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IBI Helps Two Biochar Projects Receive Funding through the National Geographic Great Energy Challenge

Fri, 09/30/2011
Thayer Tomlinson

IBI is thrilled to announce our assistance in gaining funding of over $140,000 from world-renowned National Geographic for two biochar projects. IBI collected details on potential projects and then narrowed down the selection to best fit National Geographic’s Great Energy Challenge. National Geographic opted to fund two projects: the Estufa Finca project in Costa Rica and the African Christians Organization Network (ACON) in Kenya. IBI helped the projects in Costa Rica and Kenya to articulate their ideas and write full proposals. National Geographic decided to fund both programs and each group has received a grant of $72,000 to expand their respective biochar stove programs.

The Estufa Finca project will focus its funding from National Geographic to replicate successes with biochar gasifier stoves in the Santos region by holding trainings and stove building workshops in the Talamanca region of southeastern Costa Rica. The project will partner with a local organic cacao growers coop, and will train local women’s organizations to build stoves from locally-sourced materials, market the stoves, and use the biochar produced by the stoves at the cacao farms.

In Kenya, ACON is already working with farmers and villagers to produce biochar as a soil amendment.  With the funding from National Geographic, ACON is able to increase their project scope and develop more advanced biochar stoves that are better suited for local conditions and feedstocks. The stoves will be produced and sold locally; ACON will also perform outreach and further help farmers set up field trials to examine the impact of the biochar on their soils. The two projects will share results to learn what project components are universal and what are site- and culture-specific.

For more information on the National Geographic Great Energy Challenge, please see: