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Terra Preta at Michigan Technological University Working Group (United States)

The Terra Preta Working Group at Michigan Tech is a group of students working with and researching biochar. The current Science Team Research Plan includes the following:

  • What local biomass is appropriate for our use to burn and to convert into biochar?
  • Can we replicate national and international pyrolysis trials?
  • What plants — and in what conditions — should we prioritize for trials? (soybean, potatoes, maize, wheat, peas, beets, rice , legumes?)
  • What role can stamp sand play in bio-remediation/biochar initiatives?

Among the Working Groups accomplishments this year, we offered a community presentation attended by local community members and gardeners in Houghton, Michigan. Our Science Research Team Leader, Amanda Taylor, is quoted in the February 2009 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, a journal dedicated to research on the impact of the environment on human health. Also, our Working Group won The Peoples Choice Award at Michigan Technological University's Sustainable Futures Institute Poster Session, and our Working Group is discussed in the 3.3.09 issue of Science News: Getting The Dirt On Carbon.

Beginning in the fall, the Working Group will be part of Michigan Tech's D80 Center, which focuses its efforts on the 80% of people on the planet not typically considered by designers of infrastructure, goods, and services.