Shelburne Farms Experiments With Biochar

04/28/10 7:50AM By Mitch Wertlieb
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VPR Photo/M. Bodette

An experiment at Shelburne Farms recently brought some visitors from Massachusetts to showcase a material called biochar. Biochar is made in a massive black cooker, complete with smokestack and temperatures reaching into the hundreds of degrees, wood is fed into the bottom of the machine and in the top, wood is superheated and baked into the black substance. Biochar can be made with any organic matter. In this case they're burning a waste pile of pine wood planks.

But what can you do with biochar? Some farmers swear by its use as a soil supplement and some UVM students are studying whether it can be used to clean up Lake Champlain. Biochar advocates told VPR's Mitch Wertlieb that the environmental benefits are numerous.

Click listen to hear the interview.

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