Wednesday, 19 September 2018

4th Finnish Biochar Seminar: 11 December 2018 in Viikki, Helsinki


AgriChar research group and Finnish Biochar Association are proud to welcome you to the 4th Finnish Biochar Seminar to share and hear the latest biochar research and pilots in Finland and in neighboring countries! 

 
During the meeting, we will also discuss the new Nordic Biochar Network, see: http://nordicbiochar.org!

 
Please fill in the form for registration at https://goo.gl/forms/p0YAao1mRZDFUsVC2

 
The registration ends on 26 November, after which the full details on practicalities will be sent to the registered participants to the e-mail address provided.

 
For the FBA members with paid membership fee, the access is free. To join the Finnish Biochar Association, please go to http://www.suomenbiohiili.info/join-us.html.

 Warm welcome! 


Monday, 13 August 2018

Harvest 2018 and our presentations at the 21st World Congress of Soil Science in Rio de Janeiro

We at AgriChar research group have successfully started the harvest season of 2018 from our long-term field experiments. The weather today was nice and sunny and yield of oats and barley were quite fine irrespective of the ‘Drought of a Decade’. 

The peas were not doing so good, after being attacked by geese during the Midsummer weekend, they were, much to our surprise, able to regrow all the leaves eaten and form pods, but then the pigeons finished off what was left from the geese.

When some of our group members are working on the fields in Finland, others are networking and reporting their latest results on the other side of the globe. Namely, three of our doctoral students, Mina, Jure and Subin are presenting at the 21st World Congress of Soil Science in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This event brings together around 7000 soil enthusiasts from around the world, among them also hundreds of biochar experts. 

If you are in Brazil, make sure not to miss AgriChar presentations:

Tomorrow, on August 14 at 1:50 PM, Mina Kiani will present her poster on impacts of lake sediment reuse on plant growth and soil properties in the field. Toten 42.

Next, on August 16 at 1:30 PM, Subin Kalu answers the question, to what extent spruce biochar acts as slow-release long-term fertilizer if applied to nutrient poor sandy soil. Toten 38

Those who are interested about effects of softwood biochars on soil biota in boreal soils, would not want to miss Jure Zrim’s presentation on August 16, at 2:20 PM. Toten 37.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Growing season 2018 started

We have now started the growing season 2018 in Viikki fields, one of which is now entering the ninth growing season after biochar application.

The past month has been extremely dry here in Southern Finland (and still is, see largest farmer's newspaper from yesterday: https://www.maaseuduntulevaisuus.fi/maatalous/artikkeli-1.253995). This has posed challenges on our field experiments as well. For instance, we were hoping to try biochar effects on flax, but the crop is very sensitive to drought and after waiting for 33 days, there literally were just a few flax plants growing in between of weeds. So just today we resow that field to barley: the cereals have been doing the best this year, even though aphids are a threat there as well.

Interestingly, it seems that even after eight years since application of biochar to relatively high carbon containing soils, it still helps crops to strive better in drought conditions, see below.


Thursday, 29 March 2018

3rd Finnish Biochar Workshop and the spring meeting of Finnish Biochar Association

On March 28, 2018, the 3rd Finnish Biochar Workshop was held in Eura. The event was organized by Finnish Biochar Association and hosted by Biolan Oy, in their innovative eco-building. The location and host were the perfect match for us as just few months ago, the Biolan’s biochar-containing Istutusmulta was selected as the Gardening Product of the Year 2018 of Finland!

As usual, we had participants representing the whole Finnish biochar sector: several Finnish companies present (but also from Estonia, Latvia and Russia), researchers and local municipalities. The two sessions provided overview of the state of art of biochar research (amazing 1000+ papers published in first three months of 2018!), also biochar availability and opportunities-challenges and pilot cases in Finland.


Read more, see pictures and presentations from https://www.suomenbiohiili.info/fba-workshops.html

We then toured the Biolan plant  and finally, held the spring meeting of the Finnish Biochar Association. We there discussed thoroughly the most efficient ways the FBA and especially its Policy WG can use for enhancing the sustainable biochar production and use in Finland in regards to legislation.

