Co-benefits are also propelling biochar forward in the energy sector. Zero Point Clean Tech recently announced the successful deployment of its second biomass gasification power plant in Ireland (the first is operating in Germany). These conversion facilities produce both syngas for combined heat and power, and biochar for agricultural purposes. In the US, Whitfield Biochar is preparing to unveil its Continuous Feed Biochar Reactor, a biomass-based district heating unit that also generates biochar. The company plans to install biochar heating plants at locations in California, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania starting in the fourth quarter of this year.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Biochar Gaining Ground With Co-Benefits
Apart from its carbon sequestration potential, biochar is notable for the multiplicity of agricultural, land-use, and other "co-benefits" that accompany its production and use. Recent developments underline the importance of such co-benefits for accelerating wider adoption of biochar technology. This past week, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a series of awards and grants as part of its "Reinvent the Toilet Challenge" to improve sanitation in the developing world. Loughborough University in the UK was awarded a first-round $60,000 second place prize for designing a next-generation toilet that produces biochar, minerals, and clean water. The University of Colorado Boulder won a nearly $780,000 second-round grant to develop a toilet that uses concentrated solar power to convert waste to biochar for use in farming. The private firm re:char was also awarded funding to help develop a biochar sanitation system.