Good Day. I am from Murrumbidgee Landcare Inc. and my name is Candice Gouck. I will be presenting a short proposal of a Biochar project. I will be talking about the Biochar itself and what value it will be bring to our organisation. The benefits, objectives and risks will also be discussed. (Reference).
Biochar is a solid material derived from the carbonisation of biomass. Biochar may be added to soils with the intention to improve soil functions and to reduce emissions from biomass that would otherwise naturally degrade to greenhouse gases. Biochar also has appreciable carbon sequestration value. These properties are measurable and verifiable in a characterisation scheme, or in a carbon emission offset protocol.
Biochar is the solid remains of any organic material that has been heated to at least 250°C in a zero-oxygen or oxygen-limited environment, which is intended to be mixed with soils. If the solid remains are not suitable for addition to soils or will be burned as a fuel, the material is char, not biochar. Biochar reduces atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, improves many soils, potentially enhances crop productivity, provides some energy for human use and can be used to safely dispose of certain waste materials (Biochar International 2012)
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Sustainable biochar is a powerfully simple tool to fight global warming. The practice has been around for 2,000 years. It converts agricultural waste into a soil enhancer that can hold carbon, boost food security, and discourage deforestation. Sustainable biochar is one of the few technologies that is pretty much inexpensive, widely applicable, and quickly scalable.
Pyrolysis means heating biomass (wood, manure, crop residues, solid waste, etc..) with limited to no oxygen in a specially designed furnace that captures all emissions, gasses and oils for reuse as energy (Biochar International 2012).
Biochar can be added to soils to improve the soil’s features and reduce emissions from biomass. Biochar improves water quality and quantity by increasing soil retention of nutrients and agrochemicals for plant and crop utilization. More nutrients stay in the soil instead of leaching into groundwater and causing pollution.
Biochar also has appreciable carbon sequestration value. These properties are measurable and verifiable in a characterisation scheme, or in a carbon emission offset protocol.
From Waste to Income – A once worthless and costly byproduct (in most cultures) is now a valuable resource. Through biochar, biomass becomes a sustainable and value-added product for urban and rural agriculture and forest communities while creating jobs, improving soil and reducing forest fire hazards and has created thousands of new jobs (Sustainable, Obtainable Solutions 2009).
Bibens feeds the waste — called “biomass” — into an octagonally shaped metal barrel where it is cooked under intense heat, the organic matter is cooked through a thermochemical process called “pyrolysis”.
In a few hours, organic trash is transformed into charcoal-like pellets farmers can turn into fertilizer. Gasses given off during the process can be harnessed to fuel vehicles of power electric generators.
Current knowledge about the effects of adding biochar to Australian agricultural soils is not enough to sustain it’s recommendation. Currently Australia’s Climate Change Research Program did not showe enough proof as to the certainty of biochar saving the environment. However, even though there is this uncertainty, farmers are still making their own biochar which could have negative effects on agricultural production. An environmental sustainability analysis, including a life cycle analysis, will give an indication of the overall impact of biochar use in agricultural situations (Bracmort, KS 2009).
As biochar technology is in its early stages of development, scientists in the United States are concerned. Three issues that are important to introducing this type of technology are: feedstock availability, biochar handling, and biochar system deployment.
Successful implementation of biochar technology is rooted in the ability of the agricultural community to afford and operate a system that is complementary to current farming practices. The availability of a plentiful feed supply for biochar production is an area for further study. To date, feedstock for biochar has consisted of mostly plant and crop residues, a primary domain of the agricultural community. There may be a role for the forestry community to be involved as woody biomass is deemed a cost-effective, readily available, feasible feedstock. Little is known about the advantages of using manure as a biomass feedstock. Some researchers have stated that manure-based biochar “has advantages over typically used plant-derived material because it is a by-product of another industry and in some regions is considered a waste material with little or no value. It can therefore provide a lower cost base and alleviate sustainability concerns related to using purpose-grown biomass for the process.
The spreading of biochar onto soil as a fertilizer is ripe for further exploration. Specifically, the ideal time to apply biochar and ensure that it remains in place once applied and does not cause a risk to human health or degrade air quality are concerns.12 Particulate matter, in the form of dust that is hard for the human body to filter, may be distributed in abnormal quantities if the biochar is mishandled. Additionally, there are potential public safety concerns for the handling of biochar as it is a flammable substance.
Our proposal is sustainable and can restore degraded land and improve the fertility of soil in an environmentally beneficial way. It is not only of environmental benefit to the Murrumbidgee community, but also to the entire world. This is because it removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which is the principle contributor to global warming, and sequesters it in the ground. It also has the potential to reduce damage to rivers and oceans causes by fertilizer runoff.
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Thank everybody for their time.