Tag Archives: biomass

The Art of Managing Longleaf

The surprising thing is so few people have heard of Leon Neel. Here’s a very interesting biography of this very influential pioneer in southeastern forestry and agriculture, including many interesting stories of south Georgia and north Florida life and politics:
The Art of Managing Longleaf:
A Personal History of the Stoddard-Neel Approach,
by Leon Neel, with Paul S. Sutter and Albert G. Way.
Leon Neel was a atudent, apprentice, and successor of Herbert Stoddard, who was originally hired by quail plantation owners around Thomasville to figure out why their quail populations were decreasing. The answer included a need to thin and especially to burn their longleaf pine tree forests. Stoddard and Neel studied and practiced for almost a century between them on how to preserve and increase the amount of standing timber and species diversity while also selectively harvesting trees to pay for the whole thing. Their Stoddard-Neel Approach is written up in textbooks. In this book we learn how it came about, and how it is basically different from the clearcut-thin-thin-clearcut “efficient” timbering cycle that is the current fad among pine tree growers in the southeast.

It starts back in the old days of Leon Neel’s youth when his daddy taught him to hunt quail: Continue reading

Biochar for CO2 Sequestration and Diesel Fuel

A homegrown Georgia company, Eprida, is developing biochar for carbon sequestration and maybe diesel fuel:
The Eprida process simultaneously creates value in three markets in this order at today’s prices:
  1. Energy: gas-to-liquids diesel, from biomass
  2. Fertilizer: agricultural soil restoration, carbon enriched with nitrogen
  3. Carbon Credits: once an agricultural CDM is completed
Unlike other biomass gasification, the Eprida process can operate at small scale, converting waste biomass into fuel and fertilizer. The diesel produced will ultimately be more valuable than ethanol or methanol, and the Eprida process can convert woody plant materials that cannot be cost effectively fermented. Also, unlike virtually all other approaches for biomass to energy, which deplete soil nutrients, the Eprida process restores and enhances soil mineral, carbon and nitrogen content. As a direct result of this new approach to integrated energy and fertilizer production from biomass, the Eprida process effectively removes net CO2 from the atmosphere, and can do so profitably before the value of any carbon credits are even considered.
I especially like the small scale aspect. Individuals could do this.

(And if, like me, you wondered how to pronounce biochar, the ch is like in charcoal.)

Or municipalities like Valdosta or Lowndes County could do this, instead of the current plans for a conventional biomass power plant that looks like it will release more CO2 per kilowatt than a coal plant. Why not go with a homegrown technology that’s cleaner and may also produce diesel as a side effect?