Albert Bates talks about biochar at APC11 (Turangi, New Zealand)
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
I’m personally unsure about biochar. This is not because I have anything significant to say against it (at the small, localised scale, at least), but rather just because I find it hard to promote a technique I’ve never, myself, seen developed and applied in real-world circumstances. Albert Bates‘ presentation was very interesting, as you’ll see, and Albert is obviously well versed with the topic, but like most conference situations, it’s rather impossible to talk and also showcase the practical application — and this gap in my own knowledge and experience is one that I’d dearly love to see filled! It would be excellent to receive on-the-ground reports from Albert and others who are working with biochar systems and who have tangible data to share on its EROEI, its general impact and benefits — and, of course, on how to actually make the stuff! (Those interested in sharing their biochar experiences can send photos and text to me on editor (at) permaculturenews.org for potential publishing.)
I’m sure you’ll enjoy the talk below. Albert has a great deal of permaculture experience and wisdom to share. This wisdom comes out in the video, right up to the closing moments when he emphasises the need for biochar processes to be kept at small scale, and localised. As with many good ideas, there are always some entrepreneurial types who will market it as a silver bullet solution at a wholly inappropriate scale, and turn a potential solution into a problem….