Processed Urban Wood Options and Biochar Opportunities
Needing solutions to urban soil damage, high pH or fertility? Biochar, compost
and mulch may be an option. Learn more about these products, how they are
made and a way to utilize urban wood waste in horticultural and urban settings.
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[00:00:00.642]Okay yeah, so I'm going to talk a bit
[00:00:03.011]about processed wood options,
[00:00:06.672]mostly I'm going to talk about,
[00:00:09.006]whoops, what did I do here?
[00:00:12.238]I'm going to talk about mulch, compost,
[00:00:14.162]and biochar a little bit,
[00:00:15.655]so essentially, what are the benefits of utilizing
[00:00:18.729]urban wood, that's what today is all about.
[00:00:22.407]We're going to get some cost recovery
[00:00:24.476]for the tree removals,
[00:00:26.255]we're going to reduce the waste disposal volume,
[00:00:30.655]reduce tipping fees,
[00:00:33.141]you're going to support the local economy,
[00:00:35.548]it's a great educational opportunity for outreach
[00:00:38.548]with the public, the benefits of urban trees,
[00:00:43.899]a secondary use after the tree comes down,
[00:00:46.665]and of course, products,
[00:00:48.580]which everyone is talking about here today.
[00:00:51.237]So mulch compost and biochar,
[00:00:54.678]we get a lot of benefits from each of these,
[00:00:56.371]and there's a lot of overlapping benefits,
[00:00:59.338]and these are really the high volume products
[00:01:02.368]that Adam was talking about earlier,
[00:01:04.853]rather than the high value,
[00:01:08.178]although it, depending on the product,
[00:01:10.180]it does get a little bit into that.
[00:01:12.200]With mulch, we're going to get some
[00:01:13.602]temperature regulation, moisture conservation,
[00:01:17.326]you're going to reduce your weed growth,
[00:01:18.856]and your plantings in your beds.
[00:01:21.592]It enhances the visual appeal of the area.
[00:01:26.280]With our compost, it has a lot of value as a fertilizer,
[00:01:32.068]it's going to improve that soil health, soil fertility,
[00:01:35.092]you're going to see improved growth and vigor
[00:01:37.948]of your plants,
[00:01:39.489]it has significant water holding capacity,
[00:01:42.601]it can also reduce the weed growth.
[00:01:45.674]It promotes water infiltration, plant growth,
[00:01:50.399]and most compost take three to 12 months for production,
[00:01:54.414]although, we heard Andy say it's about eight weeks, right.
[00:01:58.312]So that can really vary,
[00:02:00.177]depending on your production methods,
[00:02:03.374]high tech, low tech, that sort of thing.
[00:02:07.148]And then biochar, so just by a show of hands,
[00:02:09.395]who is familiar with biochar in the room?
[00:02:12.299]Okay good, yeah, that's a lot of people.
[00:02:14.079]So I talked about biochar, I don't if many of you
[00:02:16.436]were at the tree care workshops,
[00:02:18.418]but I gave a biochar presentation there.
[00:02:21.037]And I have a great publication on the table,
[00:02:24.692]on the side of the room, about biochar,
[00:02:27.559]so if you would like to learn more, that's a great resource.
[00:02:31.990]But biochar has a significant water holding capacity,
[00:02:35.153]it also promotes water infiltration, plant growth,
[00:02:40.414]soil health, plant vigor,
[00:02:44.694]and it's a suitable habitat for microorganisms,
[00:02:47.900]which are really essential to plant growth.
[00:02:50.634]So for those of you who are not familiar with biochar,
[00:02:54.074]it's essentially like charcoal,
[00:02:56.774]in both it's production and it's composition,
[00:03:00.585]with the main distinguishing feature being
[00:03:02.202]that it's usually used as a soil amendment,
[00:03:05.028]or for water filtration,
[00:03:06.229]as opposed to cooking fuel, or heating fuel.
[00:03:10.824]And it doesn't have the binders,
[00:03:12.392]and that sort of thing that a charcoal does.
[00:03:15.610]It is a solid carbon material,
[00:03:17.443]it's produced from any organic matter,
[00:03:19.513]of course, here we're talking about urban wood waste,
[00:03:22.051]it can also be produced from, you know,
[00:03:25.375]animal waste, yard clippings,
[00:03:33.168]really anything organic that you have.
[00:03:35.602]It resists decomposition, so unlike your uncharred,
[00:03:39.939]organic material, or your rock chips,
[00:03:41.888]it's not going to decompose over a time,
[00:03:44.167]it's going to continue to provide those benefits
[00:03:46.398]for a long period of time.
[00:03:48.971]And it's not used for heating,
[00:03:53.609]it's not necessarily a new material,
[00:03:56.432]it's just a new purpose for an old material.
[00:03:59.631]I also like to say that biochar acts as
[00:04:01.582]a sponge and a magnet, because it has a huge capacity,
[00:04:06.849]to hold water in the soils.
[00:04:09.818]So a teaspoon of biochar has the surface area
[00:04:14.327]of a football field, so very little biochar
[00:04:17.896]can really hold a lot of water,
[00:04:19.846]and that also creates a great habitat
[00:04:22.251]for the soil microorganisms.
[00:04:24.947]And then it's like a magnet,
[00:04:25.943]because it has a slightly negative charge,
[00:04:28.514]which attracts those soil cations,
[00:04:30.992]and decay that's really essential for plant growth,
[00:04:34.081]and holds on to them, makes them more readily available
[00:04:36.940]to the plants, and enhances the cation exchange capacity.
[00:04:45.033]So these are all tools that we can use,
[00:04:48.063]that we have at our disposal to
[00:04:51.145]help address some of the challenges that communities face.
