Face The Current Magazine

Water, Food and Air: Saving the World with Activated Biochar

By Eric Marley

When I was born, in the middle 1960’s, there were 3.6 billion people living on our planet. We had yet to face a real oil crisis and no one spoke of global climate change. Every autumn, my dad would take our family to Mill Creek in Salem, Oregon where we lived to watch the salmon migrate upstream to spawn. To even think of buying water would have been ludicrous; a nature child at birth, I drank it out of any stream I ran into with no ill effects. Air pollution was the property of the biggest cities only. Growing up I knew nobody that was “hungry” and food allergies were a rare occurrence.

My, how things change.

As of June 2017, there are now roughly 7.5 billion people sharing our beautiful planet. Global climate change is a reality for most of the world’s scientists and increasing numbers of people are experiencing it’s effects every year. Air pollution is found everywhere now; even the high-altitude City of Salt Lake had a few days of dangerous air last year. The salmon are decades gone from Mill Creek and many, many others throughout the world. Water pollution is on the rise, and common estimates are that about a billion people on earth are unable to consistently feed themselves.

Whew. That’s a lot to take in.

But have no fear because one of the things we love to do is talk about the amazing ideas that smart, creative minds are birthing to help mitigate decades of less-than-conscious living. In recent months, we’ve presented Nassim Haramein and his mind- bending physics as well as Torus Tech, Chris Almida’s company that was formed in part to find exciting new ways to power our world.

Enter Chris Howard, founder of Biochar Unlimited. He’s out to make our plants more efficient by developing their resistance to disease and pests, all while increasing plant yield and using less water. He is providing real solutions to some of world’s most demanding problems.

Simply put, “biochar” is what happens when carbon-based material such as biomass goes through a process called “pyrolysis,” which is thermal decomposition caused by high temperatures. What emerges is a type of charcoal that is a Ph neutral biochar. Activated biochar has been inoculated with beneficial microbes that allow the plant to benefit immediately vs. inactivated biochar which can take up to a year to activate.

Love organic? So do we. It turns out that Biochar Unlimited inoculant is the organic’s organic, since the enzymes it uses are naturally produced in a controlled environment. The upshot is the farmer can have confidence that they have an accurate microbial count, thus ensuring they have a truly organic product. These microbes immediately help to increase plant productivity. Current field trials are under way by UC Davis and UC Riverside, and results will be published in the spring of 2018.

Used as a soil amendment, activated biochar helps revitalize soils that have been abused by pesticides and over-planting for many years, making them moist and rich again. It does this by helping the soil retain water, which allows farms, golf courses, etc. to use far less of this threatened resource than they would with traditional soils. Why is this so? The key is in the porosity of the biochar.

“You can amend an acre of land with about 4 yards of biochar. Even a thumb-sized portion of our biochar will hold about as much water as a softball,” Mr. Howard claims. “The benefit to the farmer is they use less water which means less strain on aquifers that are already overtaxed. It also cleans the water supply while making plants more efficient and healthier – this obviously has a positive effect on the farmer’s bottom line. It’s literally a win-win solution.”

Biochar also effectively and efficiently removes heavy metals from the soil and water.

In 2015, a massive misstep by the US Environmental Protection Agency allowed 3-million gallons of tainted water from a mining operation to flow into the beautiful Animas River in Colorado, putting the people of Durango and others on alert and discoloring the once-clear water all the way to the ocean.

“Biochar would have been a perfect solution for the Animas river catastrophe,” according to Mr. Howard. “It would have cleaned the acid mine drainage and metal contamination in the tailings pond faster than anything else. More importantly, this is a solution to a problem that is extremely cost efficient.”’

As the world’s soils become increasingly depleted, food and water supplies have become ever more taxed; anything that we can do to keep from further polluting the planet is a great idea. There’s zero negative impact in the closed loop system Biochar Unlimited utilizes; in fact, they’re raw materials. Scientists and anyone who works with the earth’s soil are getting on board with them. Biochar sales are projected to quadruple within the next 7-8 years. Biochar Unlimited activated biochar facilitates clean air, water, vibrant crops and provides organic solutions to world’s biggest problems. This is the kind of progress we love to see.