Royal Society report mentions biochar

I’ve posted before on Royal Society discussion on biochar (try a search on ‘royal society’). I missed this important report [linked here] when it was released last year.  A search on ‘biochar’ in the report pulls some results. Here are some cuts and comments…

Page 140: “Figure 5.32 Possible technical and management options, and their stage of development, to reduce GHG emissions in the agriculture sector by either increasing efficiency /productivity or reducing emissions per animal”


Biochar gets listed but when you look at the table, biochar could have been discussed in 6 of the 7 table items.

Page 146: Box 5.4: Changes in soil carbon under grazed pastures

“…There is also interest in biochar to increase carbon stocks. Biochar is organic matter carbonised at high temperatures under controlled conditions that restrict oxygen from the process. There is good evidence that biochar represents a very stable form of carbon, so it could be applied to soils to store more carbon. Specific biochars could also possibly help reduce N2 O emissions, although the specific mechanisms are not yet clear. Other potential benefits for improving soil functions and reducing emissions from pastures are also being evaluated. However, the main challenge at present to any widespread use of biochar in a pastoral system remains its cost and the large area that would need to be covered, which makes this strategy not economically feasible to New Zealand farmers without a very high carbon price.
Given the relatively high existing soil carbon stock in New Zealand’s pastures and the scientific and technical difficulties in monitoring and verifying long-term systematic changes in soil carbon stocks, relying on increasing soil carbon would not appear to be a viable mitigation route for New Zealand in the near term. However, subject to substantial additional research and the development of cost effective farm-scale monitoring and reporting tools, it might become a more tractable avenue in future.”

I’ve highlighted two important sentences. Comments: The authors don’t seem to have considered continuous application scenarios. Examples: biochar as an animal feed supplement; biochar as a nutrient carrier in fertilser applications; biochar produced for ‘free’ and over time by the farmer from treefall or crop residues. I’m hoping pressure will grow for more research now, due to growing climate change pressures, water quality and a change of govt. thinking. Your support and efforts could help with this.



Cam’s avocado plan

Cam Smith has been working with biochar for a number of years on his permaculture farm near Waiuku. His latest avocado planting project is an endorsement of his confidence in biochar as an important component of his future commercial plans. He’s posted on this at the ABE FB page but as it is NZ biochar news, it should also feature here. I’m hoping the link below takes you directly to his recent FB post…

Cam hosted a biochar workshop back in 2015 :

and we hope to run a biochar training workshop at his farm in May next year…

ANZBC17 conference report

The Australia New Zealand Biochar Conference 2017 took place at Murwillumbah Civic Centre and Showgrounds, NSW, Australia from 10th to 12th of August. Information about the program and presenters is available from the conference website.

My overall impression of the event was very positive. A lot of very exciting information was presented in a crammed schedule. A bit too much to take in one bite so I’m looking forward to reviewing the presentation feeds when they are made available online. There were a few glitches with live broadcasting so there will be some disappointed folk who signed up for this. They will hopefully get access to the recordings soon. I don’t have the final list of attendees but I’m guessing 15-20 of the ~150 registered attendees were from NZ.

The 3rd day was located at the showgrounds where production technologies were demonstrated and application workshops were conducted.

Kontiki demo – link to better quality image











I’ve linked some video footage below, on the 3rd day…

I hope to write some more soon about biochar industry development pathways in NZ. If you have thoughts on this subject, please get in touch.


ANZBC17 latest newsletter

Subject: Welcome to ANZBC17

ANZBC17 is a 3 Day Networking Event. Showcasing pyrolysis and gasification technology. Celebrating biochar science and commercial applications.

Welcome to ANZBC17!!

Dear Delegates,

Thank you so much for registering, exhibiting, sponsoring or just presenting at ANZBC17!! With just a month to go now before we all meet up to listen, share and network with each other to achieve great outcomes, just a quick note on some of the finer details for the conference so you can prepare yourself efficiently. We expect anywhere in the vicinity of 100-150 people to attend ANZBC17 and have now opened up the gates on Day 3 from 2-5pm to the public to come in and view biochar technology, visit our trade expo and talk with industry professionals about how to make biochar & wood vinegar or where to buy it from. The number of public we expect will be known closer to the event or on the actual day. We aim to do some radio media over the next month and please spread the word amongst friends and colleagues so we can make the most of this opportunity. You can familiarize yourself with the programme, presenters, trade expo, sponsors, accommodation and meals best at


ANZBC17 is all about bridging the gap between the research that has been done to date and commercialisation of technology and products. A networking event or industry conference such as ANZBC17 brings together you, the industry professionals, biochar producers, foresters, growers, farmers, students and interested citizens so that we can form a community that collaborates on real projects that achieve financial, environmental and social outcomes.

