[Gasification] Bio-Char

Doug Doug.Williams at orcon.net.nz
Wed Dec 4 12:03:21 CST 2013

Hi Tom T,

I was surprised to see this comment:

On Wed, 4 Dec 2013 09:53:55 -0500 (EST)
linvent at aol.com wrote:

>  	Bio Char has limited and spotty benefits to the soil. If the soil is deficient in zinc, adding a carbon plus other materials other than zinc merely dilutes the zinc and hurts the plant, other nutrients suffer similarly. Nitrogen is another victim of the use of bio char as the carbon in it depletes the >nitrogen while it is being consumed and converted by the microbes in the soil. 

The "instruction" that was imparted to me regarding how charcoal behaves in the soil, is that it provides a habitat for the bacteria, not as a source of food and consumed which might result as you describe. I have also see it written that soils depleted after growing forestry, need the stumpage in order to maintain soil carbons. In describing composting wood as carbon rather than say soil fibre, is this the process that competes for the nitrogen?

If what you say is correct, then I'd like to know why some charcoal can survive thousands of years close to the surface and not be totally consumed. Any further explanation regarding this area of interest I'm sure would be appreciated by those of us less informed.

Doug Williams,

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