Blog Archive

Sunday, December 21, 2008

James Hansen's AGU presentation "The Venus Syndrome"

Link to lecture (pdf file):

1 comment:

Erich J. Knight said...

I thought these updates and endorsements may interest you,

Sen. Ken Salazar has done the most to nurse this biofuels system in his Biochar provisions in the 07 & 08 farm bill,

Below are my current news & Links to major developments;

Erich J. Knight
540 289 9750

At USDA Dr.Jeffrey Novak is coordinating Biochar research.
I've had productive contacts with Douglas Lawrence, director NSCS & Farm bill coordinator, and through him, David Douds with ARS for MYC & VAM Fungi research, and Chris Nichols ARS glomalin research.

My other most successful efforts to date are continuing briefings to Michael Pollan (Food Column NYTs & author) over the last year.
In a recent National Public Radio interview, Michael Pollan talks about how he was approached by a Democratic party staffer about his New York Times article, The "Farmer & Chief" article is an open letter to the next president concerning U.S. agriculture/energy policy. The staffer wanted Pollan to summarize the article into a page or two to get it into the hands of Barack Obama. Pollan declined, saying that if he could have said everything that needed to be said in two pages, he wouldn't have written 8000 words.
Michael Pollan is well briefed and excited about Biochar technology, but did not include it in his "Farmer & Chief" article to President Obama, (Which he did read & cited in a speech) but I'm sure Biochar will be his 8001th word to him.

Changing World Technologies

Ultimately we must leave the combustion age behind. Charcoal to the soil is a bridging first step as other energy conversion technologies bloom from Nano and bio research . Thankfully we can do Terra Preta (TP) soil with off the shelf technology now.

Oil companies must come to see the overwhelming value of their fossil carbon as the best feedstock for the manufacture ( via carbon nanotubes, fullerines, DNA programed nano self assembly, etc.) of virtually all things in the near future.

This convergences of different technologies will end the Combustion age.

TP starts as a soil nano technology with increased CEC, than a micro technology with our wee- beasties / fungus, and macro with bugs and worms.

Biochar, the modern version of an ancient Amazonian agricultural practice called Terra Preta (black earth), is gaining widespread credibility as a way to address world hunger, climate change, rural poverty, deforestation, and energy shortages… SIMULTANEOUSLY!

Modern Pyrolysis of biomass is a process for Carbon Negative Bio fuels, massive Carbon sequestration,10X Lower Methane & N2O soil emissions, and 3X Fertility Too.
Every 1 ton of Biomass yields 1/3 ton Charcoal for soil Sequestration, Bio-Gas & Bio-oil fuels, so is a totally virtuous, carbon negative energy cycle.

Charles Mann ("1491") in the Sept. National Geographic has a wonderful soils article which places Terra Preta / Biochar soils center stage.

Please put this (soil) bug in your colleague's ears. These issues need to gain traction among all the various disciplines who have an iron in this fire.

The NGM cover reads "WHERE FOOD BEGINS"

It's what Mann hasn't covered that I thought should interest you and Sen. Salazar;

NASA's Dr. James Hansen Global warming solutions paper and letter to the G-8 conference, placing Biochar / Land management the central technology for carbon negative energy systems.

The many new university programs & field studies, in temperate soils; Cornell, ISU, U of H, U of GA, Virginia Tech, JMU, New Zealand, Germany and Australia.

Biochar data base;

Glomalin's role in soil tilth, fertility & basis for the soil food web in Terra Preta soils.

POZNAN, Poland, December 10, 2008 - The International Biochar Initiative (IBI) announces that the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has submitted a proposal to include biochar as a mitigation and adaptation technology to be considered in the post-2012-Copenhagen agenda of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). A copy of the proposal is posted on the IBI website at
The International Biochar Initiative (IBI).

Given the current "Crisis" atmosphere concerning energy, soil sustainability, food vs. Biofuels, and Climate Change what other subject addresses them all?

This is a Nano technology for the soil that represents the most comprehensive, low cost, and productive approach to long term stewardship and sustainability.

Carbon to the Soil, the only ubiquitous and economic place to put it.

If pre-Colombian Kayopo Indians could produce these soils up to 6 feet deep over 15% of the Amazon basin using "Slash & CHAR" verses "Slash & Burn", it seems that our energy and agricultural industries could also product them at scale.

Harnessing the work of this vast number of microbes and fungi changes the whole equation of energy return over energy input (EROEI) for food and Bio fuels. I see this as the only sustainable agricultural strategy if we no longer have cheap fossil fuels for fertilizer.

