IBG Meeting Archives

Meeting Summary from October 21, 2016

The Illinois Biochar Group's fall meeting was held at ISTC (1 E Hazelwood Dr. Champaign, IL) on Friday, October 21, 2016, from 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM. Several new members attended the meeting. Members had the opportunity to network and go on a short tour of ISTC laboratories. In addition, three members presented new biochar research; those presentations were:

Meeting Summary from April 22, 2016

various sizes of cookstoves and char-makers lined up outside with several lit for demonstrations

In lieu of a formal Illinois Biochar Group meeting this spring, IBG held a “biochar production and preparation event” along with various networking opportunities on April 22, 2016. The event was held at the farm of Dave Ely in Kankakee, IL. Dave was the site host and Paul Anderson and Doug McCarty were the event coordinators. There were a number of demonstrations of stoves and panel discussions on lessons learned about char-making; quenching of hot char; preparation of char before placement into soil (including inoculation with microbes and mixing with compost and urine and manure and worms); gardening with biochar (personal experiences); conducting controlled experiments with biochar as the key variable; and issues of supply of raw biomass, including drying. Bernardo del Campo also gave a presentation on the latest developments of ARTIchar International, Inc. Attendees enjoyed a delicious pork BBQ lunch prepared by Dave Ely via gasification!

The following stoves were on display and lit for demonstrations during the event:

  • Small: Cookstoves. TLUD micro-gasifier stoves by Paul Anderson and others. At least 2 natural draft (ND) units and 2 forced air (FD) units.
  • Moderate: Char-makers. Stove-Pipe stove by Paul Wever. Troika institutional size for Haiti by Anderson. Ely’s fuel dryer with both direct (exhaust) and indirect (heat exchanger) heat transfers.
  • Barrel-size: Char-makers. Vertical TLUD single-walled. Vertical TLUD double-walled. Half-barrel portable double-wall TLUD (by Anderson for USDA ARS Peoria), and Anderson’s C4 kiln (Controlled, Continuous, Covered Cone kiln) with Flame-cap technology.

Meeting Summary from December 4, 2015

The Illinois Biochar Group fall meeting was held on December 4, 2015, at the USDA’s National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, IL. The group was given a tour of the USDA labs, and there were a number of new projects and updates on current biochar projects presented (Dec. 4 Agenda; PDF). The presentations were:

Meeting Summary from May 1, 2015

The Illinois Biochar Group spring meeting was held on May 1, 2015, at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center in Champaign, IL. The group was given a tour of the ISTC labs, and there were a number of new projects and updates on current biochar projects presented (Spring 2015 Meeting Agenda; PDF). The presentations were:

Meeting Summary from November 14, 2014

The Illinois Biochar Group fall meeting was held on November 14, 2014, at the USDA’s National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, IL. The group was given a tour of the USDA labs, and there were a number of new projects and updates on current biochar projects presented (Nov. 14 Agenda; PDF). The presentations were:

Meeting Summary from March 10, 2014

The Illinois Biochar Group spring meeting was held on March 10, 2014, at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center on the campus of the Unviersity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The group was given a tour of the ISTC labs, and there were a number of new projects and updates on current biochar projects presented. The presentations were:

Meeting Summary from November 15, 2013

The Illinois Biochar Group fall meeting was held on November 15, 2013, at the USDA’s National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, IL. The group was given a tour of the USDA labs, and there were a number of new projects and updates on current biochar projects presented. The presentations were:

Meeting Summary from April 5, 2013

The Illinois Biochar Group spring meeting was held on April 5, 2013, at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center on the campus of the Unviersity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. There were a number of updates on biochar projects presented as well as a special biochar research seminar given by Dr. Kurt Spokas of the USDA-ARS. The presentations were:

Meeting Summary from November 16, 2012

The Illinois Biochar Group fall meeting was held on November 16, 2012, at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. There were a number of updates on biochar projects presented. The presentations were:

Meeting summary from June 14, 2012

The Illinois Biochar Group summer meeting was held on June 14, 2012, at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. There were a number of updates on biochar/cook stove projects presented. The presentations were:

Meeting summary from March 1, 2012

The Illinois Biochar Group (IBG) hosted a joint meeting of IBG with the Illinois Biomass Working Group (IBWG) on March 1, 2012, at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center in Champaign.

There were a number of short presentations given at the meeting. Speakers were:

  • Kurt Spokas, USDA-ARS-St. Paul -"Biochar in Field Trials & Characterization Studies"
  • Tim Slating, UIUC Energy Biosciences Institute - "Biomass Crop Assistance Program"
  • Zonghe Chua, Corey Berman, & Jon Adam, UIUC - "Haitian Stove/Biochar Project"
  • Paul Anderson, Chip Energy - "Stoves/Biomass/Biochar in Other Countries"
  • Fred Iutzi, Paul Wever (Chip Energy), and Duane Friend (UIUC Extension) - "Biochar as a Value-added Strategy"
  • Mark A. Dietenberger, US Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, WI - "Biomass Pretreatment via Hydrothermal Carbonization (HTC) using GTI Process"
  • John Scott, ISTC - "Biochar Characterization and PAH Studies"
  • Marsha J. Fernandes, Mt. Pulaski Products LLC - "Processing Corncob Biomass"
  • Fred Iutzi, IBWG -"Recap of January IBWG Stakeholders Meeting"

Meeting summary from November 7, 2011

The Illinois Biochar Group fall meeting was held on November 7, 2011, at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Over 30 attendees learned about the latest biochar work being conducted by IBG members, discussed biochar/pyrolysis/stove issues, and explored collaborative efforts for future research and use of biochar and bio-oils.

