[Stoves] [biochar-production] Re: Stoves Digest, Vol 14, Issue 17

Lloyd Helferty lhelferty at sympatico.ca
Thu Oct 27 15:22:03 PDT 2011


I actually agree with Tom on this one.

   There are industries in Ontario who will likely balk at the "50% rule".
   In very acidic soils the high ash (and thus liming effect) of High 
Ash Biochar [produced from, for example from "inefficient biomass 
boilers"] could be used to very good effect.

  Remediation of acidic mine tailings/ Acid mine drainage (AMD) also 
comes to mind.
  For instance:
http://www.miningwatch.ca/sites/miningwatch.ca/files/amd.pdf

   It's a Global problem and is a "watershed issue of importance to the 
full range of public stakeholders".
(I know of a *MASSIVE Gold Mine* in Quebec, for instance, that could 
probably use this type of "high ash" Biochar...)
http://mining.about.com/od/SiteProfiles/a/Malartic-To-Become-The-Largest-Gold-Mine-In-Canada.htm
http://www.osisko.com/en/
(This mine will be using "Conventional cyanidation" to extract the gold 
from the ore by processing ~/*152,000 tons of ore per day*/.)

  Damage that results from AMD include a variety of Heavy Metals, 
cyanide, sulphuric acid... that can cause both chronic nutritional and 
water-quality problems, along with chronic illness from gastrointestinal 
(and respiratory) diseases.
   (Note: The incidence of these pollution-related illnesses is much 
higher within Aboriginal populations in Canada, especially those who 
live around mines.)

   In fact, pollution has been cited as one of the major causes of water 
scarcity and mining, in particular, has come under fire due to the 
problem of acid mine water drainage.  Coal mining and gold mining are 
two of the worst offenders.

   In Canada, there is even an organization called the "Mining 
Innovation, Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corporation (MIRARCO) 
that some members of the Canadian Biochar Initiative have been 
attempting to bring into the "Biochar" conversation"  www.mirarco.org

If the recalcitrant Biochar fraction remains in the soil after 
application, even if it is only 1% of the amendment, it should still be 
counted.

Regards,

   Lloyd Helferty, Engineering Technologist
   Principal, Biochar Consulting (Canada)
   www.biochar-consulting.ca
   603-48 Suncrest Blvd, Thornhill, ON, Canada
   905-707-8754
      Skype: lloyd.helferty
   Steering Committee member, Canadian Biochar Initiative
   President, Co-founder&  CBI Liaison, Biochar-Ontario
     Advisory Committee Member, IBI
   http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1404717
   http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=42237506675
   http://groups.google.com/group/biochar-ontario
   http://www.meetup.com/biocharontario/
   http://grassrootsintelligence.blogspot.com
    www.biochar.ca

Biochar Offsets Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=2446475
"Necessity may be the mother of invention, but innovators need to address problems before they become absolute necessities..."


