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May 2009: Asia Pacific Biochar Conference

The First Asia Pacific Biochar conference was held on the Gold Coast, Australia (May 17 - 20). It was jointly organised between the Australia New Zealand Biochar Researchers Network and the Japanese Biochar Association. The conference organisers were overwhelmed by the interest from all sectors (farmers, researchers, industry) in the conference. The conference "sold out" at 200 delegates, and had to turn a large number of people away due to limitations of the venue. Delegates represented 10 countries and through sponsorship, the organizers were able to invite 7 delegates from developing countries in the region to attend and present at the conference.

The welcome reception was attended by the Hon Malcolm Turnbull who addressed the reception. The conference was opened on Monday morning by the Hon Brett Raguse (member for Forde) who provided the Welcome the Country. Prof Johannes Lehmann gave a summary of his research programme and also updated the activities of the IBI especially their preparation for Copenhagen. Prof Makoto Ogawa gave an excellent talk about the research in Japan on the benefits of biochar to soil microorganisms, and the various properties of wood smoke chemicals and their benefits on mychorriza. We had 56 presentation at the conference over 2 days. The conference Committee congratulates Dr Hirowaka from the International Charcoal Co-op Association, Japan for being awarded the "best" oral presentation "Charcoal application for poultry farming", and Prakash Srinivasan from Landcare Research NZ for best student poster "Retention capacity of three types of biochar for estrogenic steroid hormones in dairy farm soil."

The field trip was attended by almost 100 delegates, and mid-way through the field tour came the start of a severe weather event which resulted in flooding and extensive wind damage in the region. The delegates bravely visited a commercial coffee producer on the north coast on NSW, and visited the biochar field trials at NSW Department of Primary Industries at Wollongbar. They were all treated to a "bush tucker" display organised by Richmond Landcare and Soilcare.

Schedule and Oral Presentationsbiochar close up

Full Conference Schedule

Monday May 18, 2009:

Keynote address Biochar: Science and Policy, Johannes Lehmann, Cornell University, US

Biochar Characterization Session

Production Technologies Session

Biochar Models for Commercialisation Session

  • Session keynote: Carbon abatement potential and sustainability credentials of Project Rainbow Bee Eater, Joe Herbertson, Crucible Carbon Pty Ltd, Australia
  • Agro-economic valuation of biochar using field-derived data, Lukas Van Zwieten, NSW DPI, Australia
  • Biochar: A people initiative, Krushnun Venkat, BioSol India

Tuesday May 19, 2009

  • Keynote address Charcoal use in agriculture in Japan, Professor Makoto Ogawa, Osaka Institute of Technology, Japan

Environmental Benefits of Biochar including Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Session

Effects of Biochar Utilization Session

Policy Issues for the Biochar Industry Session