Presentation File - 2012 US Biochar Conference

Make biochar for both public welfare
and economic benefit
Meng Jun
Liaoning Biochar Engineering & Technology Research Center
Shenyang Agricultural University
July 21, 2012
Liaoning Biochar Engineering & Technology Research Center
The first provincial research institution
for biochar in China.
Leading by Prof. Chen Wenfu of Shenyang Agricultural University, the
academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, BETRC endeavored
into the biochar research. After years of practices, "carbonization and
returning" strategy for agro-forestry residue utilization, which based on in
situ biochar production equipment and biochar based products, was
refined gradually.
1 Public concern
food security is still a great issue to be concerned in near future
0.5 billion tons of food production ability maintained for nearly 8 years.
Population scored 1.3379 billion and still increase.
1.38 mu or 0.092 ha cultivated land per capita, 40% of world’s average.
China is a middle dangerous food security country.
Cited from:
Limited crop land suffered sever erosion
•1.826 billion mu or 0.12 billion ha crop land which still decreasing.
•70% of which is low yielding farmland at the end of 2009.
(Ministry of Agriculture)
•Heavy metal contamination: According to the Ministry of Agriculture, 46.7% of 2.1
million mu arable land irrigated by waste water was slightly contaminated by heavy metals, 9.7%
was moderate contaminated, and 8.4% was severely contaminated.
•Erosion of black soil: In Heilongjiang
100cm to 20~40cm, and still disappeared at 3~
3.5mm annually. In Jilin province, 12% of black
soil layer is thinner than 20cm, among which, 3%
acreage totally lost it.
•Dramatically acidify of red soil: 0.42
Agricultural field area
(0.1 billion mu)
province, black soil layer decreased from 60~
billion mu red soil, which pH bellow 4.5, even 2.6,
caused dramatically nutrition deficient.
Cited from: 2008 Bulletin of land and
resources of China
Huge amount of agricultural residues
700 million tones of
agricultural residues.
Quantities of cereal straw,
fungi matrix, peanut hull and
rice husk.
Straw returning to soil might
be a good choice, but not
easily carried out, especially
in northern China which
restricted by low temperature.
Significant environment pollution is
the inevitable result of lacking of
effective comprehensive utilization
Current situation and questions put forward
The current situation is: quantities of biomass residues, which should be
considered as precious resources, are disposed or burned, and causes
unaffordable ecological issues and notable soil degradation. How to get
those biomass, what we get from the soil, go back to the soil, might be a
great challenge we have to face to.
In spite of great efforts on straw returning, only 15 percent of those residues
could be returned to the soil.
2 Biochar might be a good candidate,
but how to make it work practically ?
•Advantages of biochar:
•Porous structure to shield microorganism.
•Alkalinity to ameliorate acidified soil.
•Stability and high carbon content.
•Available potassium.
•Good absorption ability.
Porous structure of biochar
•Farmers won’t pay for biochar because of additional input,
neither labor nor money.
•Government may provide public subsidies but can not cover all
over the country.
•Farmer and government left the major role to enterprise.
Enterprise: improve added value or lower the cost
Improving the added value means additional input in crop production in most
cases, and might not work if farmers have to pay for it.
The only way left is lower the cost of biochar production and application in
relatively near future.
So, the centralized production mode which increases transportation cost
should be revised, and the labor saving application method should win its
priority, especially in China.
Long distance transport of biomass
Biochar for garden use,
Step 1: Cost effective biochar production is the basis for
utilization of agricultural residues at large scale
Traditional kiln
Semi-hermetic kiln
cost effective
Modular kiln
Traditional biochar production mode of
•Small scale
biomass collection, transport and centralized
•Energy saving or energy free
carbonization was transferred into a new one:
carbonization in situ, collect and transport
•Environmental friendly
biochar for down-stream processing.
Step 2: Biochar based fertilizer/products facilitate the
incorporation of biochar into soil
Biochar based
Biochar based soil
• Increase fertilizer utilization ratio
• Cut off chemical input and decrease
environmental pollution
Nutrients in the pores
of biochar
• CO2 emission reduction
• Water retention
Combination of biochar and nutrients
Experimentation, demonstration and extension
Cooperating with peanut and potato industry system, more than 20
field trail stations were included in experimentation and demonstration,
20 provinces were involved.
Plot experiments
Demonstration sites in
Liaoning province
Demonstration sites in China
Returning of rice straw
Biochar based potato
Application of biochar
based peanut fertilizer
Biochar granum remain
in the soil
Research basis
Surface scan of biochar
Microorganism analysis
Root in biochar
Neighbour-joining phylogenetic tree of
bacteria based on the genetic distance
Research expansions
Biochar serve as seed bed matrix of rice and tobacco
Application of biochar in acidified black soil, sandy soil
and saline-alkali soil
Biochar ameliorated rice
Step 3: A distributed biochar network
Produce biochar based fertilizer
100,000 ton;
Cover agricultural field 130,000 ha;
Need biochar 30,000 ton;
Consume biomass 100,000 ton,
equals to quantities from 22,000 ha
of field;
Field area=2826 ha
No resource
Utilization ratio=50%
Air dried biomass per ha=4.5 ton
Total air dried biomass= 6359 ton
Produce biochar=1908 ton
3 km
Operating mode
farmer labor
In situ biochar
Biochar cost
about ¥300,
equals to $47.
I give you biochar,
you give me biochar
based fertilizer
instead of currency!
3 News media take a real interest in biochar,
which means the huge demand and market
Reports from China Central Television (CCTV) and
Liaoning provincial media about our work.
CCTV reports titled by
“Charring before sowing”
Introduce biochar for
news agency
4 Multiple economic and social benefits
No crop competition, no arable land competition.
Come from agriculture, go back to agriculture.
Hand grab for new countryside construction.
We are
seeking for
a better
We can not get more arable land,
but we can make it better!
We are BETRC
Thanks for your attention!
Your advices will be helpful!