[00:04:54.659]So we're really looking for solutions
[00:04:57.851]that are beneficial to our communities,
[00:05:00.791]that are economically viable,
[00:05:02.521]and are beneficial to the environment.
[00:05:04.797]So that's really the goal with all of this.
[00:05:07.486]We see a lot of communities are trying
[00:05:09.348]to address issues of storm water management,
[00:05:13.398]erosion, soil pollution, maintaining a good air quality,
[00:05:19.139]for the residents, in our bigger cities,
[00:05:22.133]and even in the smaller communities,
[00:05:24.787]kind of mitigating that urban heat island effect,
[00:05:27.275]where it's a lot hotter in the cities
[00:05:28.428]than it is in the countryside nearby.
[00:05:33.343]We want to promote sustainable urban green spaces,
[00:05:37.679]and address issues of waste management.
[00:05:44.279]So we're seeing storm water management,
[00:05:46.843]we're going to talk about that first,
[00:05:49.403]it's an issue on our roadsides, at construction sites,
[00:05:53.268]drain filters in our neighborhoods, commercial districts,
[00:05:57.461]really we're trying to mitigate storm water everywhere.
[00:06:00.991]Here in Nebraska,
[00:06:01.824]we tend to get some pretty heavy storm events,
[00:06:05.444]I've only lived here a couple of years,
[00:06:07.188]and I've seen quite a few already,
[00:06:09.416]so something that we definitely have to be aware of.
[00:06:12.773]And I found this great quote,
[00:06:15.872]healthy soil provides important
[00:06:17.404]storm water management functions,
[00:06:19.890]including efficient water infiltration and storage,
[00:06:23.071]absorption of excess nutrients,
[00:06:25.022]filtration of sediments,
[00:06:26.307]biological decomposition of pollutants,
[00:06:29.006]and moderation of peak stream flows and temperatures.
[00:06:32.308]That summarizes basically everything that I wanted
[00:06:34.923]to say about all of the benefits of,
[00:06:37.156]having healthy soils, and what we're trying to accomplish
[00:06:42.136]with storm water management.
[00:06:44.653]So a couple of tools that we have at our disposal,
[00:06:48.015]are storm water berms and tubes,
[00:06:51.115]and so these can be made with compost,
[00:06:54.401]mulch, and/or biochar, so all three of our products
[00:06:59.746]that I'm talking about today, can be used here.
[00:07:02.839]They're really great for roadsides and constructions,
[00:07:05.362]they're great for natural areas, as you can see,
[00:07:08.880]I don't know if you can all see this image,
[00:07:10.448]but they contour to the land.
[00:07:14.494]So you have a lot flexibility in the area
[00:07:18.223]that you're putting them in.
[00:07:21.160]We're seeing that they can remove up to 95%
[00:07:23.059]of the total suspended solids,
[00:07:25.714]this picture on your right over here, is a great example.
[00:07:29.754]Upstream of the tube, you can see that the water is
[00:07:34.226]kind of muddied, and downstream it's very clear.
[00:07:39.380]They're mobile, they can be used at construction sites,
[00:07:42.071]you could even them as a gate at your construction site,
[00:07:45.969]or a fence, they can withstand truck traffic,
[00:07:50.247]your construction vehicles.
[00:07:54.658]And let's see what else,
[00:07:56.601]oh, and then this picture right here,
[00:07:59.001]you can see at the drain filter,
[00:08:00.941]where they're putting, you know,
[00:08:03.053]this could be filled with biochar with compost,
[00:08:05.781]or mulch, to filter some of the pollutants
[00:08:09.877]that are entering our waterways, before they get in there.
[00:08:15.188]And I've seen this around East Campus,
[00:08:19.503]where my office is, and other locations
[00:08:21.536]where they're being filled by little pieces of rubber,
[00:08:25.875]or other synthetic materials.
[00:08:28.158]And those could easily be replaced with a mulch
[00:08:31.112]that's created on site, in the community,
[00:08:35.004]and you're getting even more benefits
[00:08:36.739]than those synthetic materials.
[00:08:42.272]Just a few other examples of storm water berms,
[00:08:45.423]a little bit larger scale,
[00:08:47.907]you can see that this one is a compost, mulch mixture,
[00:08:53.260]and they had really good establishment of vegetation,
[00:08:57.486]pretty rapidly after the installation.
[00:09:02.614]This is at a construction site,
[00:09:04.940]where they just put compost around the edge
[00:09:09.274]of the construction site, built it up,
[00:09:12.672]made it about a foot or two,
[00:09:14.658]to help with storm water management there.
[00:09:18.758]Then another roadside application,
[00:09:22.187]with a contour to the land.
[00:09:26.980]We can also use rain gardens or bioswales,
[00:09:30.199]as a management technique for storm water mitigation,
[00:09:34.466]one example that I saw was a blend of
[00:09:39.758]5% to 10% biochar, 20% to 30% compost in the soil,
[00:09:46.693]followed up with several inches of mulch on top,
[00:09:50.418]where the plantings were.
[00:09:53.190]And so this mixture is highly effective
[00:09:55.829]at removing pollutants, the biochar and the compost
[00:10:00.018]will both bind up any pollutants,
[00:10:03.692]and make it available for microorganisms,
[00:10:07.483]can naturally decompose those pollutants.
[00:10:12.806]It filters physical debris as well,
[00:10:16.316]and they're aesthetically pleasing,
[00:10:17.846]they're much better than our concrete drainage systems.
[00:10:21.983]So this is a project, I think was actually
[00:10:24.410]one of Graham's projects here in Omaha,
[00:10:29.314]where they have a nice biofiltration system,
[00:10:34.898]all the plants are very aesthetically pleasing,
[00:10:38.495]we know that stress levels are reduced,
[00:10:41.970]people will pay more to live near parks
[00:10:43.990]and urban green spaces.