The next event will probably be in early December and will be held in Helsinki.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Biochar is a promising tool for remediating PAH polluted sites

The use of biochar (BC) has been suggested for remediation of contaminated soils. In a recent study published in Water, Air, & Soil Pollution we aimed to investigate the role of microorganisms in sorption of PAH to BC-amended soils. Fungi, especially the wood and litter-degrading fungi, have shown the ability for humification and to degrade recalcitrant molecules, and are thus suitable model organisms.

Haplic Arenosol with high organic matter content was chosen to highlight the importance of soil organic matter (SOM) in PAH sorption, possibly to form non-extractable residue. Basidiomycetous fungi Agrocybe praecox and Phanerochaete velutina grown on pine bark were inoculated in organic matter (OM)-rich Haplic Arenosol and OM-poor sandy loam with either BC or chemically activated BC (ABC) and 14C-labelled pyrene for 60 days.

Fungi did not mineralize pyrene, but increased sorption up to 47–56% in BC-amended Haplic Arenosol in comparison with controls (13–25%) without a fungus irrespective of the presence of an adsorbent. In OM-poor sandy loam, only 9–12% of pyrene was sorbed to amended soil in the presence of fungus and adsorbent. The results suggest that BC and fungal amendment increased sorption of pyrene, especially to Haplic Arenosol more than by either BC or fungi alone.

We found that PAH can effectively be sorbed to carbonaceous soil amendments and can thus be a promising tool for remediating polluted sites. The effectiveness of biochar to sorb PAH can further be increased when activating the biochar thus improving not only its BET surface area, but also its pore morphology and surface chemistry. The method was shown to be even further enhanced if biochar addition is combined with treatment with Basidiomycetous fungi, especially in high SOM soils. Sorption of pyrene to the BC-SOM complex enhanced by fungi could help reduce the leaching of pyrene from soil to groundwater, but the results are yet to be validated under field conditions and the role of soil microbial population should be further studied.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

2nd Finnish Biochar Workshop and Autumn meeting of Finnish Biochar Association

The 2nd Finnish Biochar Workshop was successfully held in Tampere on 4 December 2017, we had participants representing the whole Finnish biochar sector: companies, researchers and local municipalities. The event was organized by Finnish Biochar Association and Forest Biochar research group of University of Helsinki and hosted by Carbofex Oy. Our other host, the Hiedanranta project of the City of Tampere (read more about this piloting platform for creating smart and sustainable City district for circular economy where biochar is an important part of the story, here) offered us a nice conference room in the Kuivaamo, a venue that can host up to 1000 participants. This time we were not yet that many, but might well be in few years:


Happy participants of the 2nd Finnish Biochar Workshop. Photos by Jure Zrim and Priit Tammeorg.


During two sessions and 10 presentations we got the overview of the current developments in the area of biochar sector in Finland. After the presentations we visited the brand new biochar factory of Carbofex Oy. Read more and see the the presentations from the FBA website.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Towards the best practice for reusing lake sediments in agriculture and landscape engineering



The phosphorus may well be one of the most critical raw materials in the world as it is non-renewable and required for food production. Further, rock phosphates are also not evenly distributed across the Earth (85% in Morocco and Western Sahara!). Meanwhile the world phosphate fertilizer demand is constantly increasing. So, obviously there is a need for nutrients recycling in agriculture sector. Further, excessive fertilizer applications go beyond the crop demand leading to the P transfer into water bodies, causing their eutrophication. European countries produce about 200 million m3y−1 of sediment removed from waterbodies which provides the potential of recycling nutrients from sediments in crop production. 

Doctoral student Mina Kiani in AgriChar research group is working on developing the best practice for reusing lake sediments in agriculture and landscape engineering in terms of agronomic performance as well as ecological sustainability. We have been comparing six different ways of applying sediments to soil, some of which include biochar treatments. We quantify nutrient availability in agricultural land as well as ryegrass biomass in a lysimeter experiment since Jan. 2017. Moreover, since June 2017, we are conducting a multi-year field experiment on the shore of the lake from where the sediments excavated. In the field experiment, we are testing the effect of treatments which had the best response in lysimeter experiment on ecological properties (heavy metal and organic contaminant uptake by plants, leaching of N and P, aggregate stability, soil biota and GHG emissions) in the real field condition.In October 2017, the lysimeter study was finished and all the soil and root samples collected for detailed analysis.
Field & lysimeter pics from Mina's project


We have obtained some really interesting results and soon we will share with you!