Pyrolysis- A Chance for Current Ag Survival?


Francis Thicke in his book A New Vision for Iowa Food and Agriculture has a chapter on Pyrolysis, which he defines as a process of heating biomass without oxygen to produce combustible fuel and a product called Blochar, a soil amendment, which increases soil fertilitory while sequestering soil carbon. You will recall our reference #52, a study by the University of Illinois, which found that every Midwestern State except one was losing soil carbon. If you look at the photos from Rodale Institute our reference #53 you will see visually that our widely used two crop agricultural system using chemical fertilizer causes depletion of carbon ie. organic matter/fertility and becomes highly erodible over time. In addition the only two studies ever done on manure spillage around chicken CAFOs in Maryland showed that spillage of manure after 20 years of operation caused aquifer nitrogen levels 200 times the normal background level of 0.3 mg/l which USGS has found to be 35% of nitrogen contamination in Delmarva aquifers. Pyrolysis of CAFO manure helps solve many of these problems and is the minimum that must be done if the CAFO concept for animal protein production is to survive. If the industry will not support this essential minimal first step it will accelerate its demise into the dustbin of history as predicted recently by a leading scientist. Note that the highlighted post provides a way to contribute to the Francis Thicke campaign in Iowa. A vote for Iowa is a vote for Delmarva which has a similar land use profile.


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