Oregon BEST funding and partnership with Oregon State University Researchers helps Sunmark Environmental develop a new stormwater filter media that uses biochar made from lumber mill residue to remove metals from stormwater.
"With our filter media, we're seeing metal removal rates of between 80 and 100 percent," said Robin Cook, founder and partner of Sunmark, a soil and native plant restoration company. "Most other available filter media remove only about 60 percent, at best, so people are pretty excited about this. But we need third-party, scientific data from research to back up our findings."
The researchers hope to develop a media mix for optimal removal of zinc, copper, and heavy metals. These metals can come from galvanized steel (metal roofs) and roadway runoff (car brake linings, antifreeze, etc).
March 7th and 8th Tom Miles ran a biochar making workshop as part of the San Juan County Agricultural Summit Biochar Workshop. Tom explained the guiding principles of char use and production, and the Larry James (Seachar) demonstrated the Estufas Finca. JD Tovey (Carbon Cultures) gave a great short introduction to the development of the Carbon Cultures biochar oven. We had about 40 people from a mix of agriculture, trades and small land owners. Sam Heller ran a quick demo of his home make TLUD retort, and Erin R. did a small cone kiln demonstration. Renel Anderson great information, posters and demos of char, and Jim Karnofski shared a lot of practical application advice.
Tom and Renel Anderson (Biochar Supreme) gave a great couple of short talks During the San Juan Island Agriculture Summit about making and using biochar at a farm scale. Renel generously shared her struggles with getting her biochar tested, certified, and the packaging issues sorted out for sale in retail and farm stores. It was a great presentation. The San Juan Islands have an interesting challenge. It’s expensive to ship anything to the islands, so they need to integrate their use of each part of their farm cycle to improve their soils as well as their production. They have a mix of older farmers and young farm families just starting out. There was great information at the summit, and it will be exciting to see how these families take up the challenges and implement some of the ideas over the next year.
Download a copy of Tom's Presentation 4Mb pdf
The Summer 2013 issue of Western Forester magazine features an article by NW Biochar group member Marcus Kauffman on biomass development as well as a profile of the NW Biochar Industry by NW Biochar group member Kelpie Wilson. You can find the issue online at this link: http://www.forestry.org/media/docs/westernforester...
Biochar Burn school was put together to field test simple, ways to reduce CO2 and emissions from existing forest slash burning practices. The working theory was "We can do better".
They ran some controlled experiments, and came up with some straightforward techniques that improve forest residue burning methods and satisfy other needs of taxpayers and forest managers.
For details see the slideshow: