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November 22, 2008 at 1:32 pm #28624
I thought these updates and endorsements may interest you,
Sen. Ken Salazar (NOW Secretary. of Interior!) has done the most to nurse this biofuels system in his Biochar provisions in the 07 & 08 farm bill,
Below are my current news & Links to major developments;
At USDA Dr.Jeffrey Novak is coordinating Biochar research.
I’ve had productive contacts with Douglas Lawrence, director NSCS & Farm bill coordinator, and through him, David Douds with ARS for MYC & VAM Fungi research, and Chris Nichols ARS glomalin research.
My other most successful efforts to date are continuing briefings to Michael Pollan (Food Column NYTs & author) over the last year.
In a recent National Public Radio interview, Michael Pollan talks about how he was approached by a Democratic party staffer about his New York Times article, The "Farmer & Chief" article is an open letter to the next president concerning U.S. agriculture/energy policy. The staffer wanted Pollan to summarize the article into a page or two to get it into the hands of Barack Obama. Pollan declined, saying that if he could have said everything that needed to be said in two pages, he wouldn’t have written 8000 words.
Michael Pollan is well briefed and excited about Biochar technology, but did not include it in his "Farmer & Chief" article to President Obama, (Which he did read & cited in a speech) but I’m sure Biochar will be his 8001th word to him.
Changing World Technologies
Ultimately we must leave the combustion age behind. Charcoal to the soil is a bridging first step as other energy conversion technologies bloom from Nano and bio research . Thankfully we can do Terra Preta (TP) soil with off the shelf technology now.
Oil companies must come to see the overwhelming value of their fossil carbon as the best feedstock for the manufacture ( via carbon nanotubes, fullerines, DNA programed nano self assembly, etc.) of virtually all things in the near future.
This convergences of different technologies will end the Combustion age.
TP starts as a soil nano technology with increased CEC, than a micro technology with our wee- beasties / fungus, and macro with bugs and worms.
Biochar, the modern version of an ancient Amazonian agricultural practice called Terra Preta (black earth), is gaining widespread credibility as a way to address world hunger, climate change, rural poverty, deforestation, and energy shortages… SIMULTANEOUSLY!
Modern Pyrolysis of biomass is a process for Carbon Negative Bio fuels, massive Carbon sequestration,10X Lower Methane & N2O soil emissions, and 3X Fertility Too.
Every 1 ton of Biomass yields 1/3 ton Charcoal for soil Sequestration, Bio-Gas & Bio-oil fuels, so is a totally virtuous, carbon negative energy cycle.
Charles Mann ("1491") in the Sept. National Geographic has a wonderful soils article which places Terra Preta / Biochar soils center stage.
Please put this (soil) bug in your colleague’s ears. These issues need to gain traction among all the various disciplines who have an iron in this fire.
The NGM cover reads "WHERE FOOD BEGINS"
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/ … /mann-text
It’s what Mann hasn’t covered that I thought should interest you and Sen. Salazar;
NASA’s Dr. James Hansen Global warming solutions paper and letter to the G-8 conference, placing Biochar / Land management the central technology for carbon negative energy systems.
The many new university programs & field studies, in temperate soils; Cornell, ISU, U of H, U of GA, Virginia Tech, JMU, New Zealand, Germany and Australia.
Glomalin’s role in soil tilth, fertility & basis for the soil food web in Terra Preta soils.
POZNAN, Poland, December 10, 2008 – The International Biochar Initiative (IBI) announces that the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has submitted a proposal to include biochar as a mitigation and adaptation technology to be considered in the post-2012-Copenhagen agenda of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). A copy of the proposal is posted on the IBI website at
The International Biochar Initiative (IBI).
Given the current "Crisis" atmosphere concerning energy, soil sustainability, food vs. Biofuels, and Climate Change what other subject addresses them all?
This is a Nano technology for the soil that represents the most comprehensive, low cost, and productive approach to long term stewardship and sustainability.
Carbon to the Soil, the only ubiquitous and economic place to put it.
If pre-Colombian Kayopo Indians could produce these soils up to 6 feet deep over 15% of the Amazon basin using "Slash & CHAR" verses "Slash & Burn", it seems that our energy and agricultural industries could also product them at scale.
Harnessing the work of this vast number of microbes and fungi changes the whole equation of energy return over energy input (EROEI) for food and Bio fuels. I see this as the only sustainable agricultural strategy if we no longer have cheap fossil fuels for fertilizer.
We need this super community of wee-beasties to work in concert with us by populating them into their proper Soil horizon Carbon Condos.
Erich J. Knight
1047 Dave Berry Rd.
McGaheysville, VA. 22840
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