[00:10:45.644]So it's great for the economics of a community as well.
[00:10:52.034]I did a little cost comparison of what it would take
[00:10:54.839]to install a bioswale verus a concrete drainage system
[00:11:00.547]or other, you know, non-natural drainage system.
[00:11:05.497]So for my example, I have a 1,000 square foot bioswale
[00:11:09.047]at a 2 1/2 foot depth.
[00:11:13.543]So what we're seeing is, at the low end,
[00:11:15.611]it's going to cost about $2,000,
[00:11:17.798]using that mixture that I described in the last slide.
[00:11:22.214]And the high end, about $6,600.
[00:11:28.215]And it ends up being about the same
[00:11:32.101]for the concrete and the bioswale,
[00:11:36.652]simply looking at installation.
[00:11:40.127]We're seeing concrete is slightly cheaper, but not by much.
[00:11:44.376]$500 or so.
[00:11:46.528]But that's not factoring in all of the ecosystem
[00:11:48.587]services that we're getting from the plants,
[00:11:51.851]the trees, and the soil that we are
[00:11:54.865]installing in that bioswale.
[00:11:58.337]So, a six inch river birch is what I chose
[00:12:02.141]to put in my bioswale,
[00:12:03.916]it provides overall benefits of $34 per year,
[00:12:09.079]and earlier we heard about i-Tree,
[00:12:12.427]that uses, or can value those ecosystem services for you,
[00:12:17.219]several different tools available online
[00:12:20.397]to get you a dollar value of your trees and your plants.
[00:12:26.634]And $8 a year of that $34 is
[00:12:29.077]directly for storm water benefits.
[00:12:32.873]Now if we care for that tree,
[00:12:34.931]and we help it grow up big and strong,
[00:12:39.143]at 11 inches we're seeing $77 annually,
[00:12:43.410]in benefits from that tree, $23 of which,
[00:12:46.744]are in storm water management benefits.
[00:12:49.390]So over it's lifetime, we're going to see,
[00:12:51.085]well over that $2,000 from this one tree, that we planted.
[00:12:56.879]So really the cost to install the bioswale,
[00:13:03.868]or to plant your trees in these areas,
[00:13:07.212]is offsetting, the ecosystem services are offsetting
[00:13:12.384]the cost to do the install.
[00:13:18.527]Any questions so far?
[00:13:23.036]So next I'm going to talk about erosion,
[00:13:26.252]really important to cover our bare soils,
[00:13:28.900]an inch of soil can take thousands of years to form,
[00:13:31.341]so it's really a precious resource
[00:13:32.912]that we ought to conserve.
[00:13:37.303]In soil erosion, we want to take a cue from nature,
[00:13:41.806]when we walk through the woods, we see,
[00:13:44.081]that the forest floors are covered with a layer
[00:13:46.852]of detritus with leaves, with sticks,
[00:13:51.040]and all of that is helping to protect the forest floor.
[00:13:55.462]We're seeing that with just 30% soil cover,
[00:13:58.809]that the erosion is greatly reduced.
[00:14:03.069]So again, on the bottom here,
[00:14:05.917]we have the risk of soil erosion,
[00:14:08.736]and then the soil cover percentage,
[00:14:11.309]and this first, within the first 30%,
[00:14:13.705]is a really steep drop off, and then after that,
[00:14:15.891]we're seeing the risk decline greatly.
[00:14:18.953]So just a little bit of soil cover can really go along way.
[00:14:23.292]And it promotes re-vegetation
[00:14:25.110]after construction or disturbance,
[00:14:29.080]using that mulch, using that biochar, compost,
[00:14:33.097]to really help establishment happen quickly,
[00:14:36.280]and get that 30% cover we need.
[00:14:40.586]So we're looking at slope stabilization,
[00:14:43.895]where we're seeing that compost is quite effective
[00:14:46.128]for reducing and preventing erosion on our exposed slopes.
[00:14:52.644]I read a couple of a studies,
[00:14:54.175]one that found that less phosphorus and nitrogen run off,
[00:14:58.905]was occurring with the compost,
[00:15:00.598]as opposed to the hydro-seeding, the hyrdo-mulching,
[00:15:03.503]or seeded straw mulches,
[00:15:05.486]which I thought was really interesting.
[00:15:08.667]And the straw mulches, may happen to introduce
[00:15:12.548]some invasive species, and is more susceptible to erosion.
[00:15:20.654]With biochar, we're seeing that
[00:15:23.549]the erosion is, or the soil loss during rain events
[00:15:28.261]was decreasing 35%, another really great statistic,
[00:15:33.158]that really goes to show the benefits of biochar.
[00:15:36.644]And then mulching, that's going to help reduce
[00:15:40.362]the impacts of those heavy rain events,
[00:15:43.095]it's going to promote germination and establishment
[00:15:47.423]of our plant species on those slopes.
[00:15:50.278]And it's easy, it's cost effective,
[00:15:53.013]but it can be temporary.
[00:15:54.709]Now over time, that is going to maybe wash away,
[00:15:57.438]or decompose, and not provide the long term benefits
[00:16:02.110]that compost and biochar may do that.
[00:16:06.072]But that being said, all our effective strategies,
[00:16:10.212]for seed growth, for establishment,
[00:16:13.470]and for reducing the risk of erosion.
[00:16:17.074]So here are a couple of examples of slope stabilization,
[00:16:21.943]you can see this looks like,
[00:16:25.344]maybe someone's driveway right here,
[00:16:27.864]or along a hill on a roadside.
[00:16:30.181]And they've used this mulch,
[00:16:33.695]you can see it's not vegetated yet,
[00:16:35.427]so they're using that to stabilize the slope,
[00:16:37.907]while vegetation gets established.
