Australia and New Zealand Biochar Conference (August 2017)

Adam Blakester (Starfish Initiatives) and Ruy Anaya de la Rosa (B4SS) attended the Australia and New Zealand Biochar Conference (ANZBC) 2017, which was held in Murwillumbah Civic Centre and Showgrounds on 10-12 August 2017. Members of the B4SS Scientific Panel,  Stephen Joseph and Lukas van Zwieten were also present, while Prof Johannes Lehmann recorded a lecture for the ANZBC17 participants. Biochar Don Coyne did a great job organising the conference. The main objective of ANZBC17 was to narrow the gap between scientific research and commercialisation of biochar products.

Furthermore, this platform provided an opportunity for the various biochar groups from different States in Australia and New Zealand to share experiences and knowledge on biochar. Although the activities are not implemented in Australia or New Zealand, Ruy presented the Biochar for Sustainable Soils (B4SS) project to the participants who showed interest in joining the 2018 Biochar Adventure Experience in Peru. Based on the lessons from the B4SS in China, Ruy suggested to the ANZBC17 participants to collaborate with fertiliser companies in Australia and New Zealand to produce biochar compound NPK fertilisers and introduce them to markets.

Prof Lukas van Zwieten gave a keynote presentation on “The facts about biochar: what we know from 10 years of study”, and Prof Stephen Joseph’s keynote talk was on “The commercialisation of biochar; how to move from research to commercialisation”. Prof Johannes Lehmann discussed the possible interactions between the various components in soil organic matter and biochar, including priming, aggregation and mineral interactions.

The third day at Murwillumbah’s showgrounds focussed on the demonstration of various biochar production technologies including the Kon Tiki kiln, which has been used in the B4SS projects in Ethiopia, Indonesia, Peru and Vietnam, the Carboniser, a Thermal Reactor and Multi Function Retort for mobile biochar production, a trough kiln, a flow pipe kiln and a recycled gas cylinder gasifier stove. Moreover, there were two workshops on 1) how the regional/local biochar potential can become a reality in climate farming initiatives and 2) how to easily make biochar as a carrier medium of mycorrhizal fungi.

Thank you very much to Biochar Don for bringing together most of the big biochar players in Australia and New Zealand, and for all his biochar work. As Don says: Chars!