Scientist pushes biochar benefits

Mt Warning resident and retired astrophysicist Dr Paul Taylor with his book on the benefits of biochar.
Mt Warning resident and retired astrophysicist Dr Paul Taylor with his book on the benefits of biochar. John Gass

A RETIRED Mt Warning astrophysicist wants the region to become a world showcase for biochar and its remarkable properties.

Dr Paul Taylor wants to help transform agriculture and the environment through local biochar workshops.

“People often give me a blank stare when I mention biochar, but it is simply charcoal that is intended to go in the soil where it has some amazing benefits for soil and the environment,” Dr Taylor said.

“Research has shown a 300% increase in crop yield and 800% decrease in fertiliser use.”

Dr Taylor graduated from the University of NSW with the university medal, obtained his PhD at the University of Colorado and worked at Havard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and MIT.

“I’ve always been concerned with the environment here on earth so when I came to the Northern Rivers I said this could be a really sustainable area; this could be a showcase to the world,” he said.

“So I started doing climate change workshops and soon realised if we were really going to avoid a climate catastrophe we needed not only to cut emissions, but also restore the soil so that it can absorb emissions from the atmosphere and bring excess carbon back to earth.

“And biochar holds tremendous possibilities in being able to do that.”

Late last year Dr Taylor published The Biochar Revolution, a guide for anyone interested in biochar or concerned about environmental issues.

“We emphasise sustainable biochar,” Dr Taylor said. “This is not about buying huge plantations or taking over natural forests, this is about using waste biomass and turning it into viable end products which then help the soil, help our food productivity, help with the climate problem and bring environmental, social and economic benefits,” he said.

The Biochar Revolution has contributions from 18 experts, including Stotts Creek farmer Robert Quirk.

“Robert Quick is another man whose life was changed in a way by getting involved with biochar,” Dr Taylor said.

“He’s been involved with biochar trials on his cane farm.

“The book tells some inspirational stories by many people whose life was changed.”

Dr Taylor will host a biochar workshop on April 3 and a five-day interactive biochar bootcamp from April 30-May 4.

“The boot camp will be a real hands-on thing where people can come and learn from people from the USA,” Dr Taylor said.

“And they really will get their hands on tin snips and make the devices that make biochar.

“You don’t want to make biochar the traditional way you make charcoal, because making it would cause a lot of pollution.

“Our method is still simple; you can make it in your backyard.”

Inquiries to Dr Taylor on 02 6679 5259 or

What is it?

IN the simplest terms, biochar is charcoal produced for mixing into soil. Yes, charcoal – the carbon-rich material made from heating wood or other plant material in an oxygen-deprived atmosphere. As a soil additive, biochar offers numerous potential benefits. Biochar increases the capacity for soil to hold nutrients, enhances crop yields, and captures and stores carbon for the long term.

8 things you didn't know you could do at North Straddie

NORTH Stradbroke Island is the perfect getaway whether you plan to stay for a day, a week or even a month.

A whisky-lover's blueprint to Brisbane's best bars

Check out The Gresham for some old-school fine drops.

SCOTCH, Whiskey and Whisky; it all gets a bit confusing.

Your guide to the best Brisbane markets

Enjoy the beautiful offerings of one of Brisbane's many markets.

WHO doesn’t love a good market!?

Ain’t no mountain high enough

No Caption

Brisbane's dishing up the mountain-hiking goods!

Six hideaway bars to escape winter chill

The Gresham's charm will win you over before your first sip.

THESE are the perfect places to hang this winter.

Our six art gallery picks for a creative day out

Queensland's Gallery of Modern Art always has a fun, exciting and interesting exhibition on show for the whole family to enjoy.

YOU'D be mistaken in thinking Brisbane wasn't an arty city.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Nine goal haul helps Tigers bounce back

Gun Tweed Coast Tigers' recruit Glen Phelps kicked a season best nine goals last week, but will be missed against Lismore.

"It was a really good win and hopefully something we can build on”

Labour savers or waist expanders?

Are there subtle changes you can make to combat obesity?

Living Naturally with Olwen Anderson: Obesity epidemic

Local Partners

Talk show host’s phone call takes heartbreaking turn

ANYTHING can happen on live TV — one chat show segment took such an incredible turn it’s still referenced as a landmark television moment to this day.

Why streaming movies will cost more from July 1

Australians can expect to pay more for streaming services such as Netflix when the new taxes kick in.

The new taxes from July 1 won’t hurt the MPs’ big pay rise

What's on the small screen this week

Ryan Shelton in a scene from True Story with Hamish & Andy.

HAMISH and Andy hear another funny story and Cleverman returns.

MasterChef challenge ahead for top Tweed chef

Cabarita restaurant Paper Daisy's chef Ben Devlin will appear on Channel 10's MasterChef on Tuesday night.

"You need to be quite clever with choices”

Digging down to find Clare

Australian actress and singer Clare Bowen, who got her big break on the US TV series Nashville, is touring Australia with her solo album.

After five years on Nashville it’s time to tell her own stories.

TV REVIEW: Offspring season 7 is... fine

Alexander England and Asher Keddie in a scene from season seven of Offspring.

New Offspring won’t be remembered as the best season.

What's on at the cinemas over the school holidays

Tom Holland in a scene from the movie Spider-man: Homecoming.

Escape from reality over the holidays with a trip to the movies.

Gateway to $3 billion, 4800 home new Coast city opens

The start of Peter Crosby Way at Sippy Downs, the northern access into the Harmony master-planned community at Palmview.

Palmview's $3b master-planned community of Harmony

Millionaire Nathan Birch to offload $55M in property

Nathan Birch wants to focus more on developing properties.

Sydney property investor has announced he is selling up

Fame factor boosts property prices in Byron

The stunning Clarke's Beach in Byron Bay.

House prices surge by an incredible 39.5% in star-studded area

Buyers flock to Tweed hipster hotspots

Tweed houses and units continue to be hot property.

Casuarina keeps top spot for region's house prices

Grass is greener for Warwick real estate

Warwick's rural charm and affordable property prices are enticing buyers from Brisbane.

Quality houses for half the price of Brisbane attracting interest

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!