[00:16:40.306]Here is the compost mixture,
[00:16:44.311]you can see they've also kind incorporated those
[00:16:45.882]berms that I described in the storm water management.
[00:16:51.878]I'm sure in part, to help stabilize the slope,
[00:16:55.380]keep all that compost in place.
[00:16:58.234]I think it looks pretty nice.
[00:17:00.839]And then here on the bottom,
[00:17:02.738]on the left side, you can see,
[00:17:04.931]this says July, 2010, and this is a mine site.
[00:17:09.597]And they applied some biochar to this mine site,
[00:17:14.096]and you can see, by August of the next year,
[00:17:17.396]there's a lot of grass, vegetation,
[00:17:21.656]that is holding that slope in place.
[00:17:25.388]So this is kind of a landmark study
[00:17:28.123]for mine reclamation using biochar.
[00:17:31.426]I think it just goes to show the effectiveness
[00:17:35.472]of using biochar on slopes to establish vegetation.
[00:17:41.608]Next up is soil pollution,
[00:17:46.847]biochar can amend soils that
[00:17:49.368]have a lot of heavy metals and other pollutants.
[00:17:53.285]So we're seeing a lot of our urban areas
[00:17:55.268]having ground fields, other contaminated areas,
[00:18:00.673]and that's a big problem, that's something that
[00:18:02.449]we're working to mitigate, to improve,
[00:18:07.411]and to make our communities more livable.
[00:18:11.374]Biochar is especially known to, bind up cadmium,
[00:18:18.407]so we're seeing cadmium that's in batteries,
[00:18:21.752]in electrical components, pipes and other metallic items.
[00:18:25.720]So it's in a lot of things,
[00:18:27.997]and so biochar can be effective for that.
[00:18:31.842]Compost bio-remediation degrades pollutants,
[00:18:34.938]so alone or with wood chip mulch,
[00:18:38.116]the compost can help reduce our,
[00:18:42.172]the prevalence of hydrocarbons,
[00:18:44.818]wood preserving chemicals, solvents, heavy metals,
[00:18:48.248]pesticides, petroleum products, and explosives in the soil.
[00:18:53.455]I had no idea about that,
[00:18:55.399]before I started putting this presentation together,
[00:18:57.467]that is quite the list of things that,
[00:19:01.416]it is able to do.
[00:19:04.232]So again, really effective for ground field remediation.
[00:19:09.068]This is also going to decrease the time involved
[00:19:13.282]in site remediation as well as the cost.
[00:19:16.548]A lot of times, people are taking,
[00:19:19.235]excavating the soil at sites that are contaminated,
[00:19:23.490]and replacing the soil, and then establishing
[00:19:26.706]vegetation on top of that.
[00:19:28.488]So that's really expensive,
[00:19:30.591]it's going to take a lot time to do that.
[00:19:32.644]But instead, we could just use some of these techniques,
[00:19:36.022]continue to monitor the site, see how it's doing,
[00:19:39.332]and potentially avoid some of the costs involved
[00:19:42.024]with site remediation.
[00:19:46.585]We're also concerned about air quality in our communities,
[00:19:50.552]I think all of us here have experienced
[00:19:54.724]when people are out burning, how hazy it can get,
[00:20:00.379]how many particulates are in the air.
[00:20:02.500]And that's definitely a concern for our health, right,
[00:20:05.851]anybody who has asthma or allergies,
[00:20:08.941]has maybe experienced adverse affects from that.
[00:20:13.024]So there are a couple of options here,
[00:20:15.149]we could displace fossil fuels
[00:20:18.090]by heating or producing energy from wood chips.
[00:20:23.347]Biochar can act as a scrubber
[00:20:25.414]in our coal fired power plants,
[00:20:27.521]it can act as an air purifier,
[00:20:30.585]kind of like activated carbon.
[00:20:33.685]And if we're avoiding burning our wood waste,
[00:20:38.306]in open pile burns, we're going to have fewer particulates,
[00:20:41.609]and smoke going up into the air,
[00:20:44.097]if we're creating products out of them instead.
[00:20:47.188]And so down here, we can see,
[00:20:48.646]we have these particulate matter maps,
[00:20:54.760]that come out every day, for our region.
[00:20:57.768]And this is March 16th, so just less than a month ago,
[00:21:02.232]and you can see right over here,
[00:21:04.541]in the Eastern part of the state,
[00:21:06.324]is moderate particulate matter,
[00:21:09.835]anD the Western part of the state is pretty clean.
[00:21:11.216]But this varies day to day.
[00:21:13.279]And here's one of our beautiful hazy sunsets
[00:21:16.457]from all that particulate matter in the air.
[00:21:21.301]And again, I learned a lot
[00:21:23.162]putting together this presentation,
[00:21:24.357]and this one of the things I found most interesting.
[00:21:27.472]Is, the affects of particulate matter on our health,
[00:21:32.064]and really why we should be concerned about this,
[00:21:34.749]and try to avoid burning
[00:21:35.784]and try to reduce the impacts of it.
[00:21:39.449]So ammonia is our most common air pollutant,
[00:21:42.494]associated with fertilizers,
[00:21:45.342]so in replacing our synthetic fertilizers with compost,
[00:21:49.105]we can maybe reduce the amount of ammonia
[00:21:54.028]particulates in the air.
[00:21:56.595]Mulching disturbs soils, again,
[00:21:59.024]covering disturbs soils,
[00:22:00.346]can reduce the amount of dust in the air,
[00:22:03.783]for construction sites, that sort of thing.
[00:22:06.798]And we're maximizing our air quality benefits
[00:22:09.366]by planting our trees,
[00:22:11.561]by mulching our trees after they're planted,
[00:22:13.835]and by planting them with compost or biochar,
[00:22:16.113]so that they're the most successful,
[00:22:17.847]that they can possibly be,
[00:22:19.045]and we can get the most benefits out of them.
