Deep Dive: Biomass to Biochar
California is waging war against the three largest environmental issues of our time: severe catastrophic forest fire, drought and climate change. These issues are linked. With climate change comes drought, and with extremely dry conditions come extremely large, hot burning fires. Forest maintenance is critical to fire prevention and mitigation, but can present its own hazards through the resulting debris. While there are several approaches to dealing with that debris, one has the potential to keep carbon from escaping into the atmosphere and potentially add to soil health, without the use of heavy equipment: converting biomass to biochar. Come learn about biochar, its characteristics and benefits, and see a demonstration of biochar production in a portable kiln on site in the Usal Redwood Forest in northern Mendocino County.
Leaders: Karen Youngblood, Forest Conservation Specialist, and Linwood Gill, Chief Forester, Redwood Forest Foundation, Inc. with Kelpie Wilson, engineer and analyst of Wilson’s Biochar, LLC; Debbie Dumroese, Research Soil Scientist U.S. Forestry Service; and Raymond Baltar, Grant Manager, Sonoma Ecology Center
CEI is a sponsor of this demonstration, "Down to Earth: Biomass to Biochar and Storing Carbon in Forest Soils," which is a joint project of the Redwood Forest Foundation, Inc. (RFFI), the Sonoma Biochar Initiative and the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District. This event will preview a joint RFFI and CEI field-based education program at SSU’s Galbreath Wildlands Preserve in Fall 2021.
Deborah S. Page-Dumroese, USFS soil scientist in Idaho; specializes in studying the environmental consequences of biomass utilization and biochar addition to the soil.
Kelpie Wilson, Wilson Biochar Associates in Oregon ; a mechanical engineer and analyst working in renewable energy, sustainable forestry and resource conservation. Inventor and developer of a wide range of biochar technology including the kilns used in this demonstration.
Raymond Baltar, Biochar Projects Manager in Sonoma, CA; a leader in the field of biomass conversion, biochar production, technology and research.