In the past we have had some wonderful outcomes as a result of people meeting at our conferences and we envisage that ANZBC17 will be no different. With the announcement of some very exciting developments such as Johannes Lehmann’s emergent view on Soil Organic Matter, the long term benefits and carbon accumulation of biochar discovered recently by Lukas van Zwieten and Terry Rose et al to the recent Aust. Govt. funding into Co-operative Research Centres for High Performing Soils and the introduction of a whole new raft of dung beetle species right across Australia, many of my colleagues and I feel that the industry is on the precipice of something significant.

As part of a working group that has been meeting regularly since October last year we aim to establish ANZBC17 as the original and ongoing ANZ Biochar Conference on either an annual or biennial basis moving around to each state of Australia and New Zealand if the majority are amenable to what we are doing. We would also like to take this opportunity to invite you to become a member and or part of the committee of an ANZ Biochar Not For Profit Organisation at ANZBC17 (more details to come) that coordinates a regular industry conference, a monthly newsletter, regular webinar series and attracts funding through grants, either private, philanthropic and or government. This is all under the umbrella and support of the International Biochar Initiative (IBI).

I look forward to catching up with you all at ANZBC17 and please take the time to familairise with some details following or feel free to contact me directly.


Don Coyne (on behalf of the ANZBC17 Working Group)
ANZBC17 Event Coordinator

Registration Times

Registrations will take place in the foyer of Murwillumbah Civic Centre on the evening before Wednesday August 9 from 5-9pm and as of 8am on the morning of Thursday August 10. If you’re running late there will be someone there to accommodate you.
You’ll receive a lanyard with your name and company name on it. If you have not included your company name at online registration please email us.


There is a multi level carpark on the left as you come into the Murwillumbah Civic Centre. There is free all day parking on the top level however parking on all other levels requires you to purchase at $4 a day parking ticket from the Tweed Shire Council’s front desk which is on the right of the Civic Centre. We suggest you do this the day before if you can. Disabled access is available from the carpark into the Civic Centre and time limited disabled parking is available to drop off and pick up at the front of the Civic Centre.

Venue & Meals

Day 1 & 2 will be held at Murwillumbah Civic Centre Auditorium and Canvas & Kettle Room. The programme will kick off at 9am and go through till 5pm full of Powerpoint type presentations where you will be seated at tables. The trade expo will be located around the walls of the auditoirum. There will be WIFI with password and morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea can be pre purchased on the link below which will give you more generous portions and unlimited tea and coffee than if purchasing on the day.
Alternatively, you can bring your own meals, tea and coffee. As we are privately funded, priority was put on bringing you the best programme we could having representatives from each State of ANZ.
We will break for dinner for 2 hours which you can purchase from any of the cafes and restaurants in town or bring yourself. There is a canvas and kettle tea room where you can eat and network anytime through the day or evening session. We will then return to listen to Johannes Lehamann Live Streamed from Free University in Berlin on the “Contentious Nature of Soil Organic Matter” and ask questions.

Day 2 will run from 9am – 5pm with similar presentations finishing with a discussion panel on “Biochar Industry in Australia & New Zealand “How to move from Research to Commercilisation” We will then break for two hours to pack down the trade expo and prepare the Auditorium for a Networking Dinner. You can see all the details for that and pre purchase a ticket here

Day 3 we will move over to the site of the weekly Murwillumbah Farmers Market at the Walmsley Pavillion and surrounding areas of the Murwillumbah Showgrounds where our trade expo will be set up and various demonstrations of biochar technology will be undergone on the outdoor ring next to it. Practical Workshops will also be delivered under the pavillion. Food will once again be available for pre purchase or on the day in an undercover serving and eating area.


If you haven’t already organised accommodation, then we suggest you visit the accommodation page for some suggestions and possible small discount here

Thank you again for attending ANZBC17 we look forward to catching up with you soon!!
Click on the links below to book into the Networking dinner or to pre purchase your meal ticket.

