CBA News

I was contacted a few months back by a young man from Cincinnati, Ohio named Andrew Ying who attends a piano studio that holds a fundraiser for good causes each year.  He had been reading up on biochar and was excited about its potential to help address climate change, and he thought CBA would be a good recipient of the funds from the recital this year. I graciously accepted the offer.  Because of Andrew and his partner Liam Riggins’ efforts on CBA’s behalf, the smiling group of budding musicians shown below learned about one powerful and positive solution that can be used to address climate change while also generously giving to our organization.  Thank you to Dr. Frautschi for sponsoring this fine event each year, to Andrew and Liam, and to everyone who contributed to help make our world a better place.

Every single effort like this matters, and the money they raised will help us educate others about how the production and use of biochar can help address a number of important issues of our time, including better “waste” management, job creation, renewable energy production, improved soil health and agricultural output, replacement of fossil or chemical-based industrial materials with renewable sources, and of course, carbon sequestration.

Below is a short description of the event and a wonderful picture of the group.

Raymond Baltar, Director CBA


On February 16, 2019, in the Watson Hall of the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, the piano studio of Dr. Takako Frautschi held a fundraising recital for the California Biochar Association. Organized by Andrew Ying and Liam Riggins, both students at Walnut Hills High School, and a total of 21 children participated. The recital began with a slideshow presentation showcasing the benefits of biochar with a recorded message from the director of the CBA, Raymond Baltar. The performances ranged from elementary pieces such as Honeybee, to the more advanced music of Frédéric Chopin. At the reception, the students posted hearts onto a trifold board along with their contributions, expressing one thing they love about our world that is helped by biochar and received buttons depicting the recital’s mascot, Biocharlie.


We have some exciting plans for CBA this year and we need your support to help expand our efforts to scale biochar production and use. Check back soon for more details.  Click on the donate button above to make a tax deductible donation.  The Sonoma Ecology Center, a 501C3 with a 25-year track record,  is our fiscal sponsor. Thank you in advance!





USBI Biochar Conference 2019



The California Strategic Growth Council has awarded two significant grants for biochar-related research. Ken Alex, Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and SGC Chair said, “The SGC research grants are designed to fill gaps in our knowledge about some of the most promising climate change solutions, and move them more quickly to fruition.”

Biochar production and use was highlighted in the most recent IPCC climate change report as one of the least expensive and easily scaled methods of drawing down carbon from the atmosphere, and this recognition has helped bring the biochar story to the forefront of many climate change mitigation discussions and actions. There is, however, much research that still needs to be done to better characterize which types of biochar will persist the longest in varying agricultural soils, under what type of farming protocols, as well as creation of a standardized system for rating biochars based on a set of common criteria and characteristics. Gaining acceptance from the farming community for biochar production and use using surplus biomass will also be critical for scaling its use, and this will also be studied. These are some of the gaps in our knowledge about biochars that should be better understood and hopefully answered once this climate-change focused research and field trials are completed.

Congratulations to Benjamin Z. Houlton of the UC Davis Muir Institute and collaborators who will be working on a $4.7 million grant project entitled “CALIFORNIA COLLABORATIVE ON CLIMATE CHANGE SOLUTIONS: WORKING LANDS INNOVATION CENTER—CATALYZING NEGATIVE CARBON EMISSIONS.”

“The Working Lands Innovation Center’s objective is to scale and sustain CO2 capture and GHG emissions reductions by deploying a suite of cutting-edge soil amendment technologies, driving substantial co-benefits for California growers, ranchers, Tribes, communities, the economy, and environment. This project will increase understanding of the mechanisms and potential for carbon sequestration in soil.”

More information on this grant can be found here:

And congratulations to Gerardo Diaz of UC Merced and collaborators who will be working on the $3 million grant project entitled “MOBILE BIOCHAR PRODUCTION FOR METHANE EMISSION REDUCTION AND SOIL AMENDMENT.”

“The overall goal of this proposal is to determine how biochar can be produced and used in a closed cycle agricultural application to reduce GHG emissions, ameliorate agricultural waste disposal problems, improve the quality of life in low-income and disadvantaged farming and adjacent communities, and identify means to gain acceptance among farmers of small-scale biochar production and use as a sustainable best practice for California agriculture.”

More information on this grant can be found here:

If you haven’t yet seen the great film Dirt Rich which profiles some of our good friends (Josiah Hunt, David Morell, Bob Wells) you can stream it for a small fee here:




Biochar Field Day

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Fertilizer Research and Education Program (FREP), in cooperation with the University of California at David,  recently held a well attended Biochar Field Day near Winters, California.

The event brought together researchers, industry representatives and other interested stakeholders to discuss the feasibility of biochar use in agroecosystems. Presentations highlighted research, showcased available resources, and provided up-to-date information on biochar use in California agriculture. CBA was well represented with a number of members in attendance and a poster presentation was given on CBA’s mission and goals. Members attending were Steve Fehrer from Butte College, Grant Sheve from Oregon Biochar Solutions, Sophia Pant from Butte College, Michael Maguire from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, Thor Bailey, Green Carbon Nexus, David Morell and Raymond Baltar from Sonoma Ecology Center, Kevin Foley from Premier Mushrooms, and Bob Norman.


State of California Natural and Working Lands Sector

GHG Reductions and Carbon Sequestration Goals for California’s Forests, Rangelands, Wetlands, and Farms

Natural and Working Lands


Stay Informed


News from CBA Members:

5/5/18  Butte College BIOCHAR R&D Team and Friends:

We had a great Biochar Lab day today at Butte College, preparing the BOG Biochar/Soil pot-test with BOG soil and biochar to be run through the Summer of 2018.
This is just a quick notice with some pictures to let you know that the long planned experiment has been started. We will publish an initial report on the experiment design and preparations. The intent is to locate the test-pots at BOG over the summer for monitoring soil moisture levels in the test-pots with various amounts of biochar cover in comparison to undisturbed in-situ soil with the same surface treatments and under the same weather exposures.
The experiment is on its way!
Great job today, BIOCHAR Team!
Stephen I. Feher
Executive Director, Sustainable Community Development Institute (SCDI)
Associate Faculty, Engineering and Technical Director, Biochar R&D Projects at Butte College
Tel: (530)872-1403
Cell: (530)327-8355


I have found this Biochar Network Twitter feed to have some great links to biochar activities around the world.  Check it out. Raymond Baltar