Lutra on biosolids > biochar

Lutra YouTube channel has provided links to information and discussion on the new Logan City biosolids processing facility incorporating Pyrocal multi-hearth technology. I’ve posted a few times on this to the BNNZ FB page as the project developed. Its great to see this discussion happening in NZ and thanks to WaterNZ latest newsletter where it was flagged.

The discussion is split into two short video clips.

Radio NZ on biochar

The image link above leads to Katheryn Ryan’s interview with James Dicey and Prof. Stephen Joseph during his recent NZ speaking tour and Fieldays visit. Apologies for not posting here earlier. It has been shared on the BNNZ FB page and will hopefully, soon be in the BNNZ media library.

NZSSS Conference – biochar connections

Momentum around biochar is building in New Zealand, with a number of biochar-related projects in development. BNNZ has been invited to be part of the inaugural Ministry for Primary Industries Fieldays Forestry Hub next month, and internationally renowned biochar expert, Professor Stephen Joseph, will be in the country to engage with the Marlborough Grape Growers Cooperative, give the keynote address to the New Zealand Society of Soil Science, and attend Fieldays.

I’ve been slow to look at the NZSSS conference program but I now see it has some strong links to biochar. I note that Prof. Leo Condron and Prof. Tim Clough are in the organising committee. They both have strong historic research credentials related to biochar. Also on the speaker billing with some biochar connections (apart from Stephen Joseph) is Dr Fiona Curran-Cournane, principle scientist at MfE.

More on HLL MPI funding

HLL have posted more details on their Linkedin page:

**Beyond Carbon Zero – Hot Lime Labs secures funding for biochar project from MPI**
“We are thrilled to announce project funding of $707k from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund as part of a $1.77m project. This project aims to demonstrate a circular economy model that can transform large commercial greenhouses into carbon-negative hubs, by converting green waste into char (aka biochar). 
Underpinning this project is Hot Lime’s core product which turns waste biomass into CO2, to boost productivity in greenhouses. Char is a byproduct of the Hot Lime process, and when made well it can be buried and lock up carbon in the ground for hundreds of years while having absorption properties similar to activated carbon. 
As part of this project, we will optimise Hot Lime char for use as a filter to help clean up wastewater, with an initial focus on grabbing onto nitrates – while also ensuring it is also suitable for long-term carbon burial. We will test this at an initial site near Taupo with the long-term vision of being able to roll it out across the country as we roll out other Hot Lime systems. 
Hot Lime Chief Growth Officer Tijs Robinson says “High-tech greenhouses are incredibly efficient environments to grow fruits and vegetables. With this project, we are looking at how we not only use our system to let growers access renewable CO2 and move closer to carbon zero but also to capture some of the carbon from green waste and get greenhouses past carbon zero and become carbon negative”. 
We are thankful for the support of MPI’s SFF Futures fund, and our shareholders, who are making this work possible.”

Check out the MPI SSF Futures projects: horticulture for the full list of projects. I could see biochar research opportunities in almost all of these funded projects.

Processing Paulownia

Rod Laurence has been growing Paulownia trees near Hamilton for about 30 years. The timber produced from paulownia has long been in demand for specialist applications due to its unique qualities (

Rod’s plantation was hit by storm damage recently, leaving him with a lot of wood-fall to clean up. This lead to a busy day of biochar production … just the 2nd run in a new WarmHeart 2000L flame cap kiln (search “warmheart” for other posts on this kiln).

Paulownia bark & leaves are ‘animal ice-cream’ but it also produces a very interesting biochar and is very easy to process (rocket fuel). Rod will have pawlownia biochar available for clients soon. Do get in touch if you want to connect with him.