2 Day Meal Ticket
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Networking Dinner
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3 Day Meal Ticket
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Copyright © Australia New Zealand Biochar Conference, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

1 Old Brunswick Road, Tyagarah, N.S.W. 2481

ANZBC17 update


Countdown to ANZBC17!!

G’day Folks,

As we countdown the weeks to ANZBC17, a  reminder to submit your 30 or 20 minute presentation as well as your two page abstract or picture/ dot point summary by July 31st.

This will ensure we have everything available well ahead of time to do a test run and make sure we have the schedule right rather than last minute adjustments.

If everyone can adhere to this timeline it will help make proceedings run smoother. If you have not received a copy of the abstract or two page summary, please get in touch.

I will be following up individually with people closer to the timeline to make sure we are on track.

Accepting More Presenters

We invite more presenters to join a waiting list and come prepared with a 20 minute presentation and a two page abstract summary or dot point/picture summary. Please make contact if you know you’re attending ANZBC17 and would like an opportunity to present and go into published proceedings if it becomes available.

Panel Discussion

From 4-5pm on Friday August 11, we will finish the day session with a Panel Discussion. The working group will help select a diverse panel with the topic of discussion being Biochar Industry in Australia & New Zealand – “How to move from Research to Commercilisation”

We will have a moderator and select the best submitted questions from the audience to ask the panel.

State & NZ Stall Representatives

We will be setting up a table and chairs for each State of Australia & New Zealand in the Canvas & Kettle room (next room to the auditorium of Murwillumbah Civic Centre) & in the Walmsley Pavillion at Murwillumbah Showgrounds (where the Trade Expo will be on Day 3)

State Industry organisations or individuals can showcase what’s going on in your neck of the woods. A static display with your contact details, brochures, posters, etc would be suitable for this.

If you would like to represent your State or Country please make contact with me directly. There will be prizes for best stall and runner up!!

Networking Dinner

We invite all of our presenters and delegates to attend a Networking Dinner on the Friday night of August 11 from 7pm till finish. We will have a light meal, some Organic N.Z. Wine, light entertainment and hand out a few prizes along the way.
Please pre purchase your ticket to the Networking Dinner here

ANZ Biochar Not For Profit

The working group for ANZBC17 has been meeting now for 10 months and we would like to see the formation of an industry based ANZ Biochar Not For Profit Organisation. We envisage that this would be similar to IBI & USBI only ANZ focussed so that we have a regular Monthly Newsletter, a regular webinar series, an annual or biennial Industry Conference, attract grants for research and commercialisation to take biochar mainstream in ANZ and to unite each of the State and New Zealand Organisations.

We welcome any feedback leading up to and during the Conference and we would like to take this opportunity to seek your expression of interest to join such a NFP and or select a committee.

Thanks very much for taking the time to read through this information and for your participation at ANZBC17. Let’s make it great to achieve financial, environmental and social outcomes for all of us??!!


Don Coyne
Event Co-ordinator (on behalf of the ANZBC17 Working Group)

ANZBC17 Program is published

Thanks Don, for all your hard work… great program line-lineup.

Complete Programme & Timetable Announced

We are very privileged to announce the following complete programme and timetable with presenters and demonstrators representing every State in Australia, New Zealand & overseas countries for Biochar which has been 10 months in the planning.

To view the full programme timetable visit;

$9.2 Million Funding for Dung Beetles!!

Well done to our Keynote Speaker and innovative W.A. Farmer Doug Pow and invited presenter Kathy Dawson from The Biochar Network of W.A. for their positive contributions to a successful funding application of the Rural R&D for Profit Programme Round 3 led by Meat & Livestock Australia and CSIRO. $9.2 Million from the Federal Govt. to introduce a whole new raft of dung beetle species to fill the seasonal gaps right around the Country. Now that’s a lot of biochar we can bury whilst keeping food on the plate!! Meet Doug & Kathy in person at ANZBC17. Chars Barnaby Joyce!!

See the full article here;

Professor Stephen Joseph Awarded AM
for biochar service.

