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High Plains Biochar Research

We are proud to be a part of biochar research programs around the country! Check out some of our various efforts and studies below! 

Biochar has many uses and benefits and we are still discovering new ones from utilizing Biochar through various research efforts around the world. 

High Plains Biochar is proud to be a part of numerous official studies researching and documenting some of the many benefits and uses of biochar.

 High Plains Biochar has been a part of these studies starting back in 2017. We are currently participating in new studies involving biochar and PFAS remediation and also testing various wood biochar with Virginia Tech University and have plans to participate in upcoming studies. 

Biochar Research Projects Include

Current 2022 Biochar Research projects include; 

Biochar use in PFAS remediation in North Carolina (private company).

 Various wood biochar testing including eucalyptus, citrus, and pine at Virginia Tech University.

 

Future projects include; 

Biochar use in cover crops.

Biochar lick tubs

and more.   

Past and Completed Biochar Research projects include; 

Using biochar in Livestock feed to reduce methane emissions, biochar applications with green roofs, using biochar to improve biogas production, capture mercury, using biochar as a soil amendment and more. 

Check out some of our published biochar research below, 

Scroll to the bottom of the page to view our study on the "Use of Pyrolized Coal and Biochar as a Soil Amendment"

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Biochar in Feed & Reducing Methane Emissions in Livestock

A biochar study  by the University of Nebraska & the Nebraska Forest Service studying the use of Biochar to Reduce Methane Emissions in Livestock by 10-15%.  

Click HERE to read the Nebraska Beef Report.

Click HERE to read about Biochar Headbox work. 

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Biochar and Improving Biogas Production

In this biochar study conducted by Princeton University it was concluded that "Circular Utilization of food waste to biochar enhances thermophilic co-digestion performance.

 

 With a particular focus on FW derived biochar as it not only improves production but also offer other useful benefits as well.   Read about the Study and Conclusion by clicking HERE. 

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Biochar & Green Roofs with the University of Nebraska Lincoln

In this biochar study conducted by the University of Nebraska, Green Roofs created with the incorporation of biochar are studied and analyzed by the University of Nebraska Lincoln.

 

Read more about this unique biochar research study by clicking HERE. 

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Biochar use in Dryland Pastures with the University of Wyoming. 

Using Biochar in the High Plains to reduce carbon emissions through both soil amendment and cattle feed. 

Using Pyrolyzed Biochar and Coal as a Soil Amendment in Dryland Pastures can have a beneficial impact on the carbon emissions in numerous ways, from it's creation to it's use in soil and livestock feed. Read More about it in this article from AAAS by clicking HERE. 

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Biochar and Capturing Mercury

A study done in conjunction with the Nebraska Forest Service and University of North Dakota Energy and Environmental Research Center.

 

Final report details the test results which show that Biochar is 90% as effective as activated carbon for capturing mercury when used in a coal-fired power plant setting.

Read more details  HERE.

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Use of Pyrolized Coal and Biochar as a Soil Ammendment

Using Biochar in the High Plains as a Soil Amendment.

 

Study on a Sagebrush field in Lingle, Wyoming. 

After a burn in 2017 and applying the biochar mixed with manure in 2018, this 5 year study will follow the benefits and progress of this field and determine if these types of additives can improve poor quality soil areas. Scroll down to read more details. 

Use of Pyrolized Coal and Biochar as a Soil Amendment

 

Pete Stahl, Carrie Eberle, Anowar Islam, Jay Norton, Roger Coupal, Rowdy Yeatts

Carbon-based soil amendments, such as pyrolized coal and biochar, are used to improve soil health. Pyrolysis of coal involves burning coal at temperatures that produce a "coal char". Biochar is made using a similar process but uses biological based products such as pine wood. Both coal-char and bio-char are carbon-rich porous products with a high surface area, essentially "carbon sponges" that retain water, nutrients and houses soil microorganisms. 

 

Objective: We will evaluate if soil  amendment with carbon products improves the productivity and soil health of restored dryland pasture over 5 years. 

Methods: 

Field Site: Sagebrush Field in Lingle, WY, burned in the spring of 2017 and planted to forage sorghum in the summer of 2017. The top 6" of the soil has 1.4% soil organic matter and 64% sand. 

Soil Amendments: Carbon products were mixed with manure on 5/4/2018 (Fig 1a) and applied to the field at a rate of 10% v/v on 5/15/2018 (Fig 1b&d). For treatments that revived both a carbon product and manure, each product was added at 10% v/v. Incorporation was done using a 10' rototiller to a depth of 3" immediately after application (Fig 1c)

Treatments: 

Plots 20X20', 3 replications per treatment, RCBD (Fig 2a) 

1.     Control NT (no-till) ; without manure only

2.      Control (tilled); with and without manure

3.      Biochar (       ) ; with and without manure

4.      Biochar + Humic Acid (   ); with and without manure

5.      Coal -1: 650 C pyrolyzation temperature with and without manure

6.      Coal -2: 800 C pyrolyzation temperature with and without manure

7.      Coal -1: 750 C pyrolyzation temperature with and without manure

Planting: The field was seeded to perennial dryland forage grasses (Table 1)

immeadiatly following incorporation at the rate of 20 lbs/a (Fig 1d>)

Use of Pyrolized Coal and Biochar as a Soil Ammendment Carbon Poster

Data Collection: Normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) was taken using a Parrot Bluegrass drone with Sequoia multispectral camera on 8/7/2018 (Fig. 2b) and a Holland Scientific Rapid Scan handheld NDVI unit on 8/8/2018 (Fig. 3a). 

Stand counts were recorded on 7/25/18 by counting the number of seeded grasses in a 2.7 square foot quadrant in 3 locations within each plot. (Fig. 3b)

Results

To date, there are no measurable differences in grass growth and establishment between any of the carbon treatments (Fig. 2 and 3). The control no-till treatment appears to negatively effect grass stands. Addition of manure appears to improve grass growth but not establishment. (Fig. 3)

Use of Pyrolized Coal and Biochar as a Soil Ammendment Carbon Poster

Figure 1. a) Mixing manure and carbon products at 1:1 ration 10 days before application. b) Hand application of product to field. c) Roto-till incorporation. d) Planting of grass seed with a tye drill at 1/2" seeding depth. e) Overview of field after application before incorporation. 

Use of Pyrolized Coal and Biochar as a Soil Ammendment Carbon Poster

Figure 3. a) Average NDVI for each treatment taken on 8/8/2018 with a handheld unit. b) Average stand count of grasses in each treatment taken on 7/25/18.

Use of Pyrolized Coal and Biochar as a Soil Ammendment Carbon Poster

Future Work

Over the next 5 years we will evaluate soil property, grass biomass, grass stands, and grass quality. This data will allow us to determine if soil carbon amendments can be used to improve poor quality range soils and increase dryland pasture productivity and quality. 

Funding for this work is provided by the UW School of Energy Resources and UW SAREC. 

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