Opportunities in Biochar

Opportunities in Biochar showcases announcements for the public to apply for funding, jobs, publications, conferences, etc. These announcements are also posted on the IBI website in two places: Biochar Updates and the Member Bulletin Board.

Submit Abstract for Conference: After the two previous successful events in April 2009 and 2010 that drew together a diverse audience of more than 100 biochar researchers and practitioners, the UK Biochar Research Centre (UKBRC) is happy to announce the 3rd UK Biochar Conference. The conference will take place in the beautiful historic city of Edinburgh on the 25th and 26th of May 2011 and will be preceded by an official unveiling of a new pilot-scale ‘specified biochar’ production pyrolysis facility at the UKBRC on the 24th of May. The conference organizers are accepting abstracts until April 3rd, 2011. For more information as well as conference registration please see:

Submit Abstract for Conference: The 2nd Asia Pacific Biochar Conference 2011 in Kyoto, Japan (APBC KYOTO 2011) will be held September 15 – 18, 2011 and is inviting abstracts on the themes of:
•    Education and diffusion methods of carbon sequestration by biochar
•    The impacts of applying biochar to agriculture and forest soils
•    Steps in the commercialization of biochar: lessons from the region

All abstracts must be submitted electronically through the interface on the APBC KYOTO 2011 homepage: http://apbc2011.com; submission period is March 1 to April 15, 2011.

New job opportunities and PhD postings are updated at:

Report: Biomass Air Quality Regulations Webinar for US-based Emissions

The Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) hosted a webinar on March 17 that included several topics of interest to biochar project developers. The purpose of the webinar was to update operators of biomass-fired boilers on the US EPA’s final Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rules released in February. Jim Eddinger, a senior technical advisor at EPA, gave an overview of the new regulations. While not as stringent as originally proposed, the rules will require boilers to meet new standards that will better protect public health and require operators to invest in additional pollution controls in most cases. John Hinckley of Resource Systems Group Inc. discussed a study comparing emissions and the cost of pollution controls from 24 biomass burning systems under US and European regulations. Answering a question about the combustion technologies least likely to require expensive pollution controls, Hinckley responded that “close coupled gasifiers produce very low PM emissions, often lower than the MACT limit.”

It is important when considering woody biomass emissions to consider alternative fates of the material, as wood waste is often burned in the field with no pollution controls. Carrie Lee, a staff scientist with the Stockholm Environment Institute, presented results from the study, “Greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions of alternatives for woody biomass residues.” This study examined 15 alternative fates for forest residues including open burning for disposal, industrial and residential energy generation, and conversion to products such as paper pulp, compost and biochar. The study used the principles of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), which accounts for all emissions of the alternatives, including processing and transport, as well as fossil fuel that can be displaced by biomass energy. This kind of information will be important for the EPA’s upcoming decision on how to apply greenhouse gas emissions permitting to biomass facilities.

The full recorded webinar and webinar slides are available at the BTEC website http://biomassthermal.com/resource/webinars.asp#4.

Draft Biochar Sustainability Protocols Released

Developed as a collaboration between Pacific Northwest Biochar (PNW Biochar) and the United States Biochar Initiative (USBI), the protocols “set forth a shared vision and direction for the future of biochar technology among biochar proponents to prevent unintended consequences that could potentially arise from this process.” The intent of the protocols is to provide a process for biochar stakeholders (those actually farming, producing, distributing and using biochar) to determine what methodologies they would need to certify and adopt to ensure that they are in fact making and utilizing biochar in a socially, environmentally and economically sound manner. The protocols lay out principles, which set goals for all participants in the life-cycle of biochar. The principles are followed by baseline practices which are intended to set the threshold for where sustainability begins.

More information is available on the Pacific Northwest Biochar site (PNW Biochar) at: http://sites.google.com/site/pnwbiochar/sustainability-protocol.

Can Biochar Help Suppress Greenhouse Gases?

Read the full story from the American Society of Agromony.

Nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas and a precursor to compounds that contribute to the destruction of the ozone. Intensively managed, grazed pastures are responsible for an increase in nitrous oxide emissions from grazing animals’ excrement. Biochar is potentially a mitigation option for reducing the world’s elevated carbon dioxide emissions, since the embodied carbon can be sequestered in the soil. Biochar also has the potential to beneficially alter soil nitrogen transformations.

Laboratory tests have indicated that adding biochar to the soil could be used to suppress nitrous oxide derived from livestock. Biochar has been used for soil carbon sequestration in the same manner.

For the love of Golden Books

OK, this is perhaps the coolest example of altered book art and upcycling I’ve ever seen. It’s a storybook gown constructed entirely out of recycled and discarded children’s Golden Books. Click here to view the pictures. It’s completely stunning.

From the description:

The skirt is comprised entirely of the illustrations from the books sewn together with metallic gold thread, and the bodice is made from the books’ foil spines. Both the bodice and skirt have tape backing for reinforcement.

Tip of the Cubs cap to Rae-Anne Montague for posting the link on Facebook.

Whole Foods & the Greenest Grocery Store in the World

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

The Whole Foods store in Dedham, Mass., may just be the greenest grocery store in the world.

This showcase facility demonstrates leading energy and sustainability practices to Whole Food customers, employees and investors, as well as the local community. Showcase facilities are a powerful learning tool for companies that are implementing sustainable business practices.

IKEA Boosting Stock of Sustainable Goods with Eco Scorecard

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Global retailer IKEA will start rating its products with a scorecard that’s part of a push to have more-sustainable products account for the grand majority of its sales in the coming years.


Bats Worth Billions To Agriculture: Pest-Control Services At Risk

Read the full story from Boston University.

Thomas Kunz, Warren Distinguished Professor in Boston University’s Department of Biology, has coauthored an analysis published this week in the journal Science that shows how declines of bat populations caused by a new wildlife disease and fatalities at industrial-scale wind turbines could lead to substantial economic losses on the farm.

Students Build a Cleaner, Greener Smokestack

Read the full story from Michigan Technological University.

Students at Michigan Technological University have designed and built a smokestack that can capture carbon dioxide and turn it into a useful product.

ORNL, Industry Collaboration Puts Spotlight on Solar

Read the full story from Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Four manufacturers of solar energy components are working with the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to address some of their biggest challenges.