Creating Waves of Awareness
Can charring chicken poop save the planet?
August 11, 2009 · Posted in Environment
Cooking chicken poop sans oxygen could help fight global warming.
Charring chicken poop probably won’t save the planet on its own, but some people think charring fowl manure along with beetle-killed pine trees, corn husks and other organic matter might be an important weapon in the war on greenhouse gases. And a lot of the people who think that are hanging around Boulder this week.
Wednesday wraps up the first-ever North American Biochar Conference, which was hosted by the University of Colorado’s Center for Energy and Environmental Security.
Biochar — a fancy name for charcoal, more or less — is what’s left when organic matter is burned in a low-oxygen environment. And when you don’t have oxygen, you can’t make carbon dioxide. So after the burn, you’re left with biochar, which stays stable for a thousand years, locking up that pesky globe-warming carbon in a big black chunk. And as a bonus, the biochar makes an excellent fertilizer when added to agricultural fields.
“Humble biochar has uncharted potential for capturing and storing carbon dioxide, while simultaneously improving soil fertility and agricultural productivity,” Lakshman Guruswamy, head of CU’s Center for Energy and Environmental Security, said in a news release.
Check out Laura Snider’s story on the nation’s first biochar conference, check out the Web site for the International Biochar Initiative here, or read about the nice things Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack had to say about the biochar conference.