[00:22:21.821]So, on the bottom here,
[00:22:25.241]we have, this is a strand of human hair,
[00:22:28.799]and we're seeing that at a particulate matter 10,
[00:22:35.580]I think that's, what is that,
[00:22:37.685]microns, microns in diameter.
[00:22:41.568]So very small.
[00:22:42.646]That's the size of dust, of pollen,
[00:22:45.373]that's when we're starting to see some lung irritation,
[00:22:49.238]decreased breathing functions,
[00:22:51.423]so people with asthma and allergies,
[00:22:54.745]may experience some symptoms from the dust and the pollen.
[00:22:58.668]And then down to 2.5 microns in diameter,
[00:23:02.958]which is just the diameter,
[00:23:06.169]just a really tiny little bit here,
[00:23:08.848]we're seeing issues in our skin, in our eyes.
[00:23:13.608]And smaller than that, you know,
[00:23:15.878]we can see heart disease, or rather, lung disease,
[00:23:24.516]And of course, this is for high exposure over time,
[00:23:28.029]but these are really serious health effects,
[00:23:30.475]and the 2.5 microns, that's going to be the,
[00:23:35.637]the ammonia air pollutant,
[00:23:37.955]that's going to be the size of that.
[00:23:39.779]So again, anything we can do to reduce,
[00:23:44.528]the particulate matter in the air
[00:23:45.768]is going to be really beneficial to our communities,
[00:23:48.777]to the environment, to our health.
[00:23:53.357]So just some things to consider with that.
[00:23:57.991]Did I scare everybody with that slide?
[00:24:02.469]One other thing to consider is the urban heat island effect,
[00:24:05.731]again, the heat that we get when,
[00:24:09.576]on hot days, radiating off of all of our hard surfaces,
[00:24:13.628]the roads, the rooftops, that sort of thing.
[00:24:17.350]One option to consider might be green roofs,
[00:24:20.744]compost and biochar are really good substrates
[00:24:23.228]for green roofs, because they're lightweight,
[00:24:26.291]they're porous, they provide a lot of the benefits needed,
[00:24:31.381]to grow a plant community on the roof.
[00:24:36.467]There's actually a project that's going to be
[00:24:39.691]happening this spring in Lincoln,
[00:24:42.506]with the installation of some green roofs.
[00:24:44.937]So I'm really excited about that,
[00:24:46.966]unfortunately, it hasn't gone in yet,
[00:24:48.537]otherwise I would have been showing
[00:24:49.943]you all sorts of pictures of it.
[00:24:53.815]But this can be really nice,
[00:24:57.094]it's also aesthetically pleasing.
[00:25:02.635]It provides shade, it removes heat from that rooftop,
[00:25:08.118]so water going back up into the atmosphere,
[00:25:13.200]it's another technique for storm water management.
[00:25:15.809]It can be energy efficient,
[00:25:17.265]reduce you heating costs in your buildings,
[00:25:19.207]or you cooling costs.
[00:25:21.480]It actually increases the longevity of the roofs,
[00:25:25.394]compared to conventional roofing,
[00:25:28.904]which I thought was really interesting, pretty surprising.
[00:25:32.673]So that's great if you're a business,
[00:25:35.070]fewer costs associated with maintaining your building,
[00:25:38.870]and again, aesthetically pleasing.
[00:25:40.319]So, not sure where this picture came from,
[00:25:42.632]but I love the wild flowers up there,
[00:25:46.384]maybe some vines, very pretty.
[00:25:51.394]And our sustainable urban green spaces,
[00:25:53.671]again, we're really promoting tree planting,
[00:25:56.642]with emerald ash borer, it's important that trees,
[00:26:00.860]once they're removed, are replaced with other trees.
[00:26:04.129]And again, compost, mulch, biochar,
[00:26:07.107]can all help that tree reach its full potential.
[00:26:11.606]In our parks and public spaces,
[00:26:12.892]you may consider mulching your trails or walking trails,
[00:26:18.098]as opposed to concrete or asphalt,
[00:26:20.992]you can landscape with all of our products,
[00:26:23.554]biochar, compost, mulch, it looks good, it grows well.
[00:26:29.511]And then we can also prevent compaction
[00:26:31.742]at our construction sites.
[00:26:33.480]For those of you who were at the tree care workshops,
[00:26:37.075]Graham gave a great presentation about how important it is
[00:26:41.250]to preserve trees,
[00:26:42.903]trees that are worth preserving, of course,
[00:26:44.632]at our construction sites, and things we can do to,
[00:26:49.912]work on that, and so mulching around the drip line
[00:26:53.225]of a tree is one of the,
[00:26:56.474]one of the techniques you can use to do that.
[00:27:00.485]So just a few photographs here,
[00:27:05.140]in this bottom one you can see,
[00:27:07.006]that they're in a park here,
[00:27:08.657]and they've created a trail with some timbers right here,
[00:27:13.658]and filling it in with mulch.
[00:27:15.395]It looks good, it's low impact.
[00:27:19.693]We're seeing a construction site here,
[00:27:22.999]where they're blowing the mulch in around
[00:27:26.143]the base of the tree,
[00:27:27.837]then they have this tube here to keep it in place,
[00:27:29.985]to keep it from washing away,
[00:27:32.509]and so protecting that tree.
[00:27:34.078]It says here that they are
[00:27:35.905]using it to a depth of three inches, at this tree.
[00:27:42.058]And then again,
[00:27:43.088]temporary crossing for machinery at construction sites,
[00:27:50.157]they used 10 inches of mulch here,
[00:27:52.927]for that heavy equipment,
[00:27:55.770]to protect the ground underneath.
