Biochar Coalition’s mission is to increase Biochar making, for stable Carbon sequestration. Join us attend or plan a workshop in your community.

  • April 13th 2024 – Nevada City,CA
    Join us for a hands-on biochar making workshop at Woolman Ranch. Let’s gather to embrace the transformative power of fire, enriching our air, water, and soil. Rediscover forgotten wisdom, explore its applications, and understand its unique properties. Location :
    13075 Woolman Ln
    Nevada City, Ca 95959

    What To Bring:
    Work gloves
    Cotton Clothing
    Work Boots
    Long Sleeve Cotton Shirts
    Jeans or Heavy duty natural fiber pants
    food
    light refreshments will be provided.
    PARKING:
    Parking is available in several areas onsite. Some spots are further away from the demonstration and will require walking on mostly level terrain. On the map below, the areas labeled “P” indicates parking areas, and the site where we are meeting for the demo is at the orange asterisk:
  • April 27th 2024 – Eden – NY
    Join us for a follow up from our last educational event.

    Uncover the mysteries as we dive deep into the realm of carbon

    Hosted by:
    Henry’s Gardens was founded in 2012 by Martin and Barbara Henry just south of Buffalo NY, in the Eden Valley. Together, Martin and Barbara have over 50 years of experience in horticultural production, including bedding and potted plants, cut flowers, and fresh market produce. In 2023, Martin and Barbara’s son Alan returned to the farm after graduating from Cornell University, with intentions of working into the Family Business. Today, Henry’s Gardens produces top-quality flowers and vegetables in just over 15,000 sqft of greenhouses, and fifty acres of open field production. Because Henry’s Gardens is a grower-retailer, they are able to specialize in unique plants and combinations, while also offering a wide selection of traditional favorites.

    Message from the Coalition :
    We are delighted that a prominent business has shown interest in Biochar. Barbra has been steadfast in her commitment to utilizing and producing this material for her farm, nursery, and the wider community. John & Ken of the Coalition first met Barbra in 2023. Through this meeting, we were introduced to their holistic approach to plant care and their incorporation of innovative practices to enhance the quality of their produce. Biochar emerged as one of these interests. During our visit to their facility to identify woody slash for our inaugural seminar in 2023, I couldn’t help but observe the challenging clay soil conditions. We are eager to support them in producing more biochar to transform the clay into aggregates and unleash the full potential of their most valuable asset: the soil. Join us, as we venture into a new era of sustainable practices, that enable each and everyone of us in a unique way. We will show how to fit pyrolysis into your everyday life, and how all volumes of biochar add up to make a difference. Location:
    Henry’s Garden
    7884 Sisson Hwy
    Eden,Ny 14057


    PARKING IN RED
    EVENT IN GREEN
  • Radio Biochar
    Listen to a Garden Forum Biochar discussion recorded Feb 17, 2022 at kvmr.org
Reduce Biomass Fire Threats with Less Smoke, Less Ash, More Biochar in Less Time!

Tabor@BiocharCoalition.org article: BIOCHAR – Reduce Fire Threat While Increasing Soil Fertility

Before then after reducing fire fuels of scotch broom and cedar making 1.5 yards of biochar in 6 hours of work by 2 people

How Biochar is made:

Pyre

A conservation burn. photo Credited to Wines and Vines

An open above ground fire can increase the amount of Biochar by simply lighting a full pile from the top and watching it burn down engulfing Biomass until the flames are gone and a pile of red hot coals remain developing a thin layer of grey ash, then gently apply as much water as needed to fully quench to cold black Biochar. Rake out the pile of char as you quench to asure they are fully out & to avoid them reigniting from any residual heat. Now you have clean empty stable Carbon Biochar ready for enriched inoculation. If water is not abundant or available the coals can be smothered with dirt.

wood is not added into the fire once it was started at the top, notice the clean smoke free fire, the wind has allowed the right side to still stand at the height the pile originated while the left burned side has reduced by half. Another pile is ready to be lit in the front left.
photo found at https://sonomabiocharinitiative.org/about-biochar/

Pits

Using a pit will increase the efficiency producing more Biochar than an open above ground pyre. Dig a cone shaped pit 5 feet deep & 6.5 feet wide at the top. Once the initial pile in the pit burns down more fuel can be added at the rate it burns down until the pit is full and the flames burn out. Then fill the pit with water to fully quench. More water may be needed when you dig out the pit full of Biochar, as the pit itself can retain and radiate heat which could cause the char to reignite days later. If water is not abundant or available the pit can be covered with dirt to smother the coals.

