[Stoves] SPAM: Re: [biochar] Interesting video

Erin Rasmussen erin at trmiles.com
Mon Jul 20 15:49:50 CDT 2015

Hi Richard,

Ramial wood chips are great for soils and promoting fungi.  While it is possible for wood, and wood chips to persist for soil for long periods, biochars are more resistant to breaking down in the soil.  The short version is that the thermal conversion process (pyrolysis or gasification) that transforms the wood into biochars leaves mostly recalcitrant material that resists break down in the soil.  

There has been some good science that looks at the stability of carbon in biochars

International Biochar Initiative: 

Biochar Carbon Stability Test Method: An assessment of methods to determine biochar carbon stability



I like this paper - it's well written and has clear diagrams that help explain the difference in stability between different black carbon materials.

Spokas, Kurt A. "Review of the stability of biochar in soils: predictability of O: C molar ratios." Carbon Management 1.2 (2010): 289-303.


Erin Rasmussen


TR Miles Technical Consultants Inc.    <http://www.trmiles.com/> http://www.trmiles.com/

and BioEnergy Discussion Lists    <http://www.bioenergylists.org/> http://www.bioenergylists.org/

erin at trmiles.com





From: Stoves [mailto:stoves-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org] On Behalf Of Dick Gallien
Sent: Sunday, July 19, 2015 8:41 PM
To: biochar at yahoogroups.com
Cc: Discussion of biomass
Subject: SPAM: Re: [Stoves] [biochar] Interesting video


Hi Jock---enjoyed the video and have always been sentimental about Vt..  On charring materials, I always look at grass as one bite away from becoming meat and manure.  USDA, a product of Ag U's that preach chemical farming, speak of "ag waste", as the % of organic matter in farm fields declines; however, wood chips, especially from limbs over 4", which are dumped in ditches near here, would probably best be charred. 


I always think of biochar as an inert carbon that provides condos for micro organisms.  So how would you respond to the following question that is probably so elementary that I received no response from the biochar list?

Last Fall, after spreading biochar,  I submitted a photo of spreading 4+" of compost followed by 4" of ramial wood chips on a new garden area that was hay field, with a 425 bu. manure spreader.  It almost totally eliminated weeds this Spring and is alive with fungi on top of the chips and earth worms below.  Somewhere in Giles Lemieau Laval Universite ramial wood chips, someone mentioned that the positives of ramial chips can last for 1000 years.  Does the small fraction of carbon in the chips last as long in the soil and have the same physical characteristics as carbon in biochar, or is pyrolysis essential to give the carbon the longevity and absorbent physical characteristics?  Thanks       

stoves and Biochar Lists (with apologies for cross posting)


For those on these two lists interested in education,  I recommend this 28 minute video (can skip the first minute) with Jock Gill found at:



Jock - thanks for doing so much better than most of us on public education related to stoves and biochar (on pyrolysis here).





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