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Sprayable Charcoal

Suspend Charcoal Dust in water, and spray on fields
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Modern Farms typically have systems for delivering water and liquid fertilizer to crops in a cheap and efficient manner -- typically consisting of pumps, pipes, and sprayers.

While it's fairly well known that charcoal can be used as a soil conditioner, the cost of draging charcoal out onto a field, and plowing it into the dirt, might exceed the payback in crop yields.

What if one could mix finely powdered charcoal with water, creating a suspension, and spraying it onto fields in the same manner as a conventional liquid fertilizer?

goldbb, Jul 27 2009

Orimulsion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orimulsion
Based on bituminous coal or bitumen. [8th of 7, Jul 27 2009]

Oxidization Mesquite_20Gunpowder
[normzone, Jul 28 2009]

Chlorine Trifluoride http://en.wikipedia...hlorine_trifluoride
An interesting compound. [8th of 7, Jul 28 2009]

Charcoal Improves Soil PH http://www.climatered.com/agrichar/
"Dr Van Zwieten said agrichar raised soil pH at about one-third the rate of lime, lifted calcium levels and reduced aluminium toxicity on the red ferrosol soils of the trial." [steam_cannon, Jul 29 2009]

Improving farm soils with charcoal http://www.bioenerg.../index.php/Agrichar
Char is most commonly used as a fertilizer or soil amendment. Char may also have the potential to sequester large amounts of carbon in the soil. [steam_cannon, Jul 29 2009]

Biochar and carbon-negative land-use systems http://www.bioenerg...impacts_of_biofuels
In these systems (see illustration at right), the standing biomass that will be cleared is not burned, but instead turned into biochar via pyrolysis and used to generate energy in the process. The nano-porous char is then stored in the soil to form a stable carbon sink. [steam_cannon, Jul 29 2009]

Terra Preta http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terra_preta
Terra preta owes its name to its very high charcoal content, and was indeed made by adding a mixture of charcoal, bone, and manure to the otherwise relatively infertile Amazonian soil over many years. [steam_cannon, Jul 29 2009]

Charcaol Enriched Fields Charcoal_20enriched_20fields
Oh yeah. And with that too. [bungston, Jul 29 2009]

Agrichar... cut fertilizer needs... http://www.mofga.or...id/980/Default.aspx
"Adding this highly stable form of carbon to soils may increase plant yields (especially on degraded soils); reduce nutrient leaching; cut fertilizer needs, thus decreasing runoff of fertilizers and the energy needed to produce, transport and apply fertilizers;" [steam_cannon, Aug 02 2009]

[link]






       You are aware that carbon likes to be oxidised? In whatever form. A bit like spontaneous carbon dust fires/explosions in coal mines. And these sometimes happen in severely anaerobic conditions. Oxidisation does not necessarily rely on oxygen being present.
4whom, Jul 27 2009
  

       // Oxidisation does not necessarily rely on oxygen being present //   

       Eh ?   

       Well, elements can have their oxidation states changed through electron abstraction by an oxidising agent. But generally, oxygen is involved, even if indirectly......   

       Suspensions of pulverised carbon in water are Baked <link> as a liquid fuel.
8th of 7, Jul 27 2009
  

       ClF3
4whom, Jul 27 2009
  

       //ClF3//   

       Well, thanks for making me look it up, but do you think old mate is going to find vast stockpiles of ClF3 to be a big problem in and around farms?
Custardguts, Jul 28 2009
  

       From the Wikepedia page on ClF3 :// It is also hypergolic with such things as cloth, wood, and test engineers//
N(ice) - Stoff
coprocephalous, Jul 28 2009
  

       Your idea is excellent, fully baked and being done by many people now. Below combustion temperatures carbon acts much like a spongy rock. It helps soil retain water, nutrients and provides space for living organisms, which all together tend to improve soil quality. Also it's a sort of rediscovered knowledge as this was also done thousands of years ago by civilizations making Terra Preta (dark earth).   

