Sunday, June 18, 2017

Drew Veg Project - Volunteers Needed

Drew Veg Biochar is the name of a fuel reduction project on the Umpqua National Forest, near the town of Drew, Oregon. The US Forest Service conducts many such projects on National Forests every year for the purpose of reducing fire hazard by removing dense stands of younger trees, mostly in plantations and areas that were previously logged. Some of the wood may be big enough to sell to sawmills, but much of it must be piled and burned onsite. This burning produces large amounts of smoke, and the numerous piles burn holes in the forest duff, sterilizing the soil. The Drew Veg Biochar project is different. Instead of burning the slash to ash, we will make biochar with it.

We need commitments from at least ten workers who can work several full days making biochar in our kilns. The work will take place sometime in October 2017.

Click Here to Volunteer Your Time

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Biochar for Arborists and Tree Service Professionals

One of the objectives we have for developing the Oregon Kiln is to see if it can work for arborists and foresters working on private land. In our region, many people have trees or small forests on their land that need management, including thinning and brush disposal. Often, professionals are hired to do the job. How can tree service businesses use the Oregon Kiln to make money?

Here is a list of things to think about if you are wanting to start a business turning people's burn piles to biochar:
  • Price for chipping - $200/hr
  • Price for biochar burning - $200/hr
  • Separate firewood from small branches & brush
  • Customer gets biochar made from small brush, valued at $250/cy
  • Arborist gets the firewood to sell
  • Or you could do it the other way around - maybe the customer wants the firewood and has no interest in the biochar - then you could take the biochar and sell it.
  • No expensive chipper to maintain
  • Burn permit is required
  • No smoke to bother the neighbors
  • Customer gets biochar carbon sequestration bragging rights

Biochar carbon sequestration bragging rights: 
  • Half of the carbon in the wood will be sequestered in the soil as biochar for thousands of years. 
  • If the wood had been left to rot on the ground, most would be back in the atmosphere as CO2 within several years if it is small branches, a little longer for bigger branches. 
  • Wood chips decompose even more quickly. 
  • Biochar is a great way to sequester carbon from wood long term. 
  • The only other ways to sequester carbon from wood are to use it in buildings (but there is a lot of sawmill waste) or sinking large logs in water or burying them deep underground.

Jeff Meier processes brush on a job, using the Oregon Kiln

Jeff made about one cubic yard of biochar in two hours. With another kiln, he could have made twice as much.

Steel fabricator Brian Vicklund (L) sold a kiln to Michael Burns (R) who will use it in his brush disposal business

Finished kilns in Brian Vicklund's shop in White City, Oregon

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Field Trial Results

Four biochar field trials are now established as part of the NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant. Three of them are pasture, but one is a 60-foot bed of bok choy. The first harvest was on Friday and the produce was sold at the Cave Junction Farmer's Market.



Captain Charcoal at Glide Elementary

Here is Don Morrison at the Glide Elementary Plant Sale. The event was at the school garden where each teacher has a raised bed. We built a compost pile with biochar from Oregon Biochar Solutions. It was a pleasant morning talking with interested folks.



Oregon Kiln Travels to Utah

On May 17, Kelpie Wilson delivered four Oregon Kilns to Utah State's extension department. She also gave a workshop including 90 minutes of classroom information on biochar followed by a hands-on demonstration of the Oregon Kiln. This simple kiln design is starting to catch on and we are excited that Utah State will be training forestry workers and firefighters in how to use the kilns. The kiln is an open source design and we hope that people will make many of them and use them to make biochar from forestry and fuel reduction waste.

More info on Utah's program and pictures here:
http://www.utahbiomassresources.org/biochar/biochar-research-utah/reducing-hazardous-fuels-using-low-cost-biochar-kilns-in-four-utah-counties

Here is a video of the biochar demonstration:

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Success! Thanks to All Who Contributed.

We did it! We raised the money needed to prepare the slash piles for making biochar!

A big thank you to all who contributed. If you would like to purchase some of the biochar in advance, use the donate link below.

Can we turn our forestry burn piles into biochar?
Can we add carbon to soils, where it belongs, as we remove it from the atmosphere?
Can we make this restoration activity pay for itself?
It's a big job, but somebody has got to do it. Please join us!
These are the questions that UBET will answer with the Drew Veg Biochar Project. We hope that you will help us find the answers by contributing time or money to support this innovative pilot project. About half of the work has been done, but we need to raise money to pay a contractor to pile some of the material and we need gas money for farmers who are donating tractors to help do the work. Please pitch in and we'll give you access to some biochar in return!

Click Below to Donate Funds or send checks to UBET/SURCP, 34620 Tiller Trail Hwy, Tiller, OR 97484

We need commitments from at least ten workers who can work several full days making biochar in our kilns  Click Here to Volunteer Your Time

Drew Veg Biochar is the name of a fuel reduction project on the Umpqua National Forest, near the town of Drew, Oregon. The US Forest Service conducts many such projects on National Forests every year for the purpose of reducing fire hazard by removing dense stands of younger trees, mostly in plantations and areas that were previously logged. Some of the wood may be big enough to sell to sawmills, but much of it must be piled and burned onsite. This burning produces large amounts of smoke, and the numerous piles burn holes in the forest duff, sterilizing the soil.

We have a better idea and we want to prove it.
Below are some more details about the Drew Veg Biochar Project:

Monday, May 15, 2017

Southern Oregon Firewise Expo

UBET members demonstrated biochar kilns at the Southern Oregon Firewise Expo at Jackson County Fire District 3 in White City, May 12-13. A large group of federal, state and local fire, forestry and emergency partners sponsored this event. On Friday, May 12th about 800 middle school students attended and learned about firesafe practices. They also visited the UBET biochar booth where they learned how to make biochar from "Captain Charcoal" (Don Morrison), while UBET president Scott McKain explained how to use biochar in soil. 

Kelpie Wilson guided an activity to explore charcoal properties by handing each student a small paper cup of biochar and adding a drop of water to it. The hissing sound that results is the sound of water bonding with biochar surfaces and expelling air. This works best with biochar that is very light and porous, like activated carbon. Oregon Biochar Solutions provided the biochar for the activity. A big thanks to OBS and Grant Scheve!



Firefighters demonstrate why you should not plant flammable shrubs like arbor vitae next to a house. UBET demonstrated how you can turn unwanted shrubs and other material into biochar using simple kilns.
Captain Charcoal entertains the kids.


Scott McKain explains biochar

We presented a science lesson on biochar properties

Kids listen to the sound of biochar