Welcome to Biochar Farms

MISSION OF BIOCHAR FARMS

Biochar Farms was established to provide practical, accessible, and objective information about biochar production and its application to soils.  The potential benefits of biochar production are high–particularly in terms of mitigating climate change, improving soil quality, and producing renewable carbon-negative energy.

A great deal of study still needs to be undertaken, but the research thus far suggests that biochar may have a vitally important role to play in helping to solve some of the most significant challenges facing humanity today.  Thus, the need for continued research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D) of biochar and pyrolysis-based technologies is absolutely necessary.

This global biochar RDD&D effort will require the skill and vision of innovative farmers the world over.  Now is a very exciting time to get involved in learning about, experimenting with, and practicing biochar farming.  I’m glad you found us!

flannery1Biochar may represent the single most important initiative for humanity’s environmental future…”


Dr. Tim Flannery,
Professor, Mcquarie University
Australian of the Year

biochar_lever_schematic4

USING THIS WEBSITE

The information provided on this website is geared for farmers, home gardeners, university researchers, agricultural extension offices, private companies, sustainable development practitioners, non-governmental organizations, media outlets, and carbon and renewable energy financial investors interested in learning more about biochar.

Images and ideas are credited to their original sources to the greatest extent possible.  The text of this document is protected by the Creative Commons “Some Rights Reserved” license.  Users are welcome to share, distribute, and print materials so long as they are credited to this website and author and for non-commercial purposes only.

THE POTENTIAL OF BIOCHAR

Biochar is an exciting and unique solution to some of the world’s most critical problems including those of climate change, declining soil fertility, and the need for clean renewable sources of energy.  Potential benefits include:

1. IMPROVED SOIL FERTILITY AND CROP YIELDS

2. LESS FERTILIZERS REQUIRED

3. IMPROVED WATER RETENTION, AERATION, AND TILTH

4. HIGHER CATION EXCHANGE CAPACITY, LESS NUTRIENT RUNOFF

5. CLEAN AND EFFICIENT BIOMASS ENERGY PRODUCTION

6. COMBINED HEAT, POWER, AND REFRIGERATION FROM PYROLYSIS

7. CARBON NEGATIVE PROCESS (SEQUESTERS CARBON FROM ATMOSPHERE)

8. GREATER ON-FARM PROFITABILITY

9. CAN ALLEVIATE POVERTY IN  THIRD-WORLD COUNTRIES

10. CAN BE FINANCED THROUGH CARBON MARKETS AND OFFSETS

11. LOW COST MEANS OF WATER PURIFICATION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

12. DECREASED NITROUS OXIDE AND METHANE EMISSIONS FROM SOILS

13. POTENTIAL FOR LIQUID FUEL, ELECTRICITY AND/OR HYDROGEN PRODUCTION

14. REDUCED DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL

15. REVERSAL OF DESERTIFICATION ON MASSIVE SCALES

16. ALTERNATIVE TO SLASH-AND-BURN AGRICULTURAL

17. CAN WORK IN TANDEM WITH REFORESTATION/AFORESTATION EFFORTS

18. CAN PRODUCE ELECTRICITY, BIO-OIL, OR HYDROGEN FUEL SOURCES

19. CAN USE WIDE VARIETY OF FEEDSTOCK INCLUDING BIOMASS WASTE PRODUCTS


ABOUT BIOCHAR FARMS

I started the Biochar Farms website in 2008 because I felt that the potential of biochar to help solve some of the world’s most significant challenges is absolutely incredible, and, yet, information was hard to find and scattered widely over the expanse of the world wide web.

Despite recent endorsements of biochar as a powerful solution to climate change, renewable energy production, and soil management by folks like NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies Director James Hansen and 2007 Australian of the Year Tim Flannery, I found that very few people know about or realize this potential of biochar production.

I wanted a resource that I could point people to and a forum to share ideas about biochar, so I created this web page.  I hope it helps to disseminate information and research about biochar in the most objective, scientifically-validated, and practical way possible.

For those seeking more information please consult the work being done by Johannes Lehmann, Christoph Steiner, Marco Rondon, Bruno GlaserDavid Laird, and the many others working on biochar research.  See also the work of the International Biochar Initiative –the leading organization on biochar research.  The great discussions and debates on the Terra Preta Listserve that is moderate by Tom Miles have been a source of inspiration for much of the research.

Over the next five to ten years, I can envision a global network of sustainable farmers, home gardeners, university researchers, private companies, and international organizations coming together and working collaboratively to solve the most significant threats ever faced by humanity–climate change, peak oil, water scarcity, global poverty, and soil degradation–while improving on farm productivity and profitability through the sustainable use of biochar and pyrolysis technologies.

Taking a rose-colored view of biochar isn’t helpful.  Biochar is not the exclusive silver bullet solution to all of the world’s problems.  There exist limitations and potential misuse issues with biochar as are associated with most other technologies.  Thus, while biochar is a remarkably exciting development, we’re also going to need other things to mitigate climate change, for instance: energy conservation and efficiency; a huge investment in renewable energy infrastructure; relocalization of our communities and of food production; and a movement toward “regenerative” agricultural practices.

Nonetheless, I truly believe that biochar may be one of the most important tools humanity now has to turn the world from an uncertain and unsustainable future to one that we can be proud to pass down to our children and grandchildren.

If you would like to contact me regarding the website, please feel free.   Suggestions, comments, and criticism are welcome and encouraged–please direct them to ry(dot)hottle(at)gmail(dot)com.  For a more sustainable, abundant, and diverse planet!

Yours truly,

Ryan D. Hottle

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