On 2011-10-27 3:40 PM, Tom Miles wrote:
>
> Ron,
>
> If I apply ash from gasification or combustion of biomass to soils for 
> its liming effect why shouldn't I get credit for the "biochar" 
> fraction of recalcitrant carbon that it may contain even if it is a 
> low percentage? It may not function agronomically like high carbon 
> char but at the it is still recalcitrant carbon. I should only get 
> credit for what I put in the ground. It shouldn't it matter if it is 
> mostly ash or mostly carbon.  I would only get credit for the carbon. 
> In this respect biomass boilers have been sequestering carbon in the 
> form of biochar for a very long time.
>
> If IBI wants to tag different qualities of biochar by as having 50% 
> ash, 25% ash, etc. then it should do so.  The "biochar" in ash may be 
> low but it is still biochar.
>
> Tom
>
> *From:*rongretlarson at comcast.net [mailto:rongretlarson at comcast.net]
> *Sent:* Wednesday, October 26, 2011 10:32 PM
> *To:* Discussion of biomass cooking stoves; biochar-policy; Tom Miles".
> *Cc:* crispinpigott at gmail.com
> *Subject:* Re: [Stoves] [biochar-production] Re: Stoves Digest, Vol 
> 14, Issue 17
>
> Tom and (now) 2 lists  (adding biochar-policy):
>
>     This may be the first time I have ever disagreed with you - so I 
> look forward to further dialog, and apologize in advance should I be 
> wrong here below.
>
>     I think that there should be a lower limit cut-off - and 50% seems 
> justifiable - based on the way we handle majority voting in a 
> democracy.   My main rationale is that, without such a limit, there 
> could be a validity claim for a lot of material coming out of 
> gasifiers that is *_mostly_* ash.  This refuse will be attempted to be 
> sold as biochar in order to get the maximum price for a product that 
> might otherwise need to pay a tipping fee to get rid of.  From a 
> sequestration promotion perspective, I would rather see the gasifiers 
> move towards pyrolysis.
>
>     Your last point below on a sliding scale is (I think) going to be 
> mandatory anyway.  It will surely be (or at least should be) required 
> to receive a carbon credit.   If I am paying for carbon sequestration, 
> I certainly don't want to pay for ash and dirt.  In all likelihood 
> that payment will even be low-balled to ensure that the labile 
> component also does not get much/any reward.
>
>      I can't think of any biomass input besides rice husks apt to have 
> a problem satisfying a 50% minimum rule.  To achieve 50% carbon should 
> be pretty easy - even for rice husks - by merging different chars (if 
> needed).  I believe Paul Olivier has already reported that he had a 
> superior flame when mixing rice and coffee husks as the input.
>
> Ron
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> *From: *"Tom Miles" <tmiles at trmiles.com>
> *To: *"Discussion of biomass cooking stoves" 
> <stoves at lists.bioenergylists.org>, crispinpigott at gmail.com
> *Sent: *Wednesday, October 26, 2011 8:43:11 PM
> *Subject: *Re: [Stoves] [biochar-production] Re:  Stoves Digest, Vol 
> 14,        Issue 17
>
> Where is the evidence that a Minimum should be established at 50% ash?
>
> IBI guidelines for specification need to recognize that there are 
> different
> qualities of biochar for different purposes. The draft guidelines do 
> specify
> a method for analyzing carbon, determining H:C ration, and determining 
> C in
> carbonates. I do not agree that a threshold should be established for
> calling a residue a biochar. When does wood ash become biochar? 
> According to
> the draft guidelines it would not become IBI certified "biochar" until it
> had less than 50% ash regardless of the amount of stable carbon it 
> would be
> contributing to the soil for sequestration purposes at more than 50% ash.
>
> I don't think we need to draw a line to call it biochar. A sloped line 
> might
> be drawn for the carbon sequestration benefit that you would get for
> decreasing amounts of stable carbon.
>
> Tom
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: stoves-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org
> [mailto:stoves-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org] On Behalf Of Frank 
> Shields
> Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 3:55 PM
> To: crispinpigott at gmail.com; 'Discussion of biomass cooking stoves'
> Subject: Re: [Stoves] [biochar-production] Re: Stoves Digest, Vol 14, 
> Issue
> 17
>
> Dear Crispin, Tom,
>
> I think we need to define a minimum *carbon* content for a material to be
> called *biochar*. We can't call something a biochar if it has less than 1%
> carbon for example. So where do we draw the line? We need to include all
> natural biomass made into biochar like rice hulls. The material needs to
> have enough carbon to be useful. So I say 50% carbon a minimum to be
> 'excellent' biochar knowing that most all natural, clean biomass will
> produce a biochar with greater than 70% carbon. But open to other 
> values to
> make a scale. This makes it a product with enough value for a grower to
> purchase and spread.
>
> I think the product should have the carbon content defined for quality 
> (not
> DAF). We should not include the oxygen and hydrogen and ash. We should
> calculate the percent carbon content on the biochar sample dry weight (200
> deg C). If we base quality on percent fixed matter (C-H-O) after 
> subtracting
> the ash I think there is a mistake. Because we 'make' more ash when we
