Biochar for developing countries
    • 150 Biocharculture The major concern in developing countries like India is that 60 percent of the farmers live on less than one hectare of land12 . The farming is not sustainable for a majority of small and marginal farmers in parts of India. Over the years they have been dependent on government policies and subsidies for power, water, seeds, fertilizers, minimum support price for the produce, etc. There is a need to liberate the farmers from the dependency systems. Another advantage of biochar is that it can be used in all types of agricultural systems (organic, chemical, permaculture, mixed farming, natural farming, biodynamic agriculture, Homa therapy for agriculture, zero tillage farming, etc.) Biochar application in small amounts into the soil would not burden the farmer. A farmer could produce about 100 to 200 kilograms of biochar from crop residue annually from one hectare of land, that would otherwise some farmers burn in the field. This is apart from using some crop residue for mulching, composting and fuel. Biochar added to the soil in large quantities reduces available nutrients to the crops initially, unless it is added along with extra compost and fertilizers. But by adding biochar in small quantities the farmer need not worry much about the high costs for extra compost 12 http://www.usaid.gov/indiatrip/usaid_partnership.pdf
    • Biocharculture 151 and fertilizers that would have been needed if large quantities of biochar are added at once. Over a period of time, biochar matures and gets adapted to the local soil conditions. For small and marginal farmers application of biochar over a number of years is more convenient. They can convert some part of their crop residue into biochar and mix with farmyard manure and apply. Biochar will remain in the soil for more than 1000 years, so one need not be in a hurry to get maximum yields immediately. Farmers need open source biochar production technologies and standards The best biochar technologies and products are adoptable by big farmers only. Agriculture has become a high input and dependent system, which is hardly sustainable for small and marginal farmers. The biochar products and technologies available in the market are not accessible to farmers as they are patented and come at a high cost. Therefore the industrial approach to biochar production is not a highly feasible option in many developing and poor countries. Religion and Spirituality
    • 152 Biocharculture In India the farmers still love biochar (charcoal) and ash. The source is from cook stoves, burning crop residue in the fields, and sometimes charcoal and ash from the Yagnas (a ritual performed for prosperity and good), potters kiln, etc. They do apply silt from irrigation tanks, etc., and farmyard manure, which are traditional practices. All these practices are able to increase the soil carbon, increase in soil microbial activity and increased fertility of soils. Bonalu Festival Bonalu festival is celebrated immediately after the first rains in rainy season in parts of Telangana Region in the Andhra Pradesh state, India. The goddess Mahankali or Elamma is worshipped. The people sacrifice animals (sheep, goats, chicken) before the god and offer prasadam including cooked rice, jaggery, turmeric, kunkum, neem leaves, water, toddy, lamps made up of rice or wheat flour and coconuts. Many new pots are also used. The blood of animals and the other materials offered is left on the floor before goddesses for one day. This material together is called “Prasadam”. Next day prasadam is taken in procession and spread in and around the fields and water bodies. This festival has significance because the prasadam helps to spread soil microbes, prevention of diseases and prospers the local communities. If the prasadam is applied to the fields with biochar it renders more value as a whole.
    • Biocharculture 153 Sometimes to ward off evil spirits, with charcoal pieces it is written that “to come tomorrow”. For every day there is a tomorrow and it never comes. They believed that the biochar also wards off ‘ghosts’ too. The so called ghost usually manifests in anaerobic environmental conditions, which is nothing but bad air. Biochar absorbs bad air. The ash, charcoal and charcoal bones collected after cremation are immersed into the streams or rivers confluence, by their kin. A traditional ritual followed in parts of India. Biochar mitigates many negative effects on the environment and creates a better space for life on earth. The gods too had a similar intention for life on earth. Say to understand biochar, lord Shiva could be taken as one example, who symbolizes rhythm and harmony. It is said Shiva once to save the life on earth has consumed poison and stored it in his throat. Similarly biochar is now taking all the ‘poison’ and giving a chance for life earth. Lord Shiva if he opens his third eye, everything will be destroyed and will turn into vibuthi (sacred ash). It biochar burns only ash remains. He decorates himself with ash all over his body. Snakes love charcoal, so there is always a snake around his throat. There is Ganga (the sacred river in India) on his head; charcoal has the tendency to hold soil moisture. Many properties of biochar can be explained by symbolizing with Lord Shiva.
