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Redwood Forest Foundation

Fall 2013 Newsletter

The Biochar Demonstration Project
by Judy Harwood

The Biochar Demonstration Project is making significant progress as RFFI formalizes its partnership with Humboldt State University. We are purchasing a mobile Thermal Conversion Unit that converts woody biomass into biochar, a carbon sequestering soil amendment.

RFFI will remove woody biomass from overcrowded forest stands in the Usal Redwood Forest, convert it into biochar and sell the biochar locally as a soil amendment.

Biomass Funding to purchase the machine comes through the North Coast Integrated Regional Watershed Management Plan. Once fully operational the revenue will cover the operational costs of the project. The goal is to create a regional model for 3-E (economy, ecology, equity) biomass removal that can be replicated by other forestland owners.

HSU's Schatz Energy Lab will test the T-1000 Thermal Conversion Unit at Humboldt State University. The testing will add another component to the project timeline. According to the revised timeline , the biochar conversion unit will be operational in or near the Usal Redwood Forest by early fall 2014.

While the partnership testing delays the start of production, it brings other benefits. It allows for demonstration tours in Humboldt County in addition to those in Mendocino County. It provides a vehicle for sharing project results throughout the region, facilitating future replication.

Finally, RFFI has just received additional funding through a Conservation Innovation Grant from the Natural Resource Conservation Service for marketing, sales and project replication. Warren DeSmidt will be working closely with project manager Judith Harwood to implement these elements of the biochar project.


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