> change the cations into carbonates (increasing weight) during the process.
> More cations from vegetative matter the more the problem. And this 
> quantity
> of ash is not what we are spreading on the field. Also the carbon 
> trapped in
> the ash (as CO3) is not included in the fixed carbon fraction - it 
> should be
> because it comes from the organic carbon in the raw sample. These are just
> details and perhaps not that important. To do what I think is needed 
> we must
> determine the carbon using a Leco CHN analyzer. More work with expensive
> equipment. But if we want to get carbon credits in the future we need to
> start off accurately measuring the potential CO2 we are fixing. When money
> is involved these details need to be addressed. Now is the time or we will
> be back here again at a later time.
>
> Just because the carbon content is 0.1% and the ash is 99.9% doesn't mean
> the product is not beneficial for an ag field. But I don't think we should
> call it biochar even if someone did add a spoonful into a soil mix. This
> rating has nothing to do with benefit to a field. That is site 
> specific. It
> has something to do with label on the bag (or may in the future).
>
>
> Regards
> Frank
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Vegatative plant material is 10 to 20 percent. We test a lot for 
> nutrients.
> It is very hard to get the customer to bring us a clean sample as it takes
> so very little dust and dirt to bring the ash concentration up. I think
> harvesting biomass for biofuel and one will not be careful to harvest 
> clean
> samples.
>
> If you have 15% ash in a dry organic material. Loose 60% of the organic
> fraction during pyrolysis you have something like 20+ percent ash. And, as
> you point out, there can be biomass with much greater than 20% ash.
>
> I suggested the 50% thinking this would be high enough to include most all
> biomass that is made into biochar. Thinking we need some limit that if 
> there
> is less than 50% carbon
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Frank Shields
> Control Laboratories, Inc.
> 42 Hangar Way
> Watsonville, CA  95076
> (831) 724-5422 tel
> (831) 724-3188 fax
> frank at compostlab.com
> www.compostlab.com
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: stoves-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org
> [mailto:stoves-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org] On Behalf Of Crispin
> Pemberton-Pigott
> Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 12:42 PM
> To: Discussion of biomass cooking stoves
> Subject: Re: [Stoves] [biochar-production] Re: Stoves Digest, Vol 14,Issue
> 17
>
> Dear Frank
>
> Apart from the special case of rice hull, how could you get a 50% ash 
> level
> in char?  Trees are about 0.5% ash. There is not much left of the fuel if
> the char is 1% of the initial mass.
>
> Regards
> Crispin
>
> Frank,
>
> I see the ash/carbon content as a sliding scale with relative changing
> benefits rather than a threshold level. If biochar has less carbon 
> than ash
> is there still an agronomic benefit?
>
> It is not clear how the IBI guidelines will be used. The guidelines should
> list those components that should be measured. The recommended levels of
> those components for different purposes could be separate recommendations
> from IBI to a certification agency.
>
> If the purpose is stability and carbon sequestration why limit counting
> recalcitrant carbon even if it is 0.1% carbon or, 99.9% ash?
>
> Tom
> _______________________________________________
> Stoves mailing list
>
> to Send a Message to the list, use the email address
> stoves at lists.bioenergylists.org
>
> to UNSUBSCRIBE or Change your List Settings use the web page
> http://lists.bioenergylists.org/mailman/listinfo/stoves_lists.bioenergylists
> .org
>
> for more Biomass Cooking Stoves,  News and Information see our web site:
> http://www.bioenergylists.org/
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Stoves mailing list
>
> to Send a Message to the list, use the email address
> stoves at lists.bioenergylists.org
>
> to UNSUBSCRIBE or Change your List Settings use the web page
> http://lists.bioenergylists.org/mailman/listinfo/stoves_lists.bioenergylists
> .org
>
> for more Biomass Cooking Stoves,  News and Information see our web site:
> http://www.bioenergylists.org/
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Stoves mailing list
>
> to Send a Message to the list, use the email address
> stoves at lists.bioenergylists.org
>
> to UNSUBSCRIBE or Change your List Settings use the web page
> http://lists.bioenergylists.org/mailman/listinfo/stoves_lists.bioenergylists.org
>
> for more Biomass Cooking Stoves,  News and Information see our web site:
> http://www.bioenergylists.org/
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Stoves mailing list
>
> to Send a Message to the list, use the email address
> stoves at lists.bioenergylists.org
>
> to UNSUBSCRIBE or Change your List Settings use the web page
> http://lists.bioenergylists.org/mailman/listinfo/stoves_lists.bioenergylists.org
>
> for more Biomass Cooking Stoves,  News and Information see our web site:
> http://www.bioenergylists.org/
>
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.bioenergylists.org/pipermail/stoves_lists.bioenergylists.org/attachments/20111027/c4aa8953/attachment.html>


More information about the Stoves mailing list