Residents Hope to Prevent Wildfire With BioChar

September 23, 2021  |   NWPB

Photo of Manuel Garcia-PérezHow Residents In The Methow Valley Are Hoping To Prevent Wildfire By Creating BioChar.

Residents in the Methow Valley are applying pyrolysis to reduce an overabundance of small-diameter trees and woody debris, which has built up over decades in the surrounding forests. Pyrolysis takes this excess biomass and heats it beyond typical combustion temperatures in a low-oxygen environment. From this, the forest fuel load is reduced and carbon from the biomass stays stored in the by-products.

Dr. Manuel Garcia-Pérez, professor in the Biological Systems Engineering and Department Chair at Washington State University, says pyrolysis would allow for taking excess carbon burning mostly on the east side of the Cascades and using it to make soil across the state more fertile. He’s excited that there are citizens who are taking action to try and address this problem in their community. Garcia-Pérez is optimistic about the potential of this technology to benefit the environment, while also being profitable through the use of its by-products, which can contribute to society in a number of ways. There’s potential for biochar to be used in asphalt and building construction.

Source: Northwest Public Broadcasting