Unique Biochar Phenomena 
Hugh McLaughlin, PhD, PE 
www.acfox.com 
November 22, 2014 @ Tufts
This is the tree as it grows. 
About one half of the carbon 
dioxide uptake results in 
additional carbon atoms in 
biomas...
200 CO2 
200 C 
<100CO2> 
100C 
Fate of Reduced “Fixed” Carbon 
- After the plant takes care of 
energy requirements of pr...
Pyrolysis and Carbonization 
convert biomass into biochar: 
one half of the carbon atoms 
are released as volatiles and 
o...
Climate 
Civil 
Disobedience 
Carbon 
Time-out
Biochar: “invented” 600 million years ago by Mother Nature
From: http://www.techtp.com/Torrefaction for High Quality Wood Pellets.pdf, page 7 of 36 
Figure 2: Wood Microscopic Struc...
Pyrolysis & Carbonization Reactions of Wood 
@300C: Below = Torrefied Wood Above = charcoal & biochar 
Hemicellulose Ligni...
Amorphous Graphite = Domains of Graphene 
From page 
8 
Figure 3: Development of local Graphene domains during carbonizati...
Page 3 of J. Phys.: Condensed Matter 19 (2007) 
9 
Figure 4: Development of porous 3-dimension structure during carbonizat...
How does Biochar work in the Soil? 
• Biochar works in conjunction with the 
existing soil, crop and climate. 
• Biochar h...
Make Biochar, 
and save your world
Hugh McLaughlin - Biochar: A Powerful Tool for Carbon Farming
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Hugh McLaughlin - Biochar: A Powerful Tool for Carbon Farming

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Hugh McLaughlin - Biochar: A Powerful Tool for Carbon Farming
From Biodiversity for a Livable Climate conference: "Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming"
Sunday November 23rd, 2014
www.bio4climate.org

Published in: Environment
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Hugh McLaughlin - Biochar: A Powerful Tool for Carbon Farming

  1. 1. Unique Biochar Phenomena Hugh McLaughlin, PhD, PE www.acfox.com November 22, 2014 @ Tufts
  2. 2. This is the tree as it grows. About one half of the carbon dioxide uptake results in additional carbon atoms in biomass This is when biomass dies and becomes detritus: such as leaves and tree death This is due to microbial breakdown of dead biomass – 95% in one to twenty years
  3. 3. 200 CO2 200 C <100CO2> 100C Fate of Reduced “Fixed” Carbon - After the plant takes care of energy requirements of procuring a balanced diet, the excess carbon is directed to seeds, biomass growth or stored as sugars for the next season. - Sugars are excreted into the soil biota in exchange for plant nutrients (NPK and micro-nutrients). - If NPK are available, the plant does not “waste” sugars on soil. microbes and puts that carbon into plant priorities = more plant growth -Without plant sugars, soil microbes attack each other and soil carbon decreases, leading to sterile soil.
  4. 4. Pyrolysis and Carbonization convert biomass into biochar: one half of the carbon atoms are released as volatiles and one half converted to biochar The volatiles contain carbon atoms that the tree removed from the atmosphere as it grew = carbon neutral A minority of biochar is slowly oxidized by soil microbes; the majority is stable for hundreds to thousands of years <10CO2> 40C remains in stable in the soil 200 CO2 50C <50CO2>
  5. 5. Climate Civil Disobedience Carbon Time-out
  6. 6. Biochar: “invented” 600 million years ago by Mother Nature
  7. 7. From: http://www.techtp.com/Torrefaction for High Quality Wood Pellets.pdf, page 7 of 36 Figure 2: Wood Microscopic Structure – molecular mixtures at the atomic scale
  8. 8. Pyrolysis & Carbonization Reactions of Wood @300C: Below = Torrefied Wood Above = charcoal & biochar Hemicellulose Lignin Cellulose D Extensive Devolatilisation and carbonisation (E) Limited devolatilisation and carbonisation (D) depolymerisation and recondensation (C) drying (A) E D C A E D C A glass transition/ softening (B) 300 250 200 150 100 Temperature (°C) Hemicellulose Lignin Cellulose 300 250 200 150 100 Temperature (°C) TORREFACTION
  9. 9. Amorphous Graphite = Domains of Graphene From page 8 Figure 3: Development of local Graphene domains during carbonization
  10. 10. Page 3 of J. Phys.: Condensed Matter 19 (2007) 9 Figure 4: Development of porous 3-dimension structure during carbonization
  11. 11. How does Biochar work in the Soil? • Biochar works in conjunction with the existing soil, crop and climate. • Biochar helps “soil” go back to being soil. • Improved Moisture Dynamics – high & low • Improved Nutrient Retention (N, P, K) • Improved Microbe survival during drought • Improved Plant-Microbe synergisms
  12. 12. Make Biochar, and save your world

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