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Kon-Tiki – the democratization of biochar production
by Hans-Peter Schmidt und Paul Taylor

A simple but ingenious invention finally allows each farmer and gardener, everywhere in the world, to produce for themselves a sufficient quantity of high quality biochar. With reasonable investment and some know-how of the charmaker’s craft, farmers can produce in one afternoon a cubic meter of high quality biochar. This ...

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Building earthquake resistant clay houses
by Gernot Minke and Hans-Peter Schmidt

Many thousands of clay houses crumbled during the recent earthquakes in Nepal. But that did not happen because of insufficient strength of the clay as a building material, but rather because basic construction rules were disregarded. Gernot Minke, an international expert on clay building, explains in this interview how to ...

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55 Uses of Biochar
by Hans-Peter Schmidt

Initially only used in agriculture, the range of uses for biochar now covers a wide range of different fields, giving this plant-based raw material the chance to make the most of its positive properties. Wherever biochar is specifically used even for industrial purposes, the carbon taken from the atmosphere in ...

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The use of biochar in cattle farming
by Achim Gerlach and Hans-Peter Schmidt

90% of the biochar produced in Europe is used in livestock farming. Whether mixed with feed, added to litter or used in the treatment of slurry, the positive effect of biochar very quickly becomes apparent. The health - and consequently the well-being - of the livestock improve within just a ...

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Biochar in poultry farming
by Henning Gerlach und Hans-Peter Schmidt

The poultry industry is struggling more and more with livestock disease. Often this can be traced back to microbial pathogens and ammonia in the litter. The addition of highly porous biochar can serve to reduce toxic ammonia pollution in the coops and regulate the moisture level of the litter. The ...

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Terra Preta – Model of a Cultural Technique
by Hans-Peter Schmidt

The secret of Terra Preta lies not solely in its use of biochar, but rather in a societal system that has internalized the importance of closed nutrient cycles in nature. Only by means of conscious recycling of all accumulating waste matter could the otherwise nutrient poor tropical soils allow for ...

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Nepal Climate Farming Fund
by Hans-Peter Schmidt und Bishnu Hari Pandit

One week after the earthquake in Nepal and thanks to the generous support of the European Biochar Community, the Nepali Climate Farming Fund was launched and has already brought relief to many Nepali biochar farmers that suffered the collapse or damage to their homes. In exchange for an advance of ...

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The use of biochar as building material – cities as carbon sinks
by Hans-Peter Schmidt

Biochar, a highly porous material produced from plant waste, is mostly used in agriculture as a soil conditioner, in livestock farming as a feed supplement, and in metalworking as a reducing agent. It can also be used for cleaning "grey water", as an absorber in sports clothing, in batteries and ...

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Biochar Paper – elevating biochar from novelty to ubiquity
by Kathleen Draper and Hans-Peter Schmidt

Pack your fruits and vegetables in a biochar box, double their shelf life then compost the boxes with the leftovers and make Terra Preta in your backyard. Biochar paper and cardboard might become the most influential invention to mitigate climate change while reducing organic residues sent to landfills. ...

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Vines take up yeasts from soil and transport them through the vine to the stem and skins of grapes
by KARIN MANDL, JULIA SCHIECK, KARIN SILHAVY-RICHTER, VOLKER SCHNEIDER, HANS-PETER SCHMIDT, ALEXANDER PRANGE

In a vineyard field experiment it was demonstrated that Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast can be adsorbed from the soil by the roots of Vitis vinifera subs. vinifera and transported via vine to the stems and surface of the grapes. To exclude any extrinsic yeast contamination, the ripening grapes were sterilized and ...

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Justus von Liebig and the Birth of Modern Biochar
by Kelpie Wilson

Biochar is one of the oldest soil amendments in the history of agriculture. However, with the advent of modern agro-chemistry, the agronomic value of biochar got rapidly into oblivion. Only lately, when biochar got into focus as climate mitigation strategy, it’s function as soil amendment and nutrient carrier was rediscovered. ...

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Biochar – a key technology for the planet
by Hans-Peter Schmidt

The current imbalance in the world's carbon and nitrogen cycle is not just the main cause of climate change, but also a direct threat to ecosystems through eutrophication, desertification and a decline in biodiversity. Re-balancing through regularly recycling organic material with its carbon, nitrogen and phosphor content is needed. Biochar ...