Congratulations to our Keynote Speaker Professor Stephen Joseph who has rightly received a
Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia (A-L)
This was for significant service to science through research and developments in biochar engineering and renewable energy, and to the community. Service includes: Founding Vice-Chairman, International Biochar Initiative, 2007-2012; Advisory Committee Member, current. Committee Member, Australian and New Zealand Biochar Researchers Network, current. Visiting Professor, School of Material Science and Engineering, University of New South Wales, since 2007. Visiting Professor, Nanjing Agricultural University, current. Visiting Professor, University of New England, current. Visiting Associate Professor, University of Wollongong, current. Founding Director, Foundation for Woodstove Dissemination, (Holland and Kenya), 1980s. Former Senior Manager, Practical Action, (a United Kingdom based charitable organisation). Member, Central Coast Shalom Progressive Jewish Congregation, since 1983. Supporter, Community Aid Abroad, since 1970s. Technical Panel Member, Save the Children, 2000-2006

ID Gasifiers to Demonstrate on Day 3!!

Announcing Peter & Kerry Davies of ID Gasifiers will demonstrate their proprietary technology, the trailer mounted “Thermal Reactor & Multi Function Retort” for mobile biochar production on Day 3 at Murwillumbah Showgrounds. They now have a handful of projects on the go and have done the hard yards to create a unit that meets EPA Standards for emissions, creating thermal energy, char and wood vinegar!! What farm wouldn’t want one?!

We will run some rocket fuel, the Macadamia Shell through it on the day, don’t miss out seeing this unit in action!! Check out their You Tube clip here:

Time to Register or Book a Trade Stall before end of financial year?

1 Day Trade Stall

Promote your business to Growers, Farmers, Foresters, Policy Makers and Councils from all over Australia, New
Zealand & the rest of the World at our Trade Expo. 3m x 3m Spaces available.


Buy Now
3 Day Black Gold Pass
The aims and objectives of ANZBC17 are to bring together scientists & growers to bridge the gap between applied science & commercial applications.
Buy Now

Day 1 & 2 Live Stream

Watch and listen our presenters on Day 1 & 2 of our Programme from anywhere in the World as long as you have the computer requirements and bandwidth.


Buy Now

Email to ABE group

On Sat, May 20, 2017 at 3:37 PM, Trevor Richards <trevor at> wrote:

Dear ABE group,
Please find below an e-letter​ I hope you will read and share. A few of you may have been sent this already from another list… sorry for this.

Dennis and I have been discussing the need/interest for biochar workshops in NZ. We agree that more needs to be done to raise the awareness on biochar in NZ but I’m wondering if we can gather the support we would need for a biochar speaker/workshop tour of NZ. Some ideas:

  • invite overseas production &/or applications specialist
  • collaborate with local groups around NZ for each venue
  • seek funding from …

There would be much to consider and organise for such a tour, so some sort of support group may need to gather around the idea to take it forward. We would welcome any comments or expressions of support for this.

​​Australia New Zealand Biochar Conference 2017

Biochar (charcoal made for use in soil) increases the productivity and resilience of many soils and contributes to climate change mitigation, as shown by research here in NZ and around the world.

It has also been shown to improve soil moisture and nutrient holding capacity, improve animal health and reduce animal emissions, reduce the uptake of soil contaminants in our food such as heavy metals and other chemicals, and has a range of cascading applications from production to soil application such as nutrient capture and water quality enhancement.

We are focused on increasing the knowledge base and expanding the biochar industry to highlight biochar as a major contributor to fight the many issues we face in our world today.

The ANZBC17 conference is being held near the Gold Coast​ in Australia on 10 – 12th August to provide opportunities for researchers, industry players and interested parties to connect and advance the use of biochar.

Please consider attending this conference or becoming a sponsor (we are trying to help NZ speakers with conference travel costs)​.

​Further information is available on ​the conference website:

Your interest and support is ​appreciated​.

Dennis Enright, ​​former co-chair of Soil & Health​
Trevor Richards​, ​co-founder of A​llBlackEarth
(ANZBC17 Organising Committee​ – NZ branch)

Vivid Economics report

This new report is a bit of a disappointment if you are looking for any focus on biochar or soil carbon but they did at least try to include something… (but only in the supporting technical report!)

click to link to website

Pg.65: “Finally, biochar could be an effective means of reducing several GHGs. Biochar is a highly porous charcoal that can be created from harvesting waste from plantation forests. There is good evidence that it is a very stable form of carbon, so it could be applied to soils to store more carbon. Specific biochars might also help reduce N 2 O emissions, although the exact mechanisms are not yet clear. However, the main challenge at present to any widespread use of biochar in a pastoral system remains its cost and the large area that would need to be covered (Pollock 2015).

