char symp logo

gold line
gold line


BBC short film-this short film documents the discovery of the scientific significance of terra preta and the understanding the true legacy of El Dorado
click image to view video >>
BBC short film

blue table

The Energy and Carbon Utilization Symposium was held at the University of Georgia, June 10-11, 2004. It brought energy producers and policy makers together with agricultural ecologists, soil scientists, engineers, and private-sector companies from around the world. The symposium was the first of its kind, offering a platform to present and discuss findings on sustainable energy and biochar carbon sequestration. Based on the anthropogenic Amazonian dark earths, known as Terra Preta, the feasibility of its replication and biochar carbon sequestration was discussed within this international interdisciplinary group.

As the global carbon cycle has gained wider attention because of its importance for the global climate, the pendulum has swung toward methods to release or sequester carbon into the soil, and hence to the ancient practice that utilized carbon for its benefits to agriculture. UGA is the site of a major effort to sequester carbon as a soil amendment in the United States. UGA's Biorefining and Carbon Cycling Program, host to the biomass-pyrolysis biorefinery, was the natural choice as a site for this conference. The pilot-scale biorefinery produces char that will sequester carbon lasting thousands of years as a byproduct from biomass refining.

“One of the objectives of the conference is to look at the market for carbon,” said Tom Adams, director of the UGA Engineering Outreach Service. “The science behind Terra Preta and introduction of the whole idea of using char versus other forms of carbon in agriculture is revolutionary in concept,” he said.

Scientists from the United States, Asia and Europe presented papers and posters on many various aspects of carbon utilization, from exploration of pre-Columbian agricultural landscapes to the latest findings in soil microbial fertility.


gold line