Biochar for Better Soilless Agriculture

May 4, 2022 – 1:00 – 2:30 pm ET (US)

Growing plants in a soilless environment allows the grower almost total control over the growing process (water, nutrients, pH, and uptake). Unfortunately, most raw materials for soilless substrates are quarried inorganic minerals, produced in distant countries and involve high shipping costs. Additionally, they are not often biodegradable when disposed of.

This webinar will explore the use of biochar-based growing substrate that is nutrient-rich, ready to use, and has a more climate-friendly material that can be sourced locally from renewable materials, while reducing atmospheric carbon. Additionally, the webinar will look at research showing how biochar can reduce plant disease in soilless agriculture and improve plant growth overall via the use of biochar’s ability to suppress common plant diseases.

Cost: Free to IBI Members or $40 for non-members.

IBI Members: A recording and webinar slides are available.  Members may access the recording and slides by logging into your membership accounts first, then then returning to this page for the link or via the Members’ Only website (scroll down to the ‘IBI Webinar Presentations and Questions’ section).

Non-IBI Members: Non-IBI members may purchase a recording and webinar slides for a $40 fee at this link.

Nadav Ziv – R&D & CEO Earth Biochar

The transition to life at Kibbutz Almog exposed me to a huge problem of agricultural wastes. In the past 9 years I have built series of simple pyrolysis kilns for biochar production as a solution to the pruning problem. During these years, I experienced wood biochar practice in experimental collaboration with research institutes and universities in Israel. In 2019 I left the academic life and established Earth Biochar ltd as a partnership with Israel’s biggest composting facility (Compost OR ltd).

From 2020 we develop our biochar products using the CPP200, a continuous pyrolysis machine (Earth Systems, Melbourne, Australia). We test our CompoChar- a biochar-based growing media at our greenhouse. Our CompoChar is made of mix of agricultural and municipal green waste with municipal sewage sludge compost pyrolyzed together. Without proper care these valuable materials would burn back into the atmosphere or be buried and contaminate the soil.

(BSc- Basic Medical Science, MSc- Clinical Biochemistry, PhD- Medical Neurobiology)

Omer Frenkel – Researcher Department of Plant Pathology & Weed Sciences, Volcani Center

Omer is a researcher at the Department of Plant Pathology & Weed Sciences, Volcani Center, ARO, Israel. His primary expertise is soil-borne pathogen management and population biology of plant pathogens. Since 2011 many of his projects have focused on understanding the biochar mechanisms involved in plant diseases suppression.

(BSc- Environmental Science, MSc- Plant protection, Ph.D.- Crop Sciences)

Moderator:  Kathleen Draper

Kathleen is the Board Chair of the International Biochar Initiative. She is also the US Director of the Ithaka Institute for Carbon Intelligence. The Institute is an open source network focusing on beneficial carbon sequestration strategies which simultaneously provide economic development opportunities both in the developed and developing world. In 2020 she helped launch C-interest, a start-up focused on creating biochar based composite materials. She has written extensively about various topics related to biochar and is a co-author of the book “Terra Preta: How the World’s Most Fertile Soil Can Help Reverse Climate Change and Reduce World Hunger” and “BURN: Using Fire to Cool the Earth”.