Author Archives: stam

But First, a Movie!

Before we start on our adventure, let’s watch one, a movie made by the BBC about El Dorado,  the Lost City of Gold in the Amazon. Sit back and watch the show in full-screen by clicking the small box on … Continue reading

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Terra Preta Today

  Significant current research on Terra Preta is conducted at Cornell University by a team headed by Dr. Johannes Lehmann.    

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It Wasn’t All Preta…

In 2009, at a workshop on biochar at the Pony Farm in Temple, NH,  Hugh McLaughlin gave some history and ideas about the actual formation of the Black Earth.  First, most of it was not black.  There was Terra Mulata, … Continue reading

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Charcoal in American History

The Tri-State area where New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut border each other was the home of military ironworks for the Revolution, the Civil War, etc. The forests were stripped of trees for charcoal needed to produce iron. Quite a few … Continue reading

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Farm Scale

Making Biochar for Farmers If we are going to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in order to stop the greenhouse gas effect, we must do more than conserve energy and use sustainable fuel sources.  We have … Continue reading

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A Biochar Corn Harvest

A fallow field, one half remained fallow and the other half tilled in with biochar. And then we left the field untouched for 2 years. We did not add any fertilizer or pest control. Just left it alone. We ran … Continue reading

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Harvesting Goldenrod

Goldenrod is harvested with the same equipment as hay — a cutter, a rake, and then a baler.  For those who are unfamiliar with this equipment, the following is a short course in Farming 101. First, the plants must be … Continue reading

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The Pellet Mill

The bales of goldenrod stalks were taken a few miles away to Dirk-Jan’s pellet mill. The bales are put into a huge grinder and then into a hammer mill to become a powder which, in turn, is fed into the … Continue reading

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The New Coal? Grass Pellets

Heat with grass not gas! Let’s visit a plant nursery in Pawling, New York, that has been using grass — made into pellets — to heat their large greenhouses. The pellets are burned in an unmodified rice-coal stove.  For the … Continue reading

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The Biochar Workshop at Pony Farm

This is an introduction to the Biochar Roundtable at the Lodge at Pony Farm in Temple, New Hampshire, on May 9, 2009. It was a pioneering event! Before we move on. let’s watch Hugh McLaughlin demonstrate some TLUD stoves he … Continue reading

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Burning Smoke: Gasification

  Let’s play with fire — and learn from it! Gasification is central to understanding the efforts to produce smokeless and safe stoves for cooking with biomass fuels as well as making biochar. In layman’s terms, it means using heat … Continue reading

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Hugh McLaughlin’s Stoves

The next demonstration produced charcoal with a retort made from a recycled Cornelius keg.  I’ve taken the liberty of assuming that most people looking at this site would not be familiar with the Cornelius keg unless, of course you are … Continue reading

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The Stovers

“More than half of the world’s population—three billion people—cook their food and heat their homes by burning coal and biomass, including wood, dung, and crop residues, in open fires or rudimentary stoves. Indoor burning of solid fuels releases dangerous particulate … Continue reading

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Low-Hanging Fruit

Low-Hanging Fruit: easy steps, things we can do that will produce some results easily and quickly. For example, spreading an inch or two of biochar on all the arable land on Earth in order to reverse and reduce global warming … Continue reading

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