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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 1:46 pm 
September 21, 2018

Two local businesses have been awarded a US Forest Service Collaborative Forest Restoration grant for a woody biomass utilization pilot project in partnership with Northern New Mexico College. Southwest Energy Integrators, an innovative building energy systems design/build business, and The Trollworks, a biochar equipment manufacturing company, have teamed up to create what they call Biochar+Energy Systems. The project will run three years on a $358,086 budget.

“Biochar” is a form of charcoal that is effective in improvement of soil health and for water purification and mine reclamation. Waste woody biomass is heated under controlled conditions to produce smoke. which is burned for energy, leaving the valuable char behind. Char can persist in the soil for thousands of years and is an effective way to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere.

Gordon West, CEO of The Trollworks, said, “Our Biochar+Energy Systems extract carbon from the air (through plants) and put it back in the ground, while generating energy and improving the environment, and makes money in the process. The coal industry extracts carbon from the ground and puts it in the air, at great environmental cost. We are “reverse coal mining”, in every way.”

The project will install a Biochar+Energy boiler system, manufactured in Santa Clara at Gila WoodNet, to heat a campus classroom building, processing biomass into feedstock pellets used both to heat the building and to make biochar. This system, designed and built by The Trollworks, is a new technology that utilizes low-value biomass (small trees, brush, slash, bark, and other agricultural wastes) while making biochar.

“When you account for the biochar sales, this system will actually make money for NNMC while heating the building, instead costing over $30,000 in propane expense,” said Kurt Albershardt, owner of Southwest Energy Integrators here in Silver City. “The list of benefits is amazingly long, but the most impressive is that the end result is significantly carbon negative - it will reduce the amount of CO2 in the air instead of increasing it.”

NNMC students will participate in experiential learning related to: biomass harvest and processing; Biochar+Energy production; use of biochar in soil; carbon sequestration; and biochar for mine reclamation and aquifer contamination remediation. The system will provide a focus for hands-on STEM and business education. Regional public education will be conducted via annual expositions of the system, and collaborators will share information on the project through their existing regional, national, and international networks, including the International Biochar Initiative and the US Biochar initiative (see the IBI website for more information on biochar). https://biochar-international.org


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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:55 am 
Here is an excellent movie about biochar, available to watch for free until Oct 12th.

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/arti ... ealth.aspx

Gordon 537-3689


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 Author: Khart
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:01 am 
Way to go Gordon! This is great news.


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 Author: JimK
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:28 am 
I admire your continued efforts and now a success with some funding.


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 Author: sh1
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:36 am 
Congratulations, Kurt and Gordon. This grant project will generate myriad positive outcomes economically, socially, and of course environmentally. And it serves as a major leap forward for Trollworks. It feels good to talk about the growth of a local manufacturing company that's actually building systems to combat climate change. Shelby


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 Author: Harry Browne
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:13 pm 
Thanks for sharing this great news, Gordon!! And hearty congratulations!


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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:14 am 
Thanks, all.

It would be good to have a local pilot project, but we will need help to identify a good one and to secure funding for it.


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 Author: Harry Browne
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:22 am 
How is the heat from burning the smoke used when the building doesn’t need to be heated?


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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:28 pm 
There are two systems - one we call a Sys3 would be located at a biomass source, which would be Gila WoodNet for us. The smoke is burned to make hot air to dry incoming chipped biomass. The dry chips are then pulverized, pelletized, and bagged for storage and transport. We would basically transfer the pyrolysis heat into latent bagged energy.

The second systems (Sys 2) would be located at energy demand locations such as for building heating or process heat.

Many other energy uses would be possible, just more complex and probably less efficient. Some liquids could be condensed from the smoke, too. I am particularly interested in wood vinegar, which has many plant applications.


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 Author: sh1
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:58 am 
Good question, Harry. I suppose the Sys2's could theoretically be repurposed to produce electricity in the warm months, but that would require changing to a whole separate equipment set up each season and likely wouldn't be economical at this scale. But we don't expect our regular building furnaces to work for us all year round...

On a related note, the Gila Natl Forest just announced a burn pit up near Quemado for forest slash. Wouldn't it be nice (and capture nearly all the CO2) to be able to convert that slash into biochar plus electricity, heat, and/or wood pellets instead of just burning it? Shelby


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Women Embracing Recovery: We-R Group
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Honeybee Presentation
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