[Gasification] Biochar et al.

David Murphy djfmurphy at dodo.com.au
Mon Dec 9 01:43:29 CST 2013

Robert, I haven't got any thoughts on Hugelkultur 
I'm sorry to say.   Actually, never heard of it 
before !

Clay won't get you any mileage.   You want basalt 
dust.  The fines are an unwanted by-product fromn 
a quarry.    You want it as fine as possible, like 
talc actually and what buy from a quarry will have 
some of this, but only a small percentage.    The 
bulk will be maybe 2 - 3mm, pretty small and it 
will work, but the smaller the better.   Bacteria 
are surface feeders and the smaller the particle, 
the greater the surface area and therefore the 
higher the pupulation of bacteria you can 
support.   To get a good result from rock dust, 
you should use it with compost.


On 09/12/2013 4:22 PM, Robert Deutsch wrote:
> Rock dust is a by-product of rock crushing 
> plants, I think granite is preferred dust for Ag 
> use (could be wrong on that point).
> *From:*Gasification 
> [mailto:gasification-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org] 
> *On Behalf Of *Jeff Davis
> *Sent:* Monday, December 09, 2013 12:10 PM
> *To:* Discussion of biomass pyrolysis and 
> gasification
> *Subject:* Re: [Gasification] Biochar et al.
> David,
> I really hate to ask this but how does one make 
> rock dust? Kind of sounds like clay. Could I dig 
> clay out of a pond and spray it on my compost pile?
> What's your thought on Hugelkultur?
> Thanks,
> Jeff
> On 12/07/2013 11:15 PM, David Murphy wrote:
>     Joe, you might find it of interest to look
>     up John D. Hamaker on the net.  He was an
>     American Mechanical Engineer who turned his
>     mind (and subsequently devoted his life) to
>     improving soil by the addition of rock
>     dust.    He saw global warming as a
>     precursor to the next ice age.  He saw an
>     ice age as essential refurbishment of the
>     earth's resources.     His argument has a
>     lot of good solid logioc to it and it's
>     worth adding to your store of knowledge on
>     the general topic.     If he's proven right,
>     then we're in a lot of trouble !    If you
>     want to study it further I have a DVD I made
>     from a tape he produced I could let you have.
>     Rock dust is a storehouse of minerals, all
>     of which are essential to growth.    First
>     to plants and then to the animals which eat
>     them - including us humans.   Rock dust is
>     insoluble to water but not to enzymes which
>     are produced by soil benevolent bacteria -
>     bacteria which are present in soil with good
>     OM and in compost.     Many readers of this
>     string will be aware of it's benefits when
>     used as fertiliser.
>     Seeking to remedy climate change purported
>     to be caused by anthropomorphic global
>     warming is an extraordinarily complex
>     question.   And seeking to make a
>     contribution by sequestering carbon as
>     charcoal is in itself another complex range
>     of issues.     The charcoal must be first
>     ligneos carbon - wood - and it is probably
>     almost as good to lock up some of that
>     carbon in timber for building houses or
>     making furniture.
>     I'd promote the first step by making the
>     sequestration of the carbon as part of a
>     broader program of building building soil
>     organic matter OM.   This includes animate
>     carbon as well as vegetative.     At least
>     get it up to 5% to plough depth, say 10
>     inches (250mm) as a minimum, aiming at 20%.
>     That in itself locks away a lot of carbon,
>     but of a different nature, in that it's
>     available to contribute to plant growth,
>     growth without the need for chemical or
>     artificial fertilisers.
>     Every 1% increase in soil OM (world wide)
>     would be a lockup of around 30 billion
>     tonnes of carbon in  a world which generates
>     now (probably) 20 million tonnes
>     annually.    Just for the record, the
>     biggest emitter of CO2, bigger than every
>     other agency combined - every factory,
>     airplane, car truck tractor etc and so on -
>     is the soil of the earth as it respires.   
>     So, the more land we put down under crop to
>     feed the increasing billions, the more CO2
>     we produce and put into the atmosphere.
>     So, it's a race against a proven runner - so
>     called mother Nature - and she's a proven
>     stayer.
>     On the other hand, some of the wise owls are
>     now saying it's not CO2 at all, but PCB's
>     causing the damage.   Maybe they're right -
>     who knows _for sure ?_    Nobody I'm aware
>     of despite what they say.    It's all
>     conjecture, some of it soundly based, but
>     still conjecture relying on historical info
>     compiled over a geological blink.
>     Using charcoal and zeolite together is a bit
>     like wearing belt & braces with
>     self-supporting trousers.     It certainly
>     works !
>     The easy and less costly way is to just get
>     the OM into the soil and plant stuff to grow
>     and suck up all the CO2 and N.
>     But whatever you do, don't stop the good work.
>     David Murphy.
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