Nate Anderson surveys the samples of biochar on his lab table.
Some look like charred wood chips. Others have been transformed into pellets. Still others are shiny, like crystals. These samples have been “activated” and are similar to what you’d find in a water filter. One jar holds bio-oil, which smells like the condiment Liquid Smoke.
Seven years ago, Anderson knew little, or nothing, about biochar. Today, it is just one of many forest products he studies as a research forester at the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station in Missoula, Montana. [Read more…]