John Miedema and Howard Sprouse present an overview of their quest to create organic “waste” management facilities yield the highest use for their inputs. Biochar was a big topic for the evening. It catalyzed a multi-disciplinary discussion that spanned topics such as agriculture, forestry and remediation.
The integration of biochar production with biogas facilities was explored in context of the anaerobic digester being proposed to replace the current incinerator run by the City of Palo Alto.
The methane producing bacteria living inside anaerobic digesters do break down a lot organic material, but not cellulose (the compound that makes up the cell walls of plants) Yet cellulose is the ideal feedstock for making biochar via pyrolysis. The integration of biochar production with AD facilities holds the promise of producing a rich, dark, carbon sequestering soil amendment, full of nutrients from the digestate and structurally enhanced by the highly porous biochar.
John Miedema is an internationally recognized expert on biochar systems. As founder of the Pacific Northwest Biochar Initiative (PNW Biochar), John has been taking a leadership role in biochar advocacy and research. He is the Director of Biomass Energy for Thompson Timber and Starker Forests in Corvallis, Oregon where John operates an integrated pyrolysis and gasification facility that produces biochar.
Howards Sprouse is an expert in the remediation industry. He has served as a consultant to Battelle’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory assisting with their efforts at developing mycoremediation technology, (the use of fungi to clean a variety of organic contaminants.)
He is the founder of The Remediators Incorporated, an environmental service company specializing mycoremediation and other biological remediation systems.
John and Howard are a founding members of the Oregon Biochar Corp, who’s focus is integrating biochar production into biogas plants and composting systems.