IMO: a failure here to recognize potential of biomass for CHAB. Crop /forestry residues and coppice could replace coal… Fonterra being the low hanging fruit. Biochar is a co-product, valued accordingly.

Pg.88: “Soil farming and biochar abatement potential and costs. Some authors focus on the difficulties to measure, monitor and verify savings from these options while others suggest that there is significant scope for rollout (Sims et al. 2016). Further research in the New Zealand context of the costs and scope for roll out is required before this can be included in a robust assessment of abatement potential. This research could focus on the need for better quantification on the effects of biochar on soil productivity and nitrogen leaching, along with the extent to which emissions reductions could be permanent.

I like the references to “further research” when funding in NZ stopped years ago…

This report has been compiled by Vivid Economics under contract with GLOBE-NZ, a cross-party group of 35 members, drawn from all parties within the 51st New Zealand Parliament. The report’s authors were Alex Kazaglis, John Ward, Stuart Evans, Paul Sammon and Luke Kemp. The project, funded for GLOBE-NZ by a group of donors within New Zealand, covered the period 1 September 2016 to 28 February 2017. The donors, in alphabetical order, were British High Commission, Mercury Energy, Mills Foundation, Morgan Foundation, Sam Morgan, Rob Morrison, NZ European Union Centres Network, Tindall Foundation, US Embassy, Vector NZ Ltd, Victoria Ransom, Warehouse Group and Z Energy.

Motueka Kai Fest: Biochar talk – 1st April

Don Graves is giving a biochar talk during the week of events leading up to KaiFest…

Day: Saturday 1 April
Time: 3-5pm
Location: Te Awhina Marae
Biochar is produced by heating wood and other carbon products to high temperatures in the absence
of oxygen, and then adding the resulting charcoal to soil. It has many uses in agriculture and
horticulture, including soil water retention, effluent control, increased fertility, and carbon
sequestration. This workshop will go into some of the details of how biochar can be made and used on a domestic or large commercial scale for these benefits.
Your speaker: New Zealand Biochar solutions is a local group established in 2016 to promote the use of biochar for reducing waste, enhancing long-term soil fertility, and sequestering carbon in the Earth where it belongs, rather than in the air where it contributes to climate change. Don Graves is a soil biologist who has studied biochar extensively.

Healthy Rivers Wai Ora – newsletter

It looks like the biochar ‘industry’ in NZ has missed any opportunity to wave the black flag here, for N management. I have been following the public engagement from afar over the years, but there did not seem to be a path to biochar acceptance as having potential technical application. At least, not until Overseer incorporates a biochar module (and I’m guessing that’s a distant hope).

Click on the image below for a link to the web version of the newsletter…

Waikato Regional Council is urging the public to step up and have their say on Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora: Proposed Waikato Regional Plan Change 1.The council has prepared its own submission on the proposed plan, and has received 280 submissions from the public to date. Submissions on the proposed plan close at 5pm tomorrow. You can still make a submission by clicking this link here.“Managing water quality in the Waikato and Waipā rivers is one of the biggest environmental issues facing our region. For the last two decades our community has told us water quality is their number one priority, now is their opportunity to have their say on the solutions proposed,” says council chief executive Vaughan Payne. Mr Payne said no policy is perfect when it’s first notified and as with any policy development there are aspects of the proposed plan the council believes may need to be refined. We expect this to happen through the submission process. The council submission takes into consideration how the plan can practically be implemented and enforced, how the plan affects the council as a land owner and key infrastructure provider, and how the proposed plan delivers on the regional council’s legal responsibilities for developing resource management policy for freshwater management.“Our submission supports the overall intent and objectives of the proposed plan while making practical suggestions for improvements in how Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora could be implemented for affected landowners, while ensuring the protection and restoration of the Waikato and Waipā rivers into the future,” Mr Payne said.

Key submission areas include the approach to nitrogen management, ownership of nitrogen reference points, including monitoring and enforceability, the implications of the current proposal on commercial vegetable production and addressing some inconsistencies in the proposed plan rules.You can read all the recent media releases here.