We need this super community of wee-beasties to work in concert with us by populating them into their proper Soil horizon Carbon Condos.

Erich J. Knight
Shenandoah Gardens
1047 Dave Berry Rd.
McGaheysville, VA. 22840
(540) 289-9750

Total CO2 Equivalence:
Once a commercial bagged soil amendment product, every suburban household can do it,
The label can tell them of their contribution, a 40# bag = 150# CO2 = 160 bags / year to cover my personal CO2 emissions. ( 20,000 #/yr , 1/2 Average )

But that is just the Carbon!
I have yet to find a total CO2 equivalent number taking consideration against some average field N2O & CH4 emissions. The New Zealand work shows 10X reductions. As biochar proves to be effective at reducing nutrient run-off from agricultural soils, then there will accordingly be a reduction in downstream N2O emissions.

This ACS study implicates soil structure as main connection to N2O soil emissions;

Biochar Studies at ACS Huston meeting;



665 - III.


Most all this work corroborates char soil dynamics we have seen so far . The soil GHG emissions work showing increased CO2 , also speculates that this CO2 has to get through the hungry plants above before becoming a GHG.
The SOM, MYC& Microbes, N2O (soil structure), CH4 , nutrient holding , Nitrogen shock, humic compound conditioning, absorbing of herbicides all pretty much what we expected to hear.

Company News & EU Certification

Below is an important hurtle that 3R AGROCARBON has overcome in certification in the EU. Given that their standards are set much higher than even organic certification in the US, this work should smooth any bureaucratic hurtles we may face.

EU Permit Authority - 4 years tests
Subject: Fwd: [biochar] Re: GOOD NEWS: EU Permit Authority - 4 years tests successfully completed

Doses: 400 kg / ha – 1000 kg / ha at different horticultural cultivars

Plant height Increase 141 % versus control
Picking yield Increase 630 % versus control
Picking fruit Increase 650 % versus control
Total yield Increase 202 % versus control
Total piece of fruit Increase 171 % versus control
Fruit weight Increase 118 % versus control

There is list of the additional beneficial effects of the 3R FORMULATED BIOCHAREU DOSSIER for permit administration and summary of the results from 4 different Authorities who executed different test programme is under construction
I suggest these independent and accredited EU relevant Authority permit field tests results will support the further development of the biochar application systems on international level, and providing case evidence, that properly made and formulated (plant and/or animal biomass based) biochars can meet the modern environmental - agricultural - human health inspection standards and norm, while supporting the knowledge based economical development.

We work further on to expand not only in the EU but in the USA as well. My Cincinnati large scale carbonization project is progressing, hopefully the first industrial scale 3R clean coal - carbon plant will be ready in 2009.

Sincerely yours: Edward Someus (environmental engineer)


October 28, 2008

U.S. Department of Agriculture to Evaluate CQuest™ Biochar

Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement Signed

The objective of the biochar research is to quantify the effects of amending soils with CQuest™ Biochar on crop productivity, soil quality, carbon sequestration and water quality. Field trials will involve incorporation of biochar in replicated field plots and on-farm strip trials with monitoring of crop yields, soil quality, water quality, emissions of greenhouse gasses, and soil carbon sequestration. Laboratory studies will involve amending soils with biochar and quantifying changes in soil quality and microbial activity during incubations.

Biochar will be shipped from Dynamotive's West Lorne facility to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) locations in Iowa, South Carolina, Idaho, Washington, and other ARS locations. Initial results are expected during the 2009 growing season.

"Is global warming preventing an Ice Age?"
This head line, at first glance, may feed the global warming denier's rationals, but in fact this work confirms man's lucky, unintentional consequence of putting the earth to the plow and producing a warm, stable climate for his civilization to prosper.
The carbon transfered from biosphere to atmosphere, now needing to be reversed, could find no better sanctuary than the earth from which most of it came.
Why I love Biochar.

"The con­tro­ver­sial idea—first pro­posed by Uni­ver­s­ity of Vir­gin­ia cli­ma­tolo­g­ist Wil­liam F. Rud­di­man—is based on the con­ten­ti­on that hu­man-induced glob­al warm­ing started long be­fore it's gen­er­ally ac­cept­ed to have be­gun.

The com­mon wis­dom is that the ad­vent of the steam en­gine and the coal-fueled in­dus­t­ri­al age two cen­turies ago marked the be­gin­ning of hu­man in­flu­ence on glob­al cli­mate. But Kutz­bach and like­minded sci­en­tists con­tend it really started thou­sands of years ago with large-scale ag­ri­cul­ture in Asia and ex­ten­sive de­for­esta­tion in Eu­rope.'