Pit dug over 6 feet deep 3 feet wide at the base and over 7 feet wide at the rim. After one afternoon burning we filled the pit full of Biochar made from burning 8 large piles of Scotch Broom in the pit. The pine log that was added on top was not completely burned and will be added in the next burn to complete char.

Kilns

Kilns are the most efficient way to make BioChar. We currently primarily use the Ring of Fire a flame cap kiln design for land clearing work and the FabStove for cooking. Here are a spectrum of mobile kiln systems, as well as industry scale models in development & production:

Burn until flames are done. Quench gentle water pressure and spread out
Hyper paced Ring of Fire Biochar Kiln manzanita fueled set up to quench
CharCone hemp Biochar time lapse

Sequestering Carbon

Our Atmosphere is saturated with excess Carbon Dioxide which is two molecules of Oxygen locked in a bond with one molecule of Carbon. Vegetation grows by inhaling Carbon Dioxide and chemically divides the molecules into the source elements using Carbon for growth, while exhaling the Oxygen. In this way a tree will isolate the Carbon from our Air and store it for safe keeping it its new cell growth. 30% of the captured Carbon will be exchanged with mycelium & soil organism for more nutrients. As trees age the rate of Carbon absorption exponentially increases, therefore older trees are constantly sequestering more Carbon than any younger tree can each year while it continues to live. Once trees die they are no longer able to inhale any more Carbon Dioxide. Dead trees & vegetation (Biomass) may continue to provide habitats as they decay. However fast or slow decay transpires the result will be the same, what ever Carbon the living plant was able to sequester into its body is not permanent & will begin to release that Carbon as Carbon Dioxide and Methane until the BioMass evaporates. When trees are harvested for lumber the trunk has left 30% of the total Carbon inhaled in the ground, within healthy soils that carbon can stay circulating amongst soil organisms and new vegetation development for years/decades as part of the natural Carbon cycle. The fallen tree will then be limbed (branches cut off) in the forest and poles sent to be milled. The slash and tree limbs (Biomass) if left on the forest floor would be a fire hazard, however if that slash is converted into Biochar & left in the forest soils that would be a stable permanent sequestered Carbon which would further improve the forest soil health for millennia. The part of the tree that manages to make it all the way to be used as lumber is also sequestered Carbon and so long as the houses and furniture made from Wood don’t burn down or decay the Carbon stays sequestered. Supporting wood use is a positive form of sequestering Carbon. Converting any unused or decaying wood into Biochar and incorporating into soil will keep the Carbon from being able to return to the Air making it the most stable permanent form of Carbon sequestration we know of.

Our favorite strategy to incorporate Biochar into the soil for sequestration is incorporating livestock for trampling & fertilizing. It’s a joy working with ForageService.com

Scotch Broom Biochar dug out of our pit & spread across the sheep’s night pen to absorb their manure & urine inoculating the sequestering Carbon

KOFrass.com is also doing great work making and inoculating Biochar using meal worm frass as well as nutrient rich fermentations. Specializing in adding biochar into soil.

Start Making Biochar! Join us! to read more visit our Mission or scroll down


Annual Biochar

Every Year we need to continue to sequester more Carbon to offset what every year we have been generating as our Carbon footprint. Carbon footprints are receipts for volumes of Carbon Dioxide that have already been emitted into our air, and will continue to do so until systems change to reduce emissions. We also need to Sequester Carbon to fill our footprints back into our lands. Forests alone can not be relied on to sequester Carbon. When a forest burns up it releases a huge amount of Carbon Dioxide, Methane, and other Gasses adding to our fossil fuel footprints and setting the forest capacity back with its ability to inhale or absorb more Carbon Dioxide.

Meanwhile standing dead remains of a forest fire are still holding carbon in an unstable state, crews are needed to work in overgrown or previously burned forests to clear dead vegetation and convert it to Biochar to sequester permanently stable Carbon, while clearing space for new trees to grow. Dead wood in forests which need to be cleared took years for brush, decades to half centuries or more for trees to reach valuable harvesting lumber. Trees harvested this year is sequestering Carbon footprints of decades ago.