    • 154 Biocharculture Ash is the leftover material after losing all the energy from charcoal is considered the sacred symbolizing emptiness. GEO Research Centre The GEO Research Centre was established in March 2010 on a 0.5 acre land in Peddamaduru village, Devaruppala Mandal, Andhra Pradesh, India. It has served as a centre for trainings and demonstration trials of technologies developed and as the site for biochar and biochar compost production. The centre has a biodiversity with more than 200 plant species, in half an acre of land. This serves as a source of microbial culture for the biochar compost and a low-cost solution for preserving and enhancing local soil microflora and fauna. The soil existing at GEO RC is not tilled in the last 30 years, and never applied any pesticides or artificial chemicals. This soil collected from different places in GEO RC is added to the biochar compost. The naturally existing microbes in the Farm Yard Manure and vermicompost (produced at GEO RC) also were inoculated into biochar. The centre also boasts of a stoves museum with 50 stove designs developed by the Author. There is a need to have many such centres developed for indigenous microbial life for the present and the future of the earth.
    • Biocharculture 155 Integrated approaches Integrated efficient biochar production and use strategies are needed with lateral and vertical relationships between the various aspects. Good Stoves and biochar Communities (GSBC) project is one such integrated project with the following aspects: • Study, design and introduction of efficient charcoal production cook-stoves • Study of soils and implementation of biochar plus amendments for increased soil fertility and crop production • Design efficient biochar production technologies to the farmers from Prosopis Juliflora and crop residue
    • 156 Biocharculture Cost of biochar For the user the cost of application of biochar compost is not too high, if produced by themselves using locally available raw material. The incremental application allows more sustainable use of biomass. It also avoids the possibility of damage due to the overdose of the biochar compost. Although farmers are happy with the biochar compost application results during the field trials, it is difficult for them to adopt on a large scale because of the high cost of biochar production technologies. The cost of purchasing biochar is
    • Biocharculture 157 relatively high, as it is used for various other purposes too. The efficient, cheap and convenient technologies are not available. Because of the complexity of biomass (types, values, size, shape, density, etc.) converting into biochar is difficult by any single design, so there is a need for many different biochar production designs. Most of the charcoal production from wood is done by earth mound kilns, but for the conversion of crop residue this technology is not convenient. Not all types of biomass are easily convertible into biochar. Presently with the traditional systems for the crop residue conversions into biochar, the efforts in procuring the biomass and converting into biochar is higher than the cost of buying the same quantity of charcoal made from wood in earth mound kilns. The technologies are also inefficient: from every 100 kilograms of biomass with the existing traditional technologies on an average the biochar yield is only 20 to 30% of the weight of the biomass used. Moreover, the type of biomass used, the process and the temperature at which the biochar is produced are important to qualify it as a biochar product. Biochar production technology designs should be cheap, mobile and convenient for in-situ production. If a farmer is using own raw material one could produce the biochar compost at the cost of Rs. 5 per kilogram. On a no profit basis it can be produced by others at the rate of Rs. 15 per kilogram. The retail price of very good biochar is @Rs. 25
    • 158 Biocharculture per kilogram. This analysis is based on the author’s observations in parts of India. Encourage the farmers to use biochar in their fields on a trial basis and compare with control plots. They should be able to decide on the quantity of requirement. The cost and quantity of biochar required are relevant aspects. On local level biochar fines, a byproduct of the stove cooking process, have no cost at all, the larger charcoal parts are available 150-250 US$/t in developing countries (Lehmannn, J. and Joseph, S. 2009) The deployment of biomass pyrolysis systems can create new local business, job opportunities and raise the income of people in rural communities (Okimore et al. 2003 in Hawkins, R et al. 2007) Industrial tree plantation processing 368,000 tonne biomass provides jobs for approximately 2,600 people (Okimori, 2003 in Hawkins, R. et al. 2007) On the global market pure biochar price is on average $1/per 20 kg; smaller quantities have a higher price up to $5.00 per 20kg; while larger quantities have a lower price, as low as $0.60/20 kilogram (Baranick, M. et al. 2011)
    • Biocharculture 159 Fertilizer requirement can be reduced by 10% to account for the improved efficiency in the use of fertilizer by crops (Gaunt and Lehmann, 2008: pp. 4155) When used as a supplement to fertilizer or compost, biochar can reduce the inputs of these products by 25‐30% (Baranick, M. et al. 2011: pp. 5) Morse, R. and P. Stevens 2006 mentions 37.5 kilogram N / ha reduction in nitrogen application requirements for Irish potatoes (in Hawkins, R. et al. 2007) Livelihoods Biochar addresses the livelihoods too, through enhancing the following capitals. Biochar and allied sectors enhances the living conditions of rural families through conversion of biomass into biochar and use of energy. Income from sale and wages from production and processing of biochar into biochar blends. Carbon offsets payments as support for the use of biochar and carbon offset payments from clean cook stoves (note: Carbon offsets should be optional and should not be the main goal to promote biochar).