[00:27:59.517]And then just an idea of what we want
[00:28:01.172]our urban canopy to look like,
[00:28:03.892]we want it to be vigorous,
[00:28:04.962]we want it to be successful.
[00:28:10.344]So all of these are really, you know, techniques,
[00:28:13.693]these products are ways to manage
[00:28:17.080]our urban wood waste.
[00:28:18.281]What other things might we think of with waste management?
[00:28:24.185]We're seeing that waste water treatment plants
[00:28:27.666]are actually turning their waste product
[00:28:34.361]into carbon products,
[00:28:37.915]and so that actually helps with pathogens,
[00:28:41.100]typically, it's actually,
[00:28:43.123]they just take the bio-solids and spread it out, on site.
[00:28:48.414]But there's a bad public perception of that, right,
[00:28:52.470]that's are municipal waste water.
[00:28:59.772]We're seeing that, carbonizing it,
[00:29:02.991]can actually prevent any pathogens that are occurring,
[00:29:07.384]in that water or pesticides, or what have you,
[00:29:11.667]and it can be just as beneficial to the land
[00:29:15.956]applying it that way.
[00:29:17.697]And we're also seeing folks
[00:29:19.592]who are using biochar in particular,
[00:29:22.693]as a way to treat liquid manure.
[00:29:26.199]It helps reduce the odors,
[00:29:28.427]and it can be really effective nutrient management,
[00:29:31.571]it kind of acts as a slow release fertilizer,
[00:29:34.827]because it binds up those nutrients,
[00:29:38.182]and releases it slowly over time.
[00:29:42.621]So just a few conclusions,
[00:29:45.553]wood waste accounts for about
[00:29:46.917]17% of all of our landfill waste.
[00:29:50.182]That's a lot of waste,
[00:29:51.174]and that's a U.S.-wide statistic,
[00:29:53.943]so any way that we can avoid that,
[00:29:56.834]will be really helpful.
[00:29:58.818]We can create these value-added products,
[00:30:02.673]from our forestry waste, our agricultural waste.
[00:30:06.543]We're not burning or landfilling
[00:30:07.989]our community wood waste,
[00:30:10.179]we're prolonging the life of our landfill,
[00:30:12.662]that's a great incentive for municipalities.
[00:30:17.662]We're engaging in these environmentally friendly practices,
[00:30:21.920]and all of these products can either be used on site,
[00:30:25.896]they can be used for your own projects
[00:30:27.464]in your municipalities or in your tree plantings,
[00:30:30.703]or you can sell them for profit.
[00:30:34.074]Whether that's back to the community,
[00:30:36.387]or to a business who would like to use those products.
[00:30:42.551]So again just diverting landfill waste,
[00:30:45.895]diverting wood from burning can be really beneficial.
[00:30:51.444]Here are a few resources that I highly recommend,
[00:30:55.329]Waste to Wisdom is a really good program
[00:30:59.340]that talks about wood waste, municipal waste,
[00:31:03.847]and products and techniques to,
[00:31:08.382]to avoid landfilling them.
[00:31:10.903]The International Biochar Initiative
[00:31:12.601]is a really great resource if you're wanting
[00:31:15.700]to learn more about biochar, again,
[00:31:17.569]there's a publication back here with info on biochar.
[00:31:22.324]Waste to Wealth is another one that talks about
[00:31:24.846]community strategies for avoiding
[00:31:29.348]landfilling community wood waste, or food waste.
[00:31:35.914]And then the U.S. Composting Council,
[00:31:37.814]if you're interested in learning more about composting.
[00:31:42.400]That's all I have for you today,
[00:31:44.660]so I'll open it up to any questions that you may have.
[00:31:50.158](audience member speaking)
[00:32:06.571]Yeah, we're seeing that when mixing biochar with compost,
[00:32:12.368]it really depends on your application,
[00:32:14.519]if you're incorporating biochar
[00:32:16.299]into your composting process,
[00:32:19.643]it can actually speed up the process,
[00:32:22.331]your composting time, with as little as a 5% application.
[00:32:27.802]If you're just mixing your biochar and your compost
[00:32:31.726]with your soils, say, in your garden,
[00:32:34.494]you can use up to a 50/50 mix.
[00:32:36.931]But I would say no more than 50% biochar,
[00:32:39.703]and 50% compost, so 40% biochar, 60% compost,
[00:32:43.837]would be fine.
[00:32:45.866]And benefits with as low as 5% are being seen.
[00:32:51.269](audience member speaking)
[00:32:54.947]Yeah, to the size of the biochar,
[00:32:57.922]it really depends on your equipment,
[00:33:00.819]again, your application,
[00:33:02.015]you're going to get the most benefits
[00:33:03.548]with your smallest particle size,
[00:33:06.729]because that's going to have the most surface area,
[00:33:09.251]so you're going to get more water holding capacity,
[00:33:12.473]more cation exchange capacity,
[00:33:14.588]all of that with the smaller particles.
[00:33:16.894]But with the dust, the biochar dust,
[00:33:21.076]you can have a lot of issues with,
[00:33:24.238]again, the particulate matter,
[00:33:25.873]you're going to need to wear PPE,
[00:33:28.809]so that you're not breathing in all of that char dust.
[00:33:34.076]My personal favorite to work with is kind of the fines,
[00:33:38.704]maybe like the size of a grain of rice,
[00:33:42.717]because you're not having as many issues with
[00:33:44.867]breathing in that dust, but you're still getting
[00:33:47.715]a very small particle size,
[00:33:49.701]compared to like,
[00:33:50.872]the chunk that I have in the jar back there,
[00:33:52.856]if you've ever bought chunk charcoal for grilling,
[00:33:58.021]it'll still provide benefits for you,
[00:34:01.414]it's just, you may not see them as quickly.
