Biochar Hawaii: Our volcanic soils, fresh lava, varied ecosystems, and year-round growing season provide us a unique opportunity to experiment with biochar in agriculture. We are a newly formed group (June 2009) with interest in collaborating with other biochar enthusiasts. Please feel free to check out our group page or contact Josiah Hunt (808 936-3484)/Ben Discoe (808 775-9410) for more information.
A research grant awarded September 2009 has moved into the application phase. The grant titled: “Charcoal amended compost: plant growth responses in local agricultural systems” was awarded to Josiah Hunt and has helped fund the production of 20 cubic yards of finished compost containing approximately 30% charcoal (biochar) which is now being delivered to participating agricultural businesses. A more detailed write up on this project will come by June including physical, chemical, and biological aspects of compost and plant growth responses from more than ten agricultural systems. Funding was awarded by Big Island Resource Conservation and Development (BIRC&D) a local non-profit funded by the USDA with the help of Senator Daniel Inouye.
Biochar used in the grant project was produced by Josiah Hunt. Dry lumber scraps were used as feedstock and combusted in a well managed fire. In the absence of options this crude method has served well in producing relatively large quantities of biochar to conduct research and supply local demand, however the project has procured plans and materials to build an enclosed unit to achieve a cleaner more controlled combustion, which should improve the efficiency of biochar production and reduce emissions involved. Analysis of biochar by Hugh Mclaughlin and detailed pictures of production can be seen on the Biochar-Hawaii group page http://groups.google.com/group/biochar-hawaii?hl=en.
Photo: Biochar compost application at Loeffler farms, courtesy of Josiah Hunt; all other photos courtesy of Josiah Hunt