    • 160 Biocharculture Biochar cons Badly Implemented biochar Systems Could Reduce Biological Diversity. To the extent it might contribute to large- scale land use change for biofuels. Pollution could be released if less efficient charcoal production methods are used. There could be potential contamination from badly designed •Agricultureproductivityincrease •Low input agriculture Natural •Local jobs and equity •Local enterprises Social •Least skills •Biocharculture Human •Local technologies •Low energy Physical •Low carbon economy •Low cost Financial •Carbon sequestrationand energy security •Mitigationand adaptation to climate change Environment
    • Biocharculture 161 industrial biochar production, including poor choice of feed stocks or hazardous materials. Biochar not well matched to soils (particularly if it is the wrong pH could temporarily reduce crop productivity or alter the biodiversity of native soils. Biochar could favour some soil microorganisms over others with potential impacts to native biodiversity. There is a need for further research before characterizing biochar for various applications. Black carbon entering into atmosphere from various sources including during biochar production, application and from wind erosion would have impacts more serious than carbon dioxide itself. The lower soil albedo might increase the warming of earth and accelerating global warming. The threat is even more especially when the biochar reaches the ice sheets in the Polar Regions. In this regard precautions should be taken at the time of production and application. There is an argument, whether biochar should be applied in fine powder form or in pieces. If biochar in fine powder form is applied there are some immediate benefits is that it would spread on a larger area in the field. But during preparing into fine powder from pieces, application process and after application the chance of this biochar reaching the atmosphere in the form of Black Carbon is more. Moreover a very small piece of biochar would create an environment within and around it which is more vulnerable as compared to
    • 162 Biocharculture the environment created within and around a large piece of biochar. It is difficult for a piece of biochar to be airborne. The soil can easily hold a piece of biochar and prevent it from erosion by natural forces. In the future over hundreds of years due to human and natural factors the pieces would reduce into small pieces. Rather having the desired results immediately considering the impacts of airborne black carbon, one can always choose to apply pieces of biochar rather than fine biochar powder to the soils as an amendment. Achievements The work of author on biocharculture since 2005 is pioneering. Emissions reduction was also achieved through a reduction in the use of chemical fertilizers, insecticides, soil emissions etc. Majority of the farmers, who once participated, remained in the field trial, indicating satisfaction of the farmers with the field trial. As part of the outreach activities, biochar compost samples were sent to several different universities and research institutions for independent analysis and field trials. Through other NGOs, nearly 4000 people were reached. The tribals on the fringes of the Nallamalai forest in Andhra Pradesh State have adopted 150000 kgs of biochar compost for the horticultural crops.
