On 15 October the Swansea University Biochar Research Team, led by Professor Alayne Street-Perrott, together with Mr Sion Brackenbury from our industrial partner, local company Commons Vision Ltd, held a meeting to showcase recent biochar research by postgraduate students in Geography and Biosciences, several of whom have been supported by ESF KESS or ATM studentships sponsored by the company.

Biochar is essentially a form of charcoal that can be produced sustainably from waste biomass by a controlled heating process called pyrolysis. It is now being used for a variety of environment-friendly purposes including soil amendment and carbon sequestration.

Invitees included representatives of the RH Southern Trust, which funded the construction of  the mobile pyrolysis unit operated by Commons Vision, Natural Resources Wales and Swansea Council, as well as PhD students from the Geotechnical and Environmental Research Group, Cambridge University Department of Engineering. A series of short talks in the morning, featuring the performance of the pyrolysis unit and novel uses of the biochars produced, including remediation of contaminated land, restoration of biodiversity after clearance of invasive rhododendron and biochar as a wood treatment, were followed by a tour of the pyrolysis unit at Commons Vision's premises in Crofty in the afternoon.