  • Dr. Paul Anderson of Chip Energy, Inc. discussed his work with cook stove projects in various countries and biochar use.
  • Corey Berman and Jon Adam from Engineers without Borders student group on UI campus outlined their plans for a project designing improved cook stoves for the community of Gressier in Haiti and making the stoves from local materials (http://www.cleanstove.org/index.html). They also hope to start a center in the community for the production of biochar to spread on the agricultural fields in the area. Paul Anderson, Paul Wever, and others gave advice to them on their project and will work with them on stove design. Corey and Jon plan to travel to Haiti over spring break next March.
  • Dr. Tom Holm of the IL State Water Survey presented an update on his new project examining sorption of PAHs to biochar. This is a project funded by ISTC (http://www.istc.illinois.edu/research/ISTC-projects.cfm?type=current).
  • Dr. Krishna Reddy of the University of Illinois - Chicago described his continuing experiments on the use of biochar for methane mitigation from landfills; his student Vivek Padmanabha discussed her studies on using biochar as a filter media to treat urban storm water runoff.
  • Dr. Kurt Spokas of USDA-ARS in St. Paul, MN detailed results of some of the current work of USDA with various field trials all over the country and the USDA-ARS Biochar-Pyrolysis Initiative. Dr. Spokas also discussed the numerous Biochar sessions that were held at the recent American Society of Agronomy Conference (Oct. 16-19 in San Antonio) and the newly formed Biochar Community for ASA that he is participating in which will focus on biochar research. To view recorded presentations from the ASA conference, visit https://www.acsmeetings.org/.
  • The research discussion was followed by a noon time seminar by Dr. Jean Bogner, Research Professor at University of Illinois-Chicago and President of Landfills +, Inc. on "Landfill Methane Gas Emissions and Oxidation."
  • The spring meeting of IBG will be held jointly with the Illinois Biomass Working Group so that the two groups can learn more about each other's activities and how members might collaborate on projects. Date and location will be announced in January 2012.

Meeting summary from June 9, 2011

The Illinois Biochar Group met on June 9, 2011, at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The 25 attendees heard talks on the latest biochar work by IBG members, discussed future plans to provide educational webinars for both IBG members and the general public about biochar issues, and explored collaborative efforts for future research and use of biochar and bio-oils.

  • Dr. B.K. Sharma of ISTC discussed the results of his work on feedstocks, bio-oils and biochar.
  • Dr. Wei Zheng (click to download Power Point presentation and video) also from ISTC presented results of ammonium and phosphate soprtion studies and his IL Dept of Agriculture project field trials showing improved crop yield with biochar mixed in the soil. The best results were with biochar made from corn cobs. Also results indicated that biochar could be used along with 50% less fertilizer to obtain similar corn yields as control with 100% fertilizer. (Click here to download the final report)
  • Dr. Krishna Reddy of the University of Illinois-Chicago's work on methane adsorption by biochar looked very promising. Further testing is being conducted.
  • Dr. Kurt Spokas of USDA-ARS in St. Paul, MN (click to download Power Point presentation) told about the recent review of all biochar field trial literature that he and his colleagues have completed (200 years of study) and will publish later this year. They looked at different feedstocks, how produced, how long stored, how stored - all of this affects the reactivity of biochar in the soil along with the type of soils, moisture, etc. This literature analysis showed mixed results for biochar improving crop yield; most of the studies were with wood as feedstocks since US Forest Service has been involved with biochar for long period of time. Biochar made from poultry litter can give an increase in crop yield probably due to nitrogen in the litter.
  • Dr. Spokas also mentioned the current work of USDA with various field trials all over the country and the USDA-ARS Biochar-Pyrolysis Initiative with 15 locations. He continues to advise caution on the use of biochar in agriculture since each char is different - even when use same feedstock and production method for various batches - and some can cause harm to soils rather than improve fertility. He would like to see more promotion of use of biochar for carbon sequestration.
  • Dr. Spokas also stated that the American Society of Agronomy is setting up a Biochar Community which will focus on biochar research. At the ASA conference on Oct. 16-19 in San Antonio, there will be 1 1/2 days of talks and posters presentations on biochar.
    For more information, visit https://www.acsmeetings.org/home
  • Dr. Paul Anderson of Chip Energy, Inc. (click to download Power Point presentation) discussed the progress by IBI on biochar standards and characterization. The Illinois Biochar Group talked about working on developing standards. Dr. Anderson also mentioned his upcoming project which will be bringing cook stoves to Uganda. We discussed the possibility of exploring carbon credits for the producers of biochar there.
  • Paul Wever from Chip Energy, Inc. provided demonstrations of one of the Chip Energy cook stoves and also a larger pyrolyzing unit (click here to view the pictures).

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