I recently had the incredible opportunity to immerse myself in the first ever International Biochar Initiative (IBI) – Biochar Academy, and let me tell you, it was nothing short of a biochar extravaganza! Imagine 22 speakers, including legends in biochar research such as Stephen Joseph, Johannes Lehmann, Hans Peter Schmit, Albert Bates, and Kathleen Draper – the mastermind behind the academy. A total of 40 students from 20 different biochar expertise backgrounds made this a two-week program packed with insights, innovations, and inspiration.

Small-Scale Wonders: Learning from Biochar Pioneers

One of the most fascinating aspects was delving into the experiences and challenges of fellow biochar producers and users. Many shared tales of setting up their biochar enterprises, most operating on a low scale with low-tech solutions. Surprisingly, these initiatives have a profound impact, reaching farmers in various African countries and India. It’s a testament to the versatility and accessibility of biochar technology, proving that even with limited resources, we can make a significant difference.

GBS: A Giant Leap in Biochar Innovation

Amidst the diverse initiatives, our project General Biochar Systems, stood out as a beacon of innovation. Being the only large-scale, fully funded project dedicated to implementing and innovating through the On-Field-Experiment (OFE) and the establishment of the International Biochar Initiative (ILBI), GBS is making waves in the biochar industry.

ILBI and IBI: A Partnership for Progress

ILBI drew considerable attention, with the president of IBI expressing keen interest in understanding the purpose and structure of ILBI. A collaboration is on the horizon as ILBI and IBI join forces to translate materials into Spanish, aiming to reach a broader audience. Former IBI members in Latin America are also being invited to join ILBI, showcasing the tremendous potential of our initiative. The challenge now is to plan the strategic launch and operationalization of ILBI.

Building Bridges: Learning Community and Crazy Ideas

In the spirit of learning and collaboration, I initiated the creation of a learning and practice community using Slack. This platform allows us to engage in different channels, fostering discussions, and sharing valuable insights.

Now, brace yourselves for a crazy yet intriguing idea: composing a letter GBS to top Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) buyers such as Bayer, Exxon, Shopify, and major banks. The proposal is not just to buy carbon credits but to become responsible buyers and actively contribute to boosting the biochar industry. The idea involves encouraging these giants to not only invest in credits but to purchase biochar and integrate it into their industries wherever possible. Furthermore, there’s a call to assist biochar producers by creating a mixed fund to establish regional labs, addressing the expensive bottleneck of characterization. While the cost of setting up and accrediting labs remains uncertain, this initiative could potentially offer a permanent solution for the growing biochar industry.

In conclusion, the IBI – Biochar Academy was not just a learning experience; it was a catalyst for opportunities, collaborations, and crazy yet brilliant ideas. As we navigate through these exciting prospects, let’s keep the GBS biochar flame burning bright!

Stay charred!