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Daniel Seiser

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Can't we use Agrichar to fix some larger world concerns? Am I alone on this?

For those who haven't heard of it before, Biochar is the technology that can turn otherwise compostable organic leftovers back into sequestered carbon and when put back in the soil holds moisture and nutrients indefinitely. Composting is actually very inefficient in comparison.

The technology can be started on electrical power, it then releases enough energy on it's own to sustain the burn smokelessly in the absence of oxygen. That's how it sequesters the carbon as opposed to making the carbon dioxide that we don't want in the air. It does create a lot of heat, but that can also be an application.

Agrichar is then the practice of growing a crop with the intention of producing biochar for whatever agricultural use. I like the idea of using the same ground to enrich itself permanently. If it didn't grow anything well before it will go on to produce maximum yields of anything and it takes a lot less fertilizer and a lot less water from irrigation or rainfall.

I just think that someone should make a small sturdy model commercially. Making it relatively small would be best for the common man who would like to demonstrate superior gardening or home heating because something small is more portable, safer, user friendly, and it can be truly experienced and popularized by the consumer.

I'm confident this technology will change the world. The application itself provides the intuitive education on how to live sustainably. Once people learn how to really live off the land they will have a basic ability to take relatively little and sustain their own nutritional needs in places that previously had poor soil. This is a much bigger deal for countries other than the USA. It could mean no more slash and burn. It can reverse the trend from using up plant life to putting it back again, preserving our wildlife.

I haven't heard of anyone doing this yet, but if they were I would work for them in any capacity.

"...And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose." -Isaiah 35:1

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  • Feb 1 2012: Now theres' an inspirational thought! Are there any steam engineers out there who could apply their skills to the question of how you could create a movable locomotive (steam engine) but by using a small pyrolyser as the firebox instead of less efficient combustion? Then you'd have a mobile biochar factory and efficient use of heat for transport!! Love it! Shame earlier generations ripped out all our rail lines, but even a static steam engine could deliver local biochar?
    True knowledgeable steam engineers are rare these days, so lets hope some follow TED!
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    Jan 31 2012: http://biochar.bioenergylists.org/company

    The best way to defeat laziness is to get inspired. Remember, the locomotive starts out slow, but once it builds up a head of steam, lookout. A little discipline, on a consistent basis energizes into a momentum that can move a mountain. Keep the faith, and don't forget who He wants us to be ... Proverbs 1:7
  • Jan 31 2012: There is also an international biochar r &d programme in Europe that is increasing the understanding of what parameters are needed to produce different biochars with differing properties. Producing biochars as a byproduct of fast pyrolysis of biomass to oils is a further arm of this research. Producing it in the back garden is possible now with a retort but the real interest should be in the social impact if impoverished societies were able to improve their soils and therefore food production whilst also being able to generate their own power. Big business will just extract it's full monetary value at no gain to society. I personally hope techniques are refined that make it simple and economical to produce on a local scale.
  • Jan 22 2012: This is not new. Charcoal has been recognised as a soil improver for generations. For more information on just how much serious research is now going on in this area visit the International Biochar Initiative. See www.biochar-international.org For our part we are involved in European research into its production from Miscanthus, as growers.
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      Jan 31 2012: Yes, I finally had a chance to catch up with the IBI. They are doing the kind of work that has to happen for now I guess. I'm just ready for more of an application for my own backyard that doesn't involve building a huge complex machine from scratch or making my own brick kiln. More than anything, it's a laziness issue. Thanks though, I have to keep track of the "Initiative" as they seem to be the most proactive people.