    • Biocharculture 163 The study of soil properties and crop growth across various crops and multiple farmers showed that soil amendment with biochar compost resulted in many beneficial effects including improvement in soil productivity, soil structure, increased crop yields, decreased incidence of insect pests and decreased cost of fertilizers. For example, cluster beans showed up to 260% increase in the number of beans per plant. Increase in plant height and plant girth showed that the biomass production also increased, which would offer further opportunities for carbon sequestration and biochar production and higher availability of biomass for other uses (e.g., cattle fodder). Biochar amendment is also known to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from soil. Replacement of chemical fertilizers and the addition of biochar in soil, which is a highly absorbent material, is also likely to reduce leaching losses of nutrients and improvement in quality of ground water. Civil society debate Biochar being used for soil amendment for increased fertility of the soils and reclamation of degraded soils was one of the issues debated. Regarding biochar it is not considered positive as a large scale application or as a product from
    • 164 Biocharculture industries. Biocharculture integration into the traditional and local practices by the civil society should be encouraged. The approach of encouraging local communities producing and using biochar, with locally available raw material is considered sustainable. If this strategy is adopted there is a need for capacity development and empowering processes of local communities on a large scale as a movement. The standards of biochar vary locally based on the availability of raw material and soil microbes. The CBD civil society will continue to fight against all the major / industrial production processes of biochar and declared a moratorium on all geoengineering methods. The civil society has also sought moratorium on the Living Modified organisms or Genetically Modified organisms. Biochar (Bio-Life, Char- Carbonaceous Material) compost is a product with life and other material to revitalize and synergize the soil environment. Miraculous growth of plants is observable with the application of biochar compost. The 30 small and marginal farmers tell their experience with happiness Awareness
    • Biocharculture 165 The biochar values are being discovered and application methods are being evolved. There will be apprehension when there is not a complete understanding with limited knowledge. There is a need for mass awareness of biochar, including the pros and cons, among various stakeholders. The traditional best practices of biochar application should be continued. The farmers should also adopt the next and appropriate best technologies for improving the fertility of the soils and their sustainability. The author has created mass awareness through field trials; demonstration at the GEO Research Centre; collaborative activities with other organizations, agencies, institutions and universities; information disseminated through weblinks in the form of presentations, photos, videos and podcasts; participated in the conferences and workshops at various levels; all the information is shared through website links from time to time. Moving Forward Globally many countries are involved in the research, development and application of the biochar. The protocols for biochar characterization and standards are being evolved by
    • 166 Biocharculture the International biochar Initiatives (IBI). The biochar Bioenergy lists website and the egroup started by Tom Miles. Integrating biochar production and application locally is likely to be a more sustainable practice than large scale centralized production and dissemination. And such practices should be encouraged and given top priority. There is a need for greater research for the development of biochar plus products. At the same time ongoing traditional biochar best practices should be recognized and improved. In this regard the role of the scientific community, public polity, civil society, mass media and other stakeholders are very important. To document the traditional biochar practices in different parts of the world a study is required. Should know more about indigenous, traditional biochar practices and learn low impact, sustainable biochar methods. There is a necessity to find ways to improve the existing practices for sustainability and adaptation by stakeholders in parts of the world. While facilitating the low-cost efficient adoptable technologies for conversion of biomass into biochar, stringent laws can be brought to prevent over exploitation of biomass, efficient energy use and biochar production. Inefficient biochar production technologies should be replaced in a phased manner. All the biochar technologies should be declared as open knowledge, and the people or agencies invested in
    • Biocharculture 167 developing such technologies should be compensated by respective governments or international organizations. Similarly all the biochar products or blends should be made open along with the results. Standards for ethical biochar production and use should be developed. Biochar standards testing labs should be established in the regulation of spurious products. Standardization of terms should be made by a common agency, because there are more than 50 terms being used to describe the biochar products. Need sustainable ways to characterize biochar that are accessible to small farmers Biochar as a byproduct should be given top priority for usage, rather than producing biochar exclusively. There are many such sources, including stoves, gasifiers, biomass to energy, thermal power plants etc., which can produce both biochar and energy. Having found a new opportunity in biochar, many private companies have emerged to sell it as a product. Companies are doing research on biochar compounds and they are publishing the results of the product application on crops. The results are very encouraging. But the composition of biochar products is kept secretive. The efforts of all the companies, agencies, organizations, individuals involved in research should be compensated by either national or international
    • 168 Biocharculture agencies. The components of biochar products should be revealed in the common interest. The biochar products (blends) being promoted by different names in various companies are very confusing. There is a need to standardize the biochar products for application to different types of soils and crops in different geographic regions and conditions. About the author The author, he is the pioneer to reintroduce the values of biocharculture in parts of India. He had been working with the farmers on biochar for 9 years, involved in facilitation, designing the biochar blends, application methods and monitored the results in the field. The experiments were designed, conducted, implemented, monitored, data was collected and analysed by the author. He understood the values of biochar through field observations and experiments conducted in parts of India. The farmers have adopted in their soils and grown diverse crops with enhanced yields and they are very happy. The farmers were trained on making biochar compost, using locally available materials. All the work is declared as “Open Knowledge” by the author and published extensively in blogs and websites. Encouraged the stakeholders to adopt sustainable biochar production and application systems.