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Treating liquid manure with biochar
by Hans-Peter Schmidt

One of our oldest preconceptions is that a cowshed inevitably stinks. But the pungent odour of liquid manure is first and foremost the sign of a microbial decomposition process that has gone out of control. That which stinks to high heaven is not only an offence to delicate citizens’ noses ...

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Switzerland: the first European country to officially approve biochar
by Hans-Peter Schmidt

Switzerland has become the first country in Europe to officially approve the use of certified biochar in agriculture, with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture issuing its approval on 23 April 2013. In it, the Ithaka Institute is given responsibility for controlling biochar quality and the sustainability of its production. ...

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Ways of Making Terra Preta: Biochar Activation
by Hans-Peter Schmidt

Biochar is not a fertilizer, but rather a nutrient carrier and a habitat for microorganisms. First of all, biochar needs to be charged to become biologically active in order to efficiently utilize its soil-enhancing properties. There are numerous methods of activating and producing substrates similar to terra preta aside from ...

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Biochar as Building Material for Optimal Indoor Climate
by Hans-Peter Schmidt

The effect a wine cellar's climate has on the quality and complexity of a wine has up to now been greatly underestimated. Only now are we beginning to realise that decisive factors for a good wine are not just temperature, but also humidity. As a result, the Delinat Institute has ...

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Climate Farming – A Master Plan for Sustainable Agriculture
by Hans-Peter Schmidt

Climate farming is an ecologically sustainable master plan for agriculture, whose future role is not limited to food production but will also include climate protection, fostering of biodiversity, and landscaping, as well as generation of energy and raw materials. These different functions are inseparably intertwined, having their common basis ...

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European Biochar Certificate
by Biochar Science Network

The introduction of the European Biochar Certificate is a milestone in the use of biochar in agriculture. Biochars produced under the certificate's guidelines fulfil all production criteria regarding the environment and climate protection. The product guarantee provided by the certificate covers the ecological supply of biomasses used for the production ...

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Biochar Gardening – results 2011
by Hans-Peter Schmidt und Claudio Niggli

Over the last two years more than 200 hobby gardeners took part in a biochar trial coordinated by the Delinat Institute. Different sorts of vegetables were planted on two 10 m² garden plots, the one with compost only and the other with compost and biochar. The analysis of the results ...

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Biochar in European Viticulture: Results of the Season 2011
by Claudio Niggli und Hans-Peter Schmidt

In 2011, several new field-scale experiments with biochar in vineyards were set up by the Delinat Institute. In addition to the institute's own site in Valais (Switzerland), long-term field experiments were also undertaken in three representative vineyards in France, Spain and Italy. The primary aim was to investigate the influence ...

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Herbicides found in Human Urine
by Dirk Brändli und Sandra Reinacher

Glyphosate is the main active substance used in most commercial herbicides. It poisons not only plants, but also animals and humans. When testing for glyphosate contamination in an urban population, a German university found significant contamination in all urine samples with levels 5 to 20 times above the legal limit ...

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Biochar in viticulture – new results
by Hans-Peter Schmidt und Claudio Niggli

Viticulture is becoming the pioneering culture for biochar research. Biochar has been applied to many large-scale viticulture experiments across Europe this spring. After the first large-scale and long term experiments at the Delinat Institute in 2007-08, expectations are high. The latest results confirm these expectations and also show that only ...

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Hobby Gardeners’ Experiments on Biochar: Preliminary Evaluation
by Claudio Niggli und Hans-Peter Schmidt

In early 2010 the Delinat Institute invited 500 gardeners to participate in a large-scale experiment on the use of biochar. In the meantime, there are some results. Although the average yields were slightly higher, there were considerable variations between sites and cultures. Biochar is not a fertilizer, but a long-acting ...

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Guidelines for the Production and Use of Biochar in Organic Farming
by Biochar Science Network

In order to unleash the huge environmental potential of biochar, quality and environmental standards are urgently needed. The Biochar Science Network (BCSN) has therefore developed a discussion paper for the certification of biochar for organic farming purposes. ...

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Autumn pictures of a vineyard in biodiversity
by Patrick Rey

For three years now, the photographer Patrick Rey has been following the development and revitalisation of the ecosystem in Mythopia, week by week. Being one of the most species-rich areas in Wallis, the Delinat Institute area features itself with truly innumerable motives. In addition to praying mantises, grasshoppers, green lizards, ...