Originally published on International Biochar Initiative and was republished with permission: http://www.biochar-international.org/china_study_tour
SONOMA (August 14, 2012) – International Biochar Initiative (IBI) was honored to organize the first-ever U.S. Biochar Study Tour in late July/early August, to inform participants about biochar technologies in the U.S., visit biochar institutions, companies, and academic facilities, and to attend the 3rd United States Biochar Conference in Sonoma, California.
The tour was funded by the blue moon fund and intended to promote the development of biochar investment in China and increased collaboration and partnerships in the field between the U.S. and China.
There were 14 Chinese nationals participating, including representatives of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Agriculture, and Global Environmental Institute of China.
The 9-day tour included a visit to the Iowa State University Bio-Economy Center in Ames, Iowa (which has extensive field trials using biochar and has a biochar and bio-oil production facility), a stop at Rentech Inc. in Colorado (a manufacturer focusing on larger scale biomass-to-energy systems, and who also just concluded a successful demonstration with United Airlines using half of their bio-fuel and half regular airplane fuel on a test flight), a tour at Biochar Solutions in Pueblo Colorado (a firm that designs, produces, and sells continuous process industrial equipment to convert forest residues into biochar and bioenergy, works on mineland reclamation with biochar, and has a biochar production facility), and a stop at Bath Garden Center in Colorado (a large family-owned business which produces, tests, and sells biochar and biochar-related products, along with a host of other products like compost tea and biochar with live beneficial bacteria).
The tour participants also spent a day in San Francisco, CA and then attended the 3rd U.S. Biochar Conference held in Sonoma, CA. Four members of the Chinese tour group presented recent research in a session specifically devoted to biochar development in China. The group also met with key biochar players in the U.S. (and internationally), including with Dr. Isabel Lima, a research chemist with the Agricultural Research Service at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Dr. Lima is an expert in poultry litter biochar (PLB) production and testing, and has filed patents for varied uses of poultry litter biochar.
Since its inception in 2006, IBI has been leading global efforts to identify and deliver the highest-priority needs of the biochar industry for successful global commercialization and impact – and this tour is a testament to IBI’s role in leading the charge.