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Fast Composting of High Value Biochar

John Bonitz
Celebrity Goat Dairy LLC
Presentation file: 
Abstract: 

Use of composting to improve charcoal to become biochar at commercial scale poses special operational challenges.  Most composting operations use low value feedstocks, and so loss of materials is not a problem, but charcoal typically costs 300% more than compost feedstocks, and so losing it in the windrow field is not acceptable.  Also, with a high value input such as charcoal, the cash flow of an enterprise can be improved by accelerating the composting process. This case study shows how a goat dairy farm uses advanced composting technology called aerated static pile to achieve faster composting with no losses of biochar.  Biomass and bioenergy expert John Bonitz (Celebrity Goat Dairy LLC) has partnered with composting expert Peter Moon (O2Compost) to implement a system that carefully stewards the biochar, while making higher quality compost, faster than mechanically turned windrows, and with less energy input. This presentation will explain the basics of forced-air composting technology, the challenges of troublesome compost feedstocks, clever use of traditional dairy farm equipment, and show how the value of the charcoal input is improved through the process.

 

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