Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Black, the new green

Professor Michael Bird will speak on biochar, a charcoal created by pyrolysis of biomassat, at James Cook University tomorrow evening, Thursday 27 August.

Biochar is simply charcoal, produced by combustion of biomass under conditions of restricted oxygen.

“Humans have been making biochar, both inadvertently and purposefully, since they started to use fire over a million years ago,” Professor Bird said. “Natural and human-initiated fires burn around two to four million square kilometres a year.”

“Ironically, it will now be considered by UN climate change negotiators in Copenhagen in December as a way to mop up carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion and store carbon back in the soil.”

Bird will outline the history of humanity’s long association with biochar, and provide an introduction to potential uses of biochar, including developing applications in Queensland.

Professor Michael Bird is a Federation Fellow in the School of Earth and Environmental Science at James Cook University in Cairns. His research interests include the global carbon cycle on a range of timescales, as well as records of past environmental change (sea-level, biomass burning, weathering or vegetation change) and archaeology.

WHEN Thursday 27 August, 6pm
WHERE Crowther Lecture Theatre, JCU Smithfield
COST Free with refreshments
INFO Sue Kelly, tel 4042 1456

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