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Jul 29 – Aug 1 2012, SOMO: 2012 US Biochar Conference to be held at Sonoma Mountain Village

16 Jul Posted by in News | Comments Off
Jul 29 – Aug 1 2012, SOMO: 2012 US Biochar Conference to be held at Sonoma Mountain Village

The 2012 US Biochar Conference will be held at Sonoma Mountain Village (SOMO), North America’s first endorsed One Planet Community.  The Sonoma Biochar Initiative (SBI) in partnership with the Sonoma Ecology Center will host the event which runs from July 29 to August 1, 2012.

The conference website describes the event:

“The 2012 US Biochar Conference is designed to advance our understanding of the economic, science and policy issues related to biochar as both an amendment for soils as well as an agent to sequester carbon. California’s reputation for progressive policy and venture capital resources provide an excellent setting to showcase new innovative technologies like biochar. The conference is focused on practical results, especially regarding biochar use in agriculture.”

A form of charcoal made from the pyrolysis of biomass, biochar is used for soil amendment and carbon sequestration. Pyrolysis is the heating of biomass in a low or no oxygen environment, which prevents the biomass from combusting, and results in the production of biochar, liquids and gasses.  The ratio of these three products depends on the heat and speed of the process, where a slow process produces more biochar, and both a slow and fast process produce net energy.

The presence of biochar in soil can improve water quality, increase soil fertility, reduce nutrient leaching and soil acidity, raise agricultural productivity and reduce pressure on forests.  As a stable solid, rich in carbon, it is believed that it can endure in soil for thousands of years, making it an area of considerable research interest for its potential to slow global warming through carbon sequestration.  Biochar production and application has been cited as “fast mitigation technology” in international climate talks.

The Sonoma Biochar Initiative (SBI) “actively promotes policies at local, state and federal government levels to foster early adoption of biochar production and application through appropriate carbon valuation and funding; technology support; offset protocols; and clear ways to define and address regulatory hurdles.”  Additionally, SBI “seeks to develop ongoing Sonoma County biochar demonstration projects designed to show the usefulness and viability of this emerging technology.”