Biochar project to transform waste from timber plantations on Kangaroo Island | the islander

A new biochar project supported by federal funding plans to turn wood waste associated with the clearing of Kangaroo Island’s timber plantations into useful products.

The project is led by New World Climate & Agriculture and managed by Goolwa-based Melissa Rebbeck, who is also a director of the company.

The other directors of the company are Kay Van Zyl, Ryan Grieves and Ryan Groves.

The biochar project is supported by New World Pavement Solutions with Andre Van Zyl at the helm.

Ms Rebbeck said the KI biochar project will use significant outside investment to work with existing industry to supply and install infrastructure that will convert partially burned wood and wood processing offcuts on Kangaroo Island into biochar, vinegar wood and other by-products.

The biochar will also be used to manufacture a cold surfacing solution developed by New World Pavement Solutions (NPS) for road and pavement construction and soil stabilization.

KI ESTATE: Biochar and forestry managers recently traveled to Kangaroo Island to inspect damaged forest land. Photo provided

Over the life of this project and by March 2024, a minimum of 25,000 tonnes of wood chip scrap would be processed with a legacy of continuing to convert 1-2 million tonnes of waste wood over a three-year period. at 10, she said. .

The company plans to bring several mobile treatment plants, called “pyrolysis units”, to KI to process scrap and burnt wood.

“The project partners will effectively implement mobile and salable equipment including a first, smaller-scale demonstration pyrolysis plant and three larger pyrolysis systems over the life of the project grant,” she said. .

“In addition, facilities and equipment to process, package and handle biochar will be provided.”

It was announced in March that New World Climate & Agriculture had secured $2.7 million in Black Summer funding from the federal government to develop biochar on KI and on the continent.

Ms Rebbeck said the New World project would freely supply produced biochar, around 1,000 tonnes, to a minimum of 100 landowners in the fire-affected LGAs of South Africa, with priority for KI and Adelaide Hills.

Another 1% of all biochar produced will be donated for research, development and extension purposes.

“Farmers can choose to use biochar as a feed supplement to improve animal productivity, or in the soil to improve soil health and pasture productivity, land remediation, or as a fire retardant,” she said. declared.

“This will help land managers become more resilient to climate, drought and bushfires while improving agricultural and economic production.”

“Data will be collected by an agricultural biochar project manager to monitor and evaluate the benefits of biochar and its by-products to improve agriculture, restore land, improve production, and become more climate resilient.

“Additionally, land containing currently partially burned wood can be rehabilitated using biochar returning it to productive agricultural use.”

New World will also support two PhD students to conduct research projects on biochar and agriculture.

Communication and extension of the project would include field visits, workshops, social media and mass media.

“Environmentally friendly organic cold mix products for roads and sidewalks will be manufactured either on KI or on the continent using biochar with subsidized demonstration roads planned to spark community engagement “, Mr. Rebbeck said.

“The KI Board will have the opportunity to consider using the Cold Bio Mix products on KI for road stabilization and for ongoing road and pavement maintenance and construction with surplus exported elsewhere in Australia and to abroad for agriculture, roads and for additional purposes such as pavements and construction.

“The biochar will be graded, packaged and sold for use in agriculture, roads and sidewalks, steel and other construction purposes.

“The project will also mitigate climate change, and carbon removal credits will be available on the voluntary market as well as credits to farmers for using biochar and improving soil carbon.”

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