biochar/wool hybrid biocomposites!

“Due to the realisation of the reinforcement potential of waste based biochar and wool in polymeric composites, in the recent past, their individual flammability, thermal and mechanical properties were determined. Composites were manufactured with biochar and with both biochar and wool in conjunction with the halogen free flame retardant, which was followed by their characterisation through cone calorimeter, limiting oxygen index (LOI), thermogravimetry, tension/flexural tests, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Biochar exhibited a high resistance to heat without being ignited and possessed very low heat release and smoke production rates. Wool, although, had relatively high peak heat release rate (PHRR), its advantageous charring ability enabled a gradual reduction in heat release until flameout. The hardness and modulus of biochar were 4.3 GPa and 26 GPa, respectively. The tensile strength and modulus of wool were 160 MPa and 4.8 GPa, respectively. Composites containing biochar and wool significantly reduced the PHRR, smoke production, and elevated the mass loss rate (compared to neat polypropylene/PP). Hybridisation with wool proved to be beneficial for enhancing the LOI. Certain mechanical properties, such as flexural strength and tensile/flexural moduli, were preserved and enhanced, respectively, due to biochar pore infiltration by PP as seen in SEM.”

2018 Biochar workshop tour

It is nearly two years since Dennis Enright and I completed a biochar workshop tour around NZ. We conducted five workshops (Cromwell, Nelson, Waihi, Waiuku and Gisborne) over a period of three weeks. Our plans to report on each workshop started well but faded badly as the end of the tour rolled into biochar activities at the 2018 National Fieldays. I had managed one other report from the Nelson workshop.

Our marketing for the workshop tour included a number of articles published in various trade journals & newsletters leading up to the tour. You can check out these articles via the ‘Archives’ tab to the right… starting in February 2018 through to May 2018.

Denis wrote the following report after the tour but I failed to get it posted at the time. It would be great to revisit these sites to update on any anecdotal impact… will keep you updated on this.

Biochar case studies from Australia

Samuel Robb and Stephen Joseph have pulled together some very interesting economic case studies that provide insight and guidance for biochar applications in NZ. Eight case studies are featured: beef (2); avocado; potato; cucumber; zucchini; golf courses; saline soil.

From the report…

“This paper discusses practical uses of biochar and the end outcomes based on the early adopters in the field. This report is not a scientific paper and instead relays practical information regarding in the field end use examples, application methods, short and some long term outcomes and importantly financial information. It is meant for people that want to hear about the uses of biochar in the field, understand different application scenarios and what the outcomes were – we are hoping that these early adopter examples will inspire others to follow. This white paper is not the end of the story, and we hope to add many more examples in later revisions – maybe yours will be one. We’d be keen to hear your feedback, and if you have your own stories/ photos/ data of the use of biochar in field, green roof, agriculture, horticulture, cattle feed, the backyard vegie garden, Orchids or whichever the end use might be, we’d want to add them to this report for the next release. Please let us know.”