Warren Biochar is associated with the Warren Catchments Council, Inc
(52 Bath St, Manjimup, Western Australia, 6258, Phone: 97718180, Fax: 97718108)

The group works in South West Australia’s Tall Tree Country and consists of around 40 members who have a wide range of occupations and expectations around biochar including:

  • FORESTRY: would like to harvest the excess fuel in the native Karri woodland instead of burning it, which causes smoke pollution and many of the greenhouse gasses. They would also like to investigate the suppression of die-back fungus by adding biochar to the unburned leaf litter.
  • SAWMILLS: would like to find a profitable way of disposing of their sawdust and waste offcuts, as well as reducing pollution.
  • BLUE-GUM PLANTATIONS: also hope to profitably dispose of tops, tails, and bark after harvest, and possibly improve the soil as well.
  • ORGANIC FRUIT ORCHARDS: are worried about the dwindling water supply for irrigation purposes and hope that biochar will improve the water retention of the soils as well as increasing the nutrient holding capacity of the soil.
  • POTATO AND VEGETABLE GROWERS: would like to increase the yield of their annual crops and cut down on fertilizer use.
  • BEEF FARMERS: would like to extend the growing season of their pastures further into the dry season.

To do this we are developing a batch pyrolysis unit of about I ton capacity that is completely sealed during the pyrolysis process and pumps the cleaned  syn-gas into a pressurized cylinder from where it is used to heat the batch of bio-waste. It is hoped that it will be automatic with the tempurature and heat time variable but controlled so that it can be left to run on its own, and the properties of the biochar can be verified. We would also like to know of any other group that is using a batch process other than the Adam Retort.

August 2011 Update

The Warren Biochar group are interested in setting up biochar trials in a number of agricultural applications in the Manjimup region’s high rainfall, heavy loam environment following a presentation by Prof Syd Shea of Rainbow Bee Eater Pty Ltd. The group is currently refining its purpose and procedure for each experiment, undertaking further research before commencing investigations.

For more information contact: kathy.dawson@water.wa.gov.au