[00:34:04.843](audience member speaking)
[00:34:28.244]Yes, that's a, yeah, great question.
[00:34:30.516]So that is definitely something to be aware of,
[00:34:34.031]because biochar has a slightly negative charge,
[00:34:37.165]it is alkaline, and so it's important to know
[00:34:40.515]what kind of soil type you have, before applying biochar.
[00:34:46.053]It's also important to talk to the producers,
[00:34:49.982]so if you're going out and buying biochar,
[00:34:52.797]there aren't a ton of biochar producers out there.
[00:34:57.978]So get in contact with them,
[00:34:59.633]call them, see if you can get a spec sheet
[00:35:01.819]that might have the carbon content and the pH,
[00:35:05.706]and the other nutrients, trace nutrient content.
[00:35:10.227]And see what it is you're working with,
[00:35:11.918]because all biochar is not the same,
[00:35:15.101]depending on what it's made out of,
[00:35:16.712]if it's made out of wood, versus agricultural residue,
[00:35:20.378]you're going to get different characteristics to your char.
[00:35:23.396]You always want to know your soil type,
[00:35:25.453]and then what is actually the composition
[00:35:28.092]of the char that you're working with.
[00:35:30.312]And there are some chars on the market
[00:35:32.211]that are pH balanced,
[00:35:34.598]and so they go through a secondary processing,
[00:35:38.980]to bring that down to a neutral pH,
[00:35:41.130]so yes, very good point.
[00:35:44.757](audience member speaking)
[00:35:49.048]Yes, I can, (laughs),
[00:35:51.237]activated carbon is, essentially it's biochar,
[00:35:54.792]but it's gone through a secondary processing,
[00:35:58.512]either steam activation or like, an acid wash,
[00:36:03.103]that really blows up the pore size,
[00:36:08.886]so you're getting high, high, high surface area,
[00:36:12.151]so my understanding is that activated carbon
[00:36:14.792]is defined on its pore size,
[00:36:19.291]or on its surface area, so it's,
[00:36:24.080]I can't recall the number off the top of my head.
[00:36:26.443]But it's much higher than just a regular biochar.
[00:36:33.415]Any other, yeah?
[00:36:34.570](audience member speaking)
[00:36:36.883]That's a great question, so,
[00:36:40.676]let me see where I want to start with this one, (laughs),
[00:36:45.306]biochar is basically a new term, a new science,
[00:36:50.144]for really old technology.
[00:36:51.931]And so they're seeing these terra preta soils in the Amazon,
[00:36:56.100]that they've been able to carbon date to be 2,500 years old.
[00:37:00.765]And they're still seeing carbon there,
[00:37:03.036]and they're still seeing that those,
[00:37:05.425]the vegetation that's growing on top of those soils,
[00:37:08.904]has more biomass than adjacent soils
[00:37:10.978]that don't have this terra preta.
[00:37:15.486]We're seeing, today,
[00:37:16.969]I think a common recommendation,
[00:37:19.533]is that biochar be applied on the,
[00:37:21.398]somewhere between five to 10 year timeline.
[00:37:25.855]So you're not going to have the most benefits
[00:37:27.391]of your char in year one,
[00:37:29.247]you're going to see the most benefits of the char
[00:37:32.306]in years two, three, four, maybe five,
[00:37:34.995]then it's going to start to decline.
[00:37:36.769]So kind of, you know, like a bell shaped curve of benefits.
[00:37:42.344]But because it's relatively new,
[00:37:44.912]field studies haven't been out, monitored long enough,
[00:37:49.047]to see if there is a point that it's no longer
[00:37:53.825]viable in the soil, and that it's totally decomposed.
[00:37:58.009]Does that answer your question?
[00:38:00.150](audience member speaking)
[00:38:14.962]A minimum of two weeks,
[00:38:16.948]so it is important to inoculate, or charge your biochar,
[00:38:23.674]with compost, or a fertilizer,
[00:38:28.623]or maybe a compost tea,
[00:38:29.900]something to give it those nutrients,
[00:38:32.094]because it doesn't inherently have a lot of nutrient value,
[00:38:37.616]so we're looking at a minimum of two weeks,
[00:38:39.396]you want be mixing it prior to applying it to your soil.
[00:38:46.629]Personally, in my experience with biochar,
[00:38:48.737]I've applied non-charged, non-inoculated biochar to soils,
[00:38:54.960]and seen benefits in the first year,
[00:38:58.769]and seen no negative effects of applying
[00:39:01.869]just regular biochar,
[00:39:03.605]but there is a lot of literature out there
[00:39:04.848]that will tell you that it does have adverse effects.
[00:39:07.557]And, you know, soils are so complicated,
[00:39:09.663]there are so many factors to consider,
[00:39:11.436]and so, any research that we read,
[00:39:15.277]well, it might be close to what we have here in Nebraska,
[00:39:17.711]it isn't going to be exactly what we have.
[00:39:20.687]But the longer you can inoculate your char, the better,
[00:39:25.886]that's why a lot of people are including
[00:39:29.480]char in their composting,
[00:39:32.289]in the process of their composting,
[00:39:34.686]because then they're getting that inoculation,
[00:39:36.670]right from day one.
[00:39:39.972]Yeah, go ahead.
[00:39:40.919](audience member speaking)
[00:40:03.167]Yeah, that's absolutely right,
[00:40:04.904]so for biochar in particular,
[00:40:08.250]we're seeing the most benefits in sandy soils,
[00:40:13.990]because it really helps to increase
[00:40:15.805]that water holding capacity.
[00:40:18.205]And nutrient poor soils
[00:40:20.679]are seeing greater benefits from biochar,
[00:40:23.850]so the crappier your soil conditions,
[00:40:28.725]the more benefits you're going to see from biochar.