       Biochar and carbon-negative land-use systems [link]   

       Terra Preta [link]
steam_cannon, Jul 28 2009
  

       The use of charcoal as a soil amendment is excellent, fully baked, and being done by many people now.   

       However, I'm fairly certain that most or (more likely) all of those people are using solid charcoal, and plowing or raking it into their soil.   

       This is a fairly labor intensive process, which makes it less attractive for use on large farms. Even if the charcoal were free, fuel needs to be used to spread the it over the fields and work it into the dirt.   

       I haven't been able to find (through google) any description of sprayable charcoal suspension being as a soil amendment.
goldbb, Jul 28 2009
  

       IMO it would make a great product for garden stores.   

       What an advertiser might say: "Go green, put the carbon back in the earth, starting with your own backyard! Great for plants and soil!" The label could inform the customer about carbon negative soil amendments, mix with water or put on before or during rain...   

       So yeah, I could see bags of carbon for the garden selling with the right marketing.
steam_cannon, Jul 29 2009
  

       Looks like this idea is baked! --> thebiocharstore.com and biochardistributors.com   

       However, these stores aren't even shipping yet and they are selling simple bagged carbon powder. And it's not in hardware stores or most garden stores. So a person could probably still get into this market if they wanted.   

       Sprayable charcoal is a unique idea.   

       Some more ideas:   

       * Low-mess granules of carbon powder mixed with a binder like clay such that they dissolve with the rain. Most fertilizers come as granules because they are easier for farmers to work with then fine powders.   

       * carbon powder or granules in a bottle with a handle.   

       * Pouches of carbon to add to watering cans for small gardens or for use with a hose attachment.   

       Any of those sort of things might sell and be relatively easy to put together with labels for local farm stores, markets and possibly chain stores if you got some market recognition.   

       So there is probably room for improvement in this market...
steam_cannon, Jul 29 2009
  

       Sorry [Custard...] ClF3 was to prove there are some forms of oxidation that have contempt for actual oxygen (in reaction to [8th...]'s assertion that oxygen is always inlvolved), nothing to do with the idea. Hypergolic reactions form a small part of this argument.   

       As to the idea. As reactive as carbon is, it does like to be permanentally bonded. And once it bonds, it also likes to stay that way. I am of the opinion that the soot spray you create will degenerate into H2CO3 or H3CO4, before it is taken up by other minerals.   

       This turns into a bit of a Ph nightmare. Given that the surface area for a sphere (spray/droplet) is maximised to its volume, I would wager lots of acid and not so much free carbon. Actually, [marked-for-deletion] Bad science.
4whom, Jul 29 2009
  

       "4whom", everything you just wrote is completely wrong, disproven by both modern science and thousands of years of human experience. Try reading the research I posted on Biochar, agrichar and the archeological link on Terra Preta.   

       Carbon dust applied to fields is stable for a minimum of thousands of years. And regarding soil PH, it definitely does not acidify the soil. Below is a quote.   

       Quote: "Dr Van Zwieten said agrichar raised soil pH at about one-third the rate of lime, lifted calcium levels and reduced aluminium toxicity on the red ferrosol soils of the trial." [link]
steam_cannon, Jul 29 2009
  

       //Given that the surface area for a sphere (spray/droplet) is maximised to its volume//
"minimised", shirley?
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jul 29 2009
  

       // "minimised", shirley? —AbsintheWithoutLeave //   

       Maximize would be right, but it doesn't matter. All the points 4whom posted about ph and reactivity are simply wrong. The opening posters idea is a good refinement of a fully working concept that is in use today.   

