The Legal Environmental Aid Foundation (LEAF) is the only non-profit environmental law practice in Indiana. LEAF provides pro bono legal services and representation to Indiana's environmental activists and groups seeking environmental justice in the state.
Kim, Here is a response to our conversation.
What should VIM do in the future?
VIM's "C" and "burn" pile represents a unique opportunity to recycle biomass to Terra Preda that has traditionally been bypassed by the new "greener" replacements of coal fired power plants by wood waste fired ones. I currently use VIM biochar in my home garden right now with fantastic results, the "C" pile represents what might be the best soil amendment material found in terms of quality and volume in all of Indiana. We need to get all of this material out of their yard and into farm fields, gardens and/or horticulture facilities in the region as quickly as possible.
The biggest obstacle to the superior option of creating charcoal from wood is the opportunity to combust it completely as an alternative fuel to coal. There is some fantastic research coming out of the University of Georgia about making carbon "negative" biodiesel from wood that has Terra Preda / Biochar for soil amendment as the carbon sink soil amendment byproduct.
Here is a good article about the pros and cons of large scale wood fired electricity plants in Indiana. http://tr.im/mOV8
In addition to 100% consumptive demand for electricity production, there is also tremendous product demand for wood chips for mulch and also animal bedding from VIM.
The problem that exists is that there is demand for biomass that exceeds the ability of even VIM huge capacity to supply all sources.
My concern is that all wood waste will be completely combusted to make a carbon "neutral" fuel because it is more economically viable for most wood than carbon "negative" biochar combusting from live newer wood wastes.
Here are some great articles for more information on the promise of biochar or Terra Preda:
I would love to talk generally about the prospects of putting the right people together with the right technologies in the biomass recycling fields. It has been my passion for nearly three years now, I will give you a call!
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