Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Biochar at the San Francisco Chronicle
This is pleasing to see. Biochar is now beginning to invade the flower pot. All this leads to increasing confidence in the process for initiates to the process who all have to do it themselves before they can internalize the biochar revolution. It is also clear that manufacturing is happening with whatever feedstock is available. I dislike wood based biochar, because it will be coarse and thus less effective but it is still biochar.
And that is what must be appreciated. All organic material if raised in temperature to around four hundred degrees will convert to biochar. This means that the molecular bonds are broken and all hydrogen is driven off. After that it is only elemental carbon. Even nasties such as PCBs can be reduced to elemental carbon. Thus arguments regarding feed stocks usually demonstrates ignorance in this case.
Elemental carbon just happens to be a powerful solid crystalline acid that is happy to sequester everything else with a free ion. Thus even toxins can be grabbed and held, knowing that no plant will normally choose to recover it or recover much at all. In the meantime it will sequester plant nutrients and simply hold them in place until a searching root arrives and pries it loose, even years later.
It this sounds like a perfect solution to all the world's woes over agricultural productivity, it is. Besides it was proven with a five thousand year field trial in the heart of the Amazonian rainforest. If you can operate a field in the face of ten feet of rain every year, take three crops per year and never use fertilizer in the exact same place were next door you get one crop every fifteen years, then perhaps you are on to something. It sure beat cutting down trees every year.
In the meantime we must allow time and common sense to slowly do their job. This is a great first step that commits the mainstream media into telling the story. This remains the sole reason that I have complete confidence in the future of humanity's ability to grow ample food. We will do everything the wrong way first, but then we can come along and apply biochar and it is all good soon enough.
Biochar aids soil fertility, keeps carbon in earth
Sunday, June 17, 2012