WHAT IS BIOCHAR?
“Biochar may represent the single most important initiative for humanity’s environmental future. The biochar approach provides a uniquely powerful solution, for it allows us to address food security, the fuel crisis, and the climate problem, and all in an immensely practical manner. ”
Prof. Tim Flannery, Australian of the Year
|Biochar is a type of charcoal, a carbon-rich material produced by burning biomass in the absence of oxygen - slow pyrolysis. (Image: Hans Erken)|
|Simple home-made biochar maker - the flame cap kiln. Design and Photo: Hans Erken|
|Boichar made in the the flame cap kiln. Design and Photo: Hans Erken|
THE BENEFITS OF BIOCHAR
Biochar enhances soils and makes it more fertile. It also increases the capacity of the soil to sequester carbon.
When biochar is added into the soil it creates homes for microorganisms, increases the water holding capacity of soils, adsorbs nutrients, aerates soil, breaks up clay - healthier soil grows healthier plants that are more nutrient dense - so it's good for the environment and supports the growing of healthier food too.
Biochar production is inspired by the soils created by indigenous people in Amazon Basin - islands of rich, fertile soils called terra preta ("dark earth").
THE USES OF BIOCHAR
There are many uses for biochar - improving soil, sequestering carbon, fuel for cooking, heat for power generation. It is also useful in water filtration, insulation, energy storage and much more (read the link below - 55 Uses for Biochar). In this article they argue that Biochar so valuable that it should be used at least once before getting worked into the soil.
In the garden, Biochar can be scattered out but it's best mixed with compost or liquid fertilisers, and added into no-dig gardens, and covered with mulch.
|How to activate your Biochar (Image: The Biochar Project)|
LEARN TO MAKE & USE BIOCHAR
Teacher: Hans Erken, Earthcare Enterprises
When: August 20, from 10am - 4pm
Where:The workshop will be at Maleny in the morning to see Han's innovative technologies and learn how to use and cook with biochar, and we'll move to Crystal Waters in the afternoon to learn how to make biochar.
Who: Anyone interested in biochar for growing and cooking
Cost: $85, includes a lovely lunch
I have been fascinated for some time with biochar and have wanted to learn how to make it. I've invited Hans Erken, a local biochar enthusiast innovator to lead a workshop with the Ethos Foundation to share with us what it's all about. He will explore:
- what is biochar
- the benefits of biochar
- ways to use biochar in the garden
- how can you use the energy created during biochar production
- how do you make biochar while cooking
- how do you make biochar on a small and medium scale
|Making biochar in the flame cap kiln: Image and design: Hans Erken|
Here are some photos from the workshop he ran in 2012. Biochar Workshop Images
Meet Hans Erken and see a little bit of what you will learn in this 2 minute clip:
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT BIOCHARBiochar - DPI NSW
What is Biochar? - Biochar International Initiative
Biochar Basics - ANZ Biochar Researchers Network
Soil and Water Benefits of Biochar - US Biochar Initiative
Biochar Project - Australia
55 Uses of Biochar