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Biochar - charcoal used as a soil amendment. Biochar is a stable solid, rich in carbon, and can endure in soil for thousands of years. Like most charcoal, biochar is made from biomass via pyrolysis. Biochar is under investigation as an approach to carbon sequestration. Biochar thus has the potential to help mitigate climate change via carbon sequestration. Independently, biochar can increase soil fertility of acidic soils (low pH soils), increase agricultural productivity, and provide protection against some foliar and soil-borne diseases.
Terra preta - a type of very dark, fertile manmade (anthropogenic) soil found in the Amazon Basin. It is also known as "Amazonian dark earth" or "Indian black earth". In Portuguese its full name is terra preta do índio or terra preta de índio ("black soil of the Indian", "Indians' black earth"). Terra mulata ("mulatto earth") is lighter or brownish in color.
Terra preta owes its characteristic black color to its weathered charcoal content, and was made by adding a mixture of charcoal, bone, and manure to the otherwise relatively infertile Amazonian soil. A product of indigenous soil management and slash-and-char agriculture, the charcoal is very stable and remains in the soil for thousands of years, binding and retaining minerals and nutrients.
Slash-and-char - an alternative to slash-and-burn that has a lesser effect on the environment. It is the practice of charring the biomass resulting from the slashing, instead of burning it as in the slash-and-burn practice. The resulting residue matter charcoal can be utilized as biochar to improve the soil fertility.
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Rice U scientists: Cooking temperature determines whether 'biochar' is boon or bane to soil
I got a Bonfire. I have access to woodchips. I sift the wood chips so that I only have bigger chunks. I fill the stove with these Lego-sized pieces and start the top with a torch.
Sometimes this takes a while as the air vents are choked off from the density of the wood, and this results in a lot of smoke. Once the fire gets going though, the secondary burn does its job and burns the volatile gases for a relatively smokeless experience. I need to move the woodchips inside away from the sides though to get enough air into the stove, otherwise the secondary burn does not work so well.
Once I see that I have mostly charcoal inside, I scoop everything out with a shovel and dump it into a water bucket to quench the charcoal. I get around 2-3 gal of charcoal per full stove. I found this yielded more charcoal than doing a retort container (which has been problematic in and of itself; difficult to find all stainless steel pots with lids that do not have aluminum [which melts] in a form factor that fits the stove). The size of the pieces are great as they are Lego-sized and smaller, so no need to crush them.
One question I had was how to increase the airflow for the initial burn so that there is not so much smoke wasted in the beginning. Could I run some heat resistant tape around the holes on the bottom of the stove except one, and run some forced air through that hole? Or do I need to put some tubes inside the stove so that air can flow from the bottom to top of the stove unimpeded?
I have access to, and I believe this is a technical term, a shitton of sawdust from a relative's firewood operation. The sawdust is pure (no chain oil or anything like that) and from mixed types of wood.
My idea is to put this in sackcloth bags to dry it out over the summer, and then pyrolyse it in the firewood stove by putting it in a metal box with a small hole in the lid as part of my regular house heating.
Are there any downsides to this plan? Would sawdust like this be too fine-grained? Is there anything I should be thinking about?
Does it help with digestion, and are the cowpats then able to fertilise the soil better than if the Biochar was laid directly?
Do you know the biochar is a good way for Soil Remediation and Improvement?
For more information https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0269749121022375.
So, what is the proper ratio to use for biochar? I'm trying to make my own that's safe for plants, and I don't want to overcharge it and kill any plants I use it in. I also don't have many materials to work with, and what I plan on using is the biochar, urine left in the sun to accelerate microbial growth, molasses water, and local soil to inoculate it to the local system.
I was just wondering if anyone sees a place for biochar in dealing with the aftermath of chemical disasters like the vinyl chloride explosion in Ohio...