[00:40:31.856]So that's why a lot of studies are currently being done
[00:40:34.253]in the tropics, where they have really acid soils,
[00:40:38.799]really sandy soils, and that sort of thing.
[00:40:41.524]So that's why it's a great tool for like,
[00:40:45.210]site remediation, mine soils,
[00:40:47.487]that sort of thing, ground field.
[00:40:50.160]But you can see beneficial effects of just, you know,
[00:40:53.754]your garden, or your planter pots, and your front yard.
[00:40:58.501](audience member speaking)
[00:41:12.281]Um hmm. Yeah.
[00:41:15.946]so of course the more rainfall you get,
[00:41:19.088]the more infiltration you're going to have,
[00:41:21.439]and those small particles are going to move
[00:41:23.548]through the soil profile as well.
[00:41:26.774](audience member speaking)
[00:41:33.433](audience member speaking)
[00:41:45.562]so we're doing some really interesting,
[00:41:50.650]really great projects, using mulch,
[00:41:55.884]or using wood chips in compost,
[00:41:57.828]and we're doing it with swine manure,
[00:42:02.455]and cattle manure, and then with synthetic fertilizers,
[00:42:06.759]and we're doing that up near Ainsworth,
[00:42:11.003]North Central Nebraska,
[00:42:12.982]and applying that to fields with soybeans, and with corn,
[00:42:18.180]and just in the first year,
[00:42:21.119]and it was a four ton per acre application,
[00:42:24.959]we see a lot in that we did like a half field
[00:42:29.536]with the compost, mulch mix,
[00:42:34.369]and then a half field without.
[00:42:35.939]And we say greater yields in the
[00:42:38.873]compost, mulch mixture, in corn,
[00:42:43.698]just in the first year,
[00:42:44.722]and they were expecting of course,
[00:42:46.742]to see benefits in year one,
[00:42:48.060]but again, another application
[00:42:49.832]where it's kind of a slow release fertilizer that,
[00:42:54.500]as the chips start to break down,
[00:42:57.716]we'll see more benefits in the soil because of them.
[00:43:01.595]Another great application is,
[00:43:04.240]Dawn was actually, and I were chatting about this
[00:43:07.256]in the back a little while ago, is that,
[00:43:14.160]the what is it, bird, avian influenza,
[00:43:17.260]or whatever, that's killing all of the poultry.
[00:43:21.847]FEMA, actually, their protocol is to use wood chips
[00:43:25.855]to compost those carcasses,
[00:43:29.453]and so, they're seeing a turn around of compost,
[00:43:32.964]they're using a layer of compost, a layer of soil,
[00:43:37.513]and they're putting the poultry carcasses,
[00:43:39.914]and another layer of wood chips.
[00:43:44.415]And they're seeing a turn around of seven days, one week,
[00:43:48.306]to fully compost those animals,
[00:43:51.115]and make sure that there aren't any,
[00:43:56.238]any pathogens left in them.
[00:43:58.842](audience member speaking)
[00:44:14.647]Yeah, so there's a lot of interest,
[00:44:16.467]just a little bit of background,
[00:44:17.663]there's a lot of interest in feeding biochar,
[00:44:20.763]especially to cattle,
[00:44:22.376]because it can help reduce their methane emissions,
[00:44:26.085]reduce odors, it can improve their gut health,
[00:44:29.554]in general, and they're seeing these animals
[00:44:31.773]grow bigger in a shorter period of time,
[00:44:34.498]when they're being fed biochar.
[00:44:37.052]So I've been working with the Department of Animal Sciences,
[00:44:42.182]on East Campus, and they just were able to get
[00:44:46.876]six steers, that actually won't be entering the food chain,
[00:44:51.462]but they will be able to do this testing on
[00:44:54.071]feeding them biochar.
[00:44:55.140]I think, they're feeding 2.5% and 5%,
[00:44:59.033]of their daily intake of biochar,
[00:45:02.051]and they're going to be measuring their methane emissions,
[00:45:04.810]which, I learned recently,
[00:45:07.203]that 90% of methane emissions from cattle,
[00:45:11.043]comes out the front end, and not the back end,
[00:45:13.318]I was surprised to learn that.
[00:45:15.839]And so they will be able to measure
[00:45:17.525]those methane emissions of the cattle.
[00:45:19.791]And they also are doing, or have just completed,
[00:45:24.419]some in vitro trials, so essentially,
[00:45:27.563]simulating the animals gut,
[00:45:32.066]and putting biochar in there,
[00:45:33.807]and seeing how it metabolizes.
[00:45:37.026]And that's going to be,
[00:45:38.975]they're hoping to publish that study
[00:45:41.413]in this November's Nebraska Beef Report.
[00:45:45.667]And then, they're going to do the trials with
[00:45:48.851]the actual animals into the summer,
[00:45:52.202]and maybe into September, October,
[00:45:54.885]to hopefully get that published sometime next year.
[00:45:58.249]So it's moving along,
[00:45:59.903]there are still issues with FDA approval,
[00:46:05.027]and we're able to do the study,
[00:46:07.297]because the animals aren't entering the food chain.
[00:46:11.267]So it doesn't need FDA approval,
[00:46:13.368]but it's not currently approved
[00:46:16.381]to feed biochar to your animals.
[00:46:19.235](audience member speaking)
[00:46:33.433]I think so, I think at this point,
[00:46:38.731]they're just hoping to study some animals,
[00:46:41.446]but I think it will be the feed lot animals first,
[00:46:45.331]before cow calf operations.
[00:46:50.372]Even though the animals are, the grazing animals,
[00:46:54.562]have higher methane emissions than feed lot animals.
[00:47:02.874]Are there any other questions?
[00:47:05.518]Alright, well thank you guys.
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