We here a lot these days about food waste and a lot of money is spent disposing of it. Yet if you can keep 2 or 3 chickens you can virtually eliminate food waste. Chickens will just about eat anything us humans eat (just dont feed them other chicken by products !) . Having chickens is a way of turning our waste into food for hens and in turn they turn it back into food for us -- eggs (now thats a real good example of a circular economy). Adding biochar to poultry feed improves health of poultry and improves the quality of the chicken litter -- read below.
Our ever increasing awareness of how complex our food supply is. http://www.cowspiracy.com/homepage/
It worth noting that here in Ireland I heard it said that around 1916 the poor people of Dublin virtually eat no meat whilst the middle classes consumed around 4lbs per week , even people living on farms back then consumed very little meat - they would rather sell it! Of course some of this video does not totally relate to the Irish situation (our cattle are still primalrily feed on grass and harvest it themselves and we have plenty of water). But as George Lee said the recent increase in milk production will lead to increase in green house gases and it will be the Irish tax payer that will foot the bill . How sickening that will be when so many renewable energy projects that could have happened but for lack of real Government support, as opposed to lip service that is so common amongst our leaders.
Another example of making biochar at home. Simply get an old paint tin (best to pre burn it to remove contaminants). Then make sure you punch hole in the lid to allow gases to escape (as in the picture below) then insert a strong wire to as as a handle and place over any fire, this will take a a couple of hours depending on the heat of the fire, the particle size and moisture content of the biomass.
This an ideal way to turn small pieces such as wood shavings into biochar. You will have to shake the tin every now an then to insure that all the biomass is turned into biochar
The evolution of the ability to break down a plant's protective lignin largely stopped the geologic burial of carbon that formed present-day coal deposits—and may provide secrets to making biofuels from inedible parts of plants.
Cork students win Google prize for use of diazotroph bacteria as a cereal crop germination and growth aid.
One of the attributes of biochar is its ability to increase/improve germination - could what these Cork girls have discovered be the reason for the positive effect biochar has on germination, after all its well know that biochars microscopic pores harbour many bacteria and fungi.
Bartlet tree services had a demo day last summer in Dublin and the use of biochar to improve tree growth was mentioned. Its believed the number of plant-enchaining microorganisms, such as Trichoderma are boosted in soils amended with biochar. These microorganisms play a role in eliciting a response know as systemic induced resistance(SIR). SIR can result in the increase in defense mechanisms within the plant that reduces damages from insect and disease pest.
Over the last 200 years our soils have lost over half their soil carbon, see what these cattle farmer are doing to put it back into the soil.
Above, Flaring of Gas from chimney after several hours, this indicates the charcoal making process is near an end.
Below, the chimney is shut down and the gas is forced into the fire box, thus using the flammable gases to heat the kiln.
Now it is possible to cook food, make biochar and produce enough electricity to charge your mobile phone whilst out camping. It could also be very hand to have in the house in case of a power cuts.
The Prize is $25 million and there are 11 finalist of which 3 are Biochar related.
Researchers report that wood-biochar supercapacitors can produce as much power as today's activated-carbon supercapacitors at a fraction of the cost – and with environmentally friendly byproducts.
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-10-team-forest-cheaper-greener-supercapacitors.html#jCp
NUI Galway’s Geo-Environmental Engineering (GENE) Research Group is currently investigating the adsorption properties of biochar and other filter medias in protecting the environment from nutrient losses arisingfrom various Irish industries. Mre to come.....
The biochar trials continue.
First tray with Radish on the LHS is the control and the others have biochar added.
Picture 1 - chopped dry firewood
Picture 2 - biscuit tin in fireplace with lid and 2 holes for wood gas to escape N.B very important to have holes or it could explode. Also wire wrapped around tin to keep lid on and to remove from fire.
Video shows the woodgas escaping and being burnt off. charcoal is made when flames cease to burn, in this case it tuck about 1.5 hours Remove from fire and seal holes with sand or mud to prevent the charcoal reigniting.
Simply grind up to the required size.
I posted a query on the Foras na Gaeilge web site wondering what the irish for biochar would be and i am told it is Bithghualach which roughly translate to 'bio charcoal'.
Now you can have nice cup of tea and some charcoal and they taste nice!
Lawrence D. Hills book 'Month by Month Organic Gardening,The Green Gardeners Calender' first published in 1971 is considered a bible for organic gardeners and growers. It well worth having on ones book shelf as a reference book. The pdf file below is from pages 34 and 35 of 1989 edition and he talks about using wood ash in the chicken house and he goes as far as saying ''It is worth keeping chickens, if you have a wood stove,to get fertilizer". Remember part of the wood ash will be made of carbonized wood ie charcoal.
We all hear how the biochar should be 'precharged' before use, so what better way than to spread biochar in the chicken house. By spreading it under their roost you will get the chicken droppings mixing with the biochar = precharged.
It also helps reduce the ammonia odour associate with chicken houses and it hygienic and the chickens appear to like scratching it.
I will clean this batch (it’s was the waste left over after packing) out this spring and use in my garden. I expect good results as chicken manure has the highest NPK of any domestic animal. Its particularly high in Nitrogen , because chickens don’t excrete urine separately.
Terra preta irish style, it wasn't just going on in the Amazon and maybe some scientist that have an interest in biochar should start looking nearer to home (both here and in Europe) to see how the hills and slopes of mountains in their countries and along the west of Ireland were farmed using the practice of 'Pairing and Burning' the evidence is still there both from a distance as improved lands surrounded by heather land and in the ground as fragments of charcoal. Gerard Madden in his book 'Sliabh Aughty Ramble' also mentions how the heathery land of the Aughty mountains was dug, dried and burned and applied back on the land as a fertilizer.
Be aware that a lot of Charcoal sold in Ireland comes from this end of the world. You decided if this smells sustainable !