[permaculture] Fwd: Biochar and Pyrolysis Workshop - Berkeley, CA

Maya Panisset maya at dogpatch.net
Fri Jul 25 18:59:37 EDT 2008

Power Exchange #4:   Biochar and Pyrolysis Workshop

The addition of charcoal to soil has gained significant interest
lately as a low tech strategy for increased agricultural productivity,
removal and sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere, and
production of "carbon-negative" energy.   This potential for a
"win-win-win" system has sparked a groundswell of interest across
scientific, agricultural and energy circles in recent years.   We
invite you to join us for this continuing adventure in collaborative
and cross-disciplinary science.

Charcoal appears to improve soil fertility through increased nutrient
absorption and water retention, as well as greatly enhanced
microbial/fungal activity.  While these general benefits are
reasonably established, the specific impacts of different char types
and regimes of application remain open questions.  This lecture and
workshop will provide introductory to expert information regarding
these issues, then run pot trials to test hypotheses and advance the

The core lecture will review the scientific literature on the
properties and effects of biochar in soil along with basic soil
science. The lecture will also provide a short overview of terra preta
or Amazonian "black earth": a discovery that lead to the current
interest in charcoal soil amendments.  Lastly, biochar/bioenergy
within the context of the global carbon cycle and energy production
will be discussed.

The workshops will give participants a chance to run pot trials to
further understand the effects of biochar on different soils and plant
species.  We plan to explore such variables as: species used for
charcoal production, charcoal production conditions, charcoal
particle size, biochar nutrient amendment, and mycorrhizal amendment.
Hands on soil and char analysis will also be conducted. This research
will help to further understanding of biochar and its applications for
enhancing agricultural productivity.

The lecture and workshops will be of interest to people involved in
fields such as: sustainable agriculture, urban agriculture,
permaculture, renewable energy, and carbon sequestration.

Instructor: Bear Kaufmann

  The Shipyard / ALL Power Labs
  1010 Murray St.
  Berkeley, California


  Lecture -
      Thu July 31
      7:30 PM

  Workshops -
      Sat August 2 - Trial Design and Build Out
      Sun August 3 - Trial Design and Build Out
      Sat August 9 - Planting
      Sat August 23 - Soil/Char Analysis
      Sat September 6 - Results Data Collection
      Sat September 20 - [Results Data Collection]/Data Analysis
      11 AM-5 PM

  US $250

  Registration & Questions - bear at ursine-design.com

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