Every year in agricultures we prune fruit & nut orchards and thin vines in vineyards. Those branches, nut husks, and vines that are annually removed from plants for healthy orchards & vineyards maintenance can also be converted into Biochar as an annual Carbon Sequestration. All new growth this year is Carbon Dioxide being absorbed into plants, so if that growth was unwanted and pruned it can be a great value as having captured Carbon that we can burn into Biochar a form of permanently sequestrable stable Carbon. We need to also be burning our annual crop residues into char to be sequestering more Carbon from our air this year and every year.

Annual plants absorb Carbon Dioxide each year, if we convert them into Biochar as part of our annual cycle we would continue to improve our environment. Hemp, including all varieties of medical Cannabis, are annual plants which will absorb four times more Carbon Dioxide than any other known plant. In one growth cycle this plant can produce the usual flower or seed crop, the cambium layer could be utilized for fiber, leaving the stems core to burn into Biochar for increased Carbon sequestration.
Notably, Paulownias, recognized for their C4 photosynthesis mechanism, rank among the world’s fastest-growing trees, showcasing impressive carbon sequestration rates. Beyond their carbon capture prowess, these trees yield an extensive biomass supply, ideal for the production of biochar and other value-added products.

Bamboo is known for its rapid growth and carbon absorption in a perennial cycle. With a seven-year life cycle for each growth stem, bamboo allows for the regular removal of the oldest stems, facilitating new growth and ensuring a sustained contribution to carbon sequestration efforts.
Scotch Broom is a highly flammable successfully established widely available plant which makes a wonderful quality Biochar taking many more years to grow as large as hemp can each year. What ever plant that is grown each year when we are able to burn its dried remains into Biochar we are locking Carbon into a stable form that is solid and not in our air.


Here’s Why

Fire

We must participate in burning our forests excess dead Biomass to reduce devastating wild fires Pyrolysis creates a clean burning fire, converting Biomass, consuming Oxygen & Hydrogen, quenching stabilizes any remaining Carbon as Biochar

Earth

Sequestration of Carbon as Biochar incorporated into our soils will help hold more water & nutrients making them available to organisms including plants & further across the food web. While keeping the Carbon permanently sequestered. As trees & plants uptake water & nutrients they inhale Carbon Dioxide dividing into Carbon & Oxygen. Exhaling the Oxygen plants utilize the Carbon to grow themselves and exchanging Carbon with soil organisms for more nutrients.

Air

Creating Biochar stabilizes Carbon for sequestration, rather than burning Biomass to ash which would otherwise continue immediate release of more Carbon Dioxide & Methane which our atmosphere already is saturated with. When Biomass is allowed to decompose it slowly evaporates into Carbon Dioxide & Methane. Clean burning Pyrolysis means we can keep our air clean while making Biochar for permanent Carbon sequestration.

Water

Biochar is used to filter water clean. Landscapes covered by a layer of Biochar would filter all water, rain or irrigated, that passed through.


Whom

Biochar Coalition a nonprofit 501c3

Board of Directors Members


Where

Earth

We formed this Biochar Coalition in the Sierra Foothills of western Nevada County, California, while also working within neighboring counties. The ancient practice of making Biochar can be done anywhere by anyone. Please participate!


When

Anytime it is safe to burn or have a fire Biochar can & needs to be made. Once it is safe for us to burn open fires again we will continue to documenting our making and utilizing Biochar to update this website sharing what we have done and hopefully encouraging you to get involved and make some biochar for everyone’s sake.

BioChar Crews

Pyres Pits Kilns


Recommended Reading

more biochar resources:

https://biochar-international.org/

https://biochar-us.org

https://www.biochar-journal.org/en/home

https://blueskybiochar.com

Contact Us
First
Last

If you would like to have a workshop in your community send us a message so we can try to coordinate a date and team to continue helping share the workshop learning experience while we still have a safe burning season.

In the summer we can develop a workshop series if interested for what more to do with biochar. While it is a safe limited season to burn we make as much biochar as we can as our focus. We can enrich and use the biochar in many other ways and share that the rest of the year. Make more Biochar while when we can!