    • Biocharculture 169 Designed simple five charcoal production technologies which are low-cost and efficient. Also designed 50 good stoves where biochar is the byproduct. On the whole he has created values of biochar and broadened the scope of biochar as “biocharculture”. Annexures Annexure-1: List of organizations or agencies working on biochar. International: Carbon Roots International International biochar Initiative (IBI) International Center for Soil Fertility (IFDC) http://www.ifdc.org International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPI) The Charcoal Project Brasil Embrapa Amazônia Ocidental Manaus, Brasil Europe
    • 170 Biocharculture Eurochar European biochar Certificate European biochar Research Network Biochar North Sea Region L'Associazione Italiana biochar ICHAR United Kingdom British biochar Foundation Carbolea Oxford biochar Soil Association UK biochar Research Centre USA: Biochar Northeast Biochar Yukon Cornell University Bio-Char Home Flux Farm Great Lakes biochar Initiative
    • Biocharculture 171 Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, Renewable Resources Research Laboratory University of Hawaii at Manoa Illinois biochar Group International Water Management Institute Carbon Negative Network, David Yarrow National Society of Consulting Soil Scientists, Philip Small The Rodale Institute SeaChar Seattle, Washington University of Florida - Dept. Geological Sciences University of Georgia Engineering, Biorefining and Carbon Cycling Program Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Georgia Institute of Technology US biochar Initiative Canada: CanadianBiochar Initiative Oceania
    • 172 Biocharculture Australia and New Zealand biochar Researcher's Network BiocharProject Australia New Zealand biochar Research Centre South East Asia Biochar Interest Group - SE Asia (BIG SEA) India: Biochar India Appropriate Rural Technology Institute (ARTI), Pune, Dr. AD Karve, <<Agri-horticultural Technologies Geoecology Energy Organization (GEO), N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy Japan Japan biochar Association Hokaido Pyro-coke References
    • Biocharculture 173 http://www.fao.org/sd/EPdirect/EPre0045.htm Mwangi Esther & Swallow Brent, June 2005, Invasion of Prosopis Juliflora and local livelihoods: Case study of the lake Baringo area of Kenya. ICRAF Working Paper – no. 3. Nairobi: World Agroforestry Centre. David M. Pennise, Kirk R. Smith, 2001: Emissions of greenhouse gases and other airborne pollutants from charcoal making in Kenya and Brazil“, Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmosphere, source:http://www.ehs.sph.berkeley.edu/krsmith/public ations/01_pennise_1.pdf Adrian Ghilardi (national university of Mexico), and Florian Steierer (Head of FAO wood energy), Charcoal Production and use: World country statistics and global trends, presentation made at Symposium, The role of charcoal in climate change and poverty alleviation initiatives, ARUSHI, Tanzania, 15 June 2011 David M. Pennise, et. al., Emissions of greenhouse gases and other airborne pollutants from charcoal making in Kenya and Brazil, Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 106, No. D20, October 27, 2001
    • 174 Biocharculture C. Syred et. al., A clean, efficient system for producing Charcoal, Heat and Power (CHaP), ELSEVIER, December 5, 2005