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Pacific Northwest Biochar Initiative (United States)

The Pacific Northwest Biochar Initiative has been launched in February 2009. A group comprised of academics, researchers, engineers, foresters, farmers, policy experts and business leaders has formed to thoroughly examine biochar and its possibilities for the Pacific Northwest. The Pacific Northwest is a fertile ground for promoting biochar as an essential tool in the mitigation of global warming and advancing the development of biochar as a soil enhancer. Not only does the PNW have the available biomass to support biochar production, this region has a unique culture of people with the talent and enthusiasm for sustainability, capable of advancing the production, research and utilization of biochar.

This PNW Biochar group has quickly gathered together an amazing brain trust and the represented skill sets could literally design, engineer and implement a vertically integrated sustainability model that treats excess atmospheric carbon as a resource to be harvested and utilized for green carbon reductive thermal energy to drive the retooling of the Pacific Northwest's infrastructure, beginning with putting the carbon back in our soils. Initial goals are to develop sustainability protocols, a field trials network and a PNW conference.

Contact: John Miedema 541-929-5975

June News Update:
The PNW group held a two-day conference at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington on May 21st-22nd. More than 85 registered attendees heard presentations from scientists and practitioners. Thanks to our host, Dr. James Amonette, participants were treated to a tour of the PNNL Environmental Molecular Sciences Lab to see high-tech instrumentation used in characterizing chars. The group also saw a fast pyrolysis research reactor and visited biochar corn plots started by USDA ARS researcher Hal Collins.

A focus of the meeting was to look at sustainability standards for biochar. An open discussion and brainstorming session began to identify some issues in our forested region of the Pacific Northwest. Participants also exchanged ideas about potential business models and marketing.

Meeting organizers John Miedema and Max deRungs would like to thank all of those who participated and offer a special thanks to PNNL and Washington State University for opening their doors to the needs of the group and taking the time to show what happens behind the curtain of advanced technology, chemistry and microbiology.