       That said I want to stress, 4whom has no reason to mark this thread as "bad science". 4whom's comment is proven bad science and he should delete it.
steam_cannon, Jul 29 2009
  

       [4w] can't (quickly) find anything that gives the solution of elemental C with H2O, though I wish it would produce carbonic acid: cheap sodapop. I still say the future's in carbon fibre not carbon soil.   

       you could mix it with ammonia, though you'd probably have to use more ammonia... and get somebody else to do the spraying.
FlyingToaster, Jul 29 2009
  

       steam_cannon, although charcoal applied to fields is stable for thousands of years, I wouldn't want to apply it as a dry dust -- there would be a huge risk of fire/explosion while it was in the air! :)   

       Mixing charcoal powder with binder would certainly be much safer (than powder), and would be convenient for homeowners to apply to their gardens, but if you have an irrigation system, it would be cheaper/easier to apply liquid charcoal.   

       FT, If mixing carbon with water gave carbonic acid, then the carbon would just go right back into the atmosphere :).
goldbb, Jul 30 2009
  

       [steam...] I don't mind being wrong. I do mind being wrong when my opponents are wrong, too.   

       Agrichar, biochar, suffer fron the same suffix. ~char. It can be used as a prefix too. It means burnt. That means fixed/oxidised carbon, even in the absence of oxygen. I have nothing against fixing carbon as feedstock to to crops. I think I am a proponent of it.   

       I am possibly wrong about what [golbb] wants to spray in his/her suspension, but I can tell you if it is carbon, and it is in suspension, it ain't going to be burnt biomass. If it is burnt biomass, it will have to be churned into something you can spray. That process ain't going to be energy cheap. And the addition of any energy to convert it into something you can spray will convert some of it into acids. You have to remember at some point before it is in suspension in a liquid this stuff was a *highly* volatile powder.
4whom, Aug 02 2009
  

       // it ain't going to be burnt biomass. If it is burnt biomass, it will have to be churned into something you can spray. That process ain't going to be energy cheap. — 4whom//   

       This doesn't seem to be a problem. I posted links to biomass charcoal distributors and they sell it as powderized bagged charcoal. Charcoal is soft and requires very little energy to make it into a powder.   

       Regarding carbon used in the process, it's been studied and from what I've seen, even using gasoline engines in the processing of agrichar, the whole system would still be carbon negative. Sure you could make the system "pure" and use steam power from the charcoal production process to crush the charcoal. Or use wind power to crush the charcoal if you like. But even if you used a gasoline engine, it doesn't require much energy to process charcoal. It's cheap and the process will still be carbon negative.   

       // And the addition of any energy to convert it into something you can spray will convert some of it into acids. — 4whom//   

       I don't see this as a problem. Real world, the mechanical processing of charcoal doesn't seem to produce acids. So acids shouldn't be a problem.   

       // [steam...] I don't mind being wrong. I do mind being wrong when my opponents are wrong, too. - 4whom //   

       I don't see where you're going with this. But I'm sorry to hear you see other posters as opponents...
steam_cannon, Aug 02 2009
  

       If you add a cubic foot of charcoal dust to a cubic foot of water I imagine you'll get 2 cubic feet of light slurry... so the idea's sound but there is a cost (extra pumping), as well as whatever you may have to do, if anything, to stabilize the soil. If you have to use more ammonia to nitrogenize the soil then be aware that that takes energy to make.   

       And being wrong though possibly ephemerally embarassing, is usually painlessly correctable, but having some idiot point at you saying "wrong wrong" when they themselves are wrong is not only annoying, but usually requires some sort of external correction.
FlyingToaster, Aug 02 2009
  

       // If you have to use more ammonia to nitrogenize the soil then be aware that that takes energy to make. — FlyingToaster //   

       Last I read, Agrichar reduces fertilizer requirements for test fields. See [link] So it doesn't look like adding charcoal would increase fertilizer requirements. I've also read charcoal helps the soil retain fertilizers and this effect is also seen in Terra Preta soils, where the charcoal has helped soil retain nutrients for thousands of years.   

       Also this is very easy to test yourself, you just need charcoal dust and a set of planters for four groups (untreated, treated, fertilized, and treated/fertilized). And you might expand your test matrix for different volumes of fertilizer and char. Or just read the studies that have been done. Anyway, agrichar seems to reduce fertilizer demands.   

       // but having some idiot point at you saying "wrong wrong" when they themselves are wrong is not only annoying, but usually requires some sort of external correction. — FlyingToaster //   

       So you're moving on to personal threats?
steam_cannon, Aug 02 2009
  

       //not be increasing the fertilizer requirements for a treated field//
I was going on what somebody else mentioned about C heavy soil being N poor.
... I have no clue, really.
  

       //so now you're moving on to personal threats?//
... and neither do you.
FlyingToaster, Aug 02 2009
  

       // ... and neither do you. — FlyingToaster //   

       That's very cryptic, I really don't understand what you're trying to say here. But I do understand you're referring to me as an idiot. And your post about "external corrections" sounds like you are threatening me not to disagree with you.   

       Yeah know, I don't think that adds to this topic and you may be upset, but I really don't think you should blame me just because I am familiar with studies that seem to disagree with what you posted. I mean if you pose a question to wolframalpha and it's pops up research that disagree with your assumption. Is that any reason to be upset. I mean hey, I don't know how you feel. I'm just sayin.   

       Peace.
steam_cannon, Aug 02 2009
  

       I'm not sure where you get "idiot" from, I was explaining to you my interpretation of [4whom]'s comment which you had expressed confusion about. Why you would choose to take that as a personal insult is beyond me... and now you think I'm "threatening" you ?   

       Everybody seems to be "threatening" you or "attacking" you or "starting an argument" and I'm seriously unsure about where you get off calling [4whom] a racist: his comments clearly weren't. And he's hardly a troll: a troll is a person who makes ludicrous bullshit comments for the purpose of starting a fight.   

       [note: for those standing on the sidelines with popcorn, there is another post or two involved]   

       But if it's between us, I have no quarrel with you. Just apologize for that nasty thing you said about my mother and we'll forget all about it. [edit] he really hasn't said anything about my mother, I'm just trolling *him* for a change to see what kind of response I get]
FlyingToaster, Aug 03 2009
  

       // I was going on what somebody else mentioned about C heavy soil being N poor. ... I have no clue, really. — FlyingToaster //   

       I think I know where this idea is coming from. One example: You see if you add organic carbon woodchips to soil, as they degrade available Nitrogen, Nitrogen gets sucked up as they are decomposed by bacteria. So you are left with damaged Nitrogen poor soil. This is great if you want to keep weeds down on paths or in decorative areas of a yard. But this is not great for a garden.   

       The solution is to let bacteria degrade your carbonous matter in a mulch pile (for about two years) and let bacteria process it using nitrogen in the air. Then you end up with mulch.   

       The other solution is to char the carbonous matter so it becomes very stable. Carbon that's been charred doesn't get processed by bacteria scavenging for organic molecules. So if you add charred carbon to soil, Nitrogen won't be scavenged by bacteria and the Nitrogen levels in the soil will remain the same or actually may improve due to nutrient holding properties of the char.
steam_cannon, Aug 03 2009
  

       FlyingToaster, Ya know your commenting across threads is very trollish. But sure, I'll answer you.   

       // I'm seriously unsure about where you get off calling [4whom] a racist: his comments clearly weren't. //   

       Regarding 4whom being a racist, I don't know him, but that's what he decided to talk about on my barbecue thread. Hey that was his choice, he decided to say my people were some lowly hunter-gatherers... his people were so much better... Whatever his point was. I'm sorry but if you start insulting someones people, that's just not cool.   

       Regarding 4whom being a troll, I don't know how he is most of the time, but he said it himself "And so I launch into my attack." That's not making peace, that's not finding a way to make peace. That's having a troll-fest.   

       // Everybody seems to be "threatening" you //   

       No, you're the only one who's keeps threatening me. You're hanging out on my barbecue thread, you start off with CAPSLOCK and threatening my thread for deletion because you didn't like my urls, so I'm nice and I fix my urls. Then you're threatening my thread for deletion because of a related patent and so I explain the differences from the patent. More threats... Then you're telling me if I remove your comments I'll be banned. Now you're pulling this conversation across threads. You seem to be saying you'll make an "external correction" if I disagree with you. And you're whining because I have a bad opinion of you. And you seem to be surprised that I have a bad opinion of you.   

       Anyway other posters aren't doing this, just you. Now you're pulling this across threads. Man, I mean that's against the rules in most forums, that's just simply trolling. Maybe you think this will convince me that you're a great guy because you just can't stop? Stop, it's easy. Or at least stop dragging stuff over into other peoples threads. How do you think goldbb feels about you dragging your problems over from by BBQ thread?   

       // just apologize for that nasty thing you said about my mother and we'll forget all about it. — FlyingToaster //   

       Ya know I'm quite sure I haven't been posting about your Mom. So now you're making stuff up.
steam_cannon, Aug 03 2009
  

       So it's basically Carbon compounds that bacteria feed on, not Carbon ? good enough, thanks.   

       //So now your making stuff up//
Yup. First one. How's it feel? a bit confused ? think you deserve it ? going through old annos seeing if you actually did something to justify that trollish crap or maybe I'm actually a troll or seriously paranoid ? (I'm guessing you aren't but I'll refrain from expounding on that).
  

       If you *ever* get around to reading the helpfile, at this point I have to add that if you just want the highlights, to include the "marked for deletion" section, too. It's an opinion. Maybe take some time and read other people's posts and get a feel for the place so when you start posting you don't end up referring to other sites' conduct codes, blithely accusing people of non-existant racism and "threatening" you and stuff like that. Further help from a link on [21_Quest]'s personal page to "Krelnik's Guide to the HalfBakery".   

       Though I do wonder how [4whom] came to the conclusion that you aren't Chinese or East Indian unless he assumed that if you were you wouldn't have bothered posting the idea in the first place as a matter of racial pride.... which is quite a stretch.   

       I "threatened your thread with deletion because I didn't like your url's" ? Yeah, right (not)... now about my mother....
FlyingToaster, Aug 03 2009
  

       // Yup. First one. How's it feel? a bit confused ? think you deserve it ? — FlyingToaster //   

       Ok you have specifically asked what I am thinking, so I'm going to tell you. I'm thinking you're not very together. You're making up stuff to prolong an argument with someone you don't know. It's like watching a homeless man argue with a tree.   

       Here's something to think about. I'm a strong believer in getting other people involved. Try printing this page and bringing it to a friend or parent, but not a coworker since it might make you look bad. I think think most people would get the impression that you're trying to upset me and you don't sound very together.   

       If you want to know what I'm really thinking, I think you should talk to someone. Most people would find your behavior to be upsetting and that's really something you should think about, because that's what you're developing in yourself. You seem to be getting more enjoyment out of finding ways to argue and that's not what this forum is about. That's not what this thread is about. You're really losing focus.
steam_cannon, Aug 03 2009
  

       [4whom] and *that's* why I didn't answer on the other post. Feeding the trolls and all that.   

       [steam_cannon] well you may be right, I look at your "forced air barbecue" post and see 12 buns and only 1 bone (guess whose, though it was a bun until you started in with quoting out-of-context from my anno that you deleted).
FlyingToaster, Aug 03 2009
  

       You know, regarding "quoting out-of-context". I think the context was clear, but what else is clear, I edited that annotation because you were uncomfortable with it. I also fixed up urls. I've given you my best advice and I've listened to you, but I've listened to you enough for tonight.   

       Have a good night FlyingToaster.
steam_cannon, Aug 03 2009
  

       Aqueous colloidal graphite has been available for decades, the best-known brand name being Aquadag. Would that be suitable for spraying on crop fields?
notexactly, Aug 25 2019
  
      
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