Thursday, January 7, 2010


KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 (Bernama) -- Two Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) researchers in collaboration with Nasmech Technology Sdn Bhd have successfully built a plant producing biochar from oil palm empty fruit bunches (EFP), the first such innovation in the world.

Prof Dr Azni Idris and Dr Mohamad Amran Mohd from the university's Engineering Faculty have created the Carbonator, a complete customised system which can produce 20 tonnes of biochar daily.

Mohamad Amran said biochar production had the potential for environment-friendly and safe disposal of organic wastes, besides being used as a source for renewable energy and for carbon sequestration in the soil for climate change mitigation.

According to him, biochar is a stable carbon that can be kept in the ground for a long time, until thousands of years.

Meanwhile, he said, research by UPM's Agriculture Faculty in biochar application as a soil conditioner to increase carbon sequestration and for soil fertility had begun, and this would have a big impact on the country's economy and on environmental protection.



The Carbonator project was fully funded by the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry under the Technofund grant amounting to RM3.98 million.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili had on Dec 3 visited the plant site at the Seri Ulu Langat Palm Oil Mill in Dengkil, Selangor.



Universiti Putra Malaysia Lead Biochar Research

What is Biochar?

1. Biochar Is a Valuable Soil Amendment

Biochar is a 2,000 year-old practice that converts agricultural waste into a soil enhancer that can hold carbon, boost food security and discourage deforestation. The process creates a fine-grained, highly porous charcoal that helps soils retain nutrients and water.

Biochar is found in soils around the world as a result of vegetation fires and historic soil management practices. Intensive study of biochar-rich dark earths in the Amazon (terra preta), has led to a wider appreciation of biochar’s unique properties as a soil enhancer.

Biochar can be an important tool to increase food security and cropland diversity in areas with severely depleted soils, scarce organic resources, and inadequate water and chemical fertilizer supplies.

Biochar also improves water quality and quantity by increasing soil retention of nutrients and agrochemicals for plant and crop utilization. More nutrients stay in the soil instead of leaching into groundwater and causing pollution.

2. Biochar is a Powerfully Simple Tool to Combat Climate Change

The carbon in biochar resists degradation and can hold carbon in soils for hundreds to thousands of years. Biochar is produced through pyrolysis or gasification — processes that heat biomass in the absence (or under reduction) of air.

In addition to creating a soil enhancer, sustainable biochar practices can produce oil and gas byproducts that can be used as fuel, providing clean, renewable energy. When the biochar is buried in the ground as a soil enhancer, the system can become "carbon negative."

Biochar and bioenergy co-production can help combat global climate change by displacing fossil fuel use and by sequestering carbon in stable soil carbon pools. It may also reduce emissions of nitrous oxide.

We can use this simple, yet powerful, technology to store 2.2 gigatons of carbon annually by 2050. It’s one of the few technologies that is relatively inexpensive, widely applicable, and quickly scalable. We really can’t afford not to pursue it.

Source of article: International Biochar Initiatives (IBI)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I am dedicating